If you’ve been living under a rock — or outside Chicago — you might not know that the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is one of the largest gatherings Chicago hosts.
Photo: Bank of America Chicago Marathon Facebook page
Runners of all skill levels, from all 50 states and many countries around the world, will take on the 26.2-mile course through our fair city. In 2011, there were 35,670 finishers celebrating in Grant Park after crossing the finish line. (We love to watch runners in Chinatown, just outside the Triple Crown Restaurant, where our Chinatown food tasting and cultural walking tour begins — the music and energy can’t be beat, and you can get killer dim sum when you get hungry just watching the calories being burned.)
Speaking of which, what we at Chicago Food Planet are most concerned about is what they’ll be eating in the days leading up to the race. Loading up on carbohydrates the day before a big run is important because it helps store lots of energy in the muscles. We asked the Internet about the best places to carb-load — and not surprisingly, the majority of their responses were all about the pasta.
Here are five of Facebook’s favorite Chicago spots for carbing up before the marathon:
Buca di Beppo
521 N. Rush St. | 312-396-0001
1314 W. Wrightwood Ave. | 773-296-0081
626 N. State St. | 312-698-5000
5343 N. Clark St. | 773-271-7782
Flat Top Grill
Various locations throughout Chicago
And a couple of other suggestions…
Any Mexican restaurant
To the runner who suggested lots of rice and beans the night before the race…we’ll see you at the finish line, but we won’t be coming anywhere near you while you’re running.
Our Tasting Partners
Urban Belly has delicious noodle dishes that will keep you running back for more…dumb pun, anyone?
Home sweet home
By and large, though, most runners we heard from who live in Chicago opt for a relaxed, healthy, carb-heavy meal with friends and family — and a good night’s sleep.
One runner loves to treat himself to a fantastic meal after the race, but an ice bath and 14 hours of catatonic rest may be the favorite post-race meal for most.
Hungry for more? How about tracking your favorite runner during the marathon? Head to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon website, where you can register for an account and sign up for text alerts when your friends and family cross certain checkpoints during the race.