Blog

A post of the mundane sort that only friends and family might find interesting.

Ostensibly I blog about running and wellness, but in honor of my approximately 2 month hiatus from both running and being a nurse, today I’m addressing neither. Well, wellness, maybe, in that I’ve backed off on run-coach entrepreneurial endeavors — including blogging — for the time being. Life balance and all that. Plus plans have changed so I’ll still be working full time for the foreseeable future. Less pressure to really push the side business, for one thing.

At any rate, today’s episode is one of those reverse-voyeuristic deals where I tell you things about my life and you read them, because we’re all vaguely interested in what everybody else is up to.

Here we go:

We moved into a new house! Our house! The fiancé and I are very happy to be homeowners. On a related note, builders in the area — say, 30 years ago — used a ubiquitous blue PVC pipe called polybutylene for plumbing. It brittles and cracks over time — 30 years or so, coincidentally. Now that the crawlspace beneath our house has filled with (and since been emptied of) 3-4 feet of water, we are true homeownership inaugurates. Here, have a picture:

room1

In addition to moving in and not running, I’ve been checkin’ out the area, which is ironic because this was my hometown between ages 12-18. I kinda know it, but I also kinda don’t. Suffice it to say my interests have evolved since then.  Like hiking. Man I used to hate being dragged out for a hike with the fam.

How things change! This is dear old Dad — retired lawyer and staunch wilderness volunteer. I promise he’s happy on the inside.hike2

The park burned a few years back, so it’s quite different from how I remember. I think it’s still an awe-inspiring landscape, although some of the online reviewers of this trail found it ugly. Just nature doing its thing though, right?  Hewlett Gulch, for those interested.

Can’t wait to run this one! It’s rugged yet accessible, and covers some really cool terrain; this is a high meadow above the small river valley in which the trail begins. It abuts a private pasture, whose owners must have been mortified when the fires rolled through. Yeesh.

hike1

The sky broke open riiiiight as we made it back to the car. Typical Colorado — I love it so much.  Further up the canyon is a dive-y bar and amphitheater that’s been around since the early 1900s when it opened as a dance hall.  It’s pretty cool, check it out. Not to mention, the patio hangs out over the river so you can watch the poor whitewater rafting schmucks pass by. I do not like rafting, mostly because it is cold. I watched them, and drank my hot chocolate, feeling very superior.

hike5

Cloudburst!

When it started hailing and the waitstaff scurried out to shuttle the condiments baskets back inside, we took the hint and relocated. But let it be known that we are tough, and were totally game to wait it out.

hike3

But our waitress probs doesn’t get paid enough to serve outdoor customers in a hailstorm, so it’s cool.

That’s it folks, hopefully next time I’ll be back to blathering about running and health-related things.

Not running, and taking the plunge on a breast reduction

Again, a significant gap in my blogging occurred. Goal: stop doing that.

Reason 1: I quit my job. I also procured a new one, which is not, actually, in the operating room. It’s not even in a hospital. This is not the turn-of-events I expected when I submitted my notice. However, the nurse manager for the OR where I’d planned on working has painted a picture grimmer, more exploitative and repellant than the one I left behind. The further I progressed through the hiring process, the more convinced I became not to jump into that particular frying pan.

So instead I’ll be working at the clinic I went to as a kid, floating amongst their family practice, urgent care, sports medicine, and OB locations. It’s an unexpected career change, but that’s the price I’ll willingly pay to live and work in Fort Collins. Unlike Denver, most of its operating rooms are run by a single (ethical, nonprofit) corporation, and the openings for operating room nurses are not as numerous. Suffice it to say I am not so attached to the specialty as to work nights and weekends, and I look forward to resuming patient-education. Hopefully I’ll discover that acute care was never my forte after all.

Reason 2: To celebrate the end of my OR tenure (and the culmination of my hospital-nurse income) I got a breast reduction. I’ve lusted after one for years (over a decade), but didn’t recognize it as reality until getting the chance to participate in those procedures. I’ve made a good effort in the past at being a busty athlete (and also could not sustainably diet the bosoms away), but I’m already so much happier.

 

This segues into post part 2: what to do during prolonged breaks from running.

There are 2 types of breaks: scheduled and unscheduled. Mine is a scheduled break, as I had already planned for a month between jobs before deciding to have surgery. The caveat is that while I initially imagined a month of frolicking around mountain lakes, I am instead spending quality time on the couch, feeling lazy, indulgent, bored, and confined or trapped, in turns. The upshot of a scheduled break is, obviously, that you’ve given yourself time to anticipate these emotions, and know (approximately) when you’ll be free to go again.

