|Finishing the first leg of the|
Hallo-wiener Hustle in Manch Vegas
[Photo courtesy Gianina Lindsey]
Manchester, NEW HAMPSHIRE -- You know the old saying...if you can't beat 'em, start racing in hot dog and beer drinking relays! For the second time in less than two months I found myself dressed in full redneck regalia on the starting line with Perry the Platypus, a 5 foot tall Coney Island Dog, and some dude in a poncho and sombrero. What in all things Dijon was I doing? Why the Hallo-wiener Hustle of course. This new event popped up on the radar back in the summer when the RD e-mailed me to ask for help spreading the word. Originally the race was scheduled for Halloween but a freak snowstorm forced a postponement. We lost one of the original four, but found a Disco Bunny as a replacement. This relay was modeled after the Grog 'N Dog that we did in October...4 person team, 1.25 mile city loop, hot dog, and beer. Back in Providence last month I held back a little not having any experience with following a run with shoving a hot dog down my throat and guzzling a beer. Turns out it was still difficult so this time I decided to employ the Fitzgibbon Principle; show up or blow up. But this event wasn't mine alone to win, I brought three very capable (and very thirsty and hungry) teammates in Dena 'Disco Bunny' Beauchesne, Timmy 'Wiener' Lindsey, and Mariano 'The Nerd' Santangelo. Without our 4 minute miler Nick Wheeler, who happened to be in Philly trying to qualify for the US Olympic Marathon trials, I would lead off the race and attempt to establish us somewhere in the Top 5. With the aid of a belt (I didn't wear one last time and ran with one hand on my cutoffs the entire way) I jumped off the line hard and tried to stay with the lead group. Clearly the ringers would be a 4-some of tight wearing no shirt 20-somethings who apparently thought 'abs' were a costume (thank you Gianina Lindsey for that line). The youngster quickly gapped myself, Perry, and the dude with a sombrero. By the time we had run the 1/4 mile up Elm and before the turn onto Blodgett I had moved into 2nd place and was pushing as hard as a redneck could push. Perhaps pulled by my younger and faster competition or lured by the smell of stale beer and cigarettes in McGarvey's Bar, I arrived back at the start in 2nd place overall in a brisk 6:45 for the 1.23 mile loop (5:30's if you're scoring at home). Quickly 'hustling' inside I found my place marker at the corner of the bar with my steamed wiener and a 22 ounce Miller Lite. Not a big fan of the bun dunk and naked dog chomp I methodically alternated between bites and gulps. With the dog down I still had about 1/2 the beer to go and with two college-sized 'sips' I emptied the plastic cup and set it down emphatically on the bar. Apparently my skinny-legged ab wearing foe must have been drinking his beer with a straw because I emerged out of McGarvey's in first overall! Or did I? Handing the baton off to Mariano we were now in 1st place overall...for the moment, and what a brief moment it was. The #2 'ab' clad no shirt wearin' track star quickly overtook Mariano making him look like he was running in chinos...wait, he was running chinos. With a determined look and a pocket protector he bravely held off all other challenges and matained our 2nd place overall lead as he arrived back at the bar. In a dog eating display that would have made Joey Chestnut proud, Mariano buzzed through his Schonland and empty his beer with dizzying efficiency. Sort of made one wonder if he had done this before? By the time he handed the baton to Dena the "transition area" outside the bar was chaos and it was becoming next to impossible to figure out who was where and what place we were in other than behind the "Dudes With Abs" and in front of the "4 Amigos". In true aR fashion, Disco Bunny Dena ran her tail off (figuratively) and although gave up a spot to a guy in a multi-colored poncho kept us decidedly in the mix overall. Our anchor, Timmy Lindsey (or as they call him in the 'hood, T-Lin), had made the most ironic journey of all to be in that moment to help us podium. Only a few short years ago he had found himself topping 375 lbs. With the support of his family and incredible determination, he had lost over 200 lbs. and is now a multiple time marathon finisher! As he took the baton from Dena his two worlds collided in the most ironic moment in dog & beer relay history. Here he was setting off to do something that had become a huge part of his life now (running) to get to a place he had been to not long ago (devoring hot dogs and drinking beer). In a head-to-foot hot dog costume he steamed the course and pushed up the bar for the last 'leg' of his race and ours. Harkening back to his days as a semi-pro eater he devowered the dog and polished off the beer in near record time sprinting out of the bar and perhaps into Hallo-wiener Hustle history! Confident we had to have been in the Top 5 overall and perhaps the fastest co-ed team we anxiously awaited the results. And when they were finally posted we were shocked to see...that we weren't even listed!? Fearing there had been a mistake I immediately went inside to talk to the timer (and aR teammate). Apparently, during the pre-race briefing I was too busy getting in the head of the young guy with tights and didn't hear the RD explain there was one door for going into the bar and another for leaving bar. And the door for leaving the bar had the official timer. My lap had never been recorded. I wasn't alone. Multiple teams made the same mistake. But we ran all the loops, ate all the dogs, and drank all the beer. After a few tense moments and some re-scoring the official annoucement was made...we had won the co-ed division! Our prize? A Pabst Blue Ribbon beer wagon. Oh, how I love these races!
|[L-R] Dena, Timmy, Chris, Mariano|
[Photo courtesy of Gianina Lindsey]