With just a few weeks left on the road my Touristy Tuesdays are starting to get jam-packed again. During that winter hibernation period, where you didn’t see any blogs about travel or running, it was a struggle just to get out of the hotel. Now that the foot of snow is gone and the summer clothes have reappeared it’s a lot easier to get out and about!
Our first day in the Indianapolis we had high hopes. It was a maintenance day. Get the ketchup and mustard levels checked. Wash off the relish. That kind of thing. The idea is you get some work done those days, which we do, but they’re usually over pretty quickly, leaving time for adventuring. For example, our last maintenance day in St. Louis Eliot and I snuck in a tour of Busch Stadium, where the Cardinals play. This maintenance day on the other hand did not lend well to being a tourist. Instead, we hung out at Penske for almost the entire day. (Let me tell you – the Indianapolis Penske is not exactly the finest way to be introduced to the city.)
Luckily we found a Cracker Barrel and hung out in their rocking chairs for awhile. We had lunch nearby and played Yahtzee for the rest of the afternoon while we waited on the company car. We had just enough time to play three games, and I will shameless gloat that I had three Yahtzees and won 2/3 games!
That afternoon I met up with Tim and his buddies from the Bourbon Street Running Club for a group run around the Indianapolis Downtown Canal. Although I didn’t experience too much of the downtown area beyond this, I was really impressed. From the run you could see several different museums, arenas, and tons of parks! Between the people and the copious amounts of things to do in the area, I could easily see myself moving to Indy one day down the road. It’s up there with Louisville, KY I think!
I saw another running friend, Kathy, on our day off on Wednesday. University of Indiana got lucky that week – I brought the Wienermobile by both their Indy and Bloomington campuses. It was finals week, so it was kind of fun to catch up with her – hear about her running escapades (she does a marathon each month!) – and also surprise the kids on campus.
That afternoon I headed down to the main Indiana campus in Bloomington to see my friend Rachel, who is there for grad school. Now believe it or not, I do have friends that aren’t from the running community. (Or forced friends like Eliot and Abe who are friends with me only because we are stuck in a giant hot dog together.) Rachel and I have known each other from way back in the dorm days. She made my Wilma Flintstone Halloween costume that year and I’ve been trying to repay her ever since.
Just for throwback’s sake I’m including some fun college photos because they’re adorable and who doesn’t love a walk down Nostalgia Lane?
Rachel just finished her first year of grad school at IU studying Student Affairs, where she also worked as a Graduate Assistant managing Briscoe Residence Hall. (Yep – she’s a ResLIFER. Res Life, For Life. haha) I promised that she could totally take advantage of having the Wienermobile come visit, so she set up a hot dog bar for all of the residents to enjoy on move-out day. (That made me miss being an RA in the dorms for half a second, until I actually remembered all the babysitting that went into being an RA. haha)
That evening she showed me all around the IU campus, which was unbelievably gorgeous. I am really proud of how beautiful Mizzou is, but IU is a close rival. Perhaps because all of their red and white tulips were in bloom, but I was tempted to switch grad programs and move in with her!
We chatted quite a bit about grad school, girly things, and everything else under the sun. I love that girl because we can go for awhile without talking (sometimes too long) and still fall right back into cahoots together, planning adventures. It was over frozen yogurt that I talked her into coming to Chicago.
Rachel is adventurous in a crazy/zany/spontaneous way, but hasn’t traveled too much on her own and somehow had never made it to Chicago. When I heard that, I insisted she come with! Our mutual friend David was taking the bus into Indianapolis and driving back with Eliot and I already. She could do the opposite – drive up and take the bus back! I can be pretty persuasive (not that going to Chicago in the Wienermobile is a hard sell) and I left Bloomington assured she would be joining us on the adventure.
Friday afternoon David came in for the race. If I was Rachel’s first friend at Mizzou, David was mine. Just a few days before I talked him into coming to Indy for the Mini-Marathon, which turned out to be a pretty awesome time. You can read more about the expo, carb-tastic dinner, and the race on my latest race recap.
After the race though it was time to pack and hit the road. I’ve managed to squeeze in three half marathons lately, but it has meant busy days afterwards. After the Go! St. Louis half marathon Eliot and I had to drive 7 hours to the middle of Kansas. After the Mini-Marathon we were headed to Chicago, +2 with Rachel and David in tow.
That drive was only supposed to be a few hours long. Unfortunately we hit a massive accident, that left us going 6 miles over the course of 2 hours.
Yuck! I think the novelty of the company car had worn off for those two by that point.
It was probably good they slept because we headed out on the town that night. David and I really wanted to take Rachel downtown for a real night out in Chicago, but we got in much later than expected and they two of us were a little tired from running PRs. Instead, we went to the Rosemont Entertainment District right near our hotel.
After sharing an oversized margarita pitcher (or two) we decided to share some oversized beers as well at the Hofbräuhaus.
Somehow these German beer places bring something out in me, like my accordion playing skills in Chicago, and when they had a ladies beer drinking competition Rachel and I were both up on stage. (And to think, we were both RAs in college!) While neither of us won, we did put in a good effort.
This entertainment district has 10+ bars all within walking distance, so from there we headed over to Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar. WHOOOO! I have been trying to go to one of these bars the entire time we have been on the road, but failed at two other attempts while in the Southwest.
After the long wait, it finally lived up to my expectations. (Sadly, my cowgirl boots were already packed away so I’m not sure I got the full experience.) Let me just say that after this country bar I’m even more excited to move to the South. (Georgia – Lookout!)
After our around-the-world tour with Mexican margaritas, German Beer, and some good old American country music we headed home and crashed. Sadly Rachel had to head home in the morning, but that was just the start of Chicago adventures for me!
So that was Indianapolis. Running. Friends. Running Friends. Board Games. And Beer. All around a great week!