Sunday, December 16, 2012

Lookout Mtn 50 Miler-Tears and Pig-tail Penny

Photo by Jeff Bartlett
Me, Tina, and Duke

Normally I would start this race blog out with pre-race antics such as who farted at the house before we left, or I would describe 300 runners trying to enter the single track at the same time, or simply the amazing views, climbs and descents of the first 20+ miles…Not this blog. You see, my race really didn’t start until mile 34. Any seasoned 50K’er can eek out 34 miles. Ok hold on…let me set the stage a little better. The first 22 miles leads you out from Covenant College, around the edges of Lookout Mountain and back to the College. From there you begin a 28 mile lollipop; 12 miles to the 34/38 mile aid station, a four mile loop back to the aid station, then 12 miles back to the finish. Are you with me? So I come out of the woods onto a main road and take a left up a gravel road to the 34/38-aid station. 
Brandi-Photo by Jeff Bartlett
On my way up I hear someone call my name, I look over and discern it is Luke Hough and his super-awesome-cool as crap wife Brandi. Brandi begins to cheer my name and spell it out letter by letter (for the record it is Cary, not Carey, Brandi). All I can do is look at them. I did not say a word. Why? Because I was about to have an emotional breakdown. I looked for my drop bag, which contained a luscious, smooth voluptuous, can of ginger ale. I sat and felt amazingly sick. I watched at a distance Luke preparing to leave for the 12-mile journey home. I then focused on Brandi thinking, “There is my ride back to the school”. I was contemplating quitting. I have never quit a race and here I was seriously trying to decide on my next steps. I was well below the cutoff times and had made it 34 friggin miles. I was surprised that I had not seen Dana and Tim. 
Tim and Dana-Photo by Jeff Bartlett
I was able to surmise that they must be between 2-4 miles ahead of me, which was somewhat comforting. Was I really gonna quit with 16-miles to go? I stood up and began to walk into the woods. Emotions flooded me and I almost began to sob. Tears were ready and willing to flow but I was hurting to bad to cry. I begin the 4 mile loop convinced I can just walk. So walk I did. I thought about many of you reading this blog. One of you said, “failure is not an option”, another “you can do it”, and another, “You ain’t ever seen a girl take a poop?” Oh wait…that was the lady who went off-trail that I high-beamed with my headlamp at Georgia Jewel. Less I digress, I pressed on. Around 36.5 I began to run and felt good considering. I pressed and pressed and eventually made back to the aid station at 38 miles. I began sucking down my 2nd can of ginger ale and took some ribbing from Mr. Michael Scott himself. I remember thinking, “12 more miles”. Then I remembered how tough the 12 miles back were. As I began my trip back I prayed this prayer, “Lord let these four miles to the next aid station go by fast.” This girl in pigtails (who is a great trail runner) passes me and gains a sizeable lead on the road before entering the trails. As I enter the trails I figured it is a good time to eat my honey stinger waffle. As I open the package that redneck goes flying out and bounces on the dirt. “WHAT THE CRAP!!!” If you have ever had a honey stinger waffle you know why I was upset. So I did what anyone in my position would have done. I picked that honker up and ate it. God answered my prayer and the tornado-ravaged section went by quick. I hiked with purpose up the mountain to the ridge for a long slow descent at the top. All of a sudden Pig-tail Penny comes running by me. I looked at her and said, “Didn’t you already pass me?” (In a confused tone…). She said, “Yeah, I had to pee”. You gotta love trail runners. I finally make it back to the Lula Lake aid station with 42 miles down and 8 to go. I eat a bowl of soup, strap on my headlamp and pray again that the last 8 miles will go by fast. About 1.5 to 2 miles the darkness sets in. I am amazed that I am actually running. I am determined to finish as quickly as possible so I run and push through the inclines. We break out of the woods to a power line/logging road section. This meant we weren’t far off…after measuring on I found we were 2.77 miles to the finish, however at the time I thought we were about a mile from the end. All of a sudden there is Miss Pig Tails and 2 others. I passed them and kept waiting to hear Randy Whorton’s voice in the night air but it was not there. With about ¾ of a mile to go I could faintly hear the speakers. I pressed and climbed, climbed and pressed. Some lady was hot on my trail so I pushed. All of a sudden music fills the atmosphere but the end is nowhere in sight. I holler back, “Do you hear it?” 

