Well, except of course, for the allusive The Beer 2 Mile!
Last year I finished 2nd at the Silicon Valley Beer Mile Championships with a respectable -- though not world class -- time of 6:39 for the mile. Two-time repeat winner Chris Weiler ran 6:14. So I knew that I was going to have to step my training up this year if I wanted to dethrone the man that beer milers reverently call "Der Kaiser".
My training was going great, thanks to two-a-day beer chugging training workouts, and I felt like this might be my year to bring home the coveted Beer Mile Championship trophy. Five days before the race I got together with some friends my running club -- Quicksilver Running Club of San Jose -- to attempt a beer mile practice session.
Mock Beer Mile Training Run
I was joined by teammates Marc "Eagle Dick" Laveson and Harris "The Younger" Mason, both of whom were beer-mile virgins, having not yet broken their beer-mile cherries or tested themselves in the ultimate arena of battle. We met a small dirt track in an undisclosed top-secret training facility in San Jose (fine, it was actually a middle school).
|Mock Beer Mile with Marc and Harris|
The starters were John Burton (the reigning champ), Marc Laveson (beer miler rookie), and Harris Mason (also a beer miler rookie). To be fair, all the participants had run earlier in the day (John ran a 5K and a 10K race in Santa Cruz, Marc had just ran a hilly 16-miler in Sierra Azul, and Harris had also ran in the morning).
While John had a clear advantage and experience in a beer miler, Marc is known to finish Das Boot as a warm up and Harris was the dark horse - he seemed comfortable with his choice of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, the highest alcohol by volume (ABV) at 5.6%, while John and Marc went with the safe choice of Coors at 5.0% ABV.
In the end, the reigning champ, John Burton would take the title at 5:38, followed closely by Marc Laveson at 5:59 and then Harris, comfortably going sub-7 at 6:48. This is a great accomplishment by the rookies and we have real potential to become the next beer miler champion in the PA series (Note: the actual distance was about 0.8 miles).
Lap 1: John slammed the first can in 5 seconds followed closely by Marc who took a little over 10 seconds. They were neck and neck for the first lap. Harris had a malfunction with his beer can (the pull tab came off) and had a late start, but that did not seem to faze him. We noted a bit of beer left in John's 1st beer can. To prevent this from happening again, we will have each runner turn the empty beer upside down on their head after finishing each can.
Lap 2: As John finished his second can in less than 10 seconds, it took a little longer for Marc to finish his. A neighbor peeked in from his backyard at the event in wonderment.
Lap 3: The gap widened between John and Marc, but Marc still has not given up. John seemed relaxed in his strides.
Lap 4: John took it easy and savored his 4th beer while Marc and Harris both struggled with theirs. It was painful to see them finish the last beer.
John was drinking another bottle of IPA after the miler because he was thirsty.
An Already Bad Idea Gets Worse...
|The world's fittest |
Last year a couple of guys talked a lot of smack in the days preceding the race about possibly attempting the beer 2 mile, but in the end it proved to be just that -- all talk. However, this year, the whispers grew louder. After brainstorming with my buddy and Quicksilver teammate Greg Lanctot over a couple (dozen) beers, we both agreed that we would put fear, sanity, sobriety aside, and attempt the impossible -- the Beer 2 Mile.
The Beer Mile(s) Championships
Greg and I each arrived at the track with eight cans or Coors. While carrying my bag of beer from the car to the track, I couldn't help but notice just how much eight cans of beer weighs. It felt like about five pounds! Suddenly I realized just how stupid of an idea this was. I about to try to chug five pounds of beer. Oh no! But oh well, it was too late to quit now. Well technically it was too early to quit now, as how we hadn't even started yet. But you get the point.
|Beer chugging is all about good form!|
In my corner was my wife Amy and our six year old son. Yes, I brought my son to an event that involved grown adults running around in their underwear and puking in the field. More on underwear in a minute. Also, helping out in my corner was fellow Quicksilver Running Club teammate Jeff Clowers, who I have been coaching this year. I often tell him that if he doesn't feel like puking after a workout, he isn't running hard enough. I assume he always thought I was joking. But now he probably doesn't know what to think.
So, about the underwear. I guess it was just me who was running in underwear. And in my defense, it was really more of a speedo than underwear. And, most importantly, it was part of my "Captain Beermerica" costume, designed to intimidate my competition -- or at least confuse and disorient them. Who can concentrate when some guy is flexing in front of you with his "junk" clearly visible?
|Beer Mile Champion Tim Reynolds with trophy!|
Once I realized that I wasn't going to be able to catch Tim and win the mile, I backed off the pace to conserve what was left of my strength for my second mile. I think I crossed the line in around 6:13, but there was some confusion (mainly mine) as I stopped to grab my 5th beer before proceeding to the start finish line. So I think I was officially listed as having run a 6:23. In any case, it was significantly faster than my 6:39 from 2012!
The second mile proved far more difficult than the first mile. Shortly after chugging my 5th beer I was forced to make a brief pit stop on the side of the track where I deposited the contents of my stomach in the grass. I also made several more pit stops after my 6th, 7th, and 8th beers. As per the official beer mile rules, I also had to run an additional "puke penalty lap". Thankfully I managed to run the 9th and final lap without any unscheduled stops.
|Beer 2 Mile Champions -- Greg and John|
I am not suggesting that Greg and I are the two baddest men on the planet. But we're definitely a close third and fourth behind Chuck Norris and that Dos Equis beer guy. Stay thirsty my friends!