This marks the 11th running of the “Beer Run” in Greensboro, NC. All proceeds go to the Special Olympics. This years event drew a record crowd of 800+ for the 5 mile race. The setting was perfect and the weather was flawless for a good run.
This year, my buddy was unable to run the event due to a newly recovered injury that didn’t need the added stress of a race. My wife made the trip with me to Greensboro this go around and she teamed up with our good friends to round out the cheering squad. My wife doesn’t often see me race, so I wanted to make sure I did well. My goal was a sub 31 minute 5 miler.
The cheering squad waited patiently inside the pub, consuming red ales and lagers, while I took off for my final warmup. (its 3pm by the way) I didn’t do anything crazy. I did an easy mile jog with some quick bursts to get my muscles up and running. I walked back to the start and lingered for about five minutes. I did the norm of adjusting the shorts, fixing my laces and making sure my pony tail was nice and tight. I was ready.
The race starts off in two groups, both converging into one just second after the starts. The race quickly opens up and spreads out as the weekend warriors fade fast into iPod lala land. The pace is fast, actually too fast for me. I settle down and hold a steady clip. By mile one I am feeling extremely good. Mile one- 6:05
We round the bend and downhill fast. I pass several runners and avoid excess speed down the hill to preserve my pace. We take the exit ramp up hill. I catch several more runners on the hill. I attack as I would trail running, knowing that I can recover pretty quickly. Nothing hurts more than being passed up hill. It felt good to be the passer. The course flattens out and I recover as expected. I catch a runner with a strange stride. As I approach him, I soon realize the strangeness. No shoes. Hmmmm? Maybe I wouldn’t be passing him if he had on shoes. Heck, I gotta give him credit, hes was moving for a shoeless runner. Mile 2- 6:22
The course zig zags through the outskirts of UNC-G. A band of Harley enthusiast cruised along side me for about a half mile or so pumping some serious decibels from their chromed tailpipes. One biker got in my way a bit and I had to run right next to him to grab his attention. I darted in front of him and rounded the turn catching another runner. Mile 3 seemed to take forever. 6:17
Mile 4 was kind of a blur. I remember seeing my running buddy (my coach for the day) giving me some stats. He said I was in 15th place. I was shocked. I had no clue what place I was in. I kinda had figured top 30 or so. There was a pack of 3 runners about 100 meters ahead. I had tried catching them earlier and now I was running out of time and energy to do so. Mile 4- 6:15
Before the race started I stated that I wanted to run a sub 31 and a final mile in under 6 minutes. I was beginning to realize neither were going to happen. I wasn’t gonna back down. As a matter of fact, I dug deep. By pure luck I guess, my cheering squad had hunkered down at the bottom of the toughest hill on the course. It gave me a huge boost. I didn’t have the energy to really acknowledge them. I pushed up the hill. All I could think about was the finish line was about a half mile away. Could I recover? Did I have enough to finish strong?
I recovered from the hill a lot better than expected and I hit the final stretch. I opened my stride and took off! I rounded the final turn and glanced at the clock. I was at 30:50 just before the finish. I smiled and cruised through the timing gate. I was so pleased with my effort. I looked over my splits on my Garmin going through each mile. My final split was 5:54, but the Garmin clocked it at a distance of .95 miles. So I didn’t run an official sub 6 for my final mile.
I gave it my all, pushing these 34 year old legs to the limit. Not bad for only running 3 days a week. I finished 15th overall and 4th in a strange age group of 30-39. Over 30% of the runners were in that age group. Cant wait for the 2012 race.
If you’re looking to do a fun road race early in the season, this is the race for you. Its a great event and a fun crowd. Free beer and free music afterwards. Plus, Greensboro, NC is one happening town. Tons of good food and good drinks.