How to prepare for Lookout Mountain 50 miler: Cut down on weekly miles...Run a marathon at a 10:40 pace the weekend before...Have complete expectations that everything will go according to plan.
6 am, cold, volunteers checking people in, Missy answering stupid questions, tent-of heat, 1/4 mile line at the porto's, Randy holding his mic, Michael Scott man-hugging, Rick scared, Chia-Chi lost, Keith wondering what state he is in, getting stuck in the tent with a group from Nashvillians and that one chic asking me if I pooped yet...Having no clue who she was.
The race starts with Chia-Chi, Rick, Jerry and myself about middle of the pack. Somehow the conversation gets on marriage and I state that if Janice every passes, i'm gonna get me a 20 year old. I look at the chic next to me and ask her how old she was...."I'm 41". A few minutes later she says..."but I could lie and say I'm 20...." SOOOOOOO glad Janice wasn't around.
We drop to the single track which runs along the side of the cliff. Dude goes down and hits hard. For some reason I spoke the first thing that came to my mind, "Hey man did you pick your mangina back up?" Mistake #2...he was hurt. Had a hole in his face with blood coming out. A mile or so later I was too close to the edge of the cliff and the ground gave way and I fell off. Thank God there was a thatch of bramble, briars, and sticks that caught me and kept me from have Med-Flight come in. Rick and Jerry are grabbing for me as I feel myself about to fall through. Legs cut up, adrenaline pumping we continue on. I didn't talk about anyones mangina anymore.
Dropping down the mountain under the Incline Railway we eventually make it to Cravens house. Rick and I are climbing with a couple other guys and we come up on this Scrotum, I could tell by looking at him he was a Scrotum...and I addressed him as such. I turned to look at Rick's reaction and didn't think he was gonna back me up in the event of a fight. The funny thing is the guy was proud to be a Scrotum. Evidently there were other Scrotums on the course. How do I know? They had the same Scrotum shirt on....South Carolina Runners Of Trails and Ultra Marathons.
So we catch that chic who was all over me in the beginning playing "Angry Turds" just off the trail. Why is it when you catch people pooing they feel the need to apologize? Oh yeah...and go behind a tree! Nobody needs to see your back to crack moss.
I finish the climb and trot back to the start finish. I come through the arch and Randy calls my name over the microphone and pandemonium takes place. Men and women screaming, sports bra's flying, Asian's with camera's, Little people sprinting next to me...I felt like Nathan Holland.
Talking to my Huntsville peeps, Randy and Jobie...stretch a little and begin the back half (28 miles).
I was feeling pretty good, had to re-adjust my posture to manage the groin muscle pains. I found that if you lean forward a little, bend your knees slightly, the strain goes down.
I make it to the Lula Lake Aid station and was welcomed by Michael Scott hollering at me, Jarret Kinder winks at me, Ryan Meuleman's is drinking a Zima (do they still make those), Sam Hamm looks dazed and Missy E is stuffing me with Hammer Gels.
So I start stretching and something weird happens. Jarret and Sam are sitting next to each other watching me with my legs spread stretching. Jarret says, "you have a pretty mouth", and Sam starts making pig squealing noises. Can someone explain to me what was going on?
I begin the rope climb and after my stretching experience thought I should continue the trend and showed a little leg to the photographer at the top of the climb. No joke, I rolled my shorts up and he took about 20 pics.
|Finding out Hot Daniel was no longer Hot.|
While making the slow climb up the ridge I see Shaggy (aka, Nathan Holland) in first smoking the trails. I make it down the mtn to the tornado trails and eventually see and get hugs from Dewayne, Daniel, Yong, and David. I like to hug.
I finally make it to the 34/38 mile aid station. I really needed to see my wife. I was beginning to struggle. I knew the 4.5 mile loop coming would feel like a 10 mile loop. My wife nourished me with Ginger-ale and Skratch. Got a little tongue kiss and went by the pavilion where I saw this glorious cookie. I sat my butt down and cherished avery bite. I could tell Robin and others were saying something too me but all I could hear was my teeth grinding that baked cookie-o-joy. I love you Liz, whoever you are.
The 4.5 mile looped sucked as bad as I remember. Back to the jeep, Janice stroked my chest hair while I drank a coke and had another cookie. Ok, time for a funny story. On the way down the road Jobie hollers at me asking if I remember that story about the guy pooping at a race... The guy is right in front of me. Here is what happened. This guys goes to a race...it's dark, and he decides to go poop in the woods. He rests between two trees and launches a hefty pile. Eventually the race starts and they hit the trail-head. People start jumping a swerving left and right. HE POOPED RIGHT ON THE TRAIL! Thats not the funniest part. It was a loop course!
Back into the woods, through the tornado section, up the mountain and I begin the ridge descent. I do my best to open up and run as hard as possible to gain time. On the way down to the rope I hit a stump and within 45 seconds feel my index toe swelling. I make it back to the Lula Lake Aid station for more comedy. If you didn't have fun at that aid station then you suck.
I was gauging my progress this year based on when I had to pull out my headlamp. I was shooting for a 10:30 to 10:45 finish. Calculating when I left mile 38, I figured I was on tap for a 10:47. I cross the foot bridge with daylight and begin the last ~6-7 miles to the finish. I am assuming I didn't have to pull out my lamp until about 30-45 minutes later than two years ago... I was thrilled thinking I was gonna PR big time.
|Chia-Chi and me|
Turning on my headlamp, I realized that my depth perception was off. Afraid to run because it was getting hard to see the obstacles, and the darker it got, the worse it was. My run became nothing more than a Shar Hendrick Shuffle. I kept my head down and pushed forward the best I could, however, I knew I wasn't going very fast. I come through the finish line and look at the clock... 11:24. Only 5 minutes faster than two years ago. Sooooo disappointed. However, Monica Manning made me a cheeseburger and added extra love.
Lesson learned...Never make fun of the way Brooke McClanahan looked after Pinhoti and expect to beat her.
Lesson 2 learned...It's awkward when you wife asks you to show Joo Kim (Yong's wife) a picture of Hot Daniel with his shirt off, and then tell Joo he is more buff now.
If you don't run trails, here is why you should...You will meet the most amazing people and become a part of a club like no other. I am often a little depressed after a big race and the experiences shared. Right now I am in too much pain to be depressed.
Thank you Rock/Creek for allowing me the honor to be a part of your team. Thank you Randy and Kris for creating races that give me memories for a lifetime, not to mention the birthday gift. Lastly, if you aren't friends with Sid Hood, and Nathan Holland, you should be.
|The Long's and the Kim's|