Me with Michael Scotts Hookup
Through the blackness we see Christmas lights, as we approach I realize they are lighting the path to the finish…music is blaring, I look back and it’s Pig-Tail Penny….BULL TO THE CRAP! I press determined not to let her pass me…she is hot on my tail, music blaring and there it is…(dramatic pause) the finish line…I did it. I freakin ran 50 miles with 6300 foot of climb. As I sat down Janice (my sexy wife) and Alex came over to me. It was all so surreal. Kris Whorton hugged and congratulated me. Michael Friggin Awesome Scott hooked me up with an awesome Smart Wool base layer shirt. As I walked toward the truck I got a little chocked up and tears came to my eyes. I did it…

Luke- Photo by Jeff Bartlett
Dewayne-Photo by Jeff Bartlett

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Dizzy 50's: 40 Mile DNF-50K PR

Mimicking Fritz's daughters pose.
Dizzy Fifties is a great trail race on Monte Sano mountain that gives runners the choice of running a 50k, 40 mile, or 50 mile race. My plan for this race was to dominate the 40 mile in preparation for Lookout Mountain 50 mile. It was a beautiful November morning with a bunch of nutty people and one dude topless (not Marty Eaton). The race starts...I am running with Sarah Tierney (my nemesis) and David Bier (my hobbit brother). My goal is to run extremely conservative...soon we catch my brutha from another mutha Will Barnwell. Next I find my self in front of Kathy, Christy and Dana. All of a sudden somebody yells at me for causing a train. I replied, "I just trying not to poot on Christy and Kathy." Then I turn around and see Dana, and I say "And I can't poot in front of Dana" to which Kathy quickly replies. "Oh but you can poot on me and Christy (with her hands on her hips all sassy)? Well you see I know Christy and Kathy a little better and they've become like step-sisters too me. Dana doesn't yet know that I am a complete weirdo (a studly one though). Plus, I am still a little embarrassed about an event that took place at the Chattanooga Stage Races. You see the Huntsville crew had just completed Day 2 on Lookout mountain and I was topless with my nipple tape still on. I stated that I needed to take it off. Well Mr. friggin Tim Pitt says in front of everybody, "Let Dana take it off...(dramatic pause)...with her teeth." What the freak Tim!!! For once I was speechless and did not know what to say. 
Christy, Kathy, & Dana
Stage Races 2012
All I could think about was Janice and Wayne beating the crap outta me and Tim. So Dana...not gonna discriminate anymore...I will be an equal opportunity flatulator. Well less I digress. To avoid a crop dusting the ladies run in front of me. My watch was showing about a 9:45 average mile for the first loop and during the second loop a 10 min average mile. I knew this was too fast but I felt great and my breathing was under control. So I decided to stick with it. At mile 20 is when everything went downhill. I had a brown snake playing peekaboo so I had to pull off trail. I don't know if it was the labor pains or what but my endurance quickly started dropping. My groin area and the back of my legs were tight and hurting. As I started the 3rd loop I could feel my pace dropping. As I begin the last 5 miles of the 50k, Mark Davis catches me to  run it and then 4th loop for the 40. The south loop of the Dizzy Fifties course sucks. It sucks even worse on third time. Well all of a sudden some Elton John finatic squirts me with a water bottle. I turn around like I'm gonna do something and there running behind me is Tony Scott. Well of course I didn't do anything (I valued my life). So these guys are trying to pull me in...By the time I hit the dirt road I am broken. Feel like spewing, crying and watching "The Notebook" with Janice. I make it to the 50k finish and tap out. Marc Crooks was there to join Mark and Tony to push me through the 4th but I couldn't. You see I instructed them to call me names, make fun of me and beat the crap outta me if I bail on the 40, to which I am thankful they did not...well everyone disobeyed my wishes except for Tim Pitt. He had no problem making me cry. 
The Finish
I was very disappointed that I did not go out for the fourth lap, especially since I had 3 guys there to run it with me. The only saving grace is that I finally went under 6hrs on a 50k with a time of 5:39:56. Thank you Jesus that I did not get hurt. Seriously...I thank him. Especially after  4 knee surgery's. Thanks for reading my blog Will Barnwell. P.S. I'm ticked at Regena Moore for not giving me one of those luscious Brownie/peanut butter concoctions she had.


Patty, Tony (My Pizza Guy) & David
Marty and Carol

Monday, October 8, 2012

Stump Jump 2012-Bee Stings and Kankles

Stump Jump 2011
Stump Jump 2011 was a race never to forget. It was the race where I received my first leg cramp, and contemplated ending my ultra-running career, so much so that I did not sign up for Mtn. Mist until a day later. SJ 2011 ended with a 7:47 finish.

