Friday, July 27, 2018

Last Annual Vol State 500K: My Last Race Report


I have been to many races, and seen many things, however, the Vol State roster is a mix of personalities like I have never been a part of. The Screwed runners were spread among three buses and shuttled across the state following the course backwards. I didn't have a personal relationship with a single person on my bus. I knew "of" people, but that was about it. In trying to be myself I threw out a couple jokes and nothing. It was like the new kid trying to fit in but failing. I messaged Janice like a third grader and she quickly replied that I would make new friends. 

Our bus driver is rather a bulky woman who may have played Roller Derby in the 70's, was an excessive smoker as revealed by the excessive mucous hacking. You could tell when her "jam" came on because the 6.5" tweeter heavy speakers would blast Bon Jovi and Aerosmith directly into our earholes. Tammy was cool.

I wasn't able to really assess the field until stepping on the ferry to cross to the start. There was the dude who looked like Jim Belushi in a cutoff pink shirt, the lady in the sports bra with the bottom 1/4 of her titties hanging down, the topless guy, a couple hot chics and a mix of hippies, oldies, yuppies and guppies.

What I do like about this race is the fact that many of the people are older and in fact, are more apt to beat younger and even more skilled people at this distance. There is a strategy to this race and you gotta learn it fast.

"Where are you going to sleep?" was the question asked most of me. I had the perfect plan layed out to where I would run approximately 30 miles then bed down for 4 hours then another approximate 30 miles. I had hotels and or road angel stations marked out every 25-30 for stops. I made my mile 29 goal an hour early and hoped to eat and bed down for 5 hours. Sleep was nowhere to be found, rather leg cramps that made me scream like a Mississippi hooker then the feeling of worms crawling through my legs for the next 3 hours. 
While the Gleason Fire Station was WONDERFUL and  had cots, food, and showers, sleep could not be found. Only resting of the body, but not the mind. 

Finally on the third day after another hotel stay I ended up in the Parker's Crossroads Inn. It was a quaint little dump with the aroma of fresh sewage and damp carpet which was probably the result of a drunken trucker orgy. I cannot believe I actually took a bath in that tub. I couldn't stand the smell any longer and requested a new room. Feeling completely drained from the previous 2 days I felt I needed some time to refresh. I stayed at the Parson's Inn for about 8 hours, with sleep given here and there.

Coming in to Linden had the promise of an amazing room at the Commodore Hotel. The Commodore is an awesome restored hotel and the owner set me up in a 5 star room, and garnished me with fruit and Epsom Salt for a luxurious bath. As I snuggled in the king size bed I fell into a deep sleep. About an hour later I was awoke to something slamming the hardwood floors in a rhythmic pattern followed by the bellows of pleasure coming from a female soprano voice. As I listened to her voice rising as if it where the climax in a Mariah Carey song I finally realized what was taking place. This woman had vocal stylings in a way that I have never personally experienced making me feel sorry for my wife that she got stuck with me. After her third climb to the top of the mountain, things settled down next door. Of course, my sleep was forever lost and in that semi state of sleep, only her voice could I hear over and over.
Gleason Fire Department

Lewisburg (Celebration Inn) had the promise of good sleep until I poured an entire bag of Epsom salt into my bath thinking more would be better. An hour into my rest I awoke with hell's flames burning my feet. My feet had some reaction and swelled up because of the excessive salts and were they literally burning. After some crying, praying and meds, the burning subsided but not the swelling.

Coming in to Harrisburg I was able to beg a woman for a shower. She washed and dried my clothes and allowed me to sleep on her back porch. This was the first time that I was able to get any quality sleep. I did wake up to her cat stroking me on my stomach ever so gently. I didn't resist.

