Beer Mile Race Report

Race in Pieces is going on a non-running vacation tomorrow!  This is a good thing.  It’s been over a week since either of us have run, this is a good thing.  I’ve been getting some therapy for my foot/hip issues and Dan was just burnt out.  We feel rested going into our non-running related vacation, this is a good thing.  

Below is a post that’s been in my draft box since August, I guess we were busy with other stuff and never had a chance to post it.  Now that winter has set in I thought I’d share with you some of the “fun” stuff we do with our down time…..

Dan has always wanted to run a beer mile so we set up a 400m course on road at the cottage and finally made his dream come true.
Quick explanation of a beer mile; 4 laps of a 400m track, 1 beer consumed before each lap.  There are all sorts of rules pertaining to what size beer, what it’s consumed out of and what to do when people can’t hold their beer, you can click here for the full run down if you’re interested.
Nine of us rose to the challenge, 4 of us are runners, 3 play recreational sports (volleyball/baseball/boot camp), and the other 2 were my Dad and Uncle Neil, they were the grand masters.  We also had spectators and 2 judges (who were very fair).

The Beer Mile hopefuls.

At 1pm someone said go and 9 cans of beer were cracked open.  Dan was the first one out on the “track”.

Dan has finished his beer and Alex (shirtless with hat) has had maybe two sips.  Brandon (in red) had made good head way.

I watched everyone getting further away thinking that I should really practice “chugging”.  Finally I got to start my first lap, where I did manage to reel in a few competitors, but they all passed me as I struggled with my second beer.  I fully believed I was going to be sick already, but then I was able to release some gas and felt a world of good better.  Dan was already half way through his second lap when we had our first DNF, that participant is so much smarter than the rest of us.

This is only my second beer. I hadn’t lost any yet.

As I set out on my second lap I high fived Dan who had just arrived back.  I was surprised that I was able to run as well as I did with all the beer sloshing around in my tummy, but sadly before I knew it I was being handed another beer.  Sip, sip, my Dad jumps out of his chair and starts running/shuffling, I ask what lap he’s on, I’m told 3rd.  Crap, I’m being whooped by my Dad with hip trouble.

That’s my Dad in yellow. He sat down to drink each beer. I think he might be on to something.

Dan returns from lap 4 to win the mile in 10:28.  Someone comments that it was never really a fair competition, Dan is English and he likes to run.  I’m still working on my 3rd beer, I’m now hanging out with one of the other struggling competitors, Alex, we are standing very close to the bushes, but the judges keep checking in to make sure we hadn’t been sick.  Finally, after a few near misses, I’m running my 3rd lap and I managed to pass to people on my way to my final beer.

The beer mile winner, Dan.

The competitor in me is forcing me to get my last beer down, 2 others have finished and my Dad is on his way in.  Four of us are working on our beers, off goes Uncle Neil, I start trash talking Alex, hoping he’ll be sick, so he’ll have to do the extra lap (the official penalty for barfing), and suddenly my beer is empty.  I’m off, oh dear I don’t feel good, 200m turn around, just run back and you wont be last…

Uncle Neil’s finishing kick. How after 4 beers? That’s Alex still working on beer 4.

I’ll spare the nitty-gritty, but I lost my beer (there is a video of this, some of you may notice I’m wearing a GoPro, however the footage did not end up coming home with me.  That will be a special posting for another day).  I felt much better, but two people passed me while I was ejecting it.  And the other person who was behind me raised her arms in victory because she was starting out her last lap and I now had to finish this one and another.  I came in last in the beer mile in a time of 24:04.

I look disgusted here because I was, at my time, not the fact that I had just vomited up beer on the side of the road.

Thoughts and Reflections:
I nailed the running, I’m a terrible beer drinker/chugger.
Alex apparently crossed the finish line with vomit in his mouth refusing to do the extra lap, that’s dedication.

Alex struggling, we didn’t get a photo of the actual “beer release”.