In case of the alternative, you don’t have that luxury. Instead you’re blindsided by illness or injury. Plans are derailed and replaced by a runningless void for days to weeks to months. Whether or not they’re anticipated, breaks give your body a chance to heal and rebuild from what is a high-impact, and highly repetitive, sport. The mental game remains the same as you struggle to not run again too soon. Here’s how:

 

Set a realistic timeline. A mild ankle sprain should be given 3-5 days. A persistent flu or respiratory infection can take 2 full weeks. Anemia requires at least a month for symptom resolution, and as long as 6 months for full recovery. Return to exercise after surgery depends on the length and invasiveness of the procedure, and will be dictated by your doctor. Attempting to short-change your rest interval by running too soon will only prolong the process. So set your timetable, and stick to it.

 

Eat well. Just because you aren’t running doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to eat. Your appetite will naturally ebb and flow, and you shouldn’t gain appreciable weight if you respect it. The exception is if you have used running to maintain a chronic caloric deficit, and do not continue that deficit during your break. In this case, your illness/injury may well be caused by under eating. If you aren’t healing in the reasonably expected timeframe, you’re probably not giving yourself enough calories and nutrients to rebuild. Your body will require less food when not running, but you will still experience intermittent hunger and appetite spikes. Treat them appropriately, with [wholesomely sourced] protein, fat, and carbs.

 

Sleep. Like illness and injury, surgery is an incredible stressor on the body. For the first 4 days after mine, I regressed to the sleep needs of a toddler. I weaned myself off naps by week 2, but still experience limited energy. A day where I approach a ‘normal’ level of activity inevitably invokes a day of increased appetite and fatigue. This is a natural pattern of healing, and it’s helpful to remember that a ‘good day’ from one week will likely equate the low point of the next week, as healing continues.

 

Keep busy. There will be times when your brain and/or body will want to engage. Running satisfies both those urges, but you can’t run. Your running hiatus is an excellent time to delve into projects and hobbies that running precludes. Do the things you love to do that allow time to pass unmarked — other than running. Everyone should have a hobby outside of running, for the sake of avoiding insanity during rest periods, if nothing else. One of mine is painting. Painting and running come from the same energetic source (for me), so when I’m running a lot, the drive to paint dies off, and vise-versa.

 

Your ‘hobby’ doesn’t have to be something you’re already good at. Sign up for a month of language classes, or pottery, or cooking. If your break was unscheduled, look for drop-ins, and meet-ups. Teach yourself to knit or sew (or something). Explore new blogs, documentaries, and podcasts. If you’re not too debilitated, you can still exercise in ways that aren’t running. A broken foot leaves the upper-body and core unscathed, so why not try archery? Yoga can be a gentle reentry to exercise, with the healing perks of improved circulation and neuromuscular integration. Stress fractures aren’t worsened by rock-climbing (just don’t fall), and while a head cold might interfere with your trail running, you can still walk.

Whether you accept your break from running with enthusiasm and good grace, or sulk your way through, it will pass. It’s not a death sentence; don’t panic. Don’t binge on cake and beer – and maybe consult with your doctor regarding an antidepressant. Don’t under eat or over exercise to compensate. And finally, accept the time off as a drop in the bucket compared with the running career ahead of you.

Good luck

Fiddlesticks

Ah fudge. The marathon wasn’t great. Time to debrief and get it over with, or run the risk of falling off the blogging wagon like I did earlier this month. Goal: blog more frequently, not less.

Short and sweet, I dropped out at mile 19. Given that I hadn’t strung more than 2 miles together without walking in the week prior, still riding out the tail end of that persistent GI thing, I’m pretty pleased I even made it that far. Part of the reason I even showed up was the pre-paid plane tickets, hotel rooms, a rental car, and a date with an old and not-often-seen-enough friend.  Plus my dad and sister came along for the ride! Less than stellar race aside, it was a fun trip!

Superior, WI and Duluth, MN really put out for an awesome event. The course itself, though a bit boring, was well supported with aide stations every 2 miles — and accessible medical/drop points. Every hotel within maybe a 30 mile radius of the course provided crack-of-dawn shuttles to transport racers to the start line. At the finish, the bag check and family/friend reunification areas were incredibly organized, right on the waterfront. Most surprisingly, we were able to get lunch at Grandma’s — the marathon’s sponsor, namesake, and finish line icon — with hardly a wait. Batter-fried cheese curds yes, please!

