The New Year’s holiday tends to be one where bad decisions are regularly made. People are saying goodbye to the previous year, and sometimes that leads to things not going according to plan. Personally, I like to keep things mellow and kick off the upcoming year with happiness, motivation, and working to make good decisions. As a result, my staple January 1st race is the New Year’s Day Hangover Run by Run Wild Adventures. This low-key 5k (new this year), 3k, and Beer Mile are held on some private property just east of Salem city limits and really gets me on the right track for the rest of the year. So, while this race is always a good decision, it started great and ended with a bad (yet still memorable) experience.
I was happy to see that a 5k was added to the day’s calendar. I was planning to run it with my 7-year-old, but the cold was too much for her. While this was a bit of a bummer for me, it did allow me to actually run faster and see just how poor my running stamina has become over the holidays (note: real bad). The course is the same as the 3k has been in years past, it just completes a second loop. The course starts on gravel trail and continues snaking through the fields and farmland on grass, mud trails, and a great trek under a canopy of mossy trees. The course was especially muddy in areas, and I’m surprised I stayed upright on one section. The 1 mile and 2.5 mile markers had an aid station, complete with water, as well as Fireball and adult Eggnog. I passed. I ended up placing relatively well, and winning my age division, yet I know I still have a long ways to go.
An hour or so after the 5k was the start of the shorter distance. My 4-year-old didn’t care about the weather and was determined to make this her first ever “big kid” race. My wife and I accompanied her and had an absolute blast. She only stopped for a quick water break at the 1-mile distance and stayed cruising the rest of the time. She was both excited, and embarrassed, to win her age group award – but was stoked to walk away with a medal and a princess crown.
This is where things take a turn for the worse. My brother, a complete non-runner, spent the holiday with us and came out to cheer on my 4-year-old in the 3k. After the 3k I jokingly said that he should do the upcoming Beer Mile. After explaining the rules to him I realized I had made a huge mistake. Even though he is my younger brother, he knows how to push my buttons and, before I knew it, he had signed us both up for the event.
For those of you not in the know, a Beer Mile begins with runners drinking a 12 ounce beer, followed immediately by a .25 mile lap. Upon returning to the start, another 12 ounces is downed and another quarter-mile follows it up. This goes on until a full mile is completed or, if the beer can’t stay down, a penalty lap is accumulated (sans beer). As someone who loves beer, yet more in a savory way than chugging, I could tell immediately I was going to regret this.
The timer went off and I went into drink-mode. I was probably #9 (of 12) out of starting gates after the first chug, so any hope of a respectable finish was immediately out the window. Halfway through the first lap, bubbles were already gurgling in my belly and belching commenced. As I struggled to get through my second beer (I had only had a banana since starting the 5k – a bad decision in retrospect), my brother came around to lap me (embarrassing), and the winner finished (in under 7 minutes – embarrassing for me and amazing for him)! As I took off on that second lap, the bubbles became too much and up came the beer. I’ll spare you the video.
Beers and Laps 3 & 4 were much like 2 – full of struggling through chugging, throwing up beer bubbles, and running slowly. I finished my penalty lap in 12th place – a full 14 minutes out of first and 8 minutes after my brother. It was truly a humbling experience that I am actually happy to have made memories with, but not something I plan on doing again any time soon.
Gary and Run Wild Adventures put on a great event and you can bet we will be back next year. Now, instead of only 1.86 (or 2.86) miles to kick off your running goals, there is the possibility to get 5+. Next on the plate for Run Wild Adventures is February’s Buck Mountain Mudslinger Trail Run. Register for only $25!