My Dad and Uncle Neil have many years of beer drinking under their belts.  My Uncle Neil has been known to drink beers while standing on his head and I liked my Dad’s technique of sitting down to drink each beer.  I never stood a chance.
Don’t race against a 7 foot tall man, not only did he turn out to be a good beer drinker but his ridiculously long legs gave him an edge.

“The cheater” in the white vest, seriously how long are those legs?

Someone has already mentioned doing this again next year.  I think I will take the job of time keeper.

Fat Ass 25km Race Report

It was a beautiful day for our final race of the season…wish I could have said the same for my performance.
We ran the 7.5km distance at the Fat Ass last year, but this year we upped our game and Dan ran the 10km and I decided to tackle the 25km.  After last weekends PB I wasn’t really sure what I had in me.  I only ran once during the week (a short 6km) and that was sluggish, but I hoped that that would lead to light happy legs race morning.  It didn’t.

Pre-race parking lot picture.

Couldn’t have asked for a nicer day for a race though, and I seem to be getting this seeding myself correctly down.  So as we started out on the small road spur (so that we can sort ourselves out) I was a little concerned at the effort I was putting out.  This should have felt easy.  Before I knew it I was at the base of the ski hill, I had to switch to a power hike half way up, I bit of a blow since I ran up and down this hill all summer long.  Once at the top we head into some of my favourite single track and I seemed to settle down and enjoy the view, I couldn’t enjoy for too long though, this beautiful track was now littered with leaves hiding all the rocks and roots.
I felt pretty good as I went through the aid station but then we hit some mud, and it was slippery and somehow sticky at the same time, once past the mud I had to keep stamping my feet and trying to wipe the mud off, it made my shoes feel so heavy.
I came through the first 7.5km loop in about 42 minutes, not too bad but my stomach felt off.  I was totally stupid and decided to try something “new” on race day.  I had actually tried this product before a boxing class and had a similar response but chalked that up to the intensity of boxing that I’m not used to, sadly today I was having the same problem.  The product is called Tailwind and it’s meant to be an endurance fuel that you mix with water and is “easily digested”, unless you are me and then it just sloshes around in your stomach making you feel ill.  As I headed out on the 10km loop of the course there was a group maybe 500 metres ahead of me, I tried to catch up, but between my sloshing tummy and my dead feeling legs, I made the decision to just sit back and enjoy the day.  It was beautiful out, I was on some awesome trails, and it was not going to be my day.

Me still taking things far too seriously after 7.5km.

Once I had made this decision the running felt easier, I laughed at the unexpected water crossing, and started running straight through the mud pits because that was the straightest line.  Yes, I was passed, but everyone was so pleasant that I didn’t really mind.
As I finished up the 10km loop and was heading back out on the 7.5km loop the first 25km finisher came though the finish in 1:49, impressive.   I cheered and headed back up the ski hill, running until I needed to walk, but enjoying myself instead of beating myself up.  My stomach was still sloshing even though I had dumped the Tailwind, but I just embraced my silly mistake for what it was, a silly mistake.
This time the loop didn’t seem so bad, the mud was less slippy but still sticky, and once clear of it I just stopped and cleaned off my shoes, instead of worrying about being passed.  On my last pass through the aid station they told me I was the 3rd place female, I was surprised by this and didn’t really believe it, maybe it should have motivated me to get moving but I was enjoying myself now and couldn’t be bothered.  The nice thing about this race is that you run down a ski hill and through the finish, everyone looks great.

Dan finishing strong.

Turns out I was the 5th female, in 2:32, but I won my age group, which is a first.  It’s weird in a race that I kind of gave up that I placed first in my age group, although there was a 50% chance I could have been 2nd!
I do like this race and it really grew this year, I’m exited to see where Sandy will take this race next year, because whether I have racing legs or not I plan on being there.

There is no medal at this race so you will have to settle for a picture of my bib.

