…this was a different kind of race. Following the standard beer mile format stretched into a 50k there are six 5.2-mile loops. There is a drunk division and a sober division. To be in the drunk division and eligible for an overall podium finish you have to drink one pint of microbrew before each lap and at the finish before clocking you last lap. They had two kegs of very tasty Flying Lion “Call it a Day” Pale (5.8%).
I really love the concept because of something I want to coin the “Walmsley Effect”. How does one run a 50k and mimic the mental drain in a longer race? I already have problems following flags and little chalk arrows. When i get in a zone it helps me to rest but causes me to miss markings and turns. I have heard (and believe!) that thinking uses a lot of energy and one of the things I usually do running is to rest my mind and let my body work. This is where the beer comes in to play. In short, I wanted to push myself harder into that brain-drain zone without busting up my body too much. ok…well busting it up in another way i guess…but to reach the “**** it” threshold and get over that barrier (turns out it never appeared).
At the start I hadn’t decided whether or not to be in the drunk division because Friday (the day before) at work, after lunch I suddenly turned green, got really dizzy and had diarrhea for the rest of the day…but watching Eric tap the keg the next morning and feeling much better I decided to go for it. I mean, that’s what sets this race apart right? Meet the challenge. So I downed the first beer and headed out with about 50 other runners. The first beer was rocket fuel and I ran with the fasties on the first lap. Everyone was having a great time up there with the lead pack. I should say lead pack except for Eric who was way off in front. It’s fun to run in a peleton, which, because of my usual place in no man’s land behind the leaders ahead of mid pack, I almost never get to do, even in short races. They did drop me on the second lap but then I met up with three college-age girls. I am usually, in most of my races somewhere near the lead female so I kept up with them chatting away. I could tell they were trying to drop the old guy so I finally let them go on as I hiked up the hill thinking I will easily catch them later after their fourth lap/beer and accuse them of breaking my heart…well it turns out later that they all dropped! I guess that’s ok but the rest of the race I was expecting to catch people and never did because they mostly dropped! See how fast you can do a couple of laps ok, but come on (i asked one of them) “do you have kids?”…”no” “then keep on truckin’!” but they were decided. I did a lot of prodding at the aid station to those who were dropping or considering to drop. I didn’t want a victory, I wanted competition!
Another thing that happened a few times in this race was people underestimating me. Again it’s funny how people, even seasoned runners think they can tell your ability just by looking at you. I got asked at least 8 or 9 times “how many laps are you trying for”. I must have looked rough but I never had the faintest thought of dropping on this easy course. I suppose it could happen one day due to unforeseen circumstances but I am well trained to run this. There was no reason for me to quit. “Im running the whole race. Arent you?” “Naw I got …(some excuse)”. It turned out in the end there were only a few finishers and at the finish 2nd place Francis (Eric was first) fist bumped me and said “I never dnf’ed” and I said “that’s awesome! me too!”
So after 7 beers (i wasnt expecting the one at the end), one seriously wrong turn and double back, one accidental shortcut (i didnt even know until I saw the gps map), 32.4 miles in an official time of 6:14 which gives me an avg pace of 11:28…although there was at least an hour of drinking and chatting at the aid station…I finished 3rd in a field of mostly people half my age (most of whom doubted I could even finish)! Not sure how many finishers there were but i bet the dnf rate was at least 70%. fun race and no hangover! …just some familiar tired legs.
Excellent race, great course and no complaints. Peter was very very generous opening up his home for this event and keeping good relations with the equestrian park so that the race can be done there and Eric for organizing it with the Seattle Running Club. *****!