Saturday, March 23, 2013

McKay Hollow 25K 2013-Mud Pie and Cheez Whiz

Rick Grief-Photo by Gelmis

I see a dirt nap coming-Photo by Gelmis
McKay Hollow 2013 began dark, cold and wet...and turned into my favorite McKay finish. Tony Scott outfitted me with a Salomon windbreaker and gloves before the start due to the cold rain. Close to 200 people line up and await Blakes "Go". We take off on approx. a half mile on the road to the trail head. We begin our descent down Sinks trail and the trails are covered in mud and water. All of a sudden I see a runner down and it's Randy McFarland. Next thing I know me and Eric Fritz are ice skating down a mudslide grabbing for trees to keep it from looking like we shiggity'd all in our britches. We make it up Sinks and Panther Knob through Stone Cuts. Picture this...running on the flat part of Stone Cuts it's Christie Scott in the lead (at least in our group) followed by Fritz and myself. Behind me is a dude with a perfect perm. So lets call him Perfect Perm Peter. Well P3 wanted to show Christie his smokin perm so he comes flying by me with 2 shoes Fritz with 2 shoes Christie with one shoe on. P3 passed us in a micro-lake... his shoe was at the bottom. Well he went snorkeling and got his shoe and passed us again. Anyway, we fly down Sinks towards three benches and up to Mtn Mist. I look up a little ways and P3 and Graybeard are on the wrong trail going out Sinks. I think to myself..."Self, if you let them go then thats 2 positions higher you will finish in.." Well of course I do the right thing. I push through Mtn Mist and do a run/hike up Warpath, blow through the aid station at the top. The South Plateau trail was a friggin lake. To this point myself and Doug Daniels are trading positions. He lets me by, knowing I can flat out-run his redneck butt down Rest Shelter. I am feeling great pushing through McKay Hollow and Slush Mile and I hear that dreaded thump and "Ugh". Ken Pfleger had dirt pie for a snack. I turn around and he is laying prostrate moaning...Doug stops and I keep hollering, "Are you ok!" I debate whether to stop or not then I see Doug helping him up. As I make it around the turn past the Death Trail exit I see Ken way back walking...So I press on. Doug catches me and passes me going up Natural Well. Again I perform the run/hike up. We make it past the sink hole and move up towards arrowhead. There was a dude in front of me and as he jumped over one of the logs crossing the trail his foot got caught on a briar and BAM, mud pie. I'm glad he wasn't looking cause I probably giggled a little. I finally make it to the Arrowhead extension and to the aid station, I blow right past it....Ok so we make it back on Natural Well before the SOB ditch.

"I Can't believe Cary beat Me"
Photo by Gelmis
I had just enough pee in my bladder to be annoying. A conversation with Brett Wilkes came to mind. He said, "if you having the race of your life and you have to pee, what do you do? Especially if it's raining, you could pee all over yourself and no one would know." I thought to myself, I am having a great race...It is raining....But I couldn't do it. So I engineered a plan. What if I pull my glow-worm out and run like a cowboy riding a horse, and wee wee while running? So I tried it...Something went wrong in the execution. I did not take into account the bolognee pony flailing wildly while running. Needless to say I sprayed cheeze-whiz all over myself. And once you start its hard to stop that thing. 
Anna Edmiston-Photo by Gelmis

My stomach started hurtin a little and I was able to ease the pain with fratulence. Shortly after I turn around and Ken caught up with me. WHAT? This guy busted he knee-knuckles and was walking earlier, now he's passing me. As he passed me he said, "It smelled like Big's Ed's Pizza back there..." Guess what I had for dinner last night? 

We make the turn down Arrowhead  and as you get to the flat part it puts slush mile to shame. I was worried in the beginning about wearing my Hoka's instead of my La Sportiva's for the mud, however, they performed amazingly. I cut through Arrowhead and had to pray to God to settle my stomach...prayer answered. I began the ascent up Cry-baby hill and ran/hiked it faster than ever. I was feeling great. I reach Death Trail and do the same run/hike. It was amazing. I passed a couple of people going up and just kept pushing. I reached the stop and ran to the finish....2:49. I was happy. It seems I came in 20th overall (Jason Shattuck did not beat me). This was a big milestone for me on this race.

This was hands down the funnest McKay Hollow that I have ran. So many from our We Run Huntsville Saturday Trail group showed up and conquered it. Congrats to all of you.

It seems like I am forgetting something........Oh Yeah
Photo by Gelmis

Awesome People-Photo by Gelmis

Photo by Gelmis
Rob Youngren (left) 2nd Place, Eric Charette 1st Place-Photo by Gelmis

Dink Taylor 3rd Place- Photo by Gelmis
DeWayne Satterfield 5th Place-Photo by Gelmis

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Savage Gulf 2013-Boulder Hopping and Dirt Naps

2 Studs

Normally when you run a race the first time its real hard and the second time not so much. This is not the case for Savage Gulf Marathon. First off, Randy Whorton said I could be on the Rock Creek race team if I win the Chattanooga Stage Races this year. So there is a chance...

Usually my race report consists of a lead character such as Pig Tail Penny, Pippie Longstocking, Lady changing her oil, or a midget sprinter. This report the lead character's are Blonde Betty and the Dirt Napper. Before I get into their story and the race let me lead up to it...