Us and some other honkers.
Fast forward to Oct 6, 2012. Pull into the parking lot and inhale the scent of pain, joy and 15 porta potties. The race begins with myself, Christy Scott, Martin Schneekloth, and Megan Nobriga. Christy quickly accelerates leaving myself and Martin. I look behind me and I see Megan drifting back with a look of uncertainty yet determined. We enter the single-track and the helicopter hover's over us and trees, branches, leaves and spit are flying everywhere due to the rotor wash. Around the first aid station Kris Whorton yells at me and I'm pretty sure she said, "Hey Cary, you were voted Rock Creek's sexiest trail runner." I thought thats what she said but I was running so fast I could be mistaken.
SJ-2012-Christy, Martin, Cary, and Megan
Well, she at least hollered out my name. Before reaching Mushroom rock we had caught up with Christy and my plan was to stay with her as long as possible. When Christy walked, I walked. When  Christy ran, I ran. When Christy flatulated....well you get the idea. Descending past Mushroom rock was enchanting. Fog, single-track & switchbacks oh my. At mile 5.33 I caught my biggest challenger of every race...SARAH TIERNEY. The problem is that every time I catch her early on, she catches me around the halfway point and ends up beating me. The sun peaked out for a short time then hid again behind the clouds...then the temperature began to drop. This was actually what I had prayed for. Cool running weather. We hit rock garden. Even though I have my La Sportiva's on I was still careful. All of a sudden my foot slipped down between 2 rocks in a crack just big enough for my foot. As I was going down I was also falling to the side. Right before my leg would have snapped from the force I caught the top of the rock and said, "THANK YOU JESUS!". Whew, I avoided a disaster. The funniest line of the day came from Martin..."Is this the rock Garden?" I replied, "If it ain't, i'm quittin at the next aid station." We finally made it to the 19 mile aid station and Christy and Martin left me. This is the point last year when I began to break down. 2012 was no different. I could feel myself slowing...however the words of Timothy Pitt kept ringing in my ears, "run harder when you hit the wall you fat pansy" So I did. Surprisingly I was able to trek up from Suck Creek fairly well. 
Obtained from Rock/Creek Stump Jump Facebook Page
At this point I am looking back for SARAH TIERNEY. Beth Barry, another Huntsville honker catches me and we make it to Mushroom rock together. Ok, you ever been in one of them races where you hear the crowd, the announcer and think, "Woohoo, I'm almost there...." Well SJ is like that except you still have 4 friggin miles to go. At one point around 3 miles out you can even see runners coming around to the finish line. So I'm ok that Beth left me but I could not believe it when "Air Moses" dude passed me. I had on about $250 worth of gear clothing my body and Flea Market Phil passes me in toe thongs. (no offense to flea market phil) I started to say something but I was afraid he would grab me by the throat with those sausage finger toes and choke me I kept my mouth shut. In all seriousness, it's usually the last 6 miles of an ultra where I question my commitment to every subsequent race that I have signed up for. SJ 2012 was no exception. I contemplated telling Kris Whorton that I was dropping from Lookout Mtn 50 miler. I crossed a road section and a volunteer stated "1.7 miles to the finish." I looked at my watch and it said 6:24. My goal was to beat my previous years time by 1 hour. I had 23 minutes to run 1.7 miles....So I remembered Timmie's words again and I started talking to myself out loud. "Come on you sissy! You gotta run. Come on push it. That's not a hill run through it. Your not gonna cry! But I may...No your not!" I break through the woods onto the street for the last half mile. I ain't gonna lie. This part sucks until you make the turn to the finish. I did it, 6:42. On a muddy, rainy, and cold day when Stump Jump officials stated that participants times were around 45 minutes slower this year...I took off 1 hr. and 5 minutes from 2011. I also have no clue why my pinky is sticking out the way it is in this picture. My toes were numb, and I could not feel my fingertips. I was sad to hear that my buddy Sarah had to drop due to getting stung by a yellow jacket. Yeah I wanted to beat her but not that way. Christy turned in a 6:17 and Martin a 6:30. I was very proud of my first time 50K friend Megan...she finished with a 7:24 on a hard 50K. 

