Monday, May 8, 2017

Strolling Jim: Suunto, Sword and Shick

Before and during the race several people come up to me, some I know, and some I don't and ask me how my "anus" is. To provide some context let me share with you my Facebook Post from the Thursday before the race.

TRUE STORY: Just got one of the phone calls from an Indian Scammer...

Scammer: Mr. Long, I am with "XYZ" Company, this is in regards to your medical care.
Scammer: Do you have any pain right now.
Me: Yes I do.
Scammer: Can you tell me where?
Me: Yes, it is in my anus.
Scammer: Your anus? Anus... Does it hurt right now?
Me: Yes
Scammer: I can provide you some cream to make the pain go away. You will apply it to your anus...Are you interested?
Me: Heck Yeah!
Scammer: Can you tell me exactly where the pain is?
Me: Yes on my anus, you know, my butt-hole.
Scammer: Your butt-hole?
Me: Yes...Do I rub the cream on myself or should someone else do it.
Scammer: Your butt-hole? I am sorry I cannot help you.

Me: Do you want me to send you a picture of it

Laz is standing next to a mud puddle watching cars drive in the pot hole parking lot. I walk over and introduced myself even though I have met him a couple times. You see I don't expect people to remember me, yet I hope they do. "Hello sir, my name in Cary Long." In that smoky high pitched voice he replies, "I recognize that name." Ok, so Laz recognized my name...I'll take it. Probably the only reason he recognized it was because I posted a FootPath map of the course with the south loop going the wrong direction to which he promptly replied "The south loop is the wrong direction!" The other post he may remember me from was when I posted and used the word "hundo", and he replied with a paragraph of his disdain for that word. Maybe I should work on Sandra...At least Terry Durbin likes my post every now and then.

Pre-race is full of bro and sis hugs from Olaf Wasternack, David Riddle, Jeff Deaton, Travis Esterby, James Suh, Gina (Spanish Lover) Loyd, and Brooke McLananhan. Kim Crow quickly comes over to say hello and tell me she is going to avoid me because she is afraid of screwing up and me calling her out in a report. 

I came into this race over confident and undertrained. Prayed that I wouldn't suffer, and off we go. Quickly I find myself running with Annie Randolph of Georgia and we seem to be set on the same pace. 9:30-9:45 on the flats, walking the hills, and 8:00-9:00 on the downs. Sun out and temps in the high 40's-60's gave us hope of the perfect conditions.

With my new Suunto Spartan Ultra, which is so much better than Garmin (Martin Schneekloth), I monitored my run continuously and ran with relative ease. Somewhere around 10 miles Richard Shick and some bald dude I had never seen caught us...Turns out it was Joe Fejes, I quickly introduced myself hoping he would say, "Yeah Cary, I know who you are." Nope! I even talked about how we had just talked about him on the podcast.....nothing. So we cut up a little bit, he complemented my matching RC team kit and he and Richard leave us. 

This is the point where I tell you how everything went wrong, I got stung by bees, crapped my pants, chopped the end of my wanker off, etc...Nope, nothing happened. I was having a great race. I stuck to Sword and supplemented with Honey Stinger gels, and waffles. It was all I needed. Surprisingly I caught Richard, Joe, and the silver bullet Karen Jackson, who I don't think I have ever beaten. However, my nemesis Christy Scott was no where in sight. Out to the main road for the last grueling 2 miles, I see her off in the distance. I gave it everything I could to just catch her. One mile to go she turns around, sees me, moons me, and we decide to just run in together and let the chip timer decide.

To top it off, talking with Brooke and Kim are talking to some dude name Joshua...It was frickin Joshua Holmes. I introduced myself and he said "Yeah Cary, I know who you are."

In 2016 I said "Never Again!" But 2017 held some great first times for me...New Suunto, Sword carried me through, and I beat the Shickhead.

I love this sign.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Mount Cheaha 50K: The Shickhead and Yoga Lindsey

Photo by Gregg Gelmis-We Run Huntsville

7:15 p.m. Janice and I meet Christy at a local restaurant in Podunkville, Alabama. Our waitress was one of those ladies thats 150 lbs from the waist up and 35 lbs waist and below.

Angel: "Hey my name is Angel."
Me: "Did it hurt when you fell?"
Angel: "No, cause I fell straight to Hell!"
Me: "......................................................."

....a few minutes later

Me: "Gracias"
Angel: (speaking something is Spanish) "Do you know what I said?"
Angel: "I have big hairy balls."
Me: "......................................................."
Janice: "Don't say another word to her."
Christy: "I bet she smokes weed."

Photo by Gregg Gelmis-We Run Huntsville
Race morning we are at the starting line at 6:30 awaiting a 7:30 start. I see the blue poo shelters and have the urge to send them some refugees. I was a little scared cause I looked in there and they were fresh. Last time I used a fresh one, the initial deposit resulted in a geyser of blue water covering my white seat cushions.

Favorite part of races is seeing familiar faces. Ryne Anderson, Trey and Dreama Campbell, John Brower, Jennifer Raby, to name a few, and meeting some new people like Hunter and Season Lane. Also feeling a little uncomfortable when I saw Lindsey Dial checking out my sweet Rock/Creek Race Kit. 

Buses are an hour late and the race subsequently starts an hour later. Beautiful clear skies and the temperature rising, "Sweet Home Alabama" begins to play and we run 20' to the trailhead and walk for a 1/4 mile. I purposefully started about 3/4 back to ensure I did not go "B's" to the wall. A couple miles in I find myself in a train of people with a guy in front walking the flat part. He never looks back to see 50 people behind him. I risk an ankle twist and take the high side to get around.