While looking for a place to bed down in Tracy City I walked around a Baptist Church looking for a plug for my phone. I notices a Harley drive by a couple times. I noticed the Harley guy pulled into the next church to where I was walking to ask them if I could lay down there for a while. As I walked up I knew something was wrong. I told the men that I am sure they are wondering what I was doing. They replied yes. You see the guy on the Harley was a Cop and the the guy he was talking to was the Sheriff. They were about to come get me. I explained I was running a race and just looking for a place to charge and bed down. Thankfully, the Sheriff knew about the race and all was well. 

The concrete at the church was killing me so I tried the grass and eventually their flower bed. While the flower bed was the most comfortable, my hips could not longer stand it. I needed to get to the Road Angel Station at 295.

The key to sleep on this course is to take 20 minute naps at various intervals. Believe it or not, they can refresh the mind.

I didn't think food would be a problem, however, it was. Running screwed, its not that easy to carry a kilo of Sword. Me being a connoisseur of Zaxby's and Bojangles, I thought I would do well. Nope! Once the heat takes over, I found the bulk of my calories would come from liquids. Chocolate milk, Coke, Gatorade or fruit juices. Most solid food I could not stomach. After a couple days I was able to eat some pizza and eventually more breakfast, but hamburgers or big meals were out of the question. Simple carbs, chips, snickers and fruit became my staple. Fruits were the most appealing especially on the long open stretches where heat consumed us.

Another key source was Pedialyte. The stuff taste's like the sweat from the balls of the Fat B@st@rd from Austin Powers, however it does work. I never wanted to get the gyna cramps again so I made sure to drink Pedialyte as much as possible.

On my way to Hohenwald I came up to a gas station that had freshly prepared golden brown fried cheesticks, stuff with the finest cheeses made in a factory. I am telling you that stuff was amazing. Road Angel stations would be more snack based to which I was very grateful. Fake brown sugar Pop Tarts taste like filet mignon at 1 am. Any kind of cookies was a welcome, yet still, fruit seemed to be the most sought after for myself.

Seriously, how many times in your life would you ever consider eating food from a cooler on the side of the road. If someone wanted to screw with us, they had the perfect opportunity. I got Desitin on a cookie and didn't even care.

I literally only new about 3 people running the race. All three were faster than me, but I was the only looker in the bunch (talking bout you Andrea). For the first 16 miles its seems like a large group was in a line, then around mile 17 I found myself completely alone. It stayed this way until around mile 41. I came up on this 5' 1" chic with a long pony tail that was wrapped in a black sleeve. It was dark and I asked her where the Farmers Market was. I had missed it. So Rebekah and I decided to run together. Not long into our run she felt the need to tell me she was hispanic. That's cool, I love Mexican food so we had at least two things in common. She was joking about hispanics and we just laughed and laughed like a couple of cherry churros. She tells me about a Mexican restaurant called "La Chi Chi's" revealed is slang for "The Titties". Well you know I wanna go there. Save the Chi Chi's! My stomach started rolling and it was only a matter of time. Dark roads with no light and the occasional dog, I couldn't hold it no more. I called her name, apologized then floated a burmese biscuit. I felt so much better. She laughed, which was the wrong thing to do cause I kept letting them fly. I truly enjoyed my time with Rebekah and we carried each other through some tough scary sections. We come to AJ's the next morning and both can barely eat. As I get ready to press on, she tells me she needs a nap. I never see her again.

I found myself alone again and this time for about 100 miles. There was the occasional passerby, but relatively alone until mile 161. Coming into Mack's Whiteside Market, completely busted, there was a group of ladies and a dude. I was in such a daze that I don't remember everyone there, I think it was Ben, Angie, Anastasia and Julie.

There is a long stretch from Hampshire to Columbia and it was getting late. Anastasia and Julie are both accomplished ultra runners. Julie has over 200-100 mile or greater races. They do not want to set out on the next section alone and want to hook up with me. We sleep about 4 hours on a wonderful ladies back porch (she shall remain nameless so you don't sleep on her porch). As we left I didn't realize that I would spend many miles with these two. Julie is a APRN cancer nurse and Anastasia is a Barista and Stylist. As we talked I asked the typical questions..."Are you Mexican like Rebekah?" Seriously...I looked to Anastasia and here is how the conversation went.

