One of the best ways to learn a new language is to enter a language immersion program. The same holds true for running. Some eight years ago, when I returned to running after a long hiatus, I essentially checked into a running immersion program – when I wasn’t actually running, I was reading about running, writing about running, talking about running, watching running, etc. And even though my knee was damaged this past October and I’ve done very little actual running since, I still find myself deeply embedded in the running world. Let me share a few examples from the last couple of weeks.
Best Beer Run
For the one random internet surfer who just stumbled upon this blog, you may not know that my wife Laura and I started a run at the Triple C Brewing Company in Charlotte some three years ago. Last year, a newly-formed organization, Active Charlotte Alliance, started a competition for the best beer run in Charlotte where local runners voted for their favorite brewery run. We won running away, so to speak.
This year, NoDa wanted some revenge. There were 8 days of voting and NoDa jumped out to an early lead. Laura and I and a ton of our Triple C buddies countered with a lot of campaigning so that the Triple C Beer runners took a big lead of our own on the Thursday night before voting was to close Friday at noon – one year earlier, we’d won by a large margin with just over 100 votes total. When we had over 200 votes when I went to bed Thursday night, I thought “This thing’s in the bag”. Wrong.
Hilary or The Donald should hire us – we now have some serious real-world experience campaigning. Here is the timeline of events as Friday turned into a mad scramble to get votes:
10:26 PM (in an email to a friend):
We are currently up 203-174.
08:58 AM text to friend:
208-175. Rolling ’em in the 4th quarter. It would take a crazy rally for them to win now. AND they posted yesterday that “voting ends today” when in reality it lasts til noon today.
09:12 AM text to friend:
Sweet! I don’t want to jinx myself but I think it’s over. NoDa’s gotten 2 votes since I left work yesterday.
10:51 AM Email subject line from Laura:
THEY HAVE 215!!!
10:53 AM text to friend:
Somehow in the last 1.5 hour, NoDa has overtaken the lead – 215-213. I smell something fishy…
[At this point, Laura and I scrambled to get votes, texting, emailing, posting on social media, etc. I’m pretty sure somebody at NoDa was doing the same. This thing turned into a dog fight.]
11:51 AM text to friend:
280-272, them, 8 minutes to go
11:57 AM text to friend:
292-287, them, 3 mins to go
[Remember, voting was to close at noon! 5 down with 3 minutes to go – LeBron would have a hard time bringing us back at this point. But we didn’t cave!]
11:58 AM text to friend:
293-292!!! Triple C!!!!
12:00 PM text to friend:
304-292!!! Suck it NoDa!!!
My hat’s off to NoDa – they came to play this year. But we took their best shot and still won. Triple C Beer Runners: we are officially the best brewery run in Charlotte, 2 years in a row.
Jog It To Five O
Recently, I had a big birthday. Let’s not get bogged down with the details of how old I turned, instead please allow me to tell the story minus that one clearly non-essential tidbit.
I had no idea Laura was planning a bit of a surprise party until the day before my birthday. That day, my friend Chad texted me a cryptic invitation, “Beers tomorrow old man?” Laura had already warned me not to make plans with others on my birthday so I responded with something like “I have a hot date.” Chad implied that Laura and I would be double dating with Danielle and him so I texted, “Ok cool, let’s go somewhere in NoDa.” Because we live in NoDa and I can easily walk home from various drinking establishments and since it was a big birthday, I wanted to be able to drink without dealing with pesky little details like how to safely get home afterward. When Chad texted “Come on man, let’s do Triple C, no brainer,” that’s when I got suspicious.
When we pulled into Triple C on the evening of my birthday, I half expected to see a lot of cars in the parking lot, but that wasn’t the case – it looked like a pretty sparse afternoon at the brewery. I also thought if there were to be a surprise party, it would take place in the warehouse but as we walked past, there was a crowd of folks doing Pilates so I logically assumed there was no surprise party and that we would just be hanging out with the Crockfords.
But just when I was giving up hope, we entered the taproom where I was greeted with a booming “Surprise!” from a crowd of my pals. It was very touching and I waved and rushed past, not because I was rudely ignoring my friends but rather because I got a little emotional and choked up and didn’t want anybody to see – you know, real men don’t cry and all that jazz. I successfully fought off tears and bellied up to the bar. I didn’t know at the time that I was seconds away from fighting off a second wave.
As I was scanning the list of beers in search of just the right regular favorites, I spotted this poster:
I was floored. This was hands down the coolest birthday present I’ve ever received. For the second time in thirty seconds, I fought back tears. I quickly ordered a JITFO beer so that I could drown any emotional outbursts with alcohol. I hugged and thanked my love profusely, got my emotions under control, and then joined all my friends at the big table. Greatest. Birthday. Ever.
Saying Goodbye to the Observer Building
When we recently heard that the uptown Charlotte Observer building was to be demolished, Laura and I made some last second plans to recreate an old picture of me racing past it in the early 80’s. During Thursday’s beer run, Laura (currently working through an injury) rode a bike as I (also still working through injury) ever so slowly jogged up the light rail. We eventually found ourselves on Tryon St. where we hastily put together a photo shoot and ultimately captured this photo on the right:
I’m missing the circa-1983-Loverboy bandana and high socks, the 2016 version is lower quality, and I’m probably a smidge slower now, but otherwise I think we did a pretty decent job of replicating. I can’t wait to do this again in 30 years, with all the future Jetson-style air cars and holograms and robots in the background. Should be fun!
There you have it – two weeks of a running life with hardly any running. Hopefully soon, my running life will also include some, you know, running. Until then, I toast you with a JITFO beer (metaphorically as Adam drank the last literal pints).