Timothy Pitt & Will Barnwell

Friggin Will Barnwell jinxed me. I had approximately a 1 year shart free streak until the day before the race. Will sends an email to everyone that there will be no stops on the way to Savage Gulf unless "Cary" sharts himself. Whadya friggin know...before the trip I try a tricky maneuver called the crop dust and end up spraying cellulose in my tighty whitey's. Thanks Will...I hope you get a hemorrhoid. 

Anyway, we get set-up, get the sweet potato's on the fire and do what all grown men do while sittin around a about things we should not and see who can fart the loudest. I believe Marc Davis won however Will's had the best dynamic range. Some homeless dude (Alan Jaques) comes walking through the woods all hungry and crap and helps himself to some sweet potato's. 

I could not sleep. It was a long hard night for me. I was cold and missing Janice. I promise Will, Marc, and Tim if you friggin tell anyone what I told you I will beat the crap out of you...My family reads these blogs! What I tell you at Savage Gulf Stays at Savage Gulf. 

My Hot Wife
Anyway, as we are prepping for the race Blonde Betty comes walking over to us and straight to me... she says "Can you help me with my pack, I'm a complete retard"...To which I replied, "No your not, your only a little retarded." Very glad she laughed...Anyway I get her fixed up and all the guys are just looking at me...One of them says..."Blonde's never come up to me and ask me for help", to which the others concurred. So during the run I got to thinking about what they said. You know pondering why men and women seem to be more comfortable around me...then it hit me. AH CRAP THEY PROBABLY THINK I'M GAY. And I'm not. You've seen my wife. She's smokin hot. I mean she'd still be hot even if she had some fingers missing or something.

Stone Door
Melanie (Blonde Betty) and Benj

The race starts...We run on top and after a couple of miles begin the descent down "Stone Door". Stone Door is like our Stone Cuts on Monte Sano except about 150' high. I will try to describe this race the best way possible. Stone Door, boulder hoping, wet mossy rocks, switch backs, more boulder hoping, people falling, then we get to the bottom and cross the first swinging bridge. There are several amazing creek and dry river bed crossings all through the gulf. On the way to mile 10 we come up on a beautiful waterfall and rock shelf. The waterfall produced and amazing cooling effect which greatly helped because it was already getting too hot for a trail run. 
I promise, this is the most beautiful course I have ever run. Joe St. Lawrence and myself kept a steady pace and was able to catch approximately 6-8 people who started to fast. We hit the switch back climb which takes you to the second Aid Station. I completely forgot how hard this section was. As we ascended I slipped on some roots and Joe caught me before falling down the side of the switchback. As we entered the 13 mile aid station Toboggan Joe left me and I was own my own for most of the second Mtn ridge running. This section is one of the few runnable sections on the whole course. At the end of the ridge running you begin  the descent on a wet softball size boulder laden trail. It is what anyone who has run Mtn Mist would call the SOB ditch except is last forever. At the bottom in my opinion is where the race starts. From around mile 18-22 is an excruciating rolling, rocky trail, including the backtracking of the boulder field experienced around mile 5. It is SO HOT. Every creek crossing I dip my hat in the water to help cool my body. I am so ready for this race to be over, eagerly awaiting the final climb to which I know will be painful. As we are running the rolling rocky single track a couple of chics, are catching me. One of them hollers out with a cramp...I asked her if she had any salt to which she replied "no". So I thought, "What would Tim Pitt do in this situation?" I turned and said "Good luck with that" and took off...No, I gave her some S-Caps and that heifer, and I mean that in a good Christian way, took off and left me. We finally begin the ascent only to realize at the top we were going back down to the river. Then we finally begin the ascent, and of course end up going back down. I am so beat down that I am just walking. I have no watch and no clue what time it is or where I stand...FINALLY, the climb out. And yes, it was just as bad as last year. I make it to the top where I have a 2.9 mile South Plateau type trail to the finish. My goal was to knock off an hour from the previous years time. I wanted to come in around 6 hours but during the final ascent I felt like I would come in around 6:22....As I broke through the woods onto the road, up the drive to the finish, I crossed at 6:23...59 minutes faster than last year.

Now for the Dirt Napper. Benj Lance is a young ultra-runner and one of the nicest guys I know. I kept looking for Benj to come across the line...I figured he would be about 30 minutes or so behind me. Benj was nowhere to be found. We leave headed home not knowing where Benj was. On the way home we see the results get posted and Benj finished dead last. I was shocked because he is a great consistent runner. This is what he posted about his experience.

"So, embarrassed to make this status, but here it goes. Finished DEAD LAST today and in 9 hours. So many things went wrong it is comical. Got really sick, and so dizzy from the heat that I thought I was going to pass out and laid down next to the trail after the 3rd aid station. After many runners checking on me, I fell asleep until Melanie woke me and made me march a little down the trail, again the Dizzyness and inability to walk at all came so I curled up in the fetal position in the shade and gave up. Many minutes later the sweeper woke me up from a really deep sleep and I started walking with him. At the bottom of the last big climb a park ranger (ginger beard) informed me I couldn't finish, but I ignored him and hauled butt up the big climb, at the top I waited for the sweeper and we walked it in slowly... 9 hours for a freaking marathon... what is wrong with me. PS that course is beautiful, and the hardest marathon there is. My first DFL..."

MY FRIEND TOOK A DIRT NAP! Not once but twice, and still finished the race. Benj, a buttload of people would have quit and hitched a ride back. I salute you brother!

Oh yeah, Friggin Daniel Lucas was there and was topless.

Thanks for reading...And thank you Jesus for allowing me to come back home to Janice and Alex.