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Sunday, May 20, 2018

#sixer: or, how I pulled my hamstring a eight days before a marathon

Friday was the Tchoupitoulas Barathon, that series of bad choices that results in six beers, six bars, six miles. The race is unique in that it doesn't have a course: you just have to hit the bars in order, and you can't run on Magazine Street or on the Audubon golf course. Anything else goes!
David modeling this year's shirt: it says #sixer.
The shirts are usually a tad obscure.

Oh, and to be eligible for awards? You have to drink all the beer - always a challenge.

As we left for the race, it was amid a torrential downpour and thunderstorm. So instead of a racing shoe, I grabbed my old (OLD - 540 miles) Kinvaras, instead. Bad choice, as it turns out...but anyway, we got to the race start and, just as I was about to warmup, the director called a rain delay of 45 minutes. Many of the streets had flooded in the sudden rain, and plenty of runners were still trying to get to the start - plus it was still lightening, which made sense. With my sudden extra time, I was worried about getting hungry, so I ran to a nearby corner store for some potato chips. I sat in the car, as not only was it pouring, I was getting chilly: the rain brought a blessed 78F, as opposed to the predicted 94F.

Once we finally warmed up, we were ready to run, but the start was a mess. I didn't hear the call to start, and didn't start drinking my first beer until I saw some runners already running! And hello, I can't chug a beer. I'm not a frat boy. I take genteel sips. All of which is to say - I'm a bad barathoner. Soon after I finally got started, I passed my friend Melissa, who is a super chugger, so I assumed I'd see her later. I was feeling ok for having had a beer, and was kind of booking it! I hit mile one in 7:13 - and that included a beer. So pretty good. I grabbed my second beer at Reginelli's - a can of Hamm's, if you can believe it. This year we had four cans and two draft, an improvement over the four cans last year, but the first four were warm and foamy cans. And that Hamm's didn't really stay down. I had a very quick and unexpected puke mid-stride as I got started again, which was kind of dreadful, but I kept pushing! My pre-mapped route took me down Henry Clay to St. Charles, then almost to my own home to beer #3 at T.J. Quill's. Meanwhile, I clocked in at an astonishing 6:28 mile 2 on the way (that included beer #2!), but the beer at T.J's took its toll: mile three was a 7:32. The beers just weren't going down that easy anymore. As I turned at TJ's, I could see that I was third, with Paige way out in front, Meghan (an old pro at this race!) second, and a girl in an LRC jersey behind me. I was well in front of Melissa, who must not have been having a good chug night. During mile four I made the bold decision to cut tangents across the park, skidding over wet leaves in an erratic charge to beer #4 at Patois.

BUT. But! As I wound up Webster, hitting 6:36 for my fourth mile, I suddenly felt my foot slip underneath me, and pain stabbed my hamstring! My old shoes and wet streets conspired in the worst way! I jogged up to Patois, hoping to rub the strain out as I drank my beer, but all that happened was that bending over brought on another case of the pukes, and most of that beer came right back out. Ugh. Misery. I tried to jog on, but mile five was an 8:13 of limping. I managed to keep down the two draft beers at Dos Jefes and Grits, but I was easily passed by woman in LRC jersey as I sat clutching my leg. A sweet guy tried to run with me and give me advice (or at least observation, like, "Hey, there is a giant lump on the back of your leg!"), but every step was agony. And I was annoyed, because here I was doing great, and now this. And I wouldn't even place! I drank six beers for no reason! The last mile, with two bars, was the slowest at 8:31, and I finished with just a tad over 6 miles and a 44:51. Fourth. Worst place to be (teammate Paige, by the way, ran under 40 minutes - beers included! And Rich won for the guys, so we did well as a team).

But the night got better. My encouraging friend from the run dragged over his...PT. Yes, his physical therapist had also run the race, and guess what? He had needles in his car. Supposedly clean ones. So I got dry needled - on the bench outside Le Bon Temps Roule bar.

You're not really hard-core until you've had a drunk stranger stick needles in your hamstring outside a bar.

So, my hamstring: I am a little worried about the marathon next week. I iced and compressed it on Saturday, and it's much better now, but I'm probably just going to stay off it all week and jump into the race off a long rest. Or maybe it will miraculously heal. My emergency PT told me that by Sunday it would "just be a memory" and seemed to think two days off was fine, so we shall see!


  1. While I hate that you had an injury that required it, the drunk dry needling on a bench outside of a bar is absolutely amazing and hilarious. Seriously though, hoping it's a minor thing that clears up by next weekend!

  2. I love the picture of you getting dry needled on the bench! I was getting dry needling for my hamstring tendon (it didn't help) and I would be on my phone messaging coworkers about work stuff while it was happening. The joys of working in tech.

    I hope your hammie will be okay. It stinks to have a setback so close to the race, but at least it is taper time and maybe the time off will clear it up?

  3. Oh my goodness! I hope this injury becomes a distant memory, it's already a fantastic story!

  4. Noooooo! I hate that you got an injury so close to the Marathon. That sucks so much. But that is quite a story and will be more funny when you are feeling better! I can’t believe how quickly things flood in Nola. That is a foreign concept for us northerners. I mean I get why things flood fast but it’s still hard to imagine!

    Here’s hoping you feel better by now!!

  5. Yikes. That sounds scary and frustrating. I love that you were dry needled outside of the bar though!