Chasing 42

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Archive for the category “Nutrition”

RRCA Coaching Certification- Just call me coach!

It’s no secret that I love many different aspects of running. Heck, I wouldn’t be writing a blog otherwise, right? Not only do I love running itself, but I love the research that goes into deciding on workouts, races, shoes, nutrition, and many other aspects of running, and I love talking to other people about it. In many ways, I’ve brought the same research skills I use in my professional life to my running life, and they’ve served me well. Over the years, as I’ve learned more and more, I’ve really enjoyed being able to help new runners, and provide advice to friends when it comes to their training, nutrition, race decisions, gear, and various other running-related items. So, when I saw the notice last fall that the RRCA (Road Runners Club of America) would be hosting their annual convention in Des Moines this year, and they would be offering a coaching certification class, I knew I had to sign up. After talking through (and justifying) the expense with the epicurean, I pulled the trigger and registered.

RRCAConvention

The coaching class (and convention) was held April 23-25, and it was a fantastic experience! Since we don’t have a RRCA chapter in Ames, I haven’t been involved with the organization in the past so this was my first opportunity to not only go through the certification course, but learn more about RRCA and network with folks around the country. The class itself was broken up into different modules and covered a wide range of topics. We spent three solid days learning the ins and outs of coaching while getting to know each other and picking the brains of three wonderful coaches and instructors with countless years of experience. The schedule was broken down as follows:

Day One

  • Introductions
  • Coaching History
  • Types of Runners & their Training Needs
  • Running Physiology
  • Building a Periodized Program

Day Two

  • Coaching Nutrition
  • The Business of Coaching
  • Sports Psychology

Day Three

  • Building Training Programs
  • Injuries, Heat, Altitude, and Running Form
  • Case Study Work- Putting it all together!

It was clear from day one that a great deal of time and effort had been put into designing this course, which made the educator in my very happy and at ease with my decision. The course focused on all levels of running, which was nice to see and led to a very well-rounded experience. My own experiences running have mainly been the result of my own decisions, running with friends, and putting together training “programs” myself without necessarily knowing the “why” behind what I was doing. I can’t tell you how many issues of Runner’s World and online articles I’ve poured over since I started running, and there seems to be a new “go to” workout every month, which can make it hard to decide what is right for you, let alone what is right for someone else. This is where the information on physiology and training needs became very beneficial.

RRCA-1

I’ve certainly talked to plenty of runners that ran in high school and college and learned second-hand about some of the workouts they completed. However, that was not a reality for this asthmatic kid, so it never really sunk in. Spending time in this course discussing how to set up a specific periodized program based on running needs and goals was incredibly beneficial and probably the most interesting aspect of the course for me. I feel like I have such a better understanding of how to go about helping folks train for reasonable goals, and how to measure their progress and adjust their training accordingly, which is key when working with folks who have individual needs, goals, and life circumstances. The information on nutrition, business, physiology, and psychology all seemed to provide the “why” and the “how” for making those training plans a reality. The result was an incredibly well-rounded and information coaching course that met all of my expectations and more.

In addition to the course itself, we had the opportunity to attend various other aspects of the RRCA Convention, which only added to the overall experience. It was an amazing feeling to be surrounded by hundreds of people who are equally passionate about running as I am. I was able to make some new friends, share stories, and generally network. Once the course was over, we were required to take an online exam based on what we learned, which grilled us on facts, figures, and challenged us to put our new knowledge into practice. It has been quite a while since I’ve had to take an actual exam, and it was no joke! The threshold for passing is quite high so there was very little room for error, and I definitely felt a sense of relief and excitement when I submitted my exam and received my passing grade (with plenty of room to spare, thank you very much!). We also had to submit our CPR & First Aid Certification, which meant going through a new Red Cross Course. As a former EMT, I knew what I was doing and more, but I had let my certification lapse, so it felt good to get that taken care of before leaving Ames as well.

rrca_cert_coach_logo

What’s next? Well, I’d love to see just how I can put my new coaching skills and certification to good use. I am planning on looking into volunteer coaching opportunities, and will eventually explore starting a small coaching business that will allow me to take on private clients. In the meantime, if you are thinking about seeking out some coaching assistance with your running goals, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d love to work with you to help you achieve your goals and continue #chasing42 !

