Tonight, on day 632 of my beer and running streak, I ran the fastest mile I’ve run in 7 years. Fittingly, I ran it in the shadow of a brewery.
The race I entered was called the Schlitz Park Mile, which is not to be confused with the beer mile. It took place in a loop around a bike course being used for the cycling criterium Tour of America’s Dairyland. This stage was held in the heart of downtown Milwaukee in Schlitz Park, a business complex around the building of the former Schlitz Brewery.
With a $100 cash prize for the top time in each age group, it attracted some fast, fast people. I immediately recognized one runner who beat me in the Race for the Bacon, so I knew this was a formidable field.
I felt good coming in, especially after running a 5:01 mile on the track last week when the temperature was in the high 90s with hot wind guts. Tonight was ideal conditions in the 70s with a cool breeze coming off Lake Michigan to the east. I knew I could do better.
The course was a quick one, but with a steep and long hill thrown in the middle for a challenge. Fortunately, the homestretch was on a decline, and I took advantage as best I could to stride out a pass a few people.
I crossed the finish line in 4:54, which met my goal of sub-5 with plenty to spare. But I also felt like I could improve on this time and maybe get back in the 4:40s (my high school PR is 4:45) sometime in the near future.
The guy who beat me at the Race for the Bacon sprinted to finish one second ahead of me at the line. That’s good enough motivation to train for the next round. My overall place was 7th, and the winner crossed the finish line in 4:29.
I thought it was only fitting to finish the Schlitz Mile with a Schlitz tallboy at AJ Bombers. I also had the Travel Channel-winning Milwaukee Burger with Schlitz-soaked onions. It was an all-around Schlitzy night.
Later I treated myself to a Three Floyds Zombie Dust, since I left a few people in my dust tonight. Beer is my performance enhancing drug.
PS I’m happy to announce DRAFT now has Beer Runner shirts in the online store. You can find them here.