Galen Rupp, fresh off his victory at the Chicago Marathon, celebrated Monday by buying a round of L-carnitine injections for everyone at a local pub.
Rupp, 31, won Sunday's race in 2:09:20, a personal best.
As the first American since 2002 to win Chicago, Rupp spent much of Sunday and Monday in a whirlwind of interviews and other postrace obligations. By Monday afternoon, however, he seemed ready to blow off some steam.
"He showed up around 8:00," said Francis Rynd, a bartender at O'Bannon's, an Irish pub on West Wacker Drive. "Walked right up to the bar, slapped down a credit card, and yelled, 'Ladies and gentlemen, this round's on me—L-carnitine shots for everyone!'"
Reaction was tepid, Rynd said, as most in the bar—including him—had no idea what L-carnitine was.
L-carnitine, as explained in this SI.com article, is "an amino acid produced naturally in the body (which) can also be prescribed by a doctor as a supplement for heart and muscle disorder."
"It's not a banned substance!" Rupp shouted.
That was good enough for most in the crowd, said Rynd, and a line soon formed as an unnamed doctor passed out IV bags and needles.
"I guess they figured a free shot is a free shot," he said, shrugging.
"Plus," he added, "like (Rupp) said, it's not a banned substance."
Asked for comment, Rupp's coach, Alberto Salazar of the Nike Oregon Project, said he knew nothing about the injections or about Rupp's whereabouts Monday evening, and in fact wasn't sure exactly what L-carnitine was, or what pubs were, and was only vaguely familiar with the concept of "continuous gravity drip infusion," a phrase that the interviewer had not used.
"I do know one thing," he said. "It's not a banned substance."