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Tailwind Nutrition Review

For most of the summer, I’ve been using Tailwind nutrition as my go-to nutrition source during most runs over 10 miles, and I thought I’d share some thoughts. Tailwind kept popping up on various ultrarunning blogs and websites that I follow, and I’m always on the lookout for the most efficient nutrition solution for what I can only describe as a finicky stomach. I’ve mentioned before that I have given up on all sports drinks, and most GUs and Gels don’t sit well in my stomach either. The sugar just seems to be too much for me, and I always end up with a few unplanned pit stops. So, I was excited by the idea of an all-in-one nutrition product that I could dissolve in water and drink throughout my entire run.

tn-logofinal

I typically carry some sort of portable hydration solution, whether it be the incredibly comfortable and economical Simple Hydration Bottle (love this bottle!)  that frees up my hands during shorter, faster runs, or my Salomon pack, which sustains me for most of my long-distance training. Tailwind offers a pretty exciting product that has the potential to eliminate the need to carry around additional GUs, chomps, bars, and electrolyte pills or tabs. Since I’m already carrying water, this seems like a no brainer…on paper. However, did Tailwind come through and lighten my load without lightening my stomach?

It has absolutely come through! I’ve been nothing but impressed with this product. It truly does offer the complete calorie + electrolyte + hydration solution. The taste, portability, ease of mixing, and easily digestible nature make this product my new go-to nutrition solution for training runs and races.

My order even came personalized with a hand-written thank you note!

My order even came personalized with a hand-written thank you note!

Taste: I ordered the berry flavor, as this is usually my first choice with any new product. I was initially skeptical after tasting so many different artificial berry-flavored sports drinks and flavored waters. However, the berry flavor was light, smooth, and refreshing. It was not overpowering, and it mixed with the water so completely that I would have never guessed it had been a powder. They recommend approximately 1 scoop per 12 oz. of water, but I’ve added even more for some added calories and it still mixed cleanly like a champ! They sent me a small package of the lemon flavor as a thank you for my first order, and I had the exact same reaction. I usually hate lemon and lemon-lime flavored drinks (why is it ALWAYS lemon lime at aid stations?!), but the Tailwind lemon was just as smooth, light, and refreshing. I’m looking forward to tasting the mandarin orange as well.

Portability: I’ve been able to carry it around with me in several different formats. When I want to pack extra on self-supported runs, I simply portion it out into ziplock bags and carry them in my Ultraspire Quantum waist belt. It’s really easy to empty the powder into my empty water bottle and fill it up at a water fountain around town. I’ve also simply brought along the entire bag and left it in my car so I can circle back at various points, very much like you would do with a drop bag during a race. I plan to drop empty water bottles with the Tailwind already in them as well, which should make for a quick transition. Tailwind even sells individual pouches for ultimate portability!

Ease of Mixing: What can I say? It takes minimal effort and dissolves quickly and completely. You’ll never have a gritty aftertaste or see it settle at the bottom of your bottle. Cleaning your bottle out is as simple as if you were only using water.