As for the race, miles 1-8 were great. 9-13 were progressively hot and bright. At 14 I started struggling to tear myself away from the gatorade at the aide stations. 17 miles in and I gave up finishing before 3:30. At 19 I thought sub-4 seemed the best I could hope for, and decided to can it. Sub-4 is an admirable goal, it’s just not what I set out to accomplish that day.

There are times when it’s appropriate to slog to the bitter end, and times when it isn’t. I decided to drop out because:

  • My legs were so depleted I didn’t I could finish without needing a wheelchair at the airport the next day. No, thank you.
  • I know I can finish a marathon, and didn’t need that validation.
  • I didn’t want my struggle quantified in terms of exact hours and minutes. Better to maintain a little mystery for the folks back home.
  • Between seeing a dear friend, hanging out with my dad and sis, and a surprise visit from my aunt and uncle, it was already a really positive experience. It felt okay to admit imperfection.

I had an extra surprise when I got back and had some routine labs done. Turns out I’m anemic again, womp womp. It took me by surprise because I’ve ditched vegetarianism, and eat more variety than I did in college. But it sure does explain a lot. Feeling a bit foolish for not getting worked up a month or so before the race, I’m chalking this one up as (yet another) learning experience. I really wanted to believe I could meet my nutritional needs through diet alone, but it’s not worth the headache, literally. After the diagnoses, I also noticed nagging fatigue and shortness of breath, which I’d written off as just symptoms of the end of a long training cycle.

Mostly I’m just ready to jump back into it, but a small percentage of my brain is still saying “ugh, all that training, wasted down the drain!”

 

Colfax Relay

If you ever get the chance, race a relay. Some friends and I did Denver’s Colfax Marathon Relay, in which 5 people per team each run a leg of approx. 4-6 miles. For one thing, if you’re racing against people doing the full race individually, you’ll be able to run much faster than them. You (or at least I) get a boost from passing all those people. With a team to divide and conquer the course, you can choose whether you run the uphill section or down, through the zoo or around the lake, in the stadium, or down the homestretch. If you are training for a longer distance race and really want to carry your team to victory, volunteer for multiple segments.

I especially recommend this event if you’re in more of a hate/hate place with running, and are trying to drum up some enthusiasm. I commend you. Carrying the baton makes it about something other than just you and your own running. Plus, it’s an excuse to carbo-load with your pals, and party together after the race.

Running aside, there’s enough prep work and communication that just being in the right place at the right time feels like a triumph. If you’re the first runner, you have to leave the house in the wee a.m. with the baton (don’t forget the baton!), and a strategy for transport after you hand it off. If you’re the last runner, you have to estimate what speed the rest of your teammates will run, so that you are punctual for your takeoff into the final stretch. It is the perfect event for teams with a combination of morning birds that like to be early and proactive, and birds that like to sleep, and work with what they’re given.

It goes without saying that this is a great sort of event for building camaraderie. For Colfax, there’s also a pretty awesome awards banquet. I was expecting 2 hours of speeches and roll call, but was pleasantly surprised when they gave us permission to wander and chat, graze, and congregate outdoors even as the (myriad) awards were presented. This approach turned an otherwise stuffy event into a delightful meet’n great for runners who wouldn’t otherwise talk to each other (on account of being too preoccupied with racing each other), but are actually pretty cool people.

10/10 Highly recommend.

Kara Goucher Sighting!

Hola! I’ve committed the grave error of not blogging in a number of weeks. Sincere apologies. Went through a bout of feeling like just another naïve, misguided millennial; forgive me, for it made me reluctant to hop up on my soapbox. God forbid I say something wrong.

But I missed my soapbox! It’s not about being right or wrong, so much as it is a place for observation: irreverent, sarcastic, sometimes kind and helpful, observation.

This weekend I will be observing the results of my 4 days/week marathon training plan. It’s Grandma’s time [Grandma’s Marathon]! A caveat lies in the 2 weeks of GI illness I just got over, which throws (yet another) wrench in my completely uncontrolled experiment. If it ends well, I either have a bang-up training dogma, an excellent taper strategy, a combination of both, or another beneficial factor yet unidentified. If it ends in a whimper, well, I blame the GI bug.

Today I sighted an auspicious omen: Kara Goucher and fam on this very flight en route to Minnesota. Like spotting an albino zebra, or a whale or something. Disclaimer: Kara Goucher looks nothing like a whale.