Photo by Gregg Gelmis-We Run Huntsville
John Brower
Eventually Birmingham's favorite redneck Jared catches me and we team up and run conservative. Everything is going well until we catch Lindsey Dial. If you catch her it's because of one of two reasons...You went out too fast, or she is running very slow. Nevertheless, I was intent on being able to claim I beat her. Feeling great at this point we run strong and she pulls us....however, I was feeling great, yet a part of me knew this was too fast. 2-3 miles of banter and talking about Hot Daniel, David Riddle, Emily Ansick and farting in Yoga I feel myself beginning to struggle. Finally, Lindsey hits the downhills like a little tan fawn while Jarred and I pound them like Wilderbeast with a Lion on our back. I look back and see Richard Shick and get a little pizzed. How did this 67 year old shuffler catch us? I tell Jared he is about to "Get Shicked", but he doesn't know what that means. With Lindsey out of sight, we back off and get to mile 15 aid station. I realize the past 3 miles were a huge mistake. Had I not taken a bladder and Skratch, it would have been much worse. Beautiful sun and upper fifties were taking a toll. Every cool breeze, Jared and I would thank the Lord and move on.

After mile 15 the trail begins to level out somewhat yet it is a constant around the mountain to a corner drainage, slight up and repeat over and over and over. Relentless rolling single track. Up to mile 15 we were on a 6 to 6.5 hour finish. We finally made it to the bigger creek crossings where Gregg Gelmis is awaiting. I immediately get in the water and get on my hands and knees to ice my legs. Unbeknownst to me, Jared is behind me air spanking me in front of the camera. What he didn't know is that I was draining the bologna-pony right where he was standing. With Gregg was my buddy Chris Strope who was quitting there. I looked at him and simply told him to come on. Lied to him and told him the dirt road was only 3 miles from there. 

Leaving the water we climb again to the most beautiful section of the course. We climb over and around the side of a wonderful waterfall with pools. The three stooges settle to walk any and all hint of a climb and Curly shuffle the flats and downhills. The trail NEVER ENDS! A couple Birmingham chics catch us and Jared feels compelled to leave Chris and I. 

You know that point in the race where you have no more and you accept the death march? We were there. To the dirt road, paved road and to the final aid station excited to begin the final climb called "Blue Hell". Non-stop climbing we get to this little rock chute where Gregg is above taking pictures. Chris and I stop in utter despair to rest a second. Such an amazing cool breeze in blowing up the mountain and through the little chute, when all of a sudden I smell the smell of rotting flesh mixed with cat urine and dog anal pheromones. I turn back to see Chris with his head turned and a grin on his face. 
Photo by Gregg Gelmis

Once you get to the top, you are not finished climbing. Todd Henderson rerouted a little to a new trail that looked like it was built by Beavis and Butthead. WHEN IS THE CLIMBING GONNA STOP?!?!?! Back to single track out of the woods, with about .2 mile to the finish. I walked through the finish, staggering, on the verge of passing out. My worst Cheaha by almost an hour. YET! It was wonderful to be out there. Praising God to be done, I laid down and Dewayne Satterfield'ed.

On the way down the mountain my stomach is hurting and I feel like I may can squeak one out and nobody know. Janice hollers and I turn around to see Christy's head sticking out the window. 

I love you, my wife, son, and my Savior.

Photo by Gregg Gelmis

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Stump Jump-Bloody Barry and the White Rastafarian

Photo by Jobie Williams
If you know Huntsville runners, then most likely you know who Martin Schneekloth is. He and I are kinda opposite in so many ways...He wears green pants, I wear no pants. He buys underwear from Express, I buy underwear from Unclaimed Baggage, etc...A Chattanooga friend lent us his house for the weekend while he was out of town. So hear is the scene...The alarm was set and we did not have the code. We get the code after about 20 minutes of the alarm going off. I go inside and immediately get in my underwear. A couple minutes later I look over and Martin is his panties filling his bottles with Sword hydration mix. All of a sudden it hits us....If the cops come in they are going to find two guys in their underwear with a bag full of white powder resembling cocaine and a pistol. Daniels has a king size bed and 2 twin mattresses for his kids. We feel it inappropriate to sleep in the kids beds so make the decision to both sleep in the king size bed. As I climb into bed evidently my foot or hand breaches the zone of bro-trust and he freaks out. I guess in Germany, 1 cm over the line means I wanna french kiss. I sleep like crap cause Martin is talking in his sleep and in German so I can't understand. I wake up at one point to find him spooning me but I was so tired I didn't feel like making him move, not to mention I was a little cold. (just kidding...that part didn't really happen)

In honor of Women's History Rock/Creek decided to pattern the course after ovaries. After hugs from Katy H. and Jobie's wife me, Nathan Judd, his sister with a mustache, and David Thurman set out for an adventure. The temps are wonderful with some humidity so the sweating starts early. Being undertrained I start very conservatively hoping it will carry me the distance. This dude comes flying by us after a couple of miles. The Whastafarian (white rastafarian) was sporting a fine man-bun dread locks combo you have ever seen. I really wanted to beat him. Everything is going well, the trails and overlooks are gorgeous. My plan is working out great...gels, Sword and conservative running. Through Indian Rock aid station, high five from Dawson, Mark, Brian we begin the 10 mile loop to McMullen Cove. This section would be rough due to the rock garden. We roll into the Fast Break Athletics aid station and I see my buddy Shannon bent over in pain. I hug her and tell her to just run with us. Her spirits are low so Nathan and I are doing everything we can to cheer her up. Shortly after this a group of us are running and a brown bear or maybe a chipmunk, I don't know which one,it happened so fast, jumped out at me and I screamed and freaked out. No one knew what was happening but everyone thought they were about to die from something. Up a dirt road climb I hear this gagging/choking noise. I turn around and Nathan is sticking his finger down his throat trying to puke. He looks at me and laughs, then does it like three more times. The gaggles and sharp consonants echo up the road and he's just laughing after each one. We roll into the aid station catching my training partner David Thurman. 