Me: Are you married?
Anastasia: Yes
Me: What does your husband think of you doing this?
Anastasia: Long story or short?
Me: Whatever doesn't put me to sleep (jk)
Anastasia: Well my husband...blah blah blah....divorced...blah blah blah.
Anastasia: Now my Wife she is a runner too....

I didn't know what to say. I have never been in this situation before. It was the first time that I have ever ran with someone who was a barista at Starbucks. Julie, Anastasia and myself made it through the night and enjoyed Hardees for breakfast in Columbia. After fitting one of my maxi pads to Julie's back we trekked for the Glendale Market. As soon as we see the Market Anastasia asks me to take a picture of her topless on the bench. She tells me she's gay so its ok. No, no, boobies, straight boobies, three boobies, it doesn't matter. They are still boobies to me and I don't think my wife would allow that. So I go inside and let Dee do the photoshoot.

Anastasia and I had been side by side for some time. I lost her in my peripheral vision and turned around to see her drop her pants and squat right on the road. When she caught up to me I told her to warn me first, cause I saw side butt and the deuce she shot out. She didn't say anything for a couple of seconds then replied, "Did I really shoot out a deuce? I know I farted but didn't realize anything shot out."

Coming to Shelbyville, Anastasia had pulled away from Julie and I. We took a detour and went down to the waterfall to soak our legs. Julie's heel was looking bad. We were beat up and just needed to rest at the Courthouse. After lunch the ladies decide to push on, but I needed rest. After about and hour I found out that Julie had returned to the courthouse and was dropping from the race. Imagine making it to around 223 miles and pulling the plug. I had grown close to the ladies and now I was by myself again.

Julie and her husband Val met me at the top of Monte Eagle for dinner. Being in there company was special. People who barely knew me yet wanted to spend some time together. I would loved it had we finished together.

When I was broken at Northcutts market, Whitney Franklin, a lady whom I had never met, saw my post and came to find me, just to encourage me.

Shortly after she left Tony and Kristin Trapani had left Savage Gulf to come and find me. Again, people who I was friends with on Facebook, but didn't really know, and here they are sitting in front of me trying to encourage me.

The Ultrarunning community is special. Ultrarunning doesn't care if you are rich or poor, black or white, fat, skinny, a Doctor or a trash man. Ultrarunning is no respecter of persons. Just bring your ability.

If you are going to run this race, plan as if there are no road angels. There presence is amazing, and it could be more devastating to be expecting one and find out they are not there. Praise the Lord that every projected one was there and others that were unexpected. Thank you to the following:

  • Tim from Martin First Baptist
  • Dude with warehouse on the right heading toward Martin
  • Coolers on the side of the road with ORANGES!
  • Monty 
  • Mr. Hinson
  • The NUTT Family
  • Mr. Schmalley
  • The tent on the right before the campground angel (those pop tarts were a dream)
  • The Campground on the left with cots and showers.
  • The families driving by handing out drink
  • The Wartrace Family
  • The roaming Wartrace/Shelbyville guy

Over 314 mile you are bound to have an injury. Blisters on the pinky toes were an early issue. The blister on the center of my foot was the worst. Every touch sent pain all over my body. I popped it several times but seemed to be missing a spot. I cut a hole in my sole hoping to allow the blister room...nothing. Later I had the idea to put moleskin under the sole and cut its hole out in order to give the blister more room before touching the bottom of the shoe. IT WORKED!

If your balls are barking go buy you some maxi pads, coat it with Desitin and slap on. Problem solved.

