So Magic City Brewfest is this weekend. I was one of the original co-organizers of the event back when I was president of Free the Hops, and now I work it from the beer wholesaler angle. It’s always been one of my favorite weekends of the year, even though it’s always been exhausting. It was the first craft beer festival in Alabama back in 2007 and remains the largest, with somewhere in the neighborhood of 6,000 humans traipsing through Sloss Furnaces over the course of two days.
Brewfest was birthed out of a shared goal to reform the Prohibition era beer laws of Alabama. One step towards accomplishing that very concrete goal was the more nebulous goal of increasing craft beer appreciation among the state’s citizens. More people who love craft beer = more people fighting to reform the beer laws.
The efforts were not in vain, and the original goals of Free The Hops were accomplished. The group continues on advocating for the consumer’s voice in the continuing changing landscape of beer law reforms in the state.
This year Brewfest exists in the context of a new, very different goal for me. I’m a dedicated runner working towards the highly ambitious goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon (adventures on that recorded at From Birmingham to Boston).
Just like the old goal of reforming beer laws shaped my actions ten years ago, this new goal shapes me today.
Today it occurred to me that my usual 6 am Saturday morning long run was not going to be feasible. The Friday session of Brewfest doesn’t end until 11 pm, and I’ll have some cleanup to do after it ends. I probably won’t be in bed until 12:30 am, which is unfathomably late for this old-at-heart man. I’m not getting up a mere five hours later to go run.
So I thought, “no big deal, I’ll sleep in and go running whenever.” Saturday’s session doesn’t start until 4pm. But then I remembered the brunch for industry folks and festival two-day volunteers. Ohhh that brunch. The homemade cinnamon rolls. The biscuits and tomato gravy. The grits. The sausage. The locally roasted, french pressed coffee. It cannot be missed, and so last year I just skipped my Saturday morning run.
But my goal is too important to slack off. I’m not going to skip a long run if there is any way to make it work.
Thus I spent several minutes working backwards figuring exactly what time I’d have to wake up to do a long run and still make it to brunch by 11:00. 15 minute drive from the house. 30 minutes to shower and get ready. 5 minutes to get from driveway and get undressed into shower. 10 minutes to drive home from run. 2 hours to run. 10 minutes to drive from home to run, 25 minutes to get ready and get out of the house after waking up, 5 minute buffer… Set my alarm for 7:20. So, a little less than 7 hours of sleep. Doable.
Having a specific, significant goal with a plan to achieve it changed my mindset. I can work towards my goal and still enjoy one of my favorite weekends of the year.