Digestion: This was the biggest test for me. How would it sit in my stomach? My sugar intake overall is now so low that I can barely stomach the taste of sports drinks because they are so sweet. Tailwind has such a light taste that it’s more like drinking water with a hint of berry to make things interesting in your mouth. I’ve used it exclusively for up to 6 hours thus far, and am happy to report that I have not once had any GI issues! I feel full, hydrated, and energized, and my calorie consumption seems to be more consistent as well. It’s easy to forget to eat at times, but you are always drinking.

nutrition information

nutrition information

Of note is the decision by Tailwind not to include protein in their mix. They reviewed quite a bit of research, and determined that most of it indicates no benefit to a carb + protein mix, and that furthermore, protein can hinder the absorption of carbohydrates, as well as being hard to digest. They now offer a version with caffeine, which I haven’t tried yet but will probably give a chance as well. The cost per serving comes out to be less than you would spend on other solid nutritional products as well, so you will end up saving money in the long run, which is always nice! Tailwind is also naturally Gluten Free, which makes the epicurean happy. Overall, I’ve been completely won over but how well Tailwind works for me. I’ll be putting it to the ultimate test during the Mark Twain 100 in a few weeks as well, so stay tuned. We’ll see if it’s still keeping my hunger at bay after 16 hours on the trail 🙂

Running and Body Image

I recently read a blog post by Zoe Romano that talked about the pressures and realities of body image. She was responding in part to an earlier article written by Lauren Fleshman, who received some interesting feedback following a runway shoot in November for some running apparel. Zoe remarked on the myriad of weight-related comments she received after her epic run along the Tour de France route. I found it interesting that after such an amazing journey, one of the first questions on everyone’s mind was “how much weight did you lose?” Even among athletes, a double standard exists when it comes to body image, and these posts do a very nice job of bringing that to light. Additionally, these thoughts come on the heels of Lindsey Vonn’s “skinny-fat” comments concerning other women she encountered at an awards ceremony.

It’s no coincidence that a majority of these stories involve women. Young girls are socialized from a very early age to look at certain way, and that indoctrination continues throughout adolescence and into adulthood. The pressures are extreme, and often lead to various eating disorders. I am guessing that each of us has been touched in some way by the effects of these situations, and our culture continues to perpetuate this “beauty myth”.

“A culture fixated on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty, but an obsession about female obedience. Dieting is the most potent political sedative in women’s history; a quietly mad population is a tractable one.”
― Naomi WolfThe Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women

For many female athletes, the pressure seems to become problematic in new ways. Until Title IX, young girls and women did not have nearly the access to athletics at the high school and collegiate level. However, that has obviously changed, although I would argue not nearly to the point where it needs to be. The athlete body can be problematic to the unrealistic beauty ideals in our society, however. Eating healthy and exercising inevitably adds muscle mass, which detracts from an idealized image of women that has become increasingly thinner and thinner. Dieting has become more and more popular, and young girls are internalizing these messages at younger and younger ages. In many ways, I worry that the more young girls internalize these messages about beauty, the less likely they are to be active and involved in physical activities, on top of the disordered eating patterns that we know are emerging at younger and younger ages.

Photo Credit: Howard Schatz (http://www.howardschatz.com/)
Photo Credit: Howard Schatz (http://www.howardschatz.com/)
Photo Credit: Howard Schatz (http://www.howardschatz.com/)
Photo Credit: Howard Schatz (http://www.howardschatz.com/)

(The photos above, revisited last year by Huff Post Women, provide a perfect example of the diversity of the human body and what it means to be an “athlete”. I take issue with the objectification present, however unintentional, but the message is one of strength.)

Additionally, although it is far less frequently talked about, these messages do impact men as well. I mentioned the double standard before, and it is most certainly alive and well. Men receive far less critique for their bodies, and as a result are perhaps more likely to begin running, among various activities. However, messages about body image have been shown to have an impact on male athletes as well. In addition, the “runner body” that we see among elite marathoners, especially, falls outside the stereotypical norm for men. The muscular male body is objectified alongside the female body, albeit in different ways that still thrust power into the hands of men over women.

The human body is an incredible machine, and it comes in all sizes, shapes, and weights. There should be room in our culture for all of them to do their work and showcase their talent. The media presents a very one-sided image of “beauty”. Although we may logically know that the human body doesn’t need to live up to that image, how often to we speak that truth? A lot has been made of the obesity epidemic in this country, and I agree that it is incredibly important to address. I love seeing program after program emerge that gets young people active and eating healthy. However, we can’t tackle obesity problems unless we also recognize that our misguided notions of beauty and body image are connected. Efforts, such as those by the International Olympic Committee, are a step in the right direction, but more work needs to be done.