I tell the crew, "lets go and get ahead of bloody Barry." So this dude had blood all over his head and shirt. I asked him what happened. He stated he ran into a tree. I thought, how stupid! He showed me the wound and there was bark still in it. We are run together, survive the rock garden and finally make it to McMullen Cove. By this point I had reached my limit of training. Monster drinks, gels and a wink from that hot Molly chic did nothing to help me. Coming down to Indian Rock I hear Shannon say "hear it comes." I turn around and see her bending over. At this point I'm thinking she's about to launch a licorice twizzler from her late night sizzler, but instead more gagging and gurgling. To avoid smelling it I keep going. Around Indian Rock, suddenly I see black and my ears are ringing. Like bloody Barry, I had slammed my head into a tree. It was over. I could not run another step. Dave, Barry, Nathan and Shannon head on and I walk.

Michael Emerling-Photo by Jobie Williams
For 8 miles I death marched and watched more than 30 people pass. You know what pizzes me off? When you are obviously suffering and someone comes by and says, "You're doing great!" No I am not. I am walking and want to push you off this cliff. I climb Suck Creek, Mushroom Rock and literally walk through the finish line.

I am not the runner I was last year, mainly due to the condition I came down with in January, however, I count myself blessed to be out there and do what I do. I our glory and our suffering we meet so many people and develop life-long relationships. 

Grateful to each one of you who reads my Race Reports. If we've met on trails or you like my reports, look for me on Facebook. Also go buy a bunch of stuff from Rock/Creek. I have to justify my existence with them somehow. Tell them I sent you. BTW, I got beat by the lady wearing the granny matching workout pants suit.

Evidently my day wasn't as bad as these two. David Kilgore, running some other race also ran into a tree resulting in a light scrape to his head. Kelli Kilpatrick running the Yeti 100 wins the award for the nastiest chaffing on earth.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Barkley Fall Classic- Judgment Day

Huntsville Runners
Everything that I did not want to happen did...everything I wanted to happen did not. After the 2015 BFC 50K finish I said I would NEVER do it again. As soon as Laz sent out the email for registrations, it took one email from Tim Pitt and I was signed up for 2016. My fears this year were being alone, getting in a train going down after the first climb, suffering, DNF'ing and getting hurt. 

30 minutes before start I had only let out little chocolate salamander and just knew I would be dropping pie somewhere on the initial climb. Going up the road I saw everyone of my friends pulling ahead of me. We begin the initial climb which kills the lower back and there are these two "Corporate" type guys using big "business" people type words and talking about how they write down their feelings at work and share with a group. Next listening to people pontificating "what the Barkley means", then the newby who wants to pass me going up hill with 3 feet between me and the guy in front of me. The girl talking loudly making no sense. I make it to the top and it happens again. Stuck behind a train on the downhill. I felt my frustrations rising and had to realize these people are just doing what they can do, they don't have the problem, I do. I'm able to pass a few people and eventually pass the train conductor. Finally, some running. 
Tyler Harbin- Photo by Misty Wong

I started feeling good on the two big subsequent climbs and could see two of Huntsville's hottest runners in front of me. (so I don't get beat up by their significant others, we'll change their names and call them Dana and Christy). Feeling good and in my own little world I begin to wonder why the front of my legs were experiencing an unpleasant sensation.....SON OF UH!...OH MY LORD! OH GOD! WHAT THE CRAP! I am covered in yellow jackets. Arms are flailing, stings to the ear, head, back, quads, butt and ankles, I take of running and pass three people as I am getting gang raped by these demons. My entire body is in hell's flames. My thought is, "I'm gonna die out here." I see Dana and Christy and they had been hit too so, no sympathy from them. Next I hear these intense screams down below where I had just been. A shrill echoed through the woods akin to someone being hacked by Jason,  and sawed by the Texas Chainsaw dude. More and more people were getting hit. I make it to the aid station to find 2 more friends had gotten hit. 

Me- 37
Dana- 8
Christy- 15
David Nast -18
Ryan Chaffin- 70

Testicle Spectacle-Photo by David White
My buddy Martin Schneekloth was not far ahead and has to carry an epi-pen...He had just missed the nest which could have ended in disaster for him. Ryan was PIZZED and David was not completely coherent. As we leave the aid station you can still here the screams. We finally get some flat running and I am trying to process everything that just happened. 

We get to the Jeep road section, you know the sections where Laz and Steve say the course is "WELL MARKED!". What they mean is that the course is well marked on the map they give you. It's up to you, the runner, to figure some things out. We come to a closed gate and wonder if we are going the right way. We figured we were when we looked at the wood portion and could see the b@LL sweat running down it where others before had lapped their legs over to cross. 

I feel my legs fading quickly on the jeep road, but never questioned whether I would finish or not up to this point. In these types of races you will go through a range of emotions and you realize if you are up, you will come down, and vice versa. All down the road are stories of the yellow jackets. Out of the woods to Testicle Spectacle and the horror sets in. There was a clear path all the way down, however it involved either rolling down or sliding down...your choice. I chose to go palms on the ground with my face to the ground and slide down on my hands and toes. This worked great until I straddled a briar and it latched on to lil Timmie. 