Thanks to Big Sister for coming out to cheer us on and for providing our action shots.

Downsview Half Marathon Race Report

A Run to Remember

I wasn’t even interested in running this race, Dan had originally intended to run the 5km but then he saw the medal for the half and jumped to that.  Then he signed me up for the half because I was grumpy, at the time he believed he was helping me, by the time race day rolled around I felt like I was being punished.  I haven’t been running much lately (for me at least), so as we ran to the race kit pick up (the day before) I was a little worried, it was only 7km and it killed me, I was panting, my legs were so heavy and I just didn’t feel like running.
Race morning I pulled myself together and we headed out.  We thankfully I arrived early as the bathroom situation at the start wasn’t great, for some reason even with reports about how female runners are the fastest growing field of runner, race directors fail to bring in enough porta potties, yup we take a long time in there, get over it and get more bathrooms.
I had decided I wanted to start near the front so we made our way to start line and I’m glad we did.  The sun came out and it was getting warm as we were serenaded by a 2nd Lieutenant, it’s the first time I’ve ever teared up at pre race anthem, the moment of silence and the bag piper didn’t help that either.  It was beautiful, and here we were on a military base on Remembrance Day, it really brought home how petty and needlessly grumpy I’d been these last few weeks.

Best anthem ever.

Race start was delayed a few minutes due to all the runners still standing in line at the bathroom, and then there was a klaxon horn and we were off (I have to admit I was sort of hoping for a shot gun or something since we were at a military base, but then again we are still in Toronto and it’s probably not as simple as shooting off a gun).  I was pretty pleased with how well I seeded myself, a few times before the start I kept looking behind me and thinking that some of those runners should be ahead of me, but I held firm, if they wanted to be ahead of me they could be.  And incredibly there were still people who started right at the front who really shouldn’t have, although my Dad gave me a new perspective when I was whining about it over lunch, his take “The race is already 21.1km, it would be even longer if you started right at the back”  Sometimes it takes a non-runner to point out the obvious.

At the start.

So race plan…oh yeah, didn’t have one.  Dan took off like a flash and well, so did I or so I thought but then I caught up to Geoff (we all started together), Geoff’s race plan was to listen to Top Gun on his iPod and finish when it did (about 1:50).  I ran kilometre one in 4:33, silly, too fast but man was it fun to take off and be running with fast people, however I was very aware that I would not last another 20km at the pace and settled down (a little).  The first 4km are around the new and improved public park, the path was newly paved and wound around a little hill, I was sort of surprised at the elevation (it wasn’t much) but I had wrongly assumed that this would be a pancake flat course, so had many fellow runners who were grumbling at the little climbs.  I caught up to Dan about 4km (he had settled down too) and he asked what my game plan was.  I still didn’t know, “just run”, and we decided we’d finish this race together.
After leaving the park, we ran along a road and then did a strange out and back in the parking lot beside the TFC (MLS football club) training facility, then it was back along a road, that was having some construction done, so there was some pot hole jumping, and then we got to enter the base properly.  Here they had parked all the different trucks to create a path for us to the airstrip, Dan and I were in awe, we love this kind of stuff, of course we were told at the beginning of the race we were not to touch anything while on the base, why does that make you want to touch it even more?  Anyway we kept our sweaty hands to ourselves and hit the runway, yup we got to run the full length of (an old) runway, with a cool old plane parked along it.  There was a bit of a head wind but I welcomed it, it was hot out.  It was well over 10 degrees (Celsius), I was thankful that I had ditched my arm sleeves after the long bathroom wait.  I felt bad for the people who were dressed for middle of the winter running.

No touching!

The plane (not the plane that was made at Downsview, but a plane none the less).