Obtained from Rock/Creek Stump Jump Facebook Page
At the finish line we kept looking for Christy's husband, you see he was going to run the 11 mile trail after everyone started and was going to take our pictures at the finish. Tony was nowhere to be found 8 hrs after the start of the race. Turns out Tony decided to take his longest trail run of 15 miles smash it by running the 50K course. I could not believe it. Congrats to Aaron Penton and Casey Baird for forgetting about the time change and starting the 11 miler 40 minutes late. Also to my wife Janice and friends Camille and Hollie for completing the 11 miler. The three are hating me cause the trail whooped their butts. Oh yeah, where the crap did Blake Thompson come from????

The picture to the left is some of the carnage of the day. Hey, Kankles are the new sexy!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Georgia Jewel-Rash and Toe Jam City

The Georgia Jewel seemed like it would be an easy 35 miler....Well why not? I've ran Mtn. Mist, Stump Jump, Savage Gulf, Twisted Ankle, and Dizzy Fifties. Well I was sadly mistaken.

It all started the previous day when I asked the Holiday Inn desk clerk to give me a wake up call the next morning for 4:00 a.m. Later that night I thought that as a backup I should set my phone alarm also. Siri...Yes Janice's Lover (siri), wake me up at 3:55 a.m. Ok you big stud (siri). Next morning Siri wakes me up at 3:55. I told Janice that the wake up call will be at 4:00. She responded..."This clock says 4:55"....WHAT THE CRAP! My phone did not change time zones. The Hotel did not give me the wake-up call. It was 1 hr before the race and I had to shower, body glide up, dress, eat, fill my camel bak, pick my nose, and try to do you know what and make it to the checkin before 5:30.

It's pitch black and everyone is wearing headlamps... and the race starts. Scott Schlapman takes off...Sarah Tierney, Rebecca Flournoy Reynolds and myself start out easy. Sarah is feeling giddy and leaves Rebecca and myself. 1.3 mile climb up a paved road we enter the woods for about 100ft., then a steep dirt road (cruel and unusual punishment on the way back). We enter the single track and people are hittin' the ground because for the next couple of miles it is a rock garden. After about a mile on the single track I catch Sarah and blow by her. I am passing people left and right. I'm in my element feeling great.
Scott and Sarah
At around mile 6 this lady pulls off the side of the trail, drops her britches and begins to change her oil right there. Obviously I look to see what is going on. Here is the issue...remember I said it was pitch black...well as I turn to look at her, so does my headlamp. So its obvious I'm looking at her cause my headlamp is high-beaming her squatfest. I did not see any of her "business" thank goodness. Daylight is penetrating the woods and we can finally ditch the headlamps. Everything is going great...Sarah is nowhere in sight, which means I am beating her, which makes for one happy Cary. Around mile 15 I catch this guy wearing headphones and pass him. Well he decides to draft in my super speed. Have you ever met those people that cuss a lot? Not only cuss a lot but do it while wearing  headphones which means that are cussing and talking real LOUD. Well this thoroughbred was one of them. At about 1.75 mile from the turnaround point the lead runner passed us. We came down the hill to the 17.2 mile turnaround point. As I was getting my camel bak on guess who shows up? Ms. "Hey everyone I'm engaged" Sarah Tierney, and Ms. "Hey I'm running the 50 and you suck" Rebecca Reynolds. So me and Cuss Daddy start trekking back up the mountain and Sarah thinks it would be cool to pass us. Cuss Daddy and myself run the flats and walk the hills. Finally Cuss Daddy decides to lead for a minute...I let him go. You know, I realized after about 20 miles I prefer to be by myself anyway. By this time I have had 3 Aleve and about 100 ounces of water and EFS in me. I was craving pure unadulterated water. I decided to break the race up in my mind by the aid stations. I was longing for the 10 mile aid station. The more tired I got, the more I stumped my toes. My left quad started fluttering teasing me like it was going to put me in the fetal position. I pressed on. Next stop mile 5 aid station. BEGIN THE SUCKFEST! Rock gardens and rolling trails galore.
The trail kept going and going. By this time I was stumping my toes often. I settled in my mind that it was ok to walk. I did not care anymore. Finally I break out of the woods onto the dirt road. Tell me....what sick individual thought it would be cool to make people downhill on a dirt road and paved road for 2 miles to the finish? Trust me, it was not pleasant. There was no one in sight. I look back often on the road to see if anyone was coming....all of a sudden at about a 1/4 mile from the finish, two jackwagons scare the crap out of me as they pass. Finally, I cross the finish line hoping my pancreas is still attached. Scott took 6th place overall. Sarah was the 2nd Female finisher and I came in at 24th overall. It wasn't until the trip home and the Aleve was wearing off that I discovered the raw places on my body. Congratulations to my friend Rebecca Reynolds for completing the 50 mile and Martin Schneekloth (Shh-knee-clote) for finishing the 100.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Stage Races 2012

Christy, Sarah, Tim, Cary, Tim, SuZe, Dana, Laura, Will, Blake (not pictured)
The Rock Creek Stage Races 2012 will go down in my book as the best race of the year. A group of average and elite runners from Huntsville, Alabama set out to Raccoon Mtn For an Epic event.