Photo by Cheryl Miller
As I go down, I pass most all my friends going back up. All I can ask is that they say a prayer for me. I make it to the Church and sit there a few minutes trying to decide if I was going to quit there or not. I choose to continue and at least get to the top of Testicle and down Meth Lab to the prison. On my way up I see a friend sitting down. She replied she needed to catch her breath. Now you must understand the climb back up this powerline cut involves you using your hands and feet. It is so steep with nothing but dry dirt and the occasional briar to grab onto to pull yourself up. I see me friend stopping more so I tell her I'm gonna wait. She tells me to go on, but I have never seen her like this before. She is always strong and consistent. I told her I wasn't going to leave her. We finally make it out of Testicle with multiple rests all the way up. I was done. I was quitting at the prison. 

Going down Meth lab is when things got scary. About 3/4's of the way down her breathing became short and labored. She couldn't get any oxygen. She sits down hoping to catch her breath. The breaths become more labored and she is about to pass out. I sit there for 30-45 minutes thinking she is about to die out there and that if I have to give her mouth to mouth she is going to be pissed when she finds out. All of a sudden she rolls over and begins to puke. Oh my the gagging sounds she made. Then she lets out this sound that I can only describe as if a gorilla was trying to say the word "Artichoke". The sound mixed with voice inflections of an unknown language dialect echoed through area. All of a sudden she stands up and says, "I feel much better now." WHAT! I thought you were about to die, I even cried a little and you spew beef stew everywhere and now you feel better?!?!?!?! We begin walking down the rest of Meth Lab hill laughing about her puke noises. 

Photo by Phil Orndorff
We were done. A friend met us at the road and I was off to the finish line to officially DNF. I knew what was to come with Rat Jaw and I had no shame in quitting. Was it the stings, lack of weekly miles, heat or 18lbs extra that kept me from finishing? Who knows. This is not the kind of race you can really make plans for. I had no clue I could finish last year and I did. I knew I had the capability to finish this year and I didn't. 

I hear the carnage was pretty bad this year. One dude stepped on a rattlesnake (didn't get bit), another got in a hornets nest on Rat Jaw. 

I said I will never go back and I am somewhat confident I mean it.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Yeti Snakebite 50/50: YETI FARTS and the Big Girl

The Yeti 50K left me in pain, emotional and full of questions. I left there completely drained physically, emotionally and intestionally. This was my first trail ultra since being admitted to the hospital back in February. According to the website the course is fast and perfect for a first timer. Pfff, I'm a veteran at this. Told friends I expect to finish around 6 hours. I was wrong. WARNING: This report is full of farts so be aware.

We get to the campsite around 3pm and within 5 minutes my man titties were dripping like Kate plus 8. We sat out in the heat before the race so long my coin purse reached full stretching capacity and was hanging out both sides of my shorts. Thankfully I had my Boudraux's Butt Paste with me. I grease up and Rick Rawls, David Nast and Ryan Harbaugh head to the start line. What I love most about races is seeing the people you have become friends with through other races. As soon as I got there I could smell the Birmingham people right away (old spice, Schlitz beer and aqua net hair spray). Next came in the Nashville people then the Oxford crew. Martin Schneeklot rolls in just before the start. Heard he was at a Sausage festival. Megan, Emily, Lindsey, Scott, Allie and Liz and their crews topped off the party.

Rick and David
We line up for the start, tuck in my new potatos pocket and we are off. I don't sell out my friends but certain guy I was running with started fartin within the first mile then had the nerve to chastise me when I joined. So anyway, Before we even complete the first loop, Fartin Martin and myself are contemplating quitting. Granted he did ride a 100 miler that morning, I had no excuse. It was so hot and I had determined my race depended on him starting the second loop. It got dark sometime after the river crossing which consisted of some great volunteers and a tranny (dude in a wig trying to look like Kenny R). and I actually felt some fear....meaning I didn't want to be out there by myself in the dark. We enter the start finish area and I ask him, "What are we gonna do?"

David Nast and I begin to walk, allowing Martin to go get his pack and catch us. If you only had a hand bottle, you were suffering.  Martin emptied his bottle half way through the first loop. By the start of the second loop I had already sucked down 50 ounces of Tailwind, and I promise you Tailwind produces the nastiest tailwind I have ever seasoned the atmosphere with. At first it was just all hot air biscuits, but later turning to the most sinister stench. David didn't know it but I was already quitting in my mind. I tried to draw inspiration by thinking of my wife and son. I envisioned my offspring telling to start the third loop, but he wasn't convincing me. I thought about this report and my excuses for not finishing. Like I stated earlier, this race left me with many questions...Was it the extra 18lbs? Was it too hot? Was I undertrained? This is why I don't like loops, because they are easier to quit. 

Martin catches us at the river crossing, along with Allie. Imagine this cute lil punk 1st time 50K'er catching a veteran like myself and being happy about it. She don't know it but she almost got pistol whipped. Next I hear Martin screaming "Where's my water bottle!" He thought it had floated out of his vest. He hollers at the tranny and other volunteers. They respond, then he asks them if they are drunk or did they really see it. I thought it was about to turn ugly, but it turns out he knew them. After the race and all the screaming and F-bombs, Martin discovers his bottle still in his pack. We push on and slowly Martin and David slip away. Yep, I'm done. I'm quitting. Running sux.

