For the second time in my life, actually, the second time in 15 months, I have won overall female at a race. Woot!
Last night I competed in our local beer mile.
The idea of this race has intrigued me since I first read about it in 2009 when Amy competed and won it in Tennessee. I'd never heard of it before, and I thought pretty much the same thing she did -- hmm, I'm a pretty good runner, and I'm a pretty good drinker, maybe I should do that! So I have been searching for a local one ever since. And encouraging the right people to organize one.
It's not a typical race. First, there are no bibs and no paid registration -- for obvious liability reasons. Second, your chugging skills are at least as important as your running skills. Third, if you vomit, you have to run an extra penalty lap (for a total of 1.25 miles, but you still only have to do 4 beers).
Basically, the way it works is a track is marked for a little "drinking zone." Not sure how long it was. Maybe 8 feet long? Everyone competing lined up their 4 beers (we all used cans) in that zone. The rules are that it cannot be a wide-mouth can, it cannot already be opened, it must be at least 5% alcohol
When the official time started, we were all in the little drinking zone. We each chugged one beer, and then ran a lap, back to the drinking zone again. Then another beer, another lap. Another beer, another lap. A last beer and a last lap through the end of the drinking zone.
So the grand total is 4 beers and 1 mile.
I was totally intimidated by the group. There were guys of varying levels (including several I know to be sub-5:30 milers) and only about 5 women? 4? Either way, I knew at least two of them to be significantly faster than me. Including one who was the winner last year (I was already home for Christmas, so I missed it).
But she assured me that I could beat her. She admitted that she's faster than me, but only by about a minute (maybe less) for a mile. She said that if I could chug even a bit faster than her, the running wouldn't make a difference.
And while I am not a huge alcohol drinker in general, and when I drink it's not usually beer, I can chug almost anything. I think it's because I'm used to drinking so much water. When it's time to leave work, I hate leaving water in my bottle overnight, and I'm too lazy to go dump it in the sink, so even if it's full (24 oz.), I'll just chug it. But I also have experience with beer chugging. In law school, we had a game that we'd play at parties when it was time to go. Whoever wanted to leave would get the others to chug -- they'd say, okay, ready? 1-2-3-you chug!
So I figured I had a shot.
The race started and a couple of the guys chugged really quickly and took off. Then a bit later, another bunch of us finished and took off. And about half the group was still chugging the first beer. I was the first woman to start running, but after about 200 meters I got passed by one of the faster women. And I was nervous. I was burping and felt pretty horrid already. I couldn't imagine how I'd feel after more beer. And right as I was finishing my first lap, I was passed by last year's female winner.
So into the drinking zone with 2 women just ahead of me. But on lap two, I was again, first woman out of the gate after my second beer. And I would say I didn't feel significantly worse than on the first lap. I was burping a lot and it was audible. I joked with one of the guys running near me that my brothers would have been proud to hear me.
I did not get passed by any woman on lap 2, but the 2 that had been ahead of me weren't far behind.
Chug 3 was where it made the difference. That beer went down much more easily and my confidence built. During lap 3, I felt like I was spinning a little bit, but I remember being about 200 meters into the run and realizing that the other 2 women were still chugging beer 3.
And before I finished lap 3, I passed another woman. And right before I finished lap 3, I got passed by the two guys who were first to finish. First place guy was 6:15:99 and second place was 6:19:71 -- but I was only one lap (and one beer) behind. I got into the drinking zone for beer 4, and I figured I had it made. I was actually not sure I was really on beer 4, it seemed to be going so fast. But I checked my watch and saw that indeed, I only had about .25 miles to go. I figured it had to be less than 3 more minutes and I'd be done. 60-90 seconds drinking, 90-120 seconds running.
At that point, my sole focus was on not vomiting. I thought the only way that I'd screw it up would be to have to run an extra lap.
And I managed to do it! Three of us finished within 10 seconds of each other, all between 8:40 and 8:50 (me and two guys). My husband has hilarious video of the finish line -- I became quite uncertain I'd been the first woman because there were other women standing around -- but then I finally realized they had beers in their hands. They still had a lap to go! But then after I understood, I still kept asking people -- mostly just because I wanted to hear it again and again. I'd won!
But eventually that got old and I started feeling really dizzy. I was pretty sure I'd get sick, so I went over to part of the fence around the track. I ended up keeping it all down but it felt very touch and go.
It felt like forever before the prior female title holder crossed the line, more than 3 minutes behind me. And then nearly 2 more minutes before another 2 women.
I felt compelled to keep high-5ing everyone. And doing so repeatedly, until I felt like we'd gotten a solid one. And instructing people on how best to do it -- they put their hand up and hold still and I aim for it. And it was awful how many times I missed.
We all left the track and went back to the organizer's house for ... beer! That sealed the deal, I couldn't drive home. Initially, I'd thought if I hung out at least 2.5 hours after my last beer, I'd be okay to drive, but when I had another at the house, it was going to be too late before I could drive, so I rode home with hubby and will have to go get my car today.