By Lisa Simonson Special to Published Nov 06, 2012 at 12:12 PM

If you'd asked me a year ago what the first thought that popped into my head when someone mentioned "beer run," my response would definitely not be 13.1 miles. However, today that's my only thought.

Over the weekend, I accomplished a fitness goal I never dreamed imaginable or ever really had in mind as an obtainable goal. Although I'd say I'm fairly fitness friendly (meaning I hit the gym or pop in a Jillian video here and there), I'd never really strived to achieve a particular fitness goal or aspiration. Sure, I have that number I'm always trying to hit on the scale, but that about covers my motivation. I definitely was not a competitive runner in high school, in fact I'm not sure I would ever really call myself a "runner."

When a friend of mine asked me to run a half marathon I pretty much brushed off her seemingly crazy request without a thought, that is, until she uttered two key words "free beer." If you really want me to give something a go, it's best to offer beer, especially of the free variety. Well played, my friend, well played.

Tyranena Brewery sponsors a charity run each year. Runners receive two free beer vouchers for participating in the event. Participants can choose from two cleverly named categories; 1/2 barrel or 1/6 barrel. Of course, not to go easy on me, my partner in crime chose the 1/2 barrel (1/2 marathon) run.

Before my mind could catch up with my beer gut I was registered for the race. About two weeks prior to the big day, it finally sunk in: what was I thinking? That's not to say I hadn't been training; sure I had, but this was hard. I'd rather sit on my couch and just pay for beer.

I woke up Saturday morning with a frosty, pint-sized knot in my stomach. I'd prepared to the best of my amateur ability and today was the day to show and prove. As we made our way to Lake Mills, (home of Tyranena Brewery) snow flurries surrounded us - setting the stage for what appeared to be a terrible day to run. Fortunately, time was on my side. Shortly before starting the flurries subsided and the sun began to shine.

We strategically positioned ourselves in the middle of the pack. The run started out well enough until I spotted it: the first hill. Turns out, the course was filled with them. Luckily, I live to tell the tale. I went through the standard highs and lows of any run - cursing my friend, the brewery and general fitness and then moments later being completely inspired by my fellow runners and the fact that my feet were still moving (Nike - you've earned a special place in my heart).

Mile 12 was the hardest by far. Every muscle in my body wanted to quit, but somehow I passed the finish line. That moment was better than free beer. However, it should be noted that after finishing I did head directly to the beer tent.

Upon entering the main tent, I found the faster runners warming up and redeeming their vouchers. A number of events were planned throughout the evening, but the running, food and beer had me ready for a nap by 4 p.m.

All in all, I'd say Tyranena's charity run was a huge success. The volunteers were enthusiastic and I appreciated every face I saw along the race route. This event may have even converted me into a multiple time 1/2 marathon runner (even if there isn't always free beer). I'm proud to say I completed this run; I even went home and purchased a bumper sticker: 13.1.

Lisa Simonson Special to

As a self-proclaimed aficionada of dive bars, Lisa Simonson knows a thing or two about drinking and our city’s bar scene. She now calls Milwaukee, one of America’s drunkest cities (coincidence?), home after growing up in world-famous Port Washington (“Step by Step,” anyone?) and spending time in both Minneapolis and London.

Now, back in her favorite city in the world, Simonson blogs about her adventures in Milwaukee, one bar at a time. Although her primary focus is sampling the best the city has to offer in beer, wine and whiskey, when not abusing her liver, Lisa can be found cruising on her bike, obsessing over Adobe products, jamming to her favorite bands or attempting to teach her cat to walk on a leash.