I’ve missed talking at you, you fabulous runners with day jobs, children, and other impediments to training also known as Life. Turns out the pros (at least that one) looks as human as the rest of us. I was kind of surprised…

Early bedtime now.

What Puffs a Choux?

I promise that sentence makes sense. Choux pastry (pronounced “shoo”) is used to make a number of hollow desserts, including cream puffs, profiteroles, eclairs, and beignets. I was googling “what puffs a choux” because mine obviously wasn’t working. I need to remember that baking is more finicky than cooking, and even though I can fudge around pretty well with a muffin or cookie recipe, the French classics aren’t so forgiving. So for future reference, even though it’s moisture that causes choux to puff, it’s not good to substitute 2 of the 4 eggs with almond milk. If you’re out of eggs, you gotta go buy eggs.

Huh. Chouxt.

It’s been a long spell since I’ve been much into cooking, but marathon training makes you hungry. It’s one of my pet peeves that in magazine interviews with professional female runners the question of “what do you eat” always comes up. Food, dummy. They eat food.

What’s worse, though, is the pared-down menus that get published in response: Oatmeal and coffee for breakfast. A mid-morning apple. Sandwich for lunch, and later, grilled chicken breast and veggies. Maybe greek yogurt and fruit, or something equally ‘indulgent’ for dessert.

There’s nothing wrong with eating healthy; I just think the caloric requirements of exercising women are grossly misrepresented in the media.    

It also annoys me that there aren’t more distinctions between running for weight-loss vs. running for performance. You can’t be a chronic dieter and maximize performance over time. It just doesn’t work. If you’re losing weight, you’re losing stored vitamins, minerals, muscle, and bone, as well as fat. Eventually you’ll develop chronic injuries, illness, and fatigue.

Sometimes you do the same things for different reasons, depending on your goals. Sometimes you do completely different things. Here’re some nifty reminders for all you running women out there:

  • Eat breakfast, including a fluid other than coffee so you can at least start the day hydrated.
  • Eat every 4-5 hours, at least. Maybe not difficult for some, but a lot of jobs (teacher, nurse, stay-at-home mom to multiple kids) aren’t so accommodating. It’s tempting to sacrifice yourself, but from an athletic performance standpoint, eat regular meals at regular times for reliable energy.
  • Drink non-caffeinated beverages every 2-3 hrs (at least). Again, I completely understand when that’s not feasible as a working adult. You have to do your best.
  • Eat when hungry. That ‘don’t eat 2-3 hrs before bed’ bullshit is for dieters, not athletes. If you’re waking up hungry in the middle of the night, it’s an indicator that you need a snack between dinner and bedtime. You don’t want midnight waking because a) your sleep is disrupted and that’s when muscle repair takes place, and b) your digestive system isn’t the most effective at night, so whatever you do end up eating (if you decide not to lie there tossing and turning with hunger pains) hangs around in your stomach, making you feel gross and putting off your appetite for breakfast.
  • Use liquid calories to your advantage, if you don’t have time for extra snacks all over the place. Milk, hot chocolate, juice — all perfectly usable calories and water for the active woman.
  • Eat fat. It will keep you full and comfortable longer. Use it as a tool when you have to go more than 5 hours between meals. No need to suffer unduly.
  • Choose variety. Your coworkers may be able to get by on the same Coke and sandwich day after day, but falling into food ruts creates the risk of malnutrition. At least aim for different sources of proteins, carbs, and fats, even if the food genre (casserole vs. sandwich or burrito) stays the same.

This is all common-sense stuff, but easy to forget amidst the vegan/whole-30/paleo/intermittent fasting craziness. If you’re running, say 40+ miles a week, it’s more important to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients that you need, rather than cut things out. While hyper-processed crap can always be eliminated (chips, soda, hydrogenated candy bars), even that has a bit more wiggle-room with high mileage. Instead of searching for ways to limit calories, look at eating as an opportunity to maximize nutrient intake. Everything within reason — fat, carbs, meat, grains, starch, and simple sugars — can make you a better runner.  
Lots of love to all my weight-conscious, diet-conscious, ambitious female runners out there who want to win races more than they want to be skinny.  

Pre-existing Condition

If you think pms-ing makes running harder, you’re not crazy. I ran the 25K Greenland Trail Race on Saturday, at an unfortunate time of the month. You might think that actively menstruating is the worst possible pre-existing condition to race with, but thanks to products like Pamprin and Diva Cups, that’s not actually so. Your hormones estrogen and progesterone plummet during menstruation, which is as close to androgynous as you can get. This is the start of follicular phase, when you’re slim, trim, and full of energy, relatively unencumbered by reproductive function.

