Undisclosed Location, Rhode Island
August 27, 2008
created by user kjgarl Conditions: overcast
|7||Tim Walsh||11:19.0||M||33||penalty lap|
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FFKICBMC Race Report:
?Daddy, do all your friends work at Yahoo?? my daughter asked innocently
?Ah, no, that?s not really what I meant. To call them yahoo friends doesn?t mean they work for Yahoo?..that?s just a phrase. You know what? Never mind?Just help me carry these 6 x 6?s so I can bolster the deck before they get here?.?
The Fast Freddie Kirk Invitational Clydesdale Beer Mile Championships, held on indeterminate day and at undisclosed track somewhere in Rhode Island, once again brought the best and the biggest to the fore for, as the late, great Jim McKay called, ?the human drama of athletic competition.?
Of course, at this race you half expect to see the wipeout made famous by Slovenian skier Vinko Bogataj as he gives himself a ski pole enema to the phrase ?the agony of defeat?? but all competitors were left standing this year thanks to the excellent camaraderie and ?handling,? so to speak. You had to be there?
I had been having a horrible running summer, mostly because I am pretty sure I got mono from the little recalcitrants at the school where I work (and no, I did not catch it doing anything which would mean I would be fired and/or had to register my name with the authorities), but nonetheless it meant some brutal runs and true, end of marathon-style pain as I would reach the second mile of my runs. Bleech. To use their phrase: Whatever. I was describing the race and my participation in it accurately and consistently as ?a gathering of friends? ? right down to the individualized invitations that King sent out, often with the most incriminating and/or annoying picture of the invited as the centerpiece.
I did get the chance to scout the course a few days before, carefully analyzing the sign which listed all the various prohibited actions, i.e. ?No motorized vehicles, no roller blading, no human sacrifice..? etc., and silently cheered when I saw nothing prohibiting alcoholic beverages. I guess that?s an understandable omission; what kind of idiot would want to drink and run at the same time?
Beer Mile Year #2 brought two new Clydesdales to the mix ? Hanger-On Texas Smitty and Tiny Tim Walsh ? and the virgin Filly Beer Mile (that?s the contest, not the contestants) with Patty French and Martha Huston breaking the gender barrier, though unlike Roberta Gibb in the Boston Marathon, we did not make them hide in the woods before the start. We had a Port-a-john for that?.
I had made individualized race bibs for the race and passed them out, as well as putting a picture of Fast Freddie on the race T-shirt, all through race preparations reveling in the uniqueness of the idea for FFK: after all, who else has their face on a T-shirt besides Che Guevara? A moment of silence in honor of Fast Freddie?s father brought the only moment of dignity or maturity of the entire day, and we were off.
The Old Guy Timing Company put me in the first heat, which was unfortunate, as I really wanted some time to digest the Magic Hat beers which had served as my lunch (I?ll get you back for that, Dave?.), but in the end, it didn?t matter. I wasn?t planning on busting it, and planned on rejoicing in the camaraderie instead. There was a slight delay during the instructions as we discovered Sister Martha attempting to use an illegal beer ? tsk, tsk?easy pour cans are verboten. (And ignorance is no excuse, but it is par for the course at this event.)
The gun went off and KG Coolerman, Handler Extraordinaire, showed why he is the Grand Dam of the Clydesdale Beer Race Triple Crown, pounding a first beer that clearly didn?t stop for directions on the way down. Dr. Who and I were quickly off soon after, though I realize as I?m typing this that if someone said I wasn?t actually in that heat, I wouldn?t argue, as the details are fuzzy.
Luckily it?s impossible to get lost at one of these races ? just keep turning left ? and I slogged my way through the first lap, not uncomfortable or unhappy, though I did pull into the first transition zone and blurted, ?Who?s stupid idea was this??
For those who know me well, I am about as quiet and anti-social as you might expect an average jamoke to be, but for some reason this year I was infused with the wonderment of seeing all these people together again. When the New England Clydesdale Series was on, we?d get together every six weeks it seemed and catch up in a weirdly athletic and yet overweight, quasi-alcoholic way. Now that the series is gone, Patty and I wondered before the race, ?When was the last time we had all gotten together??
Forever, it seemed, so as the race went on, I was talking to everyone. I was talking to people ahead of me, those few running behind me, forever reminding people to take pictures. Heck, during the transition zones I was chatting with everyone within earshot. Imagine a 275 Regis Philbin: that was me.
On the course, all was idyllic. I noticed the little dents in the track that KG made when he ran; I noticed the scent of the nearby pallet factory on the breeze; I saw the cloud formation that looked like Vince Wilfork; it was On Golden Pond in Rhode Island?.?Norman, the loons?look at the loons?
I came in at some ridiculously slow time, yet leapt across the finish with great glee, embodying the thought, ?The race goes not to the strong or the swift, but to those souls who live in the grey twilight and know not victory or defeat..?
Wait, let me get back to you on that one?
The second heat was even more inspiring than the first, as it involved Tiny Tim Walsh, who clearly showed up hoping he was going to finish in the steel, being the only runner that day to revisit his beverages and did so at the third turn, and Matinee Matt Corcoran, who now had a race strategy, which I?m pretty sure was ?don?t get lost & don?t throw up.? Brilliant!
I think there were some other runners in Heat #2. I cheered them on I?m pretty sure?.
In all honesty, the real highlight of the day was the women?s heat, where Martha and Patty battled it out like champions. Martha pulled it out in the end, likely drawing upon the extra 10 years of drinking and running she has on Patty, but it was a long and bitter fight and both will be forever in the FFK Invitational list of participants. That being said, Paulie?s girlfriend was scoping out the scene, and I would not be surprised if the ante is upped next year?.
Before the heat we (well, mostly Smitty) tried to entice the lone other occupant on the track to take part in the women?s heat, but she refused, probably realizing that she didn?t quite fit with the characteristics of the group of men watching the heat, given that she was young, thin and attractive, and our best physical feature as a collective were really cool T-shirts.
It took almost two hours to finish the actual event, given the post-race analysis, and finally we retired to the undisclosed post-race location for some Vitamin Water and yogurt.
I suppose that?s not entirely true.
The post-race festivities were joyous and raucous as usual, and I should point out that not only are the Clydies gregarious, they are also generous. I had put in a plug to contribute to the cookout, thinking along the lines of chips, maybe a tub of potato salad, a dessert here or there ? and so I had raided Stop and Shop for food as if I was about to feed both the Patriots offensive and defensive line, including BBQ chicken, piles of hot dogs and burgers, steak, fish, marinated veggies, the whole deal. Instead, we had people such as Freddie bringing 40 lbs of sausages, others donated packages of enough steak burgers for 30, and on and on. Next year the food is all on me guys. There may be still some left in the freezer?.
One thing I should point out about the food though in spite of all the jokes is that all the veggies (grilled potatoes, mushrooms, onions) and all the healthy sides (corn, Papa?s couscous and pesto pasta) were decimated. Could this be a marker of healthy living to come? I?ll wait for next year?s pictures before making that analysis?
Swimming, ball-busting, eating, drinking and general frivolity followed, as always, and I?m already scanning the calendar for when we can do it again next year.
MVP of the Day: Martha Huston. Not only did she finish in the top half of the race as a 50 year old Filly, but she turned around and whipped Matty in a mile swim across the lake during the post race party, triumphantly slapping the dock with the leaf we all insisted they grab as evidence as making the far side.
I?m glad someone?s in shape, though as I always say, ?Round is a shape.?
See you next year.