What I Learned From Running The Beer Mile

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What I Learned From Running The Beer Mile

Over the past few years, what’s being called the Beer Mile Revolution has slowly taken over. For those of you who still haven’t heard of it, or don’t know how it works, I will happily break it down for you.

The Beer Mile is a one mile race in which the runners must consume four beers throughout the duration of the race. A beer must be consumed before they start running and another beer for every quarter mile until they complete a one mile track. If you throw up at any point you must complete a penalty lap or an additional quarter mile, but there is no additional beer penalty for throwing up multiple times (this will become important later). The Beer Mile has gotten so big over the past few years that they hold a legitimate World Championship for the damn thing.

So being the ex-collegiate athlete that I am, I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to prove my beer drinking and athletic dominance over my family and friends. Boy was I wrong. Being four years removed from my collegiate hockey playing days, I feel that I have stayed in fairly good shape compared to other people my age. I have also become known as something of a legend at my work sponsored happy hours. Being above average in both drinking and athleticism, I thought I was a shoe-in for winning the Beer Mile, and apparently so did everyone else.

Let me go ahead and break down who I was facing in the competition. We ran a five man race which included my brother, an ex-collegiate hockey player who has let himself go physically in the past few years, my friend who we’ll call friend “Dad Bod” who played hockey with my brother and I, my buddy who we will call “The Tank” who played football in high school and is a gym rat these days, not much of a runner though, and my other friend who will be call the “Tri-Athlete” who is an ex collegiate soccer player who is a personal trainer and runs marathons and shit like that.

So those are their physical qualifications, but that’s only half the battle. Remember you have to chug four beers to win this race. My brother can handle his liquor but is an awful chugger. His wife, who is pretty dope, can chug much faster than he can. Dad Bod is a craft brew guy, he likes to enjoy a drink, but I’m not sure if he’s chugged anything since college. The Tank is an absolute monster and a decently quick chugger, and the Tri-Athlete doesn’t drink at all. There was no way the Tri-Athlete was going to get down his second beer without passing out.

So now that the competition is laid out for you, let’s get to the prediction and race preparation. One drunken Sunday after unlimited mimosas at brunch, we all laid out a graph with quadrants representing athletic ability and drinking ability. I wasn’t the most athletic or the best drinker, but I was top two or three in each category which we all agreed meant that I was the easy favorite. Vegas would have been proud of our drunken analysis.

Let’s fast forward a little bit to the day of the race. If you know my friends and family, we like to drink, and when we drink, we tend to bet a little bit. Way too many people came up to me letting me know that they bet stupid amounts of money and alcohol that I would win. The pressure began to mount.

Time to race. All five of us get to the starting line and were ready to get the thing going. We took off, and the first beer went down fast and easy. I was the first one done and was off to the races, followed by everyone else not far behind. We went out of the gates flying, running at a 4-5 minute mile pace. I came into the first drinking station in the lead, but the second beer didn’t quite go down like the first. At this point, I knew we I was going to have a problem. Everyone filed into the drinking station fairly close to each other except for Dad Bod who pulled up before finishing lap one due to a legit ankle injury, and we all left in about the same positioning as the first lap. Already feeling full as I finished that second beer, I just imagined Lolo Jones running out in front of me, and I used that ass as motivation. I was in the lead followed by Tri-Athlete, then my brother and the Tank bringing up the rear.

This lap was considerably slower than the first as I felt that demon liquid in my stomach whipping and nae nae-ing with every stride. I could feel the foam slowly filling my stomach and slowing making its way back up my throat. I fought through that lap and figuratively limped into the drinking station where my lead had become non existent with the Tri-Athlete on my heels.

My lead then completely vanished and the feelings of self-doubt that I hadn’t felt since Amanda dumped me at the 8th grade dance began to surface again. I struggled through that third beer and was in second place. Tri-Athlete was probably done with his beer 5-10 seconds faster than I was. I began to run, and it felt like I was running in sand with cement shoes and was carrying an alien fetus in my belly. Halfway through the 3rd lap, I had reached my limit; the tire was full and I needed to let out a little air. I threw up. Projectile. Feeling defeated inside by being the first person to vomit, I saved what little dignity I had left by throwing up while I was still running. I didn’t stop. I simply turned my head to the side and projectile vomited Coors foam all over the street.

After vomiting, I suddenly felt much lighter and had energy to keep running along. Tri-Athlete had built a commanding lead and I knew there was no catching him with my penalty lap still to be run. But I thought there was still a chance I wouldn’t come in last. The little things in life, am I right? I pushed my legs into another gear and pretty much sprinted into the drinking station. I roughly had a half to three quarter lap lead on my brother and the Tank, so I felt that the best strategy would be to drink as fast as I could and just vomit everywhere. There wasn’t a penalty for vomiting multiple times, so I might as well try to use it to my advantage now. Just as I had finished drinking my final beer and puke session, both my brother and the Tank jogged into the drinking station.

So now the race was on. I needed to run two laps, or a half mile, before either the Tank or my brother finished, or hope that one of them would throw up and have to run a penalty lap. I went flying around the course feeling like goddamn Justin Gatlin. As I came around to the drinking station, I saw that both the remaining racers were already about halfway through their final lap. I may have felt like Justin Gatlin, but I was trying to chase down Usain Bolt at this point. I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and it wasn’t very bright. I continued my semi sprint around the course and into the finish line where everyone had already completed the race.

I felt as if I had just given up a home run in the ninth inning of game seven of The World Series. I blew my chance at eternal glory. I swallowed my pride and congratulated everyone on a good race, and immediately went to the cooler to grab a fresh cold one because I had obviously thrown up all the beer I had consumed during the race and needed to forget the experience as soon as possible.

So what did I learn? Never bet on the overwhelming favorite? Even Steph Curry misses a shot every once in awhile? Coors tastes the same going down as it does coming back up? Well, that last one is true, but no. I learned that greatness is earned, not given. You bet your sweet ass I will be training for the next Beer Mile. Why you ask? Because why the hell not?

Image via Shutterstock

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