Way back on January 2nd, I ran my first race of 2014, versus four other guys. We ran a beer mile. Aside from one guy in attendance, it was everyone’s first beer mile. It was Chris’ second beer mile. The wily veteran was forced to dish out advice and warnings to us noobs.
A few hours beforehand, I bought a case of Budweiser. I was embarrassed standing in line at QFC. People do this regularly enough though. Buy Budweiser, I mean. The brand moves a lot of product. Or at least that’s what I’m told. Why should I be embarrassed? Hmm. Should I also buy a pack of gum? Would that make me appear more or less alcoholic? Then the bagger asked me if I wanted a bag for my beer-and-nothing-else and I just wanted to die. “I have a girlfriend!” I exclaimed while hurrying out of the store as fast as I could.
That wonderful girlfriend of mine, Claire, acted as the official timekeeper. Terry’s wife Amélie was also there. Patrick’s wife Katie arrived just in time with their baby daughter Elizabeth. It was 5:15pm and mostly dark when we began. The track did not have its lights on, but the boundary of the oval was visible enough by the surrounding ambient light. It was drizzling, and we were alone, thank christ. We went over some last-second rules about the start/end points to ensure we ran a true 1609 meter mile.
After Claire started us, as expected, Evan was first to start running (pictured above…sorta). He has one of those throats that opens up like a Florida sinkhole. On top of that, he can run a 5 minute mile. I thought it conceivable, before I knew first-hand what a beer mile felt like, that he could break 6:00.
Chris was next to start moving, and, as expected, I was last, though I started surprisingly near my brother and Patrick. Soon enough I was in front of those two and gaining on Chris. But then I had to drink a second beer, and the extreme discomfort began. I’d never done anything like this. The liquid didn’t seem to be going down to my stomach. It just kinda sat up high in my chest. Then I started running my 2nd lap and things quickly got worse. Coming into the back stretch…..only FIVE HUNDRED AND NINE METERS into this thing and I was starting to think of DNFing and realized I was feeling those pleasant pangs of “I’m gonna barf” rising. Without really breaking stride, I then threw up. My second thought, immediately after fearing Claire had heard me, was “Wow I feel much better!” I resumed running at about the clip I ran the first lap. Maybe ~80 seconds or so/lap pace. Unfortunately I had a third beer waiting for me (pictured below, sorta).
It was around here I realized just how poorly the Creighton Boys were performing. Terry’s not a runner, but he’s about 75 lbs heavier than me and in my mind that meant he should definitely be putting these beers away faster than me. I thought we’d be leap-frogging each other during the race. But he wasn’t putting them down fast. He was slower than me, despite my looking like I was sipping a high-end whiskey the way I nursed that 3rd and 4th beer. As I sipped, Evan fucking finished (6:28). I extended a high-five that gave me a :02 excuse to not drink more Budweiser. I also got to watch an inspiring showdown between Patrick and Chris, with Chris ultimately prevailing because he’s Asian and can sprint fast. Eventually I started running, although the chest I’d relieved 300m ago was once again full of beer, so it was more I waddled that 3rd lap, I’m guessing at about an 8ish mile pace. And there was a fucking fourth beer waiting for me. I winced at that thought.
It hurt to drink. My goal now was merely to not throw up right there in front of everyone. Claire would surely dump me if that happened. I succeeded and started moving. On the backstretch, I noticed Evan was cooling down a few lanes over and slightly behind me. I was going to warn him but decided “fuck it” and just let it rip, mid-stride, right next to him. This was a good one too…about twice the volume of the first spew. And once again I felt like a free man. I picked the pace back up, and tried to spy Terry’s location. I’d known for awhile now that I had an extra penalty lap to run; could I still beat him? I hit the home stretch and scanned the opposite side of the track; no sign of him. Then I looked ahead. He was STILL DRINKING. Knowing I had not-last-place wrapped up, I crossed the 1609 mark in 10:58 and then ran a 78 second penalty lap to finish in 12:16. In less than no hurry, Terry eventually finished.
We all reconvened 1/4 mile away at my house and had pizza. A couple brave souls killed the Bud aftertaste with bourbon or rye. I spent 30 minutes nursing a 5th Bud and wrote/deleted about 15 tweets to the Seattle PD.
That was awful I will not do another Beer Mile for a long time so help me god and jesus up high almighty amen and good fucking night.