There are so many intelligent and articulate people covering the hard-hitting
issues in our country these days, that I felt it was my duty to cover the
rather inconsequential bullshit that tends to make up the vast majority of
our lives. Actually, I'll just be griping a lot which, if you weren't aware,
doubles as a synonym for complaining, and as a descriptor for
a sharp pain in the bowels.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Beer Miling

There are a few things I've had on my mind lately that I was going to jot down in here, but as I was just updating my online running log, beer miling shifted to the forefront. Runners, more specifically distance runners, fulfill a bit of brainy and often full-on nerdy demographic. Many of us enjoy drinking and partying as much as the next guy, but because we are also runners, and a little touched, we also make efforts to combine drinking with one of our other favorite things: namely, running.

This is where the beer mile comes in. The concept is fairly simple: before each lap of the mile run on a certified 400m track, each runner must consume a 12oz beer (can or bottle) with an alcoholic percentage of five or greater. Speed enhancing methods like shotgunning are not allowed (link is not the best vid, but it demonstrates the concept. There's also the wikipedia version). On a side note (when do I not have a side note), lots of people will think you are hardcore when you shotgun a beer in front of them, let alone eight as I once did. The ability to kill brain cells at astonishing pace never fails to impress. On a further side note, they always had this "chugging can kill" poster in our health center that I sometimes thought was speaking to me.

Anyway, back to the beer mile, the best way to lay out the rules is to link to the official website for beermiling, the aptly named, created and maintained by one of our successful and technologically savvy alums. Rules are here.

Every time I compete in a beer mile I am pretty excited but, because I end up taking shit a little too seriously and want to race well, I also tend to get nervous. In my latest effort, I think it was Indian food rather than nerves that brought about my excessive need for another type of bm (bowel movement, should I have left anyone in the dark here) pre and post race. And when I consider the fun I'll have, I always forget the actual pain of chugging the beers and having them jiggle in my tummy as I trot a few laps. This experience actually wasn't too bad except that my belly was emptier than bargained for, creating difficult to expel gas pockets; so basically I was struggling to burp, a rarity for me.

While my memory is jogged, I'm taking the opportunity to tabulate and briefly chronicle my beer mile efforts. I'll also take the opportunity to shout-out my boy Bryan Bissell for being potentially the most prolific beer-miler of all time with 30+ under the belt. I also am probably not the only person who has the distinction of never having to perform a boot lap but, regardless, I feel good about that.

My own tally is as follows:
2001-02 school year: My inaugural effort, a 7:02, which included controversy over finishing of my third beer I believe. An argument ensued which was deemed enough penalty time. I still contend I finished all of my beer.

2002-2003 school year: First one was an icy effort in the winter, fresh off eating three chicken sandwiches from the campus center. Footing was bad, as were the Ecko jeans I was wearing that kept falling. Ran 8:43, my only time over eight minutes. Winner ran an impressive time I don't recall of near or under 7 minutes. My next effort was our "team qualifier" for our conference championship. I mustered a 7:11. At the championship I produced a 6:45 which was probably sixth place, though I contend at least one person ahead of me cheated (no names). Winner ran an astonishing 5:56, with a 56 second last lap.

2003-2004 school year: Tough year as I had two surgeries in the fall and two stress fractures in the spring. Ran 7:24 in my sole effort.

2004-2005 school year: Having run my first complete year in college, I opted not to run a beer mile until graduation time. Mustered a 6:26 (~60 second last lap) for my first victory and also first post-race boot. Must have been the Charlotte's Own sandwich...mmm...Ran one summer race as well in a comfortable 6:45.

Fall 2005: Now, I ran two beer miles in Amherst, MA and I think one of them was this fall. This was on the Amherst track. I believe that I finished second in ~7:47, well behind individual champ Stephen Morris (~7:24), blowing by third placer Nick Holowka on the final lap. Nick admitted to being surprised by my speed but I don't know why. Also, it's relative anyway, and while he may own a ~6 minute personal best in the beer mile, he has no footspeed to speak of (if you ever read this, sorry Nick, but true). I always get pissed when people doubt my speed. I threw up gold foam after this because my stomach had been so empty and then ate some delicious burritos.

Good Old 2006: Mixed bag. Ran my first effort of the year in late May at graduation. Now, I was in sub 4:30 mile shape in late April, but then I hadn't run for a month. Still, I was confident I could take home the W. I was surprised to find an old teammate outdrinking me on each beer, and while I surprised myself with a ~58 second last lap, it was all for naught as my competitor, one Alex Battaglino aka AgBat aka FagBat aka SackFat aka AgBar closed in ~61 seconds and already had a healthy lead. He took the two second victory 6:17-6:19. Aggie was the better man that day. Haven't raced him since, but that remains my pr, so he may prove the better going forward. Next effort was stopped short on the Brattleboro Union High School track when some band or athletic high school students returned from some event in the evening, but we did manage to close out the summer with one. I dropped a ~7:17 for the mildly uncomfortable victory. Sometime in the fall, perhaps around November, we ran around the Amherst athletic fields. The distance may have been off as I ran very comfortably in the 6:30s for the win. I believe some n00bs unfamiliar with my running form got a good chuckle watching me crank the final lap. In December I rolled to Middlebury with a couple of other alums to compete in a large (too large in fact) race. I ran 6:31 finishing in God-only-knows what place but cheating was rampant and I had to step off the track each lap to fetch beers. This might make me DQ worthy, and I ain't talking Dairy Queen. This was the only time I felt slow. It wasn't about being winded as I'd run out of shape BM's in the past, I simply felt sluggish out there.

2007, the Hawaiian [half] year: I only had one effort in 2007, and that was in the small town of Hawi, HI, on the Kohala High School track. Mustered a ~7:17 on cinders.

2009: New Year: This past Monday, January 5th, I ran my first beer mile in ages. I had the goose egg for 2008, for the first time since I began beer miling. I don't want to ever say that again. Henceforth I will run at least one a year. Luckily this year is out of the way. I ran ~7:58 and I booted shortly after the finish. At least I kept it under eight.

That got long in a hurry...tally stands at 13. As a last note, the beer mile creates an incomparable drunk, a giddy and lively drunk that isn't quite the same as any other drunk you can produce. Well shit, I've got myself all riled up. I'm about to make sure I get healthy, so I can go out and run one every week. I mean, I want to go out and run one right now...

And as a closing note, just a little article on corruption from September of 2008. If I didn't say it yet, Happy New Year everyone.

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