Friday, December 20, 2013

Defending My Title

Far and away one of the most fun things I did in 2013 was running, and winning (at least for the women), a local beer mile race.  Full story of how it worked and my experience is here

The group actually does the race twice a year, and this week was the winter version.

I successfully defended my title.  I was given the bib number 1F and it was warranted. 

Unfortunately, as I've mentioned before, I'm kind of out of my running groove and have been since about September 30 (the day after the Berlin marathon). 

It showed in my time.  I was 6 seconds and change slower than I was in May, but I still had first place locked by more than 30 seconds, and third place was more than 3 minutes behind me (despite the fact that she is a significantly faster runner than I am). 

The guys that I finished right next to in May both pulled further ahead of me this year.  One of them beat me by a minute and change (with an asterisk, set forth below), the other beat me by about 45 seconds. 

Once again, I had some pretty serious confusion about how many beers I had left at one point.  I was far more concerned this year about getting a penalty lap.  I'd eaten lunch early, so not long before leaving work to go to the race, I had a Lean Cuisine frozen pizza.  That's not necessarily a wise choice to eat in any event, and certainly not before a run, let alone a beer mile.  I felt on the verge of vomitting as I drove to the race.

But I put my game face on and held it all together. 

This year, I decided to go with Bud Light Platinum.  It's a 6% beer, and that might have cost me the PR.  I felt pretty rough after the first beer and was burping before I even finished the first lap.  But with dogged determination that seems to evade me in marathons where I really give a $hit about my results, I kept my head in the game and stayed focused. 

I was somewhat concerned because one of the women was drinking some kind of light beer that was 4% alcohol or something, which isn't legal under the rules.  She explained that since she barely weighs 100 pounds, 4% alcohol had the same effect on her as 5% did on someone bigger.  Whether she's right or not, rules are rules, right?  I mean, yeah, I'm well over 100 pounds, but some of the guys there were way bigger than me. 

But in the end, I never had to worry.  While I was the first woman out of the drinking zone, I was passed in lap 1, but was then the first woman done with beer 2, and that was the end of women in front of me who weren't a lap behind.  In turn 4 of my third lap, I got passed by the overall male winner.  I attempted to use him as a rabbit and I kicked up my running pace significantly for about 50-75 meters.  But then I realized that was a BIG mistake and had to stop immediately.  I slowed back down and hit the drinking zone for my final beer as he was celebrating his win in 6:24 (he'd run a 6:19 in May and come in second, but the May winner was not present to defend his title).  I tried to kick a little in my final lap, but I tried to balance that with making sure no pizza and no beer resurfaced.  There were a few guys I could pace off of, and that helped, but in the end, not enough to PR.

In retrospect, it's hard to figure out where I can focus on trimming time next year.  I believe it's on beer 2 or beer 3.  One of those chugs seemed to take forever.  Beer 4 went down easy (as did beer 1), but those beers in between are where I need to focus on picking up about 10 seconds.  Next time I will work harder. 

After the race was different this time because my husband was out of town, so I was flying solo.  I had gotten a ride from a friend's nearby house to the track, so I rode back with them as well since the after-party was there. 

I transitioned straight to water and had to wait several hours before I felt I could safely drive home.  While a bit of beer had been gracefully expelled from my body into a ditch about 10 minutes after I finished, it wasn't much.  Well, during the after-party, one of the guys who I'd finished with in May came by.  He'd had a work party earlier in the evening that he couldn't miss, but he had brought his running stuff.  So a bunch of us who were already intoxicated piled back into my friend's wife's minivan and the late comer drove us back to the track for him to do a solo beer mile. 

Of course his results have an asterisk since it wasn't during the actual race.  It would be like counting a PR from a particular race course but not during the race -- hardly fair as when you run the route solo, weather conditions and crowds can be/are significantly different.  The weather didn't change much in those two hours, but it wouldn't have really been fair if he'd been awarded the overall male title or something.  But it was moot -- he did his solo beer mile, beat his time from May by almost a minute, but missed out on first place by more than 90 seconds. 

So then we all got back in the van and went back to my friend's house to hang out some more.  It was such a fun night and I think I have convinced the organizer that if I'm not running the beer mile in 10 years and he's still organizing it, the first female bib number assigned should be 2F.  I should be permanently assigned bib 1F and the number should be retired when I retire from beer miling.  :)

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