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.