As you know, I can’t pass up a virtual race. Even better, a virtual race that I don’t have to actually run. Thanks to Jamoosh at The Last Mile Lounge for the best race I’ve never run. Disclaimer: This is FICTION and only took place in my head.
for with Beerathon
When I read the ad, I knew it was a race I could really get into. It was billed as a point to point brewery race. The ad said “It’s not fast and it’s not flat, but it’s the best race you might not remember”. Hosted by the awesome brewers at Mad Fox, Dogfish Head, and The Last Mile Brewery with assistance from Capitol City Brewing and Rock Bottom Brewery, this race promised to be a challenging mostly uphill 13.1 miles of running and beer. The shwag alone was worth the cost of admission! Well, sign me up!
The race shwag
It was a beautiful fall day near the nation’s capital. Sunny, but in the low 50’s – perfect racing weather. I dressed in my Last Mile long sleeve technical shirt and a pair of shorts, filled my handheld water bottle with a lovely Anchor Porter, and was ready to go. The race start time was a reasonable 5:00 pm to accommodate any runners who had enjoyed the previous day’s expo a bit too much. Beer Geek and the boys dropped me off at the start line near Capital City Brewery and headed over to the finish to enjoy the festival taking place at Mad Fox. As I lined up at the start, I saw my competition – beer lovers like Viper and Jess and Razz. This race was not for the amateur beer lover, but rumor had it that Julie was looking for a beer to like.
After a quick stop at the potties (major kudos to Cap City for letting us use the indoor facilities), I grabbed my first beer of the day – an Amber Waves from Cap City. Just as I finished my beer, the gun went off and we headed out. Now, I was looking to PR on this race. Not by time, but rather by ounces consumed and the ability to finish the race upright. I knew I stood no chance against such strong competition as Jamoosh and Viper, but I was pretty sure I could take Jess.
The first mile started easy, but ended with a huge hill. I powered up the hill, knowing that it wouldn’t be far to the first “water” stop. Mile 2 continued as a mostly uphill run, but I could see the first stop at the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse. They were offering the much loved Dominion Baltic Porter, as well as the lighter Shiner Bock. As always, I walked through the stop, while I sipped my porter. I knew I was playing it risky as I saw Jess choosing the Bock, but I’m not one to give up one of my favorite beers.
I headed out of the “water” stop after only consuming one small cup. As much as I would have loved to linger, I knew I still had a lot of miles ahead of me. The next couple of miles had some flat and some rolling hills and I settled nicely into my pace. I was fully carbed up and ready to run some miles. Just before mile 4, we headed into Clarendon, one of the most happening places in Arlington. The crowds were wild and the “water” stop sponsored by Harry’s Tap Room and Pacers was awesome! Pacers provided some sports drinks for the light weights, but the serious contenders got to indulge in Starr Hill Dark Starr Stout or Harpoon IPA. I found the stout quite refreshing, but the IPA seemed to be the beer of choice for my competition.
And we were off again. At this point, I was feeling great! Was this the best run ever or was the beer talking? Only time would tell. We headed down the hill on Clarendon Boulevard, knowing that it would not be long and we’d have to head back UP the horrible hill. I had the advantage at that point as I’ve run up that hill in many of the races that I’ve done. I knew the best strategy was to push the pace going down and then just hold as steady as possible going up. I knew that the reward at the top was a stop at the old Bardo site. I was excited because, although it no longer exists, a guest brewer had brewed some of Bardo’s old beers. As I saw the totem pole in the distance, I found a surge of energy and got to the stop. I shed a quick tear for the bar I
drank too much at spent too many evenings at used to love, grabbed a “Beat My Wheat” and kept on going. We were almost to the halfway point and I knew the best was yet to come. I also knew that the distance to the next stop was not far.
The next mile and a half was a gently uphill, past metro stops and cheering crowds. Everyone was out enjoying the beautiful weather and watching the crazy beer runners. We passed the halfway point and got to the Rock Bottom brewery’s “water” stop. Knowing I was halfway done, it was time to start the serious consumption. To that end, I chose the “Naughty Scot”, despite it’s high alcohol percentage. I was pleased to see that Viper and Jamoosh joined me in that option. If I was going down, I wasn’t going by myself. While I was tempted to enjoy more than one, I knew I had three miles until the next real stop. There’d be water on the way, but there’d also be a major hill and some boring areas. The reward? Palo Santo Marron at the stop at Dogfish Head. I’d willingly run a full marathon for this beer and today I only had to run 10 miles to get there.
After what seemed like hours, but was really only 30 minutes, I could see the next stop. I was getting tired, but I knew the reward was worth it and that the remaining miles were mostly flat. I knew I could run those miles drunk, which was good because I knew the Palo was going to knock me on my bottom. I showed up at the stop to discover they were nearly out. Apparently Jamoosh had been there before me and decided that he was going to take the consumption lead. Thankfully, Sam is a generous host and made sure I got a couple of glasses before I staggered out for the remaining couple of miles. At this point, I knew I had my PR in the bag. I’d had more beer in a two hour period than I’d had since college! I’d also ran more miles tipsy than, well, ever.
Finally, Mad Fox loomed ahead of me. The newly finished brewpub promised some of Bill’s award winning beers and free pizza for all participants and their families. As I headed to the finish line, I saw Beer Geek and the boys waiting. I swayed as I approached the finish, adding mileage as I ran a crooked line. Thankfully, the organizers had expected this and included this zigzag in the total 13.1. I staggered across the line and accepted my lovely beer bottle opener/medal. I thanked the organizers, grabbed a beer, and gracefully (or not) settled onto the ground to enjoy the post race festivities.