Five years ago, Bob Pack and I connected on Twitter when I was in the middle of a daily beer and running streak. He started doing the same thing.
I stopped my streak at three years. But more than 1,825 days later, he’s still going strong.
Pack has continued the streak through marathons, a race that combined beer and hot dogs, and even a 101 degree fever.
In this Q+A, Pack talks about what keeps him going, his go-to style of beer after running, and his plans for the future.
What’s been the biggest struggle in keeping the streak alive?
I’m lucky in one way that wherever I’ve worked during the streak there has been a gym with showers. I always have the ability to run on a treadmill (worst case) or outside on the road or on a trail that I can find. My work units have been very receptive to my running and allow me the time to do five-plus miles each day. I can simply add hours as needed. In fact, they have tracked me during the two Boston Marathons that I’ve run.
I’ve been lucky enough to be injury free during the streak. The two hardest days was when I ran my 1 mile with a 101.8◦F fever. It was stupid and I shouldn’t have done it but did. And, yes, I would do it over again. The other hard run was the day after the Steamtown Marathon in 2013. It wasn’t a run in so much as one mile of hopping. It took me a week to improve and “only” feel the amount of pain that I normally feel the day after other marathons.
What’s been the biggest change you’ve seen in yourself since starting the streak five years ago?
I actually am a lot more focused. Not just with the running but in general. I realize that I have to keep to a schedule to get things done and also get my running in. I have also become a much more confident runner. I started running first just for exercise since I don’t have an ACL in my left knee. However, I realized that I could become good at it even though I started so late in life. The focus has also helped me on long runs. I get in the zone and the miles simply disappear.
What’s your go-to beer after running?
I really don’t have a go-to beer but more of a go-to style. A good resiny IPA really quenches my thirst. Other than beer, I love the crisp taste of Winchester CiderWorks Malice [apple cider].
What’s been your most memorable beers during your streak?
My most memorable beers during the streak were The River Brewing (Radford, Virginia) Timber brown ale that I drank after I finished the Blue Ridge Marathon this past April and Trillium’s Congress Street IPA after last year’s Boston Marathon. The race went terribly: 40◦F, rainy, and 20 mph headwinds the entire way. The beer was a great ending to a bad race.
A friend has organized two beer runs akin to the Beer Mile and one beer/hot dog race.
His beer run involves one 12-ounce beer every half- mile and is run bandit style through a local small town. We grab other friends to serve as flagmen to keep us from getting run over at intersections. The beers have been from local brewers. The first year, I finished third and the beer was a kölsch from Crooked Run. This past year, I finished second, and we enjoyed MacDowell Brew Kitchen’s Weiz Ass. After the fourth beer, trying to get all the carbonation out of your belly is so hard.
The beer/hot dog race is modeled after the Big Man’s race in Worcester, Massachusetts. The real race is four miles long and involves three stops for a beer and a hot dog. The runners run with dollar bills pinned to their shirts so that they remember to tip the wait staff. There are no age groups, just weight categories. The race’s organizer won four different weight categories. I finished third in the race. Again, it was through the same local town.
What’s been your biggest accomplishment during these five years?
My biggest accomplishments: I ran my first Boston Marathon in 2014, the year after the bombing. The experience along the entire course still brings chills down my spine. People were cheering the entire way. I just wanted to soak in the race without expectation but actually PR’ed and BQ’ed [Boston Qualified] for the following year.
I’ve also inspired two people to start running streaks of their own. Both streaks have since ended, but it’s nice knowing that I’ve been able to inspire people. Early on in my running group, I was using those better than me to pull me along and give me the drive to improve. I can now do that for others.
What advice do you have for others thinking about starting a streak?
For me days 80-100 were the hardest. The streak hadn’t taken hold of my life yet. In the beginning, just run. Don’t have a long-term goal. When I started on Aug 1, 2011, I never thought that I would make it to the end of the year. Then, I never thought that I would make it to my first marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon in October 2012.
Lastly, listen to your body and use the one-mile minimum days as your “rest” days. Your aches and pains will tell you when its time to dial things down a bit. Keep things varied. Different types [of runs] will not just use your muscles differently but can keep things fresh.
What are your goals for the future?
I haven’t really set any long-term goals. Perhaps the biggest thing is that I want to end the streak on my own terms. I want to decide not to run. I don’t want an injury deciding things for me.
Anything else to add?
Have fun. If it’s not fun during the streak, stop. There may be days that I don’t want to run but, really, I just don’t want to get off my butt. Once I get my feet moving, I really enjoy it and love getting into the zone.