Day #76 — A Day of Milestones (06/10/2012)

Much like the recently ballyhooed Transit of Venus, this past Sunday saw another coming-together of events that will likely not occur for at least another 105 years. On June 10th, I ran my 200th mile and drank my 100th (unique) beer in the same day, with the starting point being the day I started up with this daily beer/mile goal back in March.

Okay, that sounded more impressive in my head.

THE RUN — 7.08 miles in 1:03:14 (08:55/mile pace)

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve recently enrolled in a formal marathon training program to help prepare me for the Chicago Marathon this coming October. This isn’t just a program that I found online and am trying to follow on my own; rather, I am paying money to train for my 9th marathon, an 18-week program through CARA (Chicago Area Runners Association) which actually costs more than the marathon itself. I’ve run marathons before, but I will freely admit that I’ve never really “properly” trained for one, following mileage charts and the like. Up to this point, I haven’t had that kind of long-view attention span, at least as it applies running. On one hand, I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t a small point of pride that I’ve still been able to finish marathons, but I do wonder just how much faster I could run if I ever got my shit together.

Lately, it seems like I’ve been stumbling across more and more quotes in running articles from people who say that training for a full marathon was just as rewarding as finishing the race, if not more so (?!?). Quotes along the lines of, “Finishing the marathon itself felt great, but it was made all the more meaningful by the fact that I trained for 18 weeks of my life leading up to it.” And lately, I have kind of wanted to see if there’s any truth to that, if maybe I would feel the same way if I put in the actual work. And one day about 2 weeks back, it clicked; I decided that I would follow an 18-week program. Since I am 100000% sure that I could never stick to a structured training program on my own, complete with the long runs (I’ve tried before, and just couldn’t keep up with it), I forked out the $$ to train with CARA during the week and weekends. I gotta say that I’m actually looking forward to training with a group. I figure that AT WORST, I’ll meet some presumably great people along the way, and at best, I’ll qualify for Boston comfortably improve my PR while running strong in front of my friends & family during the Chicago full in October. I see literally zero downside.

I may never follow a prescribed 18-week marathon training program again, but just once in my life, I want to say that I trained for a race The Right Way. This is my time.

This is the training schedule that I will be following for the next 18 weeks. I have already had this chart tattooed backwards on my upper torso, like Guy Pierce in Memento, so that I may easily read it in the mirror. Remember Sammy Jankis.

My first group training run, a modest 6-miler, was scheduled to start from Montrose Harbor this past Sunday morning (June 10th) at the ungodly early hour of 6:30am. It turns out that the most challenging part of the run would actually be going to sleep the night before, because as I was preparing to go to sleep around 10:30p, I heard some hollering and whistles outside my apartment. No matter, I thought, the noise will die down soon enough. As the din only grew louder over the following 5 minutes, I finally looked outside my apartment to see…


(Note: I’m pretty sure you can’t see any dicks or boobs in the following grainy cell phone picture, which I’ve analyzed like the Zapruder film, but I wouldn’t stake my life on it)

I saw a lot more naked people on a quiet Saturday night than I was expecting

“LESS GAS, MORE ASS!!!” the cheers rang out, and I went down to the street to rap with my neighbors (also standing in front of their buildings) and take in the ridiculousness of it all. I didn’t even know this was taking place, much less that there would be 1,000+ participants. After watching another 10 minutes (seriously, where did they all come from?!?) of a solid stream of scantily-clad bikers passing by, I finally retired to my sleeping quarters, bikers still riding by and cheering as I re-entered my apartment. The funniest part of it all was that at the end of my street, the naked bikers all turned right on Clark Street to ride past Wrigley Field, where a Brad Paisley/Miranda Lambert/Jerrod Niemann/The Band Perry/Chris Young country concert was just ending. Talk about a culture clash, eh?

The run the following morning was great but uneventful. I will normally be running with CARA on Saturday mornings instead of Sundays, so I didn’t want to get TOO emotionally invested in the Sunday group (a scheduling conflict this week meant that I couldn’t make it to the Saturday group run (Ed Note: I got hammered on Friday night and didn’t wake up until 10am on Saturday)), but it was a really nice change of pace to run with a group instead of training like Han from Star Wars….you know, Solo (kill me now). More details to come as I get deeper into the training, but so far, so good.

THE BEER — Stranger American Pale Ale (Left Hand Brewing Co.)

This isn’t a picture of the exact beer that I drank on June 10th, but I like the framing of the picture and I wanted to share it with you all anyway. Also, the beer is called Booyah, so you can S a D if you don’t like it.

According to the Untappd app that I’ve been using to chart my drinking exploits, the Stranger American Pale Ale that I drank on Sunday morning was the 100th unique beer that I’ve sampled since March 27th. Untappd goes so far as to give you a nifty online badge for your 100th beer that makes you feel even more like an alcoholic, in case you don’t pick up on the fact that that was implied already. 100 different beers in 76 days feels like a lot, but that’s been on purpose: it was never my intention to just buy a cube of Busch Light and drink the same beer every day for a month. In particular, my number of unique beers if high for 3 reasons:

  1. On March 31st, I went to something call the Chicago Beer Festival at Chicago’s Union Station, where I sampled 30+ different beers. You’ll never believe this, but I woke up the next morning fully clothed on my couch. That got me off to a flying start, and I haven’t looked back.
  2. I live less than a half-mile away from the nearest Binny’s beer/liquor beverage depot, which fantastically lets you build your own 6-pack of craft beers for $9.99. There are 100+ beers to choose from, so I haven’t been wanting for options. Binny’s is also right down the street from my gym, so if I’m ever running low on beer in my refrigerator, I just stop by Binny’s after a workout to pick up another 6 new beers that I’ve never tried before.
  3. When I go out to the bar, I tend to order beers on tap that I haven’t tried before. I want to try them all. #YOLO, and all that.


This upcoming weekend is going to be a rough one — Saturday morning at 7am I will be running “Illinois’ Toughest 15K” down in Peoria, and then driving back to Chicago to run the inaugural Late Night 6K Glo Run at 9:15pm. Then the next day, after driving to and from Naperville for Father’s Day festivities in the morning, I will be running my first ever Warrior Dash mud run/obstacle course, which I’m hoping will help prep me for the Tough Mudder in September. As Sam Jackson would say…

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2 Responses to Day #76 — A Day of Milestones (06/10/2012)

  1. Dawn Johnston says:

    Great post. Love your blog. Good luck with the running program and the Warrior Dash! I’m signed up for the October Tough Mudder in KY. So far I’m taking Kettlebell classes to build strength but I have to pick back up on the running.

    • Otter says:

      Hey, I didn’t see this reply earlier, but thanks for stopping by! I’m genuinely nervous about the Tough Mudder…I’ve done trail runs before, but I’m hoping that my back can handle all of the obstacles. I also have no freaking clue how to go about training for something like that, other than running and lifting. As my Tough Mudder is now officially only 2 months away, I guess I’ll see how it goes.

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