I slow roll to the start/finish area and tell Jason I'm done. I had convinced myself that it was physical and not mental. I physically could not continue. Jason told me to take some time then just walk it if I had too. So I'm at the aid station, Ryan Harbaugh, Megan Nobriga, Scott Perry, Lindsey Hardest, and Emily Kennedy pull in. Every Huntsville runner is pushing on and here I am quitting. So what did I do? I farted at the aid station and cleared it out. The are was stale and there was no wind movement, so it could be felt for a 20' radius. I didn't care, I was done. Jason kept pushing me to give it some time. The dude Allie's currently smooching comes over with a roller and and Red Bull. I down the Red Bull and walk to the chair to change my batteries in the headlamp in case I decided to go out. Jamie Henderson gives me a message from Martin, something like..."Martin said he loves you and you are his inspiration and that you should continue." It didn't sound like Martin but I thought maybe...Spencer (the Allie smoother) hands me another Red Bull and I see Lindsey and Ryan standing there. I asked if they were waiting on me, hoping they would say no. They said yes.

How could I not at least start the 3rd loop. I have watched these two runners develop into ultra-runners and here they were "mentoring" me. For the record, Ryan was topless and in spandex. We set out for the 3rd loop and I feel the Red Bull kicking in. I don't know what Lindsey was snorting but she takes off and leaves us. Eventually Ryan and I are being followed by the blonde chic from the area. I politely turn and apologize for what I was about to do. Then I let it rip. She was about 15 feet back when it wrapped around her face. Her only reply was "YEP!" I just gassed this innocent woman and didn't care. I told her my name was Brandon Mader. 

From that point forward my goal was to catch Lindsey, Megan and Emily. I did all three. Ran with Megan and Emily for a while and as I would start to pass Megan, she would start running...We have somewhat of a little rivalry going on. I really wanted to beat her and Emily. Finally I started running before the power line cut and broke her. Crossing the river they were about 50' behind and I didn't stop for water, hoping to put a lead on her. By the time I reached the staircase, I was looking for a place to drop a steamy. There was no where to go. I make it to the top and the trail splits. I go right to relieve myself. Hunching over while trying not to fall off a cliff is harder than you think. It took every bit of energy I had. I could see Megan and Emily and they crested the top and went left. I had lost all my drive to catch them. I reach the 2 mile out mark where the Park Rangers had been all night and politely asked for water. They told me they had a little of their personal water. I didn't realize that until he was pouring it in. It was coooolllllllld water. I told him, "God bless you sir...", and then I started to ugly cry. My face contorted but no tears came out. I was dehydrated. 

Lindsey passes me and then Ryan. Ryan and I decide to walk it in. Out of the woods we come to the finish. I was officially the last place Huntsville runner (which Megan was quick to confirm) and was ok with it. 

So the title says, "Yeti Farts and the Big Girl". Sometime during the second loop we passed a big lady walking the course. When I characterize her as a big girl, I do not mean any disrespect, nor am I making fun of her. We realized she was a part of the race. Remember this race started at 7pm, so this was late. I assumed she was running the 11 miler and just walking. During my 3rd loop, we pass her again. I realize she is doing the 50K. I don't know her name or if she even finished, however, she had an impact on me. I wish I had taken the time to ask her name. For now, I will call her "Inspiration". So as I passed Inspiration the second time I ripped one on her and she passed out for about 27 seconds.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Pinhoti 100-Ed's Fudgesicles

The forecast had reducing chances of rain each day and predicted the rain would taper late Saturday with nice fall like temps with lows in the 50's overnight and daytime high's in the upper 60's. About the only thing right was the high's,

It all started when I said I would never do another 100, then I accidentally clicked on the Pinhoti registration. Brad Reed wanted me to work out with some cross fit sissy's named Cindy and Murph. Didn't do that cause I enjoy my status as somewhat cool. So I took his other advice and bought a kettle bell and tried to incorporate two cross training days a week coupled with 35-60 mile weeks. While I was not faithful to the cross training, Barkley Fall Classic proved that what I did had rewarded me with some success.

I get to the race start and see the usual race posturing taking place; the warm up sprinters, the woods squatters thinking no one see's them, the normal bearded guys, the fashionable bearded guys, the guy showing off his man-bun and finally the barefoot guy who technically had a man-bun. (Craig you are the normal Bearded guy)

Scott Bell and I made a pact to run the whole race together, which lasted approx 19 miles when he decided I sucked and wanted to win. Except for the yellow jackets, and the man-bun barefoot guy getting lost, the first 30 miles was somewhat uneventful. Like when Benj and I run together, Scott (who is redheaded) and I decided it more efficient when one has to pee, for the other to go also. So we stop at a creek crossing and for some reason I felt it necessary to ask him, "Does the carpet match the drapes?" He said yes.

Since the start of the race it had been raining on us, however, it was slightly warm and very humid. Because of the constant rain, every creek crossing meant continued wet feet. Coming through the half marathon point with a pack change, kisses and slaps on the butts for my crew we proceed mostly uneventful on our way to the Morgan Lake aid station which greeted us with a gorgeous waterfall, and a big runoff to cross. Greetings from Michael Campbell, and the other BUTS I continued without Scott to Bald Rock.

