Tag Archives: Atwater Brewery

Fail at Hightail, and This Must Be Love

What one thing did I do last Friday night that caused these reactions? See if you can guess.

Race director: “Oh, shit.”

Wife: “Do you want some company?”

Daughter: “Oh, Daaaaad!!!”

Daughter’s fiancee: “Do you have any pictures?”


Give up? Here’s a hint: For the next week or so, y’all can just call me Lefty.

Yes, I managed to do quite a number on myself at the Hightail to Ale 5K in Detroit Friday night. And I hadn’t even had a beer.

The Hightail to Ale is an RF Events race near the Atwater Brewery in Detroit. It’s been described as a beer party with a 5K thrown in. And if you ever wanted proof that “free beer” is a guaranteed draw, check out this photo of just one wave of the runners who showed up.

Hightail 2016 - Wave Start

I was serving as captain of the Zero Waste team, our new initiative for diverting as much waste as possible away from the landfill. I had a particular motivation for doing ZW at this event; last year the few recycle stations had overflowed and I wound up dragging many bags filled with cans and bottles to the trash dumpster.

Last year - good try, but too few and unmanned.

Last year – good try, but too few and unmanned.

That turned out to be of my motivations for starting the ZW program, so we’d come full circle. Now we had ten Zero Hero tents and a staff of volunteers to change the bags out, sort them, and make sure all the recyclables got recycled.

This year: more stations, checked regularly.

This year: more stations, checked regularly.

Along with the free can of beer at the finish (for those of legal age), Atwater was also selling beer like – well, like cold beer on a warm night – and our Zero Hero tents were soon filling up with empties. We stacked the full bags near the dumpster for final sort and weighing before tossing them in.

Final sort before tossing in the dumpster.

Final sort. Note the dumpster is over the fence; this would have serious unintended consequences. (Although added stupidity was needed.)

As the party began to wind down, I observed that some bags of recyclables were being tossed into the dumpster before they were weighed. I walked around the block to access the dumpster (on the other side of this fence) and climbed in to get an estimate of how much was in there.

Seeing that unclosed bags had spilled cans and bottles all over, I decided to forego trying to weigh it. We’d rely on the report from our hauler instead. That wise decision having been made, I made up for it with a bad one.

The main area was just over the chain-link fence. It would be so much quicker to just jump over that fence instead of walking around the block again! The temptation was too much. I put one hand on the top fence rail to steady myself, and kicked myself over.

Sure, anyone could jump that fence from the dumpster. Right?

Sure, anyone could jump that fence from the dumpster. Right?

As I landed on the other side I knew something really bad had happened. My right wrist had caught on the open wire at the top of the fence, and I had a deep gash in it several inches long and bleeding profusely. I clamped my other hand hard over it and walked to the volunteer area. The first-aid truck had just left, of course, so someone called 911.

By the time the ambulance arrived the bleeding had nearly stopped but they confirmed I’d need stitches. I opted for U-M Hospital in Ann Arbor instead of a Detroit hospital, and the race director, after his initial reaction, drove me there. I arrived at 10 p.m. and got through initial triage fairly quickly. However, all the residents were tied up with major trauma cases so I wound up sitting on a hallway gurney most of the night waiting “to get picked up” (hey, that’s the official term).

My wife texted me several times while I waited, wondering if I’d like some company. Finally it got into my thick head that she actually wanted to get out of her warm bed in the middle of the night to sit with her wounded mate. She arrived around 1:30. I was finally stitched up (13 total) and released at 5:00 a.m. Saturday morning.

And that’s how we spent the first few hours of our 33rd anniversary.


Followup: I am mending well, and while I cancelled my gym sessions for the week, I’m running and cycling to prep for the Glacier Ridge Trail 50 this weekend.

I also owe another shout-out to the Zero Waste crew and the other Hightail volunteers who made sure the tents all got packed up and the remaining waste put where it belonged. You rock, everybody!