Unfortunately, there are no products that effectively offset the cumulative effects of the peaking estrogen and progesterone levels in the days after ovulation and preceding menstruation. God damn the luteal phase.

Let us number the ways:

  1. Metabolism – fat preference over carbohydrate makes the glycogen from last night’s pasta less effective; increased metabolic needs at baseline make it difficult to feel adequately fueled. You’re sluggish and fatigued.
  2. Fluid shift – even though you’re bloated (which makes your sports bra so much more chaffing), plasma volume decreases. This means it’s harder to sweat, and makes it easier to overheat. Your blood is also thicker, so it’s harder to get oxygen and nutrients to your muscles in a timely manner. Lactic acid and other metabolites are more sluggish to exit the muscles. You are also at your highest weight of the month. Cheers!
  3. Respiration: progesterone stimulates the phrenic nerve, which innervates the diaphragm, elevating respiratory rate and potentially causing hyperventilation.
  4. Constipation: Thanks to progesterone, your GI tract is sluggish. Racing will probably cause some uncomfortable gas, since you’re already all stopped up. You’re welcome.
  5. Insomnia: forget a good night’s sleep; right before menstruation progesterone drops, and the sudden withdrawal can disrupt your ability to fall asleep, stay asleep, and experience high quality sleep. This makes early morning race times especially tough.

The good news is that women are tough. Just because you’re feeling crummy doesn’t mean a good performance is out of reach. Here’s what you can do to address the disadvantages:

  1. Metabolism: consume extra carbohydrate 30-60 minutes before your event, to ensure glucose availability for high intensity performance. Consume additional carbohydrate more frequently during your event than usual, because – remember – stored carbs are less available. Progesterone is protein-catabolic, so you’ll want to make sure you refuel with protein along with your carbs in the first hour after competition.
  2. Fluid Shift: Use electrolyte drinks (this helps with the sugar problem, too) and increase your overall fluid intake both beforehand and during the race.
  3. Respiration: pay extra attention to your breathing. Do not be intimidated by higher perceived effort than anticipated. Acknowledge that your body is working hard on multiple fronts right now, and commit to doing your best in the circumstances. Difficult breathing is one of the most common triggers of mental defeatism. Stay calm and keep trucking on.
  4. Constipation: Use an OTC fiber supplement in the days leading up to your race if you aren’t going to menstruate by race day. Hit up the restroom at least an hour before your race, conduct a brief warm-up, and visit the bathroom again 30-40 minutes before your race, just in case. Exercise is an effective GI stimulant, and if your bowels have been sluggish for the past couple of days, there’s probably more in there than you want to deal with mid-race.
  5. Insomnia: Do your best to get a good night’s sleep (cool temp, white noise, dark room, yoga before bed, etc.). If you feel sluggish on race day, don’t panic. Avoid the urge to nap or rest within an hour of the start. Stay standing. Stretch.

Of course, if it’s at all possible, arrange your big races for non-luteal weeks. Ha! Life doesn’t usually work out so neatly. In my experience, a long race is better, because you have time to run through the crud in your stiff old legs, and more time to take advantage of your heightened long/slow fat-burning capacity. In my race, the first 4 miles were by far the worst, and in the last 8 I finally didn’t feel the sore, swollen breasts, or achy back that had been plaguing me all week. Sore muscles and exertional fatigue aside, it was a reprieve!

Ironically, my timing chip didn’t register,

so it’s like I didn’t run after all.

Savasana is the Best Pose

As a yoga pose, Savasana (corpse pose) is severely underrated. No matter how ‘inward’  the teacher cues you to turn, yoga in America is easily an experience of social reference. Look no further than the movement to make American yoga less ‘skinny white girl’ for proof that we are, indeed, checking out the people on the mats around us. Look at Lululemon and  prAna, fashion companies built on the premise of sexy yoga wear. No, it doesn’t actually matter what you are wearing.  

And then look at our success-oriented culture; what’s really driving you to attempt the birds-of-paradise pose? Does it truly make you feel gently challenged and harmoniously balanced? Or does it hurt? On the flip side, does serene handstanding-man in the next row over make you ashamed of your own limitations? Are you a jealous yogi?

