When say I was blackout drunk, that’s not completely accurate considering I can remember a great deal of the night. But blackout sounds better for the title of this post than brownout, which I believe is the more correct term in this case. Before I jump into this story, it’s worth noting this was two years before I ever ran my first marathon. Nowadays, agreeing to do Ragnar would be the equivalent to setting up a coffee date. Back in 2011, the only other race I’d ever run was a pathetic (really hungover) Boulder Boulder 10K.
You know those nights where you’re just ready to party? This was one of those nights. I hadn’t been out in awhile, like a month, and I knew some serious drinking was in order. My girlfriend, Keri, and I had an open bar at a work event, drinks with friends, and a Groundlings show lined up.
*Note: When I read these first two paragraphs I realize what a loser drunk I sound like.
Let me give you the highlights of the first half of the night:
- Pre-drinks at home (not helping my loser drunk label with this comment)
- Take the Metro to Universal Citywalk (yes, L.A. has a subway)
- Open bar work function at The Universal Citywalk Jilian’s (super lame, I know)
- Pound free drinks for two hours (it’s an open bar, and I love nothing more than free drinks)
- Take a cab to the Village Idiot (we didn’t know what the fuck Uber was at this point in time)
We roll up to Village Idiot and sit down with our friends, Millie, Adam, Kristin and Jed, ready to keep the party going. Kristin plants the seed right away, “Do you guys want to run the SoCal Ragnar in March.” (Let’s note here that Kristin is now an Iron Man, which means that at the time she asked us to do this, asking people to do a Ragnar was akin to asking them for a coffee date.) Keri backs out right away…maybe it was because she had a scheduled conflict, maybe she wasn’t nearly drunk as me, or maybe it’s that she hates running.
On the other hand, I start to water this seed…”What’s a Ragnar?” I ask Kristin. The SoCal Ragnar is:
- A relay race from Hunting Beach to San Diego (180 miles)
- 12 person teams (two six person vans)
- You run, drive, sleep (barley), repeat
- Each person runs about three 10Ks in 24 hours
To a good runner, no big deal. To me at this point in my life…BIG deal. But Kristin, to her credit, is very persuasive. Knowing how good an endurance athlete Kristin is Adam, Millie, and I are very hesitant. We head over to The Groundlings show where, side note, Tom Hanks is sitting directly in front of me. Yes, that Tom Hanks was actually 24 inches from me. I know I’m not a complete loser drunk because I at least managed to not talk to or touch him, despite my lack of inhibitions due to the drink.
Afterward, we head back to the Village Idiot where Adam, Melissa, and I proceed to be the real idiots by giving Kristin a glimpse of hope by not shutting her down completely. She’s just so damn nice. We take a shot of 156 proof whiskey that tasted like turpentine to end the night. We leave the Village Idiot to head home with a “sounds fun, I think we might do it” answer.
Few people can recall with certainty the day they were the most hungover. For me it was the next day, Sunday, February 6th, 2011. I know the date with certainty because it is SuperBowl Sunday. The kicker is, we had a huge party that day and I couldn’t drink or enjoy it at all because I had wrecked my body.
On this day, two things happen that are hard to wrap your mind around when hung over:
- My friend Dan who lives in Brussels sends an email saying, “I’ll be in Las Vegas next weekend, do you guys want to come?” The thought of going to Vegas at that hungover moment still gives me the dry heaves as I write this. (But of course, we DID go to Vegas the next weekend, for 26 hours)
- Adam, Melissa and I get an email confirmation “Congratulations for signing up to Ragnar!” We’re stunned, and can’t believe that Kristin has signed us up.
As we’re sitting there in disbelief, Keri chimes in, “Why are you so surprised? You agreed to do the race last night.”
“What?!” I said.
“Don’t you remember agreeing to do the Ragnar at the Village Idiot?”
“You did a celebration shot of 156 proof whiskey.”
“Oh noooooo…” She was right…we totally agreed to it. I spent the next 20 minutes staring into a bag of Frito Pie in shock.