As I have gotten older, the body has gone south for the ages . . . or, in other words, I have allowed myself to age naturally. I have put on a few pounds over the years . . . seen a Dunlop take shape around the equator . . . and, I have basically gotten out of shape . . . way out of shape. There was a time that I was somewhat of an athlete. I did sports through junior and senior high . . . track was my best sport . . . which lead to me running track and cross country for two years in college. I lettered on all levels of competition. I continued to do sports and run well into my late 30s and early 40s. I was competitive. I usually finished in the top ten percent of most of the road races I ran in. I have a box full of medals and trophies from those glory days. But, something happened and running became work . . . exercise hurt . . . and, my darn shin splints made me a virtual cat on the ceiling whenever anyone or anything bumped my shins. Running died . . . and, the expansion began. The motivation was lost.
Once a person gets him or herself in shape the goal is to stay in shape. It is easier to stay in shape than it is to get into shape. A rule of thumb I was taught many, many years ago is that it takes two days to catch up for one day of missing a workout. I figure that if that rule of thumb is true it will take me about 32 years to get back into shape! Remember, exercise is painful . . . exercise hurts . . . exercise means breaking a sweat . . . I am getting too old for all of that stuff. Just thinking about it makes me want to sit back in my recliner, pop a brew, and revel in the good ol’ days when I actually did run . . . what Bruce Springsteen refers to as the “glory days”. When I think back about how hard I used to work at staying in shape and running competitively, I get tired. There is not much motivation there to break a sweat and get in shape.
Oh sure, I know that by getting in shape I will improve my health . . . I will live longer . . . I will have more energy . . . my mind will work better . . . I will be a two-by-four, I mean, stud. I know that it would make my doctor happy . . . make my wife happy . . . make my exercising son and daughter-in-law happy. As much as I understand this . . . and, as much as I love them all . . . all I can think of is how much work and pain it will take to get back into shape. Still, no motivation.
Then I read an article on the Last Best News website about a 44-year old mother of six who set a world’s record for the mile in Texas. Chris Kimbrough is a native Montanan living in Texas who took up running later in life. In high school and college she was a point guard, running came later. On November 2, 2014, she broke the world record for the mile . . . but, not just any mile . . . she broke the 17 year old record for the women’s beer mile by 13 seconds. She ran 6:28.6 in her first effort. That is pretty impressive considering that she had to run the mile and also drink four beers. You can read her story here or watch the video here.
Here is how the beer mile works: the race begins with the competitor drinking a beer (the beer must have an alcohol content of at least five percent) and then running a quarter mile . . . this must be repeated three more times. So, that is four beers per mile. Chris ran the mile and drank four beers in a little over six minutes. Shoot, there are times when I am driving in my car in downtown Billings that I cannot even get a mile done in six minutes . . . even without drinking four beers. Even more amazing is that she kept it all down at the end of the race. Pretty amazing athlete . . . pretty amazing beer drinker. I don’t know too many people who zip through four beers in six minutes without having to run a mile.
Who knew! Who knew that there was a sport that combined beer drinking with running. Who knew that one of the things I love now could be combined with something that I loved long ago. Who knew that I could find motivation and inspiration in a bottle . . .
I am so inspired and motivated at this point that I am actually considering the idea of putting on the ol’ running shoes and putting in the miles once again. I have something to shoot for . . . a goal to achieve. I have even done my homework . . . the men’s world record for the beer mile is held by James Nielsen who ran a 4:57.1. Okay, I admit that I am motivated, but I am not that motivated . . . I can’t even tie my shoes in 4:57.1! I also checked to see what the Montana record was for the beer mile . . . 5:42.0 by a guy who set the record in 2004. That is quite a record that is not quite in my reach either . . . but, I am motivated . . . I am inspired. Beer and running . . . I haven’t done that since I was a minor stealing beer from upper classmen in college.
But I am motivated . . . or it could be the beer I am drinking. Either way it has got me thinking . . . I need to start doing something and training for the beer mile just might be the trick to getting it done. I know because of my age I should check with my doctor before starting any strenuous exercise program . . . I’ll probably leave the beer part of the training out of the announcement—besides I have been working on that one for quite some time already. I’m sure the doctor will give me the thumbs up.
This could be exciting. I could get me a sponsor . . . like one of the local breweries. They could supply me with the beer for training . . . put their logo on my shirt . . . great advertising seeing that logo and those empties on the side of the track. Just thinking about it inspires me . . . motivates me.
But, first . . . there are some reality checks. The temperature outside is a minus five degrees . . . maybe I should wait until the winter is over sometime in late June or early July to start running. I like a lot of different beers and breweries . . . should I go with an IPA or EPA or Porter or Stout or . . . it could take me a while to test them all out before I decide on a training brew . . . might take months or years. I’d have to find a training partner . . . well, not so much a training partner as a designated driver . . . four beers in six minutes is above the recommended amount for driving . . . how would I get home from the track? And, last but not least, I should probably run it by the wife . . . running—check, beer—I seriously doubt it. And, to think, I could have been a contender!
Well, at least the motivation is here for the time being . . . ask me in the morning . . . it might be gone. I wonder if FitBit makes a counter that counts the beers while logging the miles? A “beer mile” . . . who would have ever thought!