Runners come in all shapes and sizes. Some run faster than others, and some from further than others, but everyone is moving. Distance is distance and we need to celebrate each and every one of those accomplishments. We need to remember that being healthy and achieving a level of fitness should be an added bonus for doing something that you love to do. Our bodies will fluctuate over the months and years, just as our training plans will change and our goals will change. However, the only aspect of body image we should pay attention to is the shoes on our feet. The most beautiful runner is the one crossing the finish line, whether at a race or in their neighborhood. These are the images we need to teach young people to embrace and celebrate. These are the body images we should strive towards.

My Gluten Elimination Experience

On August 3rd, I embarked on a short-term journey. I have mildly struggled with digestive issues, both while running and in general, for quite a while now. I had played around with my fluid intake, adjusted my nutrition, cut out processed sugar, and monitored my diet in the days prior to long runs. All of these steps provided me with limited success and increased comfort, but many of the issues remained. Those ugly “runner’s trots” still emerged, undeterred by my attempts to vanquish them. I had to be missing something. There was clearly more I could do to adjust my daily habits.

For more than a year, our household has been mostly gluten-free and dairy free (we still cheat a bit on the dairy, but we are both suckers for really good cheese…can you blame us?). However, there is no cheating on the gluten for the beautiful epicurean. I’ve still managed to consume limited amounts of gluten, mostly in the form of whole grain breads, cereals, and my ever-expanding taste for quality micro-brews! It’s been interesting to watch the change in our lifestyle as we adjust our shopping and cooking habits. Foods that had been tried and true staples for us went by the wayside, and were replaced with ingredients neither of us had much experience with, whether it be cooking or eating. Luckily, the epicurean has a culinary gift (as if the name wasn’t a giveaway), so she has poured herself into the task of learning how to craft amazing gluten-free meals, and embrace the anti-inflammatory that keeps most of her Sjogren’s-related pains at bay.

gluten-free

As a side-note, I should point out that our choice to eliminate gluten and dairy had nothing to do with the variety of fad diets that seem to be the rage right now. Especially within healthy-living circles, gluten-free has somehow become a trend and people with no actual need to eliminate gluten are doing so in hopes that it will make them stronger or healthier. There are definitely health benefits to eating gluten-free, and research to demonstrate those benefits. There are also health benefits to eating a natural, unprocessed diet that includes whole grains, such as wheat, barley, and rye. If either of us had to choose, we would be including those whole grains in our diet. Alas, this is not a choice motivated by trendy media hype or experimentation. At times, it is frustrating to see people make that assumption when you explain your dietary restrictions, when in reality, eating gluten causes every joint in the epicurean’s body to become inflamed and feel as though her body was attaching her with burning needles. There is nothing hip about that. That is physiology and biology. *Ok, I’ll step off my soapbox now.*

As I was saying, our home has been free of most gluten and dairy, but I always consumed just enough on my own to never really know if it was impacting me. Since I still had no solution for my GI troubles, I decided to go on a gluten-elimination diet to see if that was indeed causing my issues, as gluten intolerance manifests itself in similar ways quite regularly. Ok, so I didn’t so much “decide” to attempt this elimination diet as the epicurean strongly suggested it over the course of a few months, and I finally, begrudgingly, gave in. I suppose it was a testament to my commitment to running that I was willing to give up bread and beer, right?

