Sunday, September 17, 2017

My Last Barkley Fall Classic-Sucking from My Hose

Testicle Down-Photo by David Major

Dr. Ambien prescribed me a great nights sleep. Not sure how I ended up in the same bed as David Thurman...was kinda awkward telling your best bro that his hand was not between a pillow. Up at 4:30 and out the door by 5:30 heading to Frozen Head. Seeing the changes to the course gave me and many other previous BFC finishers a false sense of hope. This year, Testicle Spectacle, Meth Lab, an Rat Jaw would be in the first 11 miles...then a cakewalk from that point forward.

Laz evidently lights his Cigarillo blunt and we strut off sizing up the competition and excited about not having to deal with a train going up North Old mac, except we had to deal with a train ALL THE FRICKIN WAY UP NORTH OLD MAC. Equally it pizzes me off the people who try to pass on a half track. We are all trying to get up the same friggin trail and there is nowhere for any of us to go. Finally reaching the jeep road we are able to spread and the dude who was the train conductor pulls off to pee.

I had to figure out a quicker way to get down Testicle and Meth Lab and upon reaching both that problem was solved for me. Within about 1/10th of a mile we were on our butts doing the Alabama Slip-n-slide, except it wasn't a family reunion/Tinder meetup. Thankfully the many people front of me used their taint-meat to press the thorns into the mud making my mud sliding somewhat fun. Thankful for my decision to wear those outdoor pants that the legs zip off. Unfortunately some ladies made some wrong decisions that should "crack" you up.
Testicle Up-Photo by David Major
Dead Deer, and everyone looking like they had a bowl of Ex-Lax Chili, we make it to the bottom, across to the church and a tongue kiss from the bib-puncher heading back up.

This would be my third time down Meth Lab, and I do not remember it being as steep as it was. On about a 15'-20' drop a dude tells me, "I'm gonna have to catch you. just slide as fast as you can." I thought what is this guy doing. Well, he was right. As I slid faster and faster, I was eventually united in a loving embrace with this dude, else I would have ended up in some pain. 

Finally got the opportunity to meet Heather Kralj, and her, David and myself prancer-sized to the prison, through it, over the wall, into a dark sewer know the kind where you would expect a clown to be hiding. Heather seemed to be a little scared and like a real man, I stepped aside and let David lead us.

Photo by Clark Annis
We begin the ascent up Rat Jaw. An email was put out this year that unless you go up the power-lines, you are cheating. I was so happy to discover that someone had cleared a trail all the way to the top. That someone would be the top 20 runners. Everyone in the southeast likes to think their mountain has a Rat-Jaw equivalent, but I am hear to tell you that they are incorrect. Pictures CANNOT provide sufficient detail for anyone to get any sense of the experience they are about to encounter. For much of the approx 1.25 mile climb I am on all four limbs. 

Photo by David Riddle

Slow climbing, Heather and David are complementing the curvatures of my sensational buttox, and in their favor I had switched from one product that produced serious "Tailwind" to Sword, which has left me ethanol free. I find it amazing that while climbing, you feel some of the briars that wrap around your taco's and burritos, it doesn't really affect you till later. I had to take several rest breaks going up, causing Heather and David to leave me. What I thought was an advantage (climbing Testicle and Rat Jaw early), was actually to my detriment. After climbing the tower, I realized my quads were trashed. 

Photo by Clark Annis

Even so, I figured I would make the cutoff with no issues. Leaving Tub Springs heading to Garden Spot. Early in the race I told several people to make sure that when they cross "Ball Sweat Fence" they will go a little ways, then the trail will cut off to the left...there was no sign there last year coming down, but to make sure they go left. As I approached that very spot there was no sign and a bunch of runners going straight. I yelled that I think we were supposed to turn left. A lady pulls out her map and points were the gate was and that the trail shows going straight. I went with her and a few others trusting that possibly that intersection was not the one I thought it was. All of a sudden people are coming from the front of us and the back of us. I estimate that there were approximately 50 people standing together looking at the map. I tell everyone that we should have taken that left. Another guys speaks up stating they did take the left and at the top there was a sign pointing left that brought them back down on the previous trail. We all go back and trek up and there is the sign pointing to go left. Eventually, we trek further up to a two way with no signs and go both ways. A friend had found the correct way and pointed us forward. Bib punch and we are off.

One of the people with me at the "Junction of Lost Souls" was Chad Hause. Chad was in the top 15 coming up Rat Jaw, but found himself with me, and without water. We ran/walked for a long ways. I got him to run when he probably didn't feel like it. He was getting dizzy, and there was no way I was going to leave him. I pulled off the mouth piece from my hose and made him drink. There is no worse feeling in a race then being without water and have dry mouth. We make it to the aid station spent. I wasn't for sure if Chad would continue or not. I leave thinking I could still make the cut-off but inside knew I wouldn't be upset if I did. The first 11 miles were most likely designed to break runners. It broke me. I knew the last climb up Bird mountain would be tough, but I didn't realize just how bad it would be. 
Junction of Lost Souls-Photo by David Riddle

Chad, Melissa Wagner and myself pushed the best we could. Eventually, the roles reversed and Chad was having to wait of me. Well, he didn't have to, he told me that I didn't leave him, and there was no way he was going to leave me. The quote of the day came from Chad when he stated, "There are only 10 switchbacks up and 10 switchbacks down." There is NOTHING in Alabama to prepare you for the switchbacks on Bird Mountain. It's not the pitch, its the length of them that is so hard to prepare for. At least with Rat Jaw and Testicle you know it's straight up and done. The switchbacks were as numerous as the "No GPS" posts on the BFC page. They annoyed the fool out of you and were non-stop.

