Big Beef Runners


A big beef from Portillo’s recently found its way into my home.  I Grubhubbed the BBS (big, beautiful sandwich) with hot and an order of large fries.  Since I was ordering, I added a second meal for the next day – two chili dogs.  Doubling up my orders has become standard practice during the coronavirus stay at home order.  For instance, Monday I ordered two burritos from Traspasada.  Ate one Monday and another Tuesday. I figure it means fewer interactions with delivery guys.

What a beef it was.  Really hit the spot.  Portillo’s giardiniera remains a wonder.  Nice crunch, ideal amount of heat.  Fries traveled pretty well.  Always a concern.  But they made it with lots of life left in them.  The chili dogs warmed up nizzze the next day.


Like many others trapped indoors, I’m eating like a maniac.  Can’t be good for my overall health.

Luckily, my close pal Mike Lambe used technology to get my ass off the couch.  He told me to download the Nike Run Club app and accept his challenge.  He set a weekly goal of 20 miles and added myself and three others to the group.  We got running.  Lambe and Ted McNabb in Western Springs.  Matt Casella in Los Angeles.  Jennifer Pohl lives in River North and sent pictures of the eerily quiet Chicago River area:

I came nowhere close to 20 miles.  Finished the week around the 6 mile mark.  Although my phone ran out of juice on my final run and cost me 1.5 miles on the app.  I blame my Music Hat, which drained the batteries.


Great for listening to tunes on cold-weather runs.  My ears canals freeze when I wear earbuds outside under a certain temperature.

Jogging was the first aerobic exercise I’d participated in since pickup basketball was outlawed weeks before.  It felt good.

Lambe decided to up the ante.  He invited his wife Sarah, Ted’s wife Kate and Anna Nadasdy from Denver to join our club.  We drafted teams.  Kate and I were captains.

Team Cheese Fries (named after Lambe’s extra cups of cheese order from Little Joe’s on Sunday) is leading Team Burrito Hoarders (my team)in total miles at this juncture.


Team Burrito Hoarders:

Brendan, Ted, Sarah & Anna

Team Cheese Fries:

Kate, Lambe, Matt, Jennifer

Do the math and you see they’re ahead.  I have confidence in my team and we’ve got until Sunday at midnight.  The stakes are high.  The losers must dress up as a character from Tiger King and share pictures.  I really want to see Casella dressed as Carole Baskin.  As it stands, it’s more likely I’ll be costumed as one of Joe Exotic’s many husbands.  Time will tell.

I’m planning a run today.  Social distancing while jogging presents its own challenge.  I try to mostly run through alleys and on side streets.  In the city, however, crossing paths with other humans is inevitable.  Most of us are on the same page, but once in a while you run into a person who refuses to yield or make room.  You just do your best.

Yesterday I was walking the dog and trying to cross Fullerton.  I inched into the street to prepare a dash across the busy street.  I saw an opening after a bicycle passed. The cyclist shouted and gestured to me to back off.  I don’t think I was too close, but suppose I made him feel uncomfortable.  I understand.  It’s a stressful world right now and we’re all unsure. I’ll note that mistake and try not to repeat that situation.

On Saturday it was cold and I tried to wear a scarf around my face.  After half a block, I couldn’t get enough air.  I pulled it down.  We’ve been advised to wear homemade masks when we go out in public, whenever possible.  I assume that’s more for grocery shopping and the like.  When you’re interacting with others in close proximity.  We’ve also been encouraged to exercise and stay healthy.  I don’t see a way to run with a covering on my mouth and nose.  So I’m just keeping my distance on my runs until I’m told I need to bandana up regardless of interaction.





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