Yeah, so it’s not a particularly clever title, but I feel like the race and our approach was interesting enough.
Upon moving to CA in 2015, I fell in with a pretty tough running crew. These dudes like to run really long distances and drink really long numbers of beers. But these aren’t things they do consecutively, but things they do simultaneously. So we’ve all heard about the hashers and most runners at some point will have a story or two about singing, drinking, getting lost, bragging about rugby greatness and general hooligan-ness in that direction. But let me tell you that the Harriers have nothing on this new crew.
So the Nanny Goat is a pretty normal race (as far as races for crazy people go). It takes place on a mile-ish track around a farm in dusty, hot Riverside. There are lots of different distances / times, but I signed up for the 24 hour race. I had very low expectations due to a lack of training, motivation and, well we’ll get to the third point in just a moment. But I was pretty psyched when I arrived at the race bright and early with cool and clear weather in store for the day. Hadn’t done a big distance in a while but was pretty excited to see what I could do.
One of the interesting things as we kicked off the race was the carnival-like atmosphere. While there were very talented runners in attendance, there were many, many runners who were clearly there to have fun and enjoy the day. Lots of crazy get ups and several people even drinking beers early in the morning and with 24 hours of racing ahead. The goons I was running with were not just members of this group, but their leaders.
Everybody was in pink. Our leader was not just in pink, but a pink tutu. Lots of cowboy hats. Hollering and singing. Oh, did I mention the beer?
My group has a unique approach to scoring this race. You get one point per mile. That’s pretty normal. Less standard, however, is the 2 points per beer consumed during the race. There was much discussion about the best strategy to “win” given the disparate rewards of running vs. drinking. But, if no military strategy survives first contact with the enemy, I’d say that no running strategy survives contact with the first Budweiser.
My plan was pretty simple and mostly well executed. 1. Run really slowly. 2. Drink one beer per hour. I figure this way I’ll have the juice to run for the long haul, plus I’d get my points for the beers without getting drunk. And I’d have to say this worked really well. Throughout the day I ran and walked well ahead of a 15 minute pace and consumed about a bear an hour. 12 hours in I had done more than 50 miles and consumed 12 beers. But then I got cocky (or maybe drunk). After about 10 PM I started feeling really good and was possibly egged on by a bad-decision driving buzz. I felt so good that I started hauling ass. Hauling ass at this point meant like 12 minute miles, but still, it felt fast to me. Thus by about 2 I ran out of juice and decided that it was more important to get a bit of rest and live to fight another day than to slog out another seemingly endless 6 hours.
I did however manage to wake up bright and early, do one victory lap with my buddy Mark and one final celebration beer. Final count: 75 miles, 15 beers and one beautiful victory. Until next year Nanny Goat.