Somewhere before Wartrace my left shin was aching. It persisted and got much worse through Manchester (250). Finally the pain was directly where the top of the tongue of the shoe is. On a long wide open stretch to Pelham it seized up. I would have to lean back sorta like relieving a cramp. I couldn't walk. No shade, running low on water and 6 miles from the next aid of any kind I could not walk. Spoke with Joe Fejes, Franklin Baker and Brett Franklin. Consensus was, keep going. I finally got angry and just ran. I realized that I could shift my weight to my right side and actually run. This worked great until going down Monte Eagle. Going downhill it would try to seize on my and I would do the stretch thing. Going down the mountain I leaned back to stretch it and I hear some snapping, like little rubber bands breaking.

Anastasia had caught up to me at Schmalley's place and we decided to finish the last 14 together. Everything was going well until mile 306 when I heard a loud POP on my right foot. Again, I could not walk. With an ankle brace and a ace bandage I was able to walk the last 8 miles in to the finish.

So that snap was a little worse than what we thought. Turns out it was my tendon rupturing. The following Thursday after completing the race I had surgery to rejoin the tendon. So as I am typing this I am half naked, on meds and recovering from the surgery.

I prayed a lot during this race. Early on I would ask Him to provide water and food when I needed it. Just when I was about to run out of something, there would be a cooler on the side of the road, or someone would pull over and hand me a bottle of something to drink. From Manchester to Pelham is when things got rough. Left tendon seizing, full sun and no shade I was feeling all alone. I would pray even yelling out to God that I needed Him to help me. No relief. At that moment I could barely walk. I posted about my issue. Many responded with prayer and encouragement. Dennis Holland asked me a simple question..."Do you trust Him?" Not too long after that I saw a truck come by and turn into a field. On the back of it was a sticker that I had come up with around 1994 and had sold them all across the US. You know the sticker of the little boy peeing on Ford or Chevy? Well I had the sticker of the little boy kneeling at the cross. I have not seen one of these in years, then out of the blue when I needed it the most, God showed me he was with me. So I ran....When my right tendon ruptured I didn't know how I was going to finish. I prayed and am so grateful to the family that brought me a brace and ace bandage.

There are times in our lives where we feel Him all around us. It's what we do and how we conduct ourselves when we don't feel His presence that matters the most. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

  • Meeting the Australian Duo Simon Bonnick and Rob Donkersloot. Even though their English sounded funny, I had a great time hanging with them. 
  • Bacon
  • The Pizza at Glendale
  • The Pizza from Pacos
  • Discovering the male benefits of a proper fitting Maxi Pad
  • When the orgy next door quit so I could sleep
  • Deep Blisters
  • Heat rash
  • Heat Blisters
  • Torn tendon
  • Trek through Lewisburg
  • Trek to Pelham
  • Desitin- you can put it anywhere.
  • Neosporin- Task the rash pain away
  • Two Pairs of underwear- wash one and hang on back and let dry
  • Two Pairs of socks
  • Blister kit- Read Fixing Your Feet by Vonhoff
  • Sunscreen- Unless you are already leather, you will need it
  • Hat by day, Sweatband by night
  • Survival Poncho- can also be used to keep warm. If you are wet and it is night you will get cold if you are trying to sleep
  • Bivvy Sack or Mylar Blanket- See above
  • Scalpel- cut holes in your soles
  • Sweatbands around the wrist- Kept my hands dryer
  • Toothbrush- for when your teeth get hairy
  • Wet Wipes- Clean your stanky tootie
  • A couple of Clif or Pro Bars to carry you through a long section with no aid
  • NUUN- I highly recommend these for electrolytes. Doesn't take up that much room and will help you on a hot day
  • Chapstick
  • TwoToms for any spot that will chaffe
  • Bladder with a soft flask. You will run out of water.
  • Offline GPX viewer- Very reassuring to see my blue triangle on the correct course
  • Put everything in zip lock bags
  • Headlamp- You don't need more than a 40-50 lumen lamp
  • Bug Spray- you most likely will lay near some grass

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.