Prior to my dietary experiment, I thought I had a pretty good sense of the struggle that the epicurean and others forced to eliminate gluten go through. I had been with her for every meal, watched the early despair as realization after realization emerged with regard to foods she could no longer eat. I watched her strength as she adapted to a new way of life and adjusted her passion for cooking to accommodate her new restrictions. I was wrong. At the end of every day during that period, I went to bed still being able to eat that sandwich, muffin, or pastry. I could still select new beers to try. When I was alone, I could still walk into just about any restaurant and find something on the menu to eat.

gluten_free_running

I’m not naive enough to think that the last 5 weeks of gluten-free living provide me with a full understanding of a lifetime of avoidance. However, being in a position to need to make those choices for myself has given me a deeper understanding and greater appreciation for the experience as a whole. My transition could have been much more difficult, but I luckily have a supportive partner who understands both gluten-free living, and my commitment to running and my health. However, this dietary elimination experiment still reared it’s head at the most random times. It would catch me off-guard when I would be out with friends have realize at the last second that I couldn’t eat something or drink something. I spent even more time at the grocery store reading labels, searching for substitutes to my staples, and putting items back on the shelf after I realized I couldn’t eat them anymore. I ended up craving meals that I rarely thought about before. I am much more aware of choice than I was before.

After 5 weeks, my system had been cleared of gluten for the most part, and it was time to test my body. A few days prior to my planned gluten splurge, I inadvertently ate a malted-milk ball, not even thinking about the fact that it had gluten in it (malt)! I did, however, figure it out when my stomach quickly started churning, and I started sweating and feeling nauseous. This was not a good sign! However, I was going to stick to my plan and not jump to any conclusions. On the Sunday following my birthday (with Monday being a rest day), I cracked open a delicious bottle of small batch Sam Adams that I had been saving. Not only did I enjoy that beer more than I had any beer in quite a while, but I was keenly aware of that fact that it may be the last beer I ever have (yes, there are gluten-free beers, but they are a work in progress, to be sure!). After a few hours, I didn’t feel any different. The next day, I was still feeling fine. Perhaps gluten is not the culprit after all?

If it was going to be my last, it was going to be good!

If it was going to be my last, it was going to be good!

I’ve had gluten only one other time since that beer, again with no reaction. However, I’m still not entirely convinced that it doesn’t have something to do with my bodily concerns. I haven’t felt overwhelmingly different, but there has been a slight increase in my “comfort” on long runs. I’ve also recently noticed that Gatorade, even in small amounts (when given by others), is too much sugar for my stomach to comfortably handle in addition to my honey stinger chews. I shall indeed stick to water and electrolyte tabs. So, at the end of this interesting experiment, I may not have a concrete solution to the questions I sought out to answer. I’ll keep experimenting. What I do have is an even better appreciation for the effort and energy my partner puts into her diet and the food we eat. Her strength, commitment, and adaptability inspire me on a daily basis, and I’m happy to know that we signed up for this endurance event together!

Nutrition Review: Journey Bars

I’ve written before about various nutrition related topics, and I’m sure it’s quite clear that I’m a strong believer in the importance of healthy eating and meeting your nutritional needs to compliment your training. Over the course of the past year, my nutritional journey has taken a number of interesting twists and turns. I may have began tackling the task of finding the perfect “menu” for my own body as something I could solve and stick with, but I’ve come to the realization since then that I’m never going to find that one perfect set of foods. Nutrition is about being open to trying new recipes and ingredients, and constantly adapting your palate to suit your needs.

Journey 1

When I stumbled across Journey Bars, I was arguably a bit skeptical. I’m not unique in the fact that my tastes lean more towards sweeter flavors, and this is especially true of protein and nutrition bars. In general, we’ve all become much more desensitized to sugar as a result of shifting societal dietary choices and the prevalence of processed food. However, I was game to give a new nutrition bar a try, and I had a discount code, so I ordered a sampler case and decided to give this savory alternative a try. Here are my thoughts on the five flavor offerings.

Journey 2

Pizza Marinara- This delicious bar tasted just like a pizza party in my mouth! The marinara taste was unmistakable, and the texture and consistency of the bar reminded me quite a bit of an actual slice of pizza. I headed out on a 5 mile run in 93 degree heat about 30 minutes after enjoying this bar, and it sustained me quite nicely for the duration. It was soft enough that it didn’t crumble in my mouth, without being so soft that I felt like I could have shaped it like a ball of play-dough.

