Monday, July 4, 2016

Haddon Heights Firecracker 5k Race Report

Happy 4th of July, people!

The 4th of July is one of the most popular days of the year to run a race in America (Thanksgiving being the most popular), so I had plenty of races to choose from this morning. Naturally I went with the closest one to me, the Haddon Heights Firecracker 5k, and roped Stevie and Neale into joining me.

We'd actually tried to do this race last year, but had assumed it started at 9.  Thankfully we hadn't preregistered then, either.

We got to Haddon Heights around 7:30 this morning, parked on a side street, and walked to the start to register.  Day-of registration costs only $25 for this race.  You get a tech race shirt, bananas and bottles of water after finishing, medals for age group winners and cash prizes for overall winners, lots of country music at the finish area, and that's about it.

This is a very competitive race, with the top ten runners all finishing under 18 minutes.  The winner finished in 15:36.  I haven't broken 19 minutes in the 5k in over five years now, but maybe with a little training I can get there.

When we started, there was a man pushing a double stroller who dropped his iPhone.  He stopped for a brief second to look back, but decided to keep going instead of picking it up, so I swooped down to grab it for him when I passed it.  I had every intention of catching up to him and handing it to him, but I simply couldn't catch up with him, so I ran the entire race with his phone in my hand and gave it back to him at the finish.

The course was a standard suburban neighborhood 5k - lots of shaded streets, lots of turns, some minor hills.  There were no clocks on the course, or even mile markers, so I had to run by feel as much as I could.

I passed running friend Liz around mile two (her race recap is here) and took out two more runners in the homestretch to finish in 19:43 (though for some reason I'm listed in the official results as finishing in 19:26).  21st overall (out of 269) and 6th in my age group (out of 20).

Here's an incredibly flattering screenshot of me finishing:

If you click here you can go to the video and watch every person finish.

Then I went back out onto the course to look for Stevie and Neale and run in with them. Stevie finished in 33:16.

After the race we let Neale play on the playground at the finish area, then walked back to our car only to discover we were blocked in by the Haddon Heights parade route.  So we sat on the curb for twenty minutes watching the floats go by before things cleared out and we could go home.

The afternoon barbecue we'd been invited to had been cancelled due to inclement weather, so I fired up our own grill in our backyard and grilled hamburgers and hotdogs and drank Budweiser beer.

All in all, not a bad Independence Day.  Happy birthday, America!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Second beer mile and first DFL

The beer mile: a race like no other.  Four laps around a track, each one preceded by chugging a beer.  The beer must be at least 5% ABV and may not be opened ahead of time.  Any runner who throws up incurs a penalty lap.  And that's about it.

Born in 1980's Canada (it has been joked that Canadians are to the beer mile as East Africans are to the marathon), it has since grown in popularity in recent years, with national championships and top beer milers earning endorsements and making appearances on national tv.

I've only ever done one other beer mile in my life, which I did two years ago completely by myself with Stevie spectating.  My only two goals then were to finish under ten minutes and not throw up.  I accomplished the latter but failed in the former when I quickly discovered how bad I am at chugging beer.  Still, I came reasonably close by finishing in 10:45.

Here's the post from that experience two years ago (includes bonus comment from a disgruntled former student):

My first beer mile.

Anyway, apparently my love of running and beer is becoming more widely known, because this year I was invited to take part in an annual beer mile with several others.  Many from Who's Up? would be there as well.  I put it on my calendar and immediately started "training".

My goal for this year's beer mile was to beat 10:45 whether I puked or not.  Spoiler alert: I didn't even come close.  I don't even know my exact time.  Maybe twenty minutes?  Let's just say you could have measured my performance last night with a sundial.

My two issues last time had been my lack of chugging ability, and how full I still was when I started.  So I spent last week practicing chugging beer, sometimes going out for my daily run directly afterwards to acclimate to the sloshing effect.  I also made sure not to eat as much beforehand.

But after drinking the first beer in respectable time, the carbonation immediately caught up with me, making it incredibly hard to stomach subsequent beers.  I had also decided to go with warm Budweiser as opposed to ice cold like last time, because I'd read that warm beer is easier to chug.  The only problem is that I may as well have been drinking rotgut fermented in horsepiss.  My gassy stomach made it difficult to chug beers 2, 3 and 4, while the foul taste made it all but impossible.

There was nothing I could do but stand there and take dainty, horrid sips while others lapped me.

Fellow runner: C'mon Scott, last beer!  You can do it!
Scott: Uh, dude, this is my 3rd one.
Fellow runner: ouch.

The winner finished in 7:33.  Like I said, I have no idea what my final time was but estimate about twenty minutes.  On my final lap, I was joined by another guy out of solidarity, and everyone clapped for me as I finished.  DFL.

Who's Up? was only a small faction of the beer milers

Surprisingly we all went out to a bar afterwards where we had more beer and discovered that one of the runners had to be disqualified.  He neglected to check the ABV on his beer of choice (Modelo) which ended up only being 4.4%.

I'm tempted to say this was my last beer mile ever, but let's be honest, the competitiveness with myself is going to kick in, and I'm already trying to think of how I can do better next time.

Until then, I'll keep the running and beer separate.
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