From left: April Cheverette, with postrace beer; Shaun Sperling, running in style


The Chicago Marathon—which begins this Sunday, October 10th, at 7:30 a.m. in Grant Park—has taken over my life, and I’m not even running it. The Creative Director is, though, and over the course of his seven months of training I’ve found myself engaged in the following activities: (1) making multiple trips to Fleet Feet to return and repurchase the same pair of running shoes; (2) holding in-depth discussions on the topics of Gu energy-gel flavors, compression socks, port-a-pots, and intimate chafing; (3) turning myself into a bike-riding aid station armed with bananas and electrolyte tablets; (4) tearing up over motivational stories in Runner’s World; (5) and indulging in inappropriate carb loading—for me, at least, since I’m not burning it off.

Now that the day is nearly upon us, what can I say? I’m so proud of TCD’s dedication and the fact that he can actually run 26.2 miles. And also? I need a drink.

Runners, I’ve found, are not as adverse to drinking as one might assume, which is a relief, since I hang out with them all the time. When applied correctly, bars and beer can be a vital aspect of any athlete’s training regimen. Two seasoned runners explain:

April Cheverette of Portage Park, running her third marathon Sunday:
“The carbs in beer definitely help me recuperate after a long run. After the marathon, I usually have a shot of tequila as well. I’ll probably end up at Wabash Tap after the race this year. They have the best Tater Tots and a great pint of Guinness. Last year during the race, there was a group of people handing out beer in plastic cups at mile 23. I grabbed one, and it gave me the extra push to finish the last three miles!”

Shaun Sperling of Lake View, running his eighth marathon Sunday:
“Hell, yeah, I drink while training. Mimosas, beer, Bloody Marys, whatever. After a run, I’m usually craving salty foods, so that naturally lends itself to a Bloody Mary. My favorite brunch spot that serves liquor is The Bongo Room. After the race on Sunday, I’ll most likely head to Sidetrack. Run a marathon, eat, and then drink while singing showtunes with a packed bar full of queens? Perfection!”

So where will The Chaser–led cheering crew drink after we (well, TCD) cross/es the finish line? Four options are under consideration: Chef Art Smith’s private Bad Ass Burger Bash at Hub 51 (Smith recently lost 100 pounds and will be among this year’s runners); the lobby bar at the James Hotel, where runners who show their race bibs get a free cocktail; any of the three Smallbars, where runners, also with bibs, get a free entrée; and Bloody Marys on The Creative Director’s front porch.

Runner-readers, where will you be drinking away the pain?