Day 1: Raccoon Mtn, 18-miles of rolling single track that encircles this big lake on top of the mountain. There are some beautiful views extending down the mountain to the lower resevoir. Most trail runners however do not like this course too much. Yes it is fast and considered flat for eastern Tennessee, however, the constant roll makes the entire course runnable which means no big climbs (walks) with equivalent descents.
James and Donita
It became apparent around mile 10 that my pre-race fuel the day before was the wrong choice. Evidently Bojangles Chicken and Biscuits is not the lunch of Elite runners as I peeled off from my running partner Sarah Tierney (she thought we were lost and started to follow me...that would have been a mistake). I ran hard in order to catch her and did but could not overtake her.

We get back to the camp and enjoy spaghetti and sweet potatoes made by James and Donita. I also had a first in my life. Will, Laura and SuZe made me eat a roasted brussels sprout (it wasn't that bad). The day ended with Smore's by a campfire. This seemed to be a highlight and after watching Sarah eat three I encouraged her to eat another, hoping she would have to peel off the next day!
Kelly the fireater

Scott don't realize I peed in the water.
Day 2: Lookout Mtn, 22 miles of big ascents and equal descents. The race starts out down a dirt/gravel road and at around 1 mile we entered the woods to a dead stop. We look up the switchbacks and see all the runners waiting their turn up the mountain to grab onto a piece of rope aiding the runners on the steepest portions. We are in a freakin race and no one is moving! Still, it was cool. After making it past the rope section we continued to climb and climb. This was great because what came next was a wonderful long fast downhill which took us back across a bridge to the starting area crossing to the second leg of the course.  As we completed the second leg we crossed the bridge at the start area to back track our initial 5 miles. The finish was the best...coming back down the ropes and switchbacks we make our way back to the bottom. On the flats coming back there was a beautiful waterfall on our right. We got to a little bridge knowing the finish was just ahead only to realize the honking race directors diverted the course back up and through the woods. We finally cross the finish line and then the best part of the course. Sitting in the river. Oh yeah...there are these  16 and 17 year old sisters from Alabama that beat me every trail race (and most of you too). I beat one of them Pippie Longstocking's that day! (These girls are good) Also say a man who looked like he got stabbed in the nipples with butcher knives...He lactated blood.

Day 3: Signal Mtn, 20 miles of big ascents and not so fast descents. This course was as beautiful as the day before. Very technical with the first few miles a train of runners. I was actually running with Christy Scott and Dana Overton until they thought it best to leave me going back up the mountain from Suck Creek (the nerve of them). Unfortunately I got behind a train of two ladies that I had beat the previous day. Finally getting around them I take off. All of a sudden a guy yells out some sailor like cusswords and grabs his ankle. That dingleberry got stung by a bee. Evidently so did about 30 more people. Around mile 10 I heard a lady say "Oh my God"...I looked up and this man had fallen on the rocks and busted open his head and blood was everywhere. I said dude you need some Aleve? So I gave him two and left. At the top of the mountain there is one of them Pippie Longstocking's...I passed her shortly after. Some of the most beautiful trails winded around a meandering creek. I finally climb back to the top and running the last two miles to the finish. Two things happened. Pippie Longstocking came flying by me around a 7 minute pace. So I did what any man would do. I pushed her down. I don't care...she don't know me like that. Nah, I didn't. I finish the race strong and very proud of what I had accomplished.

Blake Thompson (5th) was the big winner followed by Timothy Pitt (22nd), Scott Schlapman (27th), Will Barnwell (32nd) and Timothy Pitts (35th). The rest of the crew, myself, Dana Overton, Christy Scott, Sarah Tierney, Laura McCrain, and Suzanne Erickson all had respectable times. 
So at the end of the race many people are rinsing off. Well I decide to take it a step farther not realizing Janice was taking a picture... I'm sorry Christy.
Blake Thompson
Will Barnwell

Timothy Pitt

Scott Schlapman
Timothy Pitts