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