Friday, May 17, 2013

First Overall Female!

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.  


  1. YESSSSS!!!!! Awesome! And, yeah, it's always that 3rd beer that separates the drinkers/chuggers from the non drinkers.

    This is awesome!

    And.. by the way... DAMN, that is a good time. You would have beaten me by like 2 minutes or something, I think! WTG!!!!

    1. I'm so jealous of your beer mile -- timing clocks, a bigger field, real prizes, race photography. My time was a lot of luck I think, beer was exactly the right temp (1 hour from fridge to drinking), and a couple guys running just ahead of me off whom I could pace. I hope I can repeat at the next one!

  2. Best race recap ever! Well done!!

  3. This is hilarious!