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with going for the big poses and tough yoga classes. That style of practice is an honest reflection of our values as a culture. However, I encourage you to evaluate critically what sort of yoga practice you actually need most. What would your doctor prescribe?

Sometimes, the best outcome of yoga is not sheer calories burned, length of plank, or degree of stretch. You can maximize those things of course, if you want. But you don’t have to. You can embrace yoga’s spiritual roots, and practice accepting that you are a child of the universe, whether you are standing on your hands or feet.The universe don’t care if you look like a paradisiacal bird — it’s not fooled. Doing the opposite of what your ego craves is an effective way to develop strength and flexibility on a soulful level — and yoga is a safe space to do it.   

Elaborate postures are tools — versatile, stimulating, gratifying tools — but not the end goal. I think a lot of us could stand to “give up” in yoga class; flop into Savasana the whole damn time, and accept that even when you are doing nothing at all, you are a valid and valuable part of this world. It’s well and good to seek new experiences and perspectives, and yoga is a great way to do that, sort of like traveling. But if you don’t have someplace to come home to, traveling easily becomes stressful and overwhelming. It becomes a cause of suffering, rather than joy or pleasure.
Savasana, in yoga, is like coming home.      

To the Runner with a Day Job:

This week I was getting real down about not being fast enough to actually run professionally. Speaking of which, did you see how fast Jordan Hasay ran Boston!? Can you imagine doing that in your first marathon? Cripes!  At any rate, it’s easy to resent my ‘real’ job, the nursing one, which takes away so much time and energy I could devote to running. The pros get to spend at least double the hours on massage, weight lifting, physical therapy, and nutritional perfection, that they do on running itself. Practical for the rest of us? I think not.

Having a job that gets me out of the house by 6am — and in bed by 8:45pm — keeps things real for me, and my client-athletes. Sandwiched between weekly long runs are hours spent running around like a stressed (and headless) chicken, taking late lunches just like most other working adults. I get hungry and dehydrated on a daily basis, without the luxury of product sponsorships and 25 different pairs of running shoes to chose from. Every mile of training has to count, because I don’t have the leeway of a 90-mile/week base.

As you can probably tell, this whine-fest is well-rehearsed.
And yet, reluctantly, begrudgingly, I believe that nursing also makes me a better coach. I’ve seen the full spectrum of sedentary debilitation, and it makes me extremely enthusiastic about supporting other people’s active lifestyles. I’ll believe you when you tell me that there is literally no way you can squeeze a 5a.m. run  and expect to remain upright by the end of the day — but we’ll also talk frankly about what obligations you might start saying “no” to. I am a proponent of rest days and self-care, and will do my darndest to convince you to safeguard the 60-90 minutes of selfish exercise you stake out for yourself 4 times a week (no matter how many children you have). I know what it’s like to work nights, holidays, and weekends, and how that makes your family time infinitely more precious. I also have learned that despite these hurdles, we can make a runner and a racer out of you.

full-moon-moon-night-sky-53153

Shout out to my night-shifters!

Beer Mile! Drink a Beer, Run a Lap (and repeat)

We welcomed spring this weekend with a classic beer mile. This is the 3rd year, and 5th running of the event in our neighborhood. For those unfamiliar with the concept, the race is 4 laps sprinted around a track, with a pause to drink a beer between each lap, totalling 3-4 beers downed. It can take less than 7 minutes, or well over 30, for a runner to complete the race. My fiance started it as a throwback to the college track team he’d recently left, and as a way to socialize with runners we were starting to meet in a new city. That first event had 7 participants, while the most recent one drew 35 plus.

Normally I take racing fairly seriously [and I hated this event in college because someone inevitably pukes], but a good beer mile is a lot of fun. It’s definitely a great spectator event, to say the least ;).

I love that the winner usually isn’t the fastest in the field — or the greatest drinker — but a well rounded individual with a mix of skills. Discounting the beer, it’s a good representation of how multi-factorial a sport running can be. You’ve got to cultivate endurance and strength to augment natural talent, and train intelligently for your event.boys race

But we can’t discount the beer. That’s the point. It’s a party, as well as a contest. We don’t run in isolation, and sometimes you need to bring everyone together to make fun of what you do. It’s painful and challenging, but also just plain silly. Some of our competitors are in the middle of training for marathons and ultras, and they still showed up to shotgun against the clock. Some people are casual runners not training for anything at all, and some are just trying to get in (or back) to running at all. It’s as competitive as you make it, but all are welcome to try.  *Costumes welcome*  

girls race.jpg