For Dan Walsh, running and beer has made unemployment slightly more bearable.
Walsh was let go from his job of 14 years on a Friday, and started a running streak on the following Monday. That was more than 8 months ago.
“I convinced myself that I would go running everyday until I found a job,” he said. “I figured that it would be about 90 days and then I would have a job again. Well that hasn’t happened, so my streak is now over 250 days and still going.”
The Nebraska native and Milwaukee resident spoke in this Q+A about losing 45 pounds during his streak, his favorite post-run beer and his advice for someone starting a run or beer streak.
What has kept you going?
I’ve been using this runstreak during job interviews, to prove my determination. I just haven’t landed the right job yet. And at this point, I can’t stop before I get a job. I’m not a quitter. Also, there was no way I could have kept this streak going without my Runkeeper app on my phone. Having audio cues during my runs has been a lifesaver. Last, but far from least, I owe a lot to my wife. There have been several days were she pushed me and help keep the streak alive by making sure I went for a run. She’s been my rock during this streak and I couldn’t have done it without her support.
How does it feel so far?
I’m all over the map on this one. It’s great, frustrating, invigorating. I’m in the best shape of my life, I’ve lost 45+ pounds. But it’s a challenge physically and mentally. The inconsistency is the hardest part. One day I’ll run 10 miles and feel great, then another day I’ll struggle with 3 miles. That has been my biggest frustration. But, none of my clothes fit anymore which has been an awesome motivator for me.
How often do you drink beer during this streak?
At first, when I still had my severance I would buy a 6 pack a week and usually have 1 beer every night. Then once unemployment took over, it was hard to justify buying beer on a regular basis. So I’m down to a maybe, a 6 pack a month. Although a friend just brought me a 12 pack of Lucky Bucket from Omaha that has helped tide me over.
Do you have a favorite post-run beer?
Central Waters’ Satin Solstice Imperial Stout is an all time favorite. Left Handed Milk Stout is another one that hits the spot.
Do you have a favorite local watering hole for after a run?
It’s probably not good to admit this, but I rarely go out to bars and have a drink. I think the last time I was at a bar was the Sugar Maple, but that’s been at least 2 years. Having a 3 yr old in the house is top priority. I like being home and playing with my daughter and having a beer after she goes to bed. Living 4 blocks from Kopps Frozen Custard is actually what I indulge in more. I’d rather have a flavor of custard (Heath Bar) at Kopps than hit a watering hole. I realize what I said is sacrilege in Wisconsin. I just prefer drinking beer at home watching the Brewers, Packers or Marquette basketball on TV.
Do you need someone to send you more beer?
Yes. Please. Anything. Wait. Can beggars be choosers? No Bud. Anything but Bud.
What’s your future goals?
Find a job. Then work to maintain the pace/speed/miles I have been able to accomplish during this runstreak. I’ll probably go back to running 3-4 times a week. I’m running my first half marathon at the Summerfest Rock N Sole. I can’t see myself ever running a marathon, but you never know.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about starting a run or beer streak?
Patience. I wanted to be a world beater right from the start. Then after about 2-3 months you hit a wall that was really tough to get through. It’s physically demanding and emotionally demanding. Understanding how your body will react to runs has been a huge help. And last but not least, stretching. It’s the only way I can keep my muscles loose.
Anything else to add?
Running music: Gaslight Anthem, Ozomatli, MyNameIsJohnMichael, Jukebox the Ghost, 311, Desaparecidos. You can find my writings at both Dadnabbit.com & Popdose.com (shameless plug)