Coconut Curry- I enjoyed the overall taste of this bar, but was somewhat underwhelmed by the taste. I’m a huge fan of a nice bold curry flavor, and coconut is one of our latest addictions, so I had high hopes for this bar. Unfortunately, I couldn’t easily make out the flavor of either great taste.

Rosemary- As soon as I opened up this bar, the distinctive aroma of rosemary came wafting out and did a little dance with my olfactory senses. The flavor is subtle, but noticeable, and a bit of sweetness from the quinoa and amaranth give it a nice flavor as well. Our backyard herb garden is an integral part of our culinary endeavors (ok, more the beautiful epicurean’s endeavors, but I’m an excellent sous chef), so this was a welcome flavor to the journey bar collection.

Sea Salt- This flavor can best be described as the “plain” selection from the box. Although there is the hint of sea salt if you really search your palate, this bar is by-in-large more bland than the others. It still has an appealing flavor, but that is more based on the quinoa and amaranth than it is an overwhelming saltiness.

Sesame Ginger- The overall taste of this flavor was on par with that of the Coconut Curry and the Rosemary varieties. The sesame flavor it subtle but noticeable, but I had a hard time finding the ginger while enjoying this flavor. Again, this is a satisfying flavor, and the base ingredients round out the experience nicely.

Journey 3

Overall, both the beautiful epicurean and I have been very pleased with the change of pace offered by Journey Bars. They offer a welcome flavor adjustment from the typical sweet nutrition bar. They are gluten-free, non-gmo, vegan, and soy-free as well so folks with any of a number of allergies and sensitivities can enjoy these bars without fear. In the end, we absolutely fell in love with the Pizza Marinara flavor more than the others, and purchased a whole case of them! You can buy cases of each individual flavor, as well as the variety pack to give you a chance to try each of the flavors out. I definitely recommend adding this savory nutrition alternative to your snacking menu!

Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie Goodness!

My summer schedule has allowed me/ forced me to structure my days without the help of set meeting times or teaching times. I’m spending the summer teaching online courses while working on finishing my dissertation. When I’m not reading feminist theory, sexuality, sexuality education, and educational policy, you can find me breaking up the routine with a cup of coffee (hot, of course, no matter the temperature outside!) and a good book from my “fun read” list. After reading about Murakami’s thoughts on running, I turned my attention to the world of ultra-running. Increasing my distances in the last year has only made me want to push harder and further. This desire has been coupled with a revised healthy eating lifestyle courtesy of the beautiful epicurean. Thus, Eat & Run was a natural selection for my reading pleasure. Scott Jurek epitomizes the benefits of healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle better than any endurance athlete I’ve encountered. The further I get into the book, the more I am realizing just how amazing this guy truly is, and I’ve found something to strive for in his words.

Smoothie-01

A full review of the book is forthcoming, but I wanted to share a sneak peek in the meantime. One of my favorite parts about the book is his inclusion of some of his favorite recipes at the end of each chapter. He tosses in full meals, recovery snacks, and mid-run nutrition recipes, and I plan to try most of them. My first attempt was a delicious smoothie recipe with an anti-inflammatory focus. Much of our overall dietary focus has been on eating an anti-inflammatory diet, and the positive results have spoken for themselves. This smoothie is both refreshing, rehydrating, and wicked anti-inflammatory to boot. After a few minor modifications, the recipe includes a nice mix of readily available ingredients.

Strawberry Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie 

2 cups water

1 banana

1 cup frozen or fresh strawberries

1/2 cup frozen mango

1/2 cup frozen pineapple

1/2 cup smooth silken tofu

1/4 cup dried coconut flakes

3 tablespoons Flax Oil

1 tablespoon brown rice protein powder

1 1/2 teaspoons miso

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 1-inch piece ginger root, peeled and minced

Nothing left to do but blend!