My calves and quads were aching so I decided to squat in a creek crossing. Just about the time the bologna pony was going to release some crystal light a guy comes in and says "I may drink some of this water." #whyisthiswatersalty #wheredidwarmwatercomefrom

Much of 27-40 was a blur. I remember running with a BUTS named Jake but that is about it. Everything else was becoming miserable. The climb to Bald rock consisted of dwindling light and dense fog that gave the sense a guy in a mask was around the corner ready to hack me up. and eat my liver. Up to Bald Rock on the side of a slippery cliff I made it to the board walk to be greeted by Jeff Deaton and my wife. As soon as she asked me if I was ok, I had to choke back an ugly cry. My crew set me up at Tony Scotts Bed and Breakfast aid station. Jeff told Martin Schneekloth all of the changes I wanted, and I could tell by the look on his face he was not happy. I was sick of Tailwind and the food portables I made. My whole food strategy fell apart transforming from wholesome nutrition to a sweaty redneck buffet where the dirty kid is licking the corn nuggets.

Martin jumps in to pace me as we begin the Blue Hell descent. This was no trivial pursuit, rather it was very dangerous. The constant rain had formed a river of rushing water that we could not see but definitely hear. It was so foggy the flags could barely be seen and parts of the trail were washed out like a mudslide. At one section I lost all footing and began sliding down the cliff. There was nothing Martin could do but holler at me to grab something. We all know he wasn't going to jump for me. Going down we catch Benj and Megan Nobriga and make it to the bottom together towards 45.  We come into 45 to be greeted by our Huntsville friends and suck down more Coke. Caffeine was all I wanted due to the continuous fatigue of running in the rain.

Martin and I enjoy a long road section until we again hit the dreaded single track again. At 40 I took off my Brooks Cascadia's and slipped on Altra Lone Peak's. I was doing my best not to piss Martin off for the next 20 miles so I tried to run before he would tell me too. The rooty, rocky single track proved difficult for me. My Altra's were excellent at finding every root and rock to bump uglies with. I got so mad I started yelling. Martin told me to stop getting mad or it would get worse. Well it did. I broke down once and asked God why was He allowing this to happen to me. I am 60 miles into a race of my on will and blaming God for stumping my toes repeatedly. What I realized if He was telling me anything was to hold back on this rough section to keep me protected. So as I settled back the toe/rock copulation ended. 

Out of the woods to the mile 65 crew point I sat for more Coke and whatever else I could find on Tony's truck. Martin wasn't going to give me a caffeine pill yet, however I told him I needed something to get me up Pinnacle. Jeff Deaton and I set out for Porters Gap then the Pinnacle climb.  But wait! No one told me about the friggin climb right out of 65. We leave Porters Gap at 68 and after a short ways had not started climbing and I hear music. Jeff says that we must be close. Close? There is an aid station before the climb? I was confused...I thought the aid station was on top. The aid station never came and the music went away as we began the climb to what I only assumed was Pinnacle. 6wks later of intense climbing I hear the music again only to be taunted for what seemed to be an eternity. Back and forth with more BUTS people (Sonny). By this point, words had escaped me. Only grunts and head nods that only a caveman could understand would be my form of communication. Into pinnacle with the BUTS people again. A couple of ladies would ask me if I wanted this or that, however, I could not say anything. Only look an nod. One of the ladies who I did not know calls me by name and compliments my butt or something like that as I left. Later on at some aid station I turned to see some woman on the side of the trail standing in an awkward pose. As soon as I turned toward her I high-beamed her only to realize why she was standing awkard. She had her hand up her shorts squirting liquid plutonium out of her foober. (female-g@@ber)

At some point we finally break free from the single track to some jeep road. HALLELUJAH! About the only thing I remember until daylight was hoping Jeff would tell Martin that I did good. Daybreak on the climb and along the ridge brought fierce wind, continued rain, cold and my buddy Ed on the side of the road covering up some fudgesicles. 

The wind was ripping through my exposed skin, and I stayed just on the edge of beginning to shiver. I knew that I needed to press to stay warm. During the descent to 85 I saw a single car on the road and feared that I had missed the cutoff. Continuing on I saw more cars and then at that point hoped I had missed the cutoff so that I could stop and lay down. Of course in my heart I knew that I would seriously regret it and pushed. Coming into the aid station I was met by my friend Eric Fritz only to see his mouth moving but not really sure what he was saying. Rumor has it he thought I looked like crap and told me to put my panties on to cover up my vagina. Some lady heard it, thought it hurt my feelings and told him he was mean. Hahahahaha, someone actually felt sorry for me. I only remember a couple off faces even though so many friends were there. Dana because she is blonde and Martin cause he was dragging me inside a trailer to sit down. Not sure what happened in the trailer..Next thing I remember is Janice telling me I have to get up and go. The look of concern on her face was on full display and I just did what she said. Anya (Martin's wife) and I set out for the last 15.

In my mind I am thinking about how long it will take to do 15 miles. Normally 2.5 to 3 hrs, however, I knew it would be more like 4-5 hours. I had to quickly break that thinking and focus on just 85-90. We set out at a decent pace. Anya is so encouraging and pushes me in a way that makes me think its my idea. It was so cold and I didn't want her to suffer so I made every step intentional. If I remember correctly no one passed us from that point forward, rather we were reeling in people. The temps begin to warm slightly as we make it to 95. More coke and we push on for more dirt road to 95. 

Literally from 65 on I had to stop and pee at least 20 times. Not even joking. I would drink some water then a few minutes later stopping to pee. One time I stopped a little to soon and didn't let Anya get far enough away before little beefy out...I had to remember I was not running with one of the dudes, however it didn't phase Anya. I even pooted on her. She began to run in front a little and tell me we would stop at the at the flag, etc. She anticipated the inclines and give me the landmarks for the walk breaks. 