After we passed the plane we followed the airstrip out through a fence toward, well, a mall, I really wished I had reviewed the race course better, but luckily we turned and run along side the mall before turning down a dead-end road, where you run all the way to the end, turn around and follow the exact same route back.  With so much out and backing we had fun cheering on the lead runners and waving to people we knew and high-fiving Geoff.  It occurred to Dan as we re-entered the airstrip that maybe we were having a little too much fun as no one else around us were chatting or cheering or high-fiving, so we tried to take things more seriously.  But we couldn’t and ended up discussing at length what we thought would happen if we did touch one of the trucks on the base (both too chicken respectful to find out).  After we left the base and were doing the loop in the parking lot, my legs started to ache, runways are hard, they have huge heavy planes landing on them, the don’t have much give for little runners legs.  So with 5km left I was just going to have to suck it up, Dan was also sucking it up as he managed to get a stone in his shoe, I told him we could stop to get it out, but he thought the distraction of the stone would stop him thinking of his aching feet (all this trail running has made us soft!).  With 4km left to go we passed the start/finish (again) where my parents were cheering us on, Dan even went out of his way to high-five them, we re-entered the park and I was happy to be back on the new, soft pavement, not so happy with the hill.  I pulled away from Dan for a bit but he always has a kick at the end so I knew he’d catch back up.  In fact I welcomed him back around the last bend, only to discover I was talking to a stranger, oops.  Of course Dan saw this interaction and thought it was hilarious giving him the boost he needed to catch back up, and we crossed the finish line hand in hand.

It was a decent size stone in Dan’s shoe.

The Gang.

I haven’t run a half marathon in a couple of years, and so my PB going into this race was 2:11:32, and although I didn’t have a “plan” for this race, I really wanted to set a new PB, and I really wanted it be sub 2 hours, but I really wasn’t trained for this, I wasn’t sure what would actually happen.  There is a lot to be said for being well-trained, there is also a lot to be said about being well-rested, we finished in 1:49:31, shattering my PB by 22 minutes!  Best of all we got a shiny new medal to add to the collection.

The Bling

What Colour Comes After Blue?

Some have you may have guessed from my last post that I was feeling a little down, but I’m getting over myself and feeling somewhat normal again.  Haven’t really done much running but I’m ok with that, the weather has been horrendous.  I braved one early morning run in the rain and was nearly hit by a van (Dan lost his cool and nearly dragged the man out of the vehicle to point out my day glow yellow t-shirt, so that made the run kind of exciting), but since then I’ve been enjoying catching up with friends, participating in pub quizzes and having days of doing nothing.
I came across this article, it’s for triathlete’s but really it could apply to any athlete at the end of their season, and it really helped me find some perspective.  The gist is that we should stay active, have fun, and reflect on our past season’s training.  I have taken all of this in stride and have been going to yoga,  boxing classes (which have helped remind me that I have an upper body), picked apart what actually happened at the  Monster and what I’m going to do about it.  The truth I didn’t really do all that bad at the Monster.  Getting lost for nearly an hour really screwed with my time but realistically it was just one mother fudging hard course, that I wasn’t completely prepared for (and still don’t know exactly how to without moving to Pine, AZ).
Little Sister has a theory that I keep picking really hard goal races because I don’t want to succeed  “what would you do then?” she asked.  She was shocked to find I’d already thought of other punishing things I could do to my body, but she has a point.  I don’t really set my self up for success, I need to work on that.  I know I’m capable of running 100 miles.   My next attempt is going to be close enough to home to train on the course, and take advantage of being close to home with additional crew and pacers.  Let’s just say some ideas have been floated around, but nothing has been decided, I’m enjoying not having a goal for the next few months.
There have been lot’s of talk amongst others who were slayed by the Monster about going out again next year for revenge and redemption.   I’m more interested in returning because of the wonderful people, stunning scenery and challenging course.  “Revenge is a confession of pain.  I am not hurt. I am hungry.”*
Only time will tell what colour comes after blue…and just how hungry I am.
*Quote from Ryback (if you know who that is without looking it up, then we share the same shameful secret.)