The Beer & Bacon 5k Run (Wisconsin, September 2018)
My wife’s family lives in Wisconsin. It’s a tradition of ours to visit them for the long Labor Day weekend. I had a little more free time this trip than usual and I was looking for a race in the area. I literally found the perfect one: A 5k Bacon and Beer Race. After the finish, they served unlimited beer and bacon. It sounded too good to be true and an amazingly fun race!
So naturally I signed up. Even my wife signed up for this one. The 5k wasn’t up to speed (pun intended) on the timing at the start of the race. I get spoiled living in NYC where every race is top notch with elite athletes. When they started the clock, you just started running. If you were one of the last ones to cross the start line, you were 15-20 seconds behind everyone else’s time. There wasn’t a clock time and then your time. Everyone had the same start time which is not accurate, but whatever, it was a smaller race event.
The course was beautiful – I had walked part of the course before (right on Lake Michigan). Due to rain, it was a little wet and sticky, but totally fine. Again, the humidity caught me off guard (all Summer it caught me off guard) and there were a few hills that were pretty steep. I started off too hot – I was trying to keep with the front of the pack. I ended up slowing down at the half way mark. I was thrilled when I crossed that finish line as the humidity, hills and too quick of a start got the best of me. But my finish was good enough for 5th place overall out of 150+ runners/walkers. No complaints there. First time finishing a race in the top 5, so I’ll take it!
Then, there was the after event. I’ll tell you, this was my favorite small race I’ve ran and by far the best after-party. Wisconsin does it right in the most mid-west, Wisconsin way ever. Unlimited cups of bacon, bacon nachos, unlimited beer, a BLT from Jimmy Johns, Swag bag with a mug and other trinkets, a bag of chips, etc. SO. MUCH. FOOD. I loved every minute of it.
In all honesty, I actually didn’t eat that much. I had my half BLT, one piece of bacon, 3 small nacho chips and a sip of beer. The rest was water for me! I won first in my age group (awarded with a pack of bacon), my wife won first in her age group (awarded with a pack of bacon) and I won a random raffle that I didn’t even know existed (which granted me with another pack of bacon).
I left that race smiling, with 3 packs of bacon, a medal, t-shirt, swag bag and a pin for top overall finisher by age-group. I also made a few friends in the process. If I’m around during Labor Day next year, which I usually am, I’m definitely coming back for more.
The takeaway: Don’t ever lose the love of the sport. Not every race has to be intense, a PR or even for training purposes. Sometimes, you just need to kick back, relax and enjoy the sport and gift we’ve all been given – to run. We all need more of these races!