And finally: My wife told our daughter in Richmond what had happened during a phone call on Sunday. Her reaction was predictable. Her fiancee, a medical technician, was the one who asked for photos (professional interest). Whether I sent her any or not I won’t divulge here. But I won’t subject my readers to any. (You’re welcome.)

How to Get Hot Women Runners to Notice You

MY WIFE WORRIES when I head out to a race, decked out in my neon shoes, tech shirt, and compression shorts. “What are you going to do,” she asks me, “when all those hot women throw themselves at you?”

Until now, oddly, this hasn’t been a problem.

However, at last week’s Hightail to Ale 5K in Detroit, it finally happened. And as a public service for the frustrated, lonely men out there, I will tell you how I did it.

Hey, baby, wanna have a look at my collection of ultra medals?

Hey, baby – wanna come up and look at my ultra medals?

Guys, we all know there are several “can’t miss” ways to get attention from the ladies. Which one of them did I employ that evening?

  1. Be rockstar-rich and famous. Nope, not quite there yet.
  2. Look like a Greek god (or better yet, be one). Never been mistaken for one.
  3. Hand out free beer. YES! And it COUNTS!
Readying for the onslaught.

Readying for the onslaught.

And how did I exploit this enviable situation? Read on for a key lesson I learned in relating to the fair sex and how I used it to my advantage.

I’d volunteered for the Hightail to Ale as part of my new interest in seeing how races handle all the trash they generate – food, water bottles, cups, and the like. At the Gazelle Girl half, I’d seen how careful planning and key partnerships resulted in the composting or recycling of 99% of what usually goes to a landfill. Now I wanted to see how a more typical event dealt with it.

But instead of the garbage detail, I was assigned to a central part of the event; the Atwater Brewery beer to be handed out at the finish. While this was a real race (the winner finished in under 16 minutes) most of the 4,400 runners were there for the fun of it. It’s amazing what people will do for a free beer.

The 5K starting queue. (This is about half of the runners.)

The 5K starting queue. (This is about half of the runners.)

Last year, the line for the post-race suds had gotten so long that people waited over an hour, and many gave up. So this year an entire parking lot had been set aside, with a long line of tables staffed by several volunteers each. All runners had to do was walk up, tear off and hand over the bottom tab of their race bibs, and get a beer. (Minors didn’t get the special tab.) It worked perfectly. The beer area filled up, but nobody had to wait.

I think Drunk 1 was under the table.

I think Drunk 1 was under the table.

Look at that form, that determination, that purposeful stride. She wants that beer!

Look at that form, determination, and purposeful stride. She wants that beer!

It was a warm and humid evening, so the runners were particularly eager to get a cold drink. From my spot behind a center table I was approached by many hot and sweaty women. (There were plenty of men too, but we needn’t go there.)

My lesson in male-female interaction occurred unexpectedly. While showing an ID was not necessary, some people, women in particular, had their driver’s licenses out and ready to show. The first time someone did that, I just handed her a can, smiled, and said I didn’t need to see it.

“Oh, so it’s that obvious,” she muttered.

Apparently I’d made some kind of faux pas. Did you know women can be sensitive about their age? Clearly, I would win no friends by being straightforward. So I changed tactics.

Soon a pair of women of obvious legal age approached my table. With the first I just took her tab and congratulated her on finishing the race. But I stopped the other. “Hmm,” I said, “I think I need to check your ID, young lady.”

As she walked away she said to the other, “That was awesome. I never get carded anymore.”

Success! From then on when a woman showed me her ID, I would toss out lines like, “That ID looks fake to me,” and “Are you sure that isn’t your older sister’s license?” Corny as hell, yes, but it never failed to get a smile.

But the best part occurred near the end of the rush. A woman walked up to me with stuff in both hands so she couldn’t tear the ticket off her bib. “You can take it off,” she said, leaning toward me.

“Best offer I’ve had all day,” I told her.

Meme - Keep Running My Friends