July 10, 2011: Selena Nanthavong

July 10, 2011: Selena Nanthavong

It’s okay, don’t panic, I think as I struggle to open my dry eyes.  It's not Monday, it's Sunday. So why is my alarm going off at 8 in the morning?

Eyelids open and eye crusties intact; it all comes rushing back.  I told my friend Sarah that I would go bike riding with her as she trains for the Chicago sprint triathlon.  I’m always happy to be her bike riding buddy, but wow, it's been a long time since I've seen this side of 11am on a Sunday.  And this is after I talked her down from 7:30 am.

Forty-five minutes later, we head south down the lake path at a good clip.  It's almost 9am, and it already feels like today is going to be one of those Chicago scorchers where I wonder if it’s hot enough to fry an egg on the Bean in Millennium Park.  I will Google the answer to that question later today.

The only reprieve of starting this early is that we’ll have fewer opponents in the Life or Death Chicken game.  To play, take one part beautiful lake path, one hundred runners in wolf packs, two hundred bike riders clad in triathlon spandex, and throw in fifty tourists holding cameras.  The arena stretches along the lake, primarily from Fullerton Avenue to Illinois Street.  Challengers attempt to pass through the designated area without injuring themselves or other players in the game.  The only means of communication between players is the phrase “on your left,” even though uttering the phrase does not guarantee that other players will comprehend or react.

Sarah and I make it through Life or Death Chicken, with our only formidable opponents being a young couple with a double-side stroller and an older gentleman who looked to be recovering from last night.

Ten miles later, we reach my favorite stretch of bike path where it’s so far south I don’t have to continually cover my brakes.  There are actually trees to provide shade from the beating sun, and the view of the city and the lake are beautiful.  Sweating and tired, we turn around, ready to head back.

It’s time for Round Two of Life or Death Chicken.

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About the author: Selena Nanthavong has been a Lakeview resident for four delightful years.  She misses taking afternoon naps, enjoys Liam Neeson in the movie Taken, and always wears a helmet to protect her brain while biking.

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