Into 95 I make googoo eyes at some brownies then proceed to put them into my mouth like a Hardees commercial, except without the bikini and hose pipe. More Coke and 5 miles to go. We are back on trail at this point and something rises up in me and I take off. Anya is no longer in front, rather running behind me cheering my surge on. Next thing I knew we hit the pavement, thinking we had only 3 miles to go.....Wrong, per Mr. Fritz who drove up told me it was about 4.5 miles. He also told me Martin was coming that I better start running. So as soon as I saw Jeff and Martin we started jogging again. 

Before hitting the main road, Eric told me a bunch of people were walking to get going if I wanted to gain some slots. I told Anya lets go. We didn't run fast, rather consistent until we saw the stadium. Anya starts screaming at me and I get a shot of adrenaline and take off. When I hit the track I ran faster than my 5K pace. I could hear the cowbells and people hollering my name, so I ran harder and 10 feet before the finish line I threw my hands in the air! Fell into Janice's arms for a much needed embrace.

My goal for the race was 24 hrs. Of course this goal was not realistic since I finished in 28:25. It started to feel like a failure until I realized that this was a much different race. Also, because of how I finished. My prayer was to finish strong. You see at Thunder Rock I finish at such a low point. I wanted that feeling of my hands in the air. I got it.

What got me through the race? 1. A good friend Nathan Judd, took the time to write me notes for various points on the course, telling me a story coupled with scripture. That scripture stayed with me and allowed me to draw upon the message as I struggled. 2. The thought of my wife being there through the whole race, and the anticipation of seeing her at every crew point. 3. My crew was so good to me. When I couldn't think for myself clearly they guided and encouraged me. Not sure why they like me but I'm glad they do. I care for them deeply and one in particular hates this sappy stuff. 4. To my Father in Heaven who told me I could do all things....Plus I had to repent for blaming Him for the feet stumping.

FUNNY STORY BREAK:  So after the race Eric tells me about this guy who comes into 85, pulls out some chamois cream like product, sticks his hands down his shorts and lathers his new potatoes. Then the dude without regard for anyone else, sticks his hands in some aid station food and begins to eat.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Barkley Fall Classic-Frozen Hell (Head) State Park

Dewayne Satterfield and Laz
6 am, a trumpet sounds. 1 hour till race start. Squat on the ground, jiggle my stomach and command those foul demon turds to come forth. Nothing. Ten hours earlier at the Windrock Offroad Vehicle Park we are surround by Tennessee's finest hillbilly's with 400 four-wheelers and other offroad vehicles. All night long four wheelers come cruising by the tents, one playing gangsta rap. Rob Youngren takes his pillow, wraps around his head securing it with a belt. Dewayne Satterfield ops to sleep outside on the ground for fear of him or Jeff Deaton accidentally ending up in the pole-hole position in Jeff's tent. I lay in the back of my jeep sleeping about as good as Kanye West at a skinhead slumber party.

Through the famous Frozen Head State Park gate we eventually enter the single track trail and begin to walk up the biggest climb I have ever seen. Switchbacks galore. One lady in front causing a train but its ok, we are hiking fine. We reach the top and begin a completely runnable descent, except our train conductor is not very confident going down. Twenty people follow her unable to pass. I get frustrated and holler out, "Lets go up front...This train needs to move." Two people pass, about a 10th to go till the bottom, we are able to pass.

In front of David Thurman and myself is a young couple running. I will leave out some details so you will not figure who he is. Up ahead everyone comes to a stand still trying to traverse a big downed tree. I veer right trying to find an alternate route but fail, and tell him and his girl to go ahead, that I thought I could find a better way. For this blog we will refer to him as "The Kid". After I tell them to go ahead The Kid says to me "Is this your first ultra?" It wasn't a question, It was a statement. David said, "I think that was sarcasm." I replied, "Well if its sarcasm then yeah I get it, I should have just stayed the path. If it is a question, then yes I have run a few."

Me..."Is this your first ultra?" The Kid..."She and I have three buckles each under our belts." Me..."Wow, which ones?" He made some smart comment to which I replied, "Well I didn't know they gave out buckles at Tough Mudders." BOOM! I look at David and said, "Now that is Funny!" He said I did do the Tough Mudder championship, so if you want to talk about my obstacle racing. I asked again, which 100's did you run, just trying to have conversation. The Kid..."You didn't answer my question, Is this your first ultra?" Me..."Well no, I've ran, blah, blah blah,...and about to get my second buckle." He finally tells me what he's ran, and I feel like the conversation is cool at this point. A little while later on David and I start talking about David Riddle. So I ask The Kid, "Do you know David Riddle? He lives where you do." The Kid..."No, has he won anything?" Me..."Yeah, he sets course records everywhere he goes...(The Kid cuts me off) "Well has he one Western States?" Me..."Well he took..." (he cuts me off again.) "Has we won, blah blah blah..." Me..."No, but he..." The Kid..."Well then he hasn't won everything has he!?! Is he Rob Krar? I don't think so. So he hasn't won everything."  I was speechless, didn't really know how to respond cause this guy wasn't being funny. I paused for a second fearing if I kept going we were going to end up in a fight...Me..."Well I guess you are right, he sucks." He replies with nothing. I turn and look at David and David just shakes his head. I'm getting madder and madder. 

