Monday, February 10, 2014

A Farewell to Beer...

Beer. Yum!
After a long holiday season of "carbo loading" on pizza and beer, I decided it was time to clean up my diet and get down back to "racing weight" for the upcoming 2014 running season. Even though I had put on an extra 5 or 6 pounds since last summer, I wasn't really running any slower than normal. But still, even if just for the sake of mere vanity, I knew my abs were there somewhere under all that winter "insulation", and I was bound to find them again.

I decided to put myself on the "sausage and Greek yogurt diet", which has always worked well for me in the past. I don't actually limit myself to just sausage and Greek yogurt. In addition to sausages, I also eat a variety of other cured meats including beef jerky and bacon.

Occasionally I also eat other stuff like chicken, eggs, cheese, peanut butter, nuts, gluten-free granola, veggies, pineapple, blueberries and grapes. Basically, a high-protein and high-fat diet where I try to avoid carbs. Because carbs are stupid. And yes, unfortunately this means giving up beer. (P.S. Giving up beer is also stupid.)

Obviously though, no one can actually "give up" beer. That would be suicidal and would certainly lead to all kinds of physical and mental ailments. So I decided to implement an emergency beer "rationing" program where I am only allowed to drink beer after races. And only after races of at least marathon length or longer. Though I also made a special exemption where I could earn a beer for shorter wimpier-length races if I managed to at least win my age group, set a PR, or win the race outright!

So hungry, I could eat my medal.
Campbell Resolution Run 5 Mile

I started my new diet and beer-rationing system on Dec 31, 2013 in order to get a jump on the whole new year's resolution thing. One day later I couldn't take it anymore and was desperately craving beer.

So I quickly scoured the Internet and found a small local race -- the Campbell Resolution Run 5 Mile. Thirty-one minutes and sixteen seconds later I was standing at the finish line enjoying a cold IPA courtesy of my 6th place overall and 1st place age group finish. Ah, beer!

I won't bore you with the details of the race other than to say that I almost got beat by a 15 year old, but thankfully I was able to run him down in the last quarter mile. Apparently I was soundly beaten by a 16 year old -- who finished 2nd overall -- but he had a mustache so I am going to consider him an adult rather than a teenager.

Here's a link to the results.

photo by
InsideTrail Pacifica Foothills 50K

Several weeks later I was again craving some beer, so I signed up for the Pacifica Foothills 50K, a favorite local race of mine. It's a tough course with lots of climbing, and magnificent views of the Pacific ocean. There are several different organizations including Coastal Trail Run (CTR) and Pacific Coast Trail Runs (PCTR) who also organize similar races at Pacifica; this one however was put on by who do an amazing job.

This wasn't really an "A" race for me, so I didn't plan to train specifically for it or to do much/any tapering. Based on the list of entrants published on the website I figured I would have a good shot to come home with the win. But alas, that was before the last minute entry of my Quicksilver teammate Marc Laveson who is blazing fast! I paced Marc at The North Face Championships in San Francisco in December and he is going to pace me at Hardrock in July. I've never beaten him in a race -- unless you count our "mock beer mile" training run.

I figured the only chance I might have to beat Marc is if I could catch him off-guard by going out as hard as I could and trying to build an early lead while he was still warming up. And it worked! Well, it worked for the first 200 meters. Then he passed me. And that was all she wrote. He gradually pulled further and further away from me all day, eventually finishing over 20 minutes in front of me. My time 4:43:33 was good -- good enough for 2nd place, over 30 minutes ahead of the next two runners. But Marc's time was great. He ran a 4:18:48, breaking the old course record!

As I sat at the finish line eating my BBQ pulled pork (thanks Will Gotthardt) and drinking my cold beer in the warm sun, it was hard to not to smile and enjoy the day.

Here's a link to the official results. And here's a link to Marc's race re-cap.


Unknown said...

John, you're a man of extremes. And I'm glad you've finally decided to get rid of that beer gut.

Big Johnny Burton said...

Thanks for your support "Unknown". And yes, since Hal Koerner won't be at Hardrock this year, I have a chance to win the best abs competition if I train hard.

Jeremy said...

Sorry dude, looks like your plan isn't foolproof:

Big Johnny Burton said...

Maybe not, but it's definitely proof that I'm a fool!