Nothing left to do but blend!

The original recipe called for shelled edamame in place of the tofu, but that proved rather difficult to find in Iowa, ironically enough. The Flax Oil replaced Flora Oil 3-6-9 blend, with the omega-3 content being fairly similar. Be careful with the turmeric as well, since it has a nasty habit of staining just about anything in sight! Once you’ve assembled your ingredients, you have only to toss them all into the blender and mix on high for a minute or two, until it is smooth and pourable. It definitely helps that we a Vitamix, the Bentley of blenders as well 🙂 The recipe should make 2 12-oz. smoothies, or one 24-oz. smoothie if you aren’t in a sharing mood! We have now made this smoothie twice, once before a long run, and once afterwards. It has proven to be amazingly hydrating, and a fantastic energy boost as well. This anti-inflammatory smoothie goodness will definitely be finding a place into the regular nutritional rotation!

It only seemed appropriate to serve them in our recently earned Exile Brewing glasses!

It only seemed appropriate to serve them in our recently earned Exile Brewing glasses!

The 2013 Ames Beer Mile

I certainly enjoy a nice cold beer after a long race…assuming it meets my quality standards, of course. I wouldn’t call myself a beer snob necessarily, but I’ve also moved on from the keg and red solo cup beer of college days past. I’d much rather spend a little more money for a beer that pairs well with whatever I happen to be eating, or one worthy of being enjoyed all by itself. Coors Light fits neither of these requirements. However, I still found myself looking down on four of them as I prepared to chug them before and during a running event. Wait, what? I was fairly certain that the order and quality were very confused, but I proceeded.

I had joked with several friends over the course of the past few months that it would be quite fun and rather humorous to host our own beer mile. For those of you not familiar with the event, I’ll elaborate. The goal is to drink 1 beer prior to running, then drink a beer every quarter of a mile, for a total of four beers in the span of one mile. It should come as no surprise that the beer mile has developed into quite the impressive sub-culture of racing over the years. The most recent world record, as tracked by beermile.com, is 5:04.09, which set in Australia. There are currently 1,606 registered events listed on beermile.com.

Run at your own risk!

Run at your own risk!

My curiosity with the event hadn’t really gotten much past our rambling conversations during runs, but I can always count on my friends to take things one step further! Before I knew it, a local pub had been contacted as a host site, and the invite was sent out on Facebook for anyone interested. The location and course were provided, and everyone was responsible for their own beer (from the pub) which eliminated any liability concerns. We set up shop out on the patio so friends and family could watch, and everyone purchased their four beers of choice and positioned them.

Sitting out to warm up a bit!

Sitting out to warm up a bit!

Now, I don’t think I’ve purposefully chugged a beer in well over 10 years, so I was far more nervous about the drinking than I was the running! Although I’d normally rather drink warm bath water than Coors Light, I figured it might be easier to get down so I opted for this sad excuse for a beer (my apologies to any legitimate fans of Coors Light…but seriously, let’s talk about what good beer should taste like!). The signal was sounded and we were off. From the first beer, I am pretty sure I bore a striking resemblance to one of my dogs drinking out of their water bowl as I tried to get it down as fast as possible. I finished and attempted to ignore the sloshing in my stomach as I “sprinted” the first quarter-mile segment. The difficulty getting the beer down only increased with each passing lap, and by the end, I was racing not only to the finish but to keep the beer down as well.

All smiles at the finish!

All smiles at the finish!

I crossed the finish line near the back of the pack, a testament to my chugging abilities, but the smile was firmly planted on my face. This was certainly not something I’d do on a regular basis. However, the excitement and hilarious memories more than made it worth the time it took to calm my stomach afterwards 🙂 Spending the rest of the evening hanging out with friends over dinner and drinks (i.e. NOT Coors Light) made it a great night and one I’ll look forward to for next year!

A great way to spend a Saturday night!

A great way to spend a Saturday night!

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