We push up more climbs and descents. We meet up with Roy Tamez, Malin Timbs, and a few more cool "Adult" runners. We laugh about how Roy's wife has the hots for me and about the time we were on the prison bus at the Thunder Rock training talking about who we would eat in a survival situation. Of course Roy looks Hawaiian, So I said I would eat him first cause he would taste like Hawaiian food. This chic speaks up and says, "Well I'm German." Stupid me says, "I love sausage." The group explodes into laughter. Made it worse by saying bratwurst. Malin speaks up ands says, "I'm Swedish." I thought it best to shut up right then!

Later on David and I meet up with this dude from England. He asks us, "Is an American mile the same as a British mile?" Me..."I think so. Do you guys do miles or Kilometer? English Dude..."Miles." Me..." Well is there 5280 feet in your mile?' English Dude..."I don't know. I don't know how many feet it is." Me..."........................" While this really did happen, this dude was cool and we ran with him for a while till he left us.

Past Aid Station 2 around Deja Vu eventually coming to Testicle Spectacle. We descend at about a 45 minute per mile pace. SERIOUSLY!

Photo by Will Jorgensen
David and I are in complete shock at what is ahead of us. Go down a homemade trail on a powerline cut full of briar's, turn around at some point and come back up the same. It was so steep that for much of it we would have to descend on our butts. We reach the turn around and the volunteers punching our bids state we are halfway. Halfway? One guys watch showed 18 miles, while anouthers show 20 just pass the turn around point. Either way, both add up to more than a 50K. The climb out was nothing like I had ever experienced. I would soon find out it would be the easier than what was coming. On the way up we hear a whistle blowing. I realized that wasn't a good thing. A runner had passed out on the climb. They found him taking a dirt nap for real! As he came to I heard him say, "I was having the best dream ever."

Photo by Will Jorgensen

We reach the top and immediately go down the other side of the powerline cut called something wil the word Meth in it. Another slow descent, direct sunlight, heat radiating, and a 6 foot black snake cuts in front of me. We find our way to the bottom treking toward the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary. David and I are spent, dreaming about swimming and an Ice cold Coke. Out of water I begin to get worried. Finally we reach the prison and we see aid. I asked what were the chances of getting an Ice COLD COKE. The guy shook his head no. Another asked me what it would be worth to me. I replied, "I can squeel like a Pig." He opened up a cooler and there it was! I gave thanks to him and the Lord and David and I partook. Didn't even wipe off the top after he drank from it.

Photo by Will Jorgensen
Photo by Will Jorgensen
Through the prison, into solitary confinement, no lights anywhere, to find a dude standing in the dark hole ready to punch my bib. This is where we discovered a real HELL in Tennessee. Rat Jaw. Not only Rat Jaw, but UBER RAT JAW. Supposedly this is a one mile up hill. Before coming I thought it would be no big deal. Dewayne and Rob laughed. As with Testicle Spectacle, much of the climbing you have to use both hands, grasping for briar's to help you get up. 1/4 mile in people are lining the trail taking a break. Dudes with their heads literally  between there legs. Women cussing. Everyone looking for a trail and following whoever seems to know what they are doing. The blind leading the blind. The only thing we know to do is go up and stay in line with the cut. For around an hour to an hour and a half, you are looking directly into someones crack waiting for their brown eye to pop out and wink at you. Our combined body odors mixing in the stale air following us all the way up. IT NEVER ENDS! 

Photo by Will Jorgensen
Until you run this race, you cannot ever understand or appreciate what it takes to make it to the top. Finally we reach the Fire Tower, only to realize we must now climb it to get our bib punched. YOU ARE FREAKIN KIDDING ME! By this point I had already made up in my mind that at Laz's aid station I would drop and hit the road to the .7 mile finish termed the "Marathon" (which was more like 30 miles). I told the lady I wasn't gonna continue. I ate my rice cake PB&J. David Dye comes up and I tell him I am going to drop to the Marathon. He won't let me. Laz overhears and tells me no, that I have plenty of time. I almost start crying, because everyone is talking about how bad the 4 mile climb after the aid station is. David seriously put my pack on me, gets my headlamp and makes me go out for the 9 mile finish.

Chimney tops at the beginning of the race would be bad...but at 30 miles? Roy, Malin and I went back and forth on the climbs. Eventually, we begin to descend and I asked if we had reached the top. Nope, the real climb had not even began. When it did, I found myself for the first time in the race taking breaks. Head between my legs I pondered why I signed up for the Georgia Death Race, and figured I may back out of it. Finally making it to the top for a ridge run. Malin has gotten out of my sight, and I run the best I can, which was probably a 14 minute pace. 

The drop finally begins and I reach my buddy Jeff Deaton's aid station. He tells me I have about 3.3 miles to go and it is all down hill. Something rose up in me. I took off and I ran faster than I have at any point in the race. I was running so fast that I caught and passed others people running. After the interaction with the Punk I had to goals. 1. To beat the sun. 2. To beat The Kid. I may have farted on Malin when I passed her. Passed the cool chic Gina, and several dudes. I catch my friend Dewayne Satterfield and I am in disbelief. When I get to him I ask if he is ok. He stated he had puked a few times, and even laid down for 45 minutes. I told him I was gonna run in and he yelled "No! I don't want you to run with me. You have a chance at beating 12 hours." I hated leaving him. But I ran. Back through Laz's aid station, Laz holds his hand out giving me a high five. I hit the road and give it everything.

Advice to future runners of this race
1. Carry a bladder. 
3. Keep moving forward, you will reach the top.
4. Throw away your skanky smelling shorts! Cause we will smell them all the way up.
5. Don't lay in the grass at the end. I am eat up with chiggers.

Photo by Will Jorgensen

Photo by Will Jorgensen

Photo by Will Jorgensen

Photo by Will Jorgensen