Even before reaching the top, I had done the calculations and knew there was no way to make the 50K cutoff, and to be honest, was ok with that. I had the prize in 2015...Today I was ok with the Marathon.

People wonder why I(we) do these things. I know why I do. It's meeting and running with you. The relationships built from these events are priceless. Watching people finish and begin to cry brings tears to my eyes. 

When you are at these events, try to remember someones name...It means the world to them.
Heather Kralj-BFC 50K Finisher

Me and Clark

David Thurman0BFC 50K Finisher

A couple of Goons

Saturday, June 10, 2017

A Very Cary Korea Trip

Cab Driver who I thought was kidnapping me.
No this is not a race report. However, If you know me or have read my race reports, you may enjoy the stories and description of my trip to Korea.

Made it to the Incheon Airport...walking around looking like a tourist, a man asks If I need a cab. I nod and he grabs my bag and takes off. Struggling to keep up and assuming he is actually a cab driver I follow the best I can. We make it to his van and before I can ask any questions my bag is locked in the back. I get in the van looking for any "official" taxi information or a meter or something....nothing. While he is taking off I am looking for my seatbelt. He had modified it because he installed bars blocking the luggage area from the back seat. I guess someone else must have freaked out, grabbed their bag and fled. When he reaches 140KM per hour, I begin to take pics of him and any road signs, in the event I have been "taken" and was about to be sold into sex slavery. You think I'm kidding?

I make it to the hotel, walk off the elevator on the sixth floor and walk towards my room. On the way I hear a woman screaming. I stop in the middle of the hallway shocked, and wondering what I should do. Is this woman in distress? Do I need to call for help?. As she continues to scream it finally hits me what is actually happening. Lets just say she was not in distress.

The following day, tensed up from the 15 hour flight and still in disbelief of the mating calls from room 627 I venture to the Siloam Sauna, a Korean bathouse. Ok, this was a recommendation from Joo Kim, to which I told her NO WAY! However, I thought about it, researched it, and found it is safe and no "627's" happen there. This is not like a German bathhouse where men and women are together. The men and women split for the bath portions. I walk in, strip down, and make my way to the bath area. All of a sudden I am surround by 45 naked Korean men. First thing is shower. Second make your way to one of the many pools. As I got in each pool I read the "benefits". First the massage bath, then the salt bath, followed by the jade bath. I got to the mugwort bath but refrained from going in since the sign stated that it was a good vaginal cleanser. I walk over to a group of dudes in spandex. These men spend their days exfoliating other naked men. So when in Rome...I lay down on the table praying and ensuring I do not think about room 627 or my wife at any time. I did not want to be the laughing stock of Korea. The man begins to scrub me with a belt sander. Thank the Lord for the pain because there was no way I was going to mistakenly derive any pleasure from the experience. Back, legs, and sides done. It's now time to turn over and let him sand blast my top side. So far so good. Then he makes it to my mid-section and without hesitation, grabs my lil smokie moving it out of the way so he can scrub my inner thighs....I almost flat-lined.On my third trip (yes I said third) to the bath house something weirder happened. First I thought the symphony was in town cause one dude walked in carrying a bassoon between his legs. Look, it is impossible to be in a room with that many naked people and not see anything. There is the b-hole surprise room. This is a room where there are 4 nozzles hanging from the ceiling and what looks like a massage table. So I lay on the table and there is this button. Well of course I'm gonna press it. Lets just say, make sure you are in the right spot or else a jet stream from one of the nozzles will sodomize you. The next room I enter is the "Salt Sauna". I walk in and can hardly breath due to the heat. There is a 90lb old Korean man in there taking salt from a bin and rubbing it all over his body. I begin to do the same. He looks at me with two handfuls of salt and motions for me to turn around. UH OH! So I turn around and he rubs the salt on my back for me. I will never disclose whether or not I returned the favor.

On the way back to the hotel I pass by Seoul station where I see a couple of homeless Koreans in an argument. One man and one woman. All of a sudden the man starts throwing leg kicks while a cop stands in between trying to stop the situation. The whole time I'm singing the song "Kung fu Fighting".

I think I met a Korean relative. We are on a tour bus to the demilitarized zone...the border of North and South Korea. Leaving the city we drive through the country where there are rice fields all around. Suddenly the bus drive pulls over on an elevated highway. Actually, he doesn't pull over, he just stops in the right lane. He opens the door, grab's a box of tissue, looks at me and points to his stomach. Yep, our bus driver just exited the bus, and was hanging off the side of the road taking a poop. As he came back to the bus, I could see him wiping off his fingers with tissue.

That's all the funny stuff. Now the cool stuff.
Korea is absolutely amazing. The food scares me. In the open market they were serving stuff I had never seen, and one I knew exactly what it was. The area I stayed in was not a tourist spot, rather where everyday Korean's go for. I literally ran all over the northern section of Seoul (north of the Han River). Ran by some Palace's, up an old wall, around the complex where the President lives, along a river running through the city and to Domino's. Yes, I was so tired of Korean food I had to find a Domino's pizza. It cost me 220,000 Won but I did not care.

The sites, people and smells that I encountered will give me a lifetime of memories. Best part of the trip was finding a handmade jewelry shop where I purchase my wife a silver wedding band.

I LOVE KOREA...See you in October Korea.

Inside the Room where you cross into North Korea

Middle of the buildings is the line. Big Building is North Korean

CT Paek, and Simon: Some big wigs in the City

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.