Ok. We’re gonna need some ground rules for this week.
Let’s limit the amount of walking you ask me to do. If you need something, you come to me.
And if you expect to communicate when you get to me, have coffee in your hand. For me. The coffee should be for me.
Have you ever experienced butt chafing? It’s a thing.
And so is inner thigh chafing. And back chafing.
And do you know how long it takes to work three margaritas and several shots of tequila out of your system? At age 45?
I’ll let you know when I finish.
But I think I’ve proven that ultra training is irrelevant. Or at least unnecessary.
The key is choosing the right people to adventure with.
First, you’re gonna want to get you a badass chef. That’s capable of and also willing to create a delicious pre-race meal with one of those fancy a la names or something. The night before he wakes up at 3:00am to go run his first 50 miler. Oh, and also walk away with an age group award, btw.
You’re also gonna want an organized one. Who will fight Freddy Mercury in uncomfortably tight shorts to get to your race packets. Freddy was in the tight shorts. Not the organized one. She was probably wearing something completely appropriate. And looking fabulous. Because she’s Beautiful Beastie.
And make sure you bring some badass runners that are willing to hang out with you and entertain you for 31 miles. Almost eight hours. Almost a full work shift.
Because Pilot Mountain to Hanging Rock is not a cake walk.
I mentioned LeBBQ’s 3am wake up call, right? Which meant a 3am wake up call for the rest of us.
And someone told us to take the early bus to the starting line. Which meant two hours of standing in the dark. The really cold dark.
So rather than allowing me to lay across the hood of a volunteer’s running minivan Whitesnake style, the race director shoved the six of us into his truck. As he stood on the hood for the pre-race announcements.
He’s not Josh Gilbert, but we love him.
And because we like to adopt new family members every now and then, to keep our numbers up, we claimed Cracker Barrel Ben at the starting line. Because he was wearing the correct shirt.
And maybe Cracker Barrel Ben was happy to have a group to run his first 50k with.
But maybe Cracker Barrel Ben was unprepared for the conversation topics GJB offers on the trail.
But is anyone ever prepared for that, really?
So, the start of this course is nice. Trails. Rocky, rooty, leaf-covered trails. But trails.
And you feel good for the first 15 miles or so. There is a decent little climb around mile 10. But mostly it’s just some nice up downs and not too much road.
And plenty of nipple sightings.
If you’re into that kind of thing.
There’s plenty of love at this point.
And Cracker Barrel Ben is sticking right with us.
While GJB is explaining the family to everyone we pass. Or that passes us.
“It’s so nice that your family runs with you!”
You have no idea, lady.
But around mile 15 is where it’s gonna start to break down.
They keep asking for bib numbers at every aid station. And I can barely maintain my home address and phone number in my brain. Don’t ask me to maintain five extra numbers for 31 miles.
And they’re going to promise you a bacon station at some point.
That point will never come.
And maybe that’s ok, because all you really want are some fucking potato chips. But they’re gonna shove peanut butter Rice Krispie treats and candy corn at you.
And your feet hurt. Because the road has started. So much fucking road.
But you keep smiling because at least you’re not the person behind you that has to keep smelling that pack you’re wearing. That hasn’t been washed since you bought it. And it’s seen a LOT of miles. Maybe not in the last month. But in its lifetime? So many miles of sweat and questionable choices.
It was just so bad.
And K-Rob-D has decided she’s gonna Beast her first 50k and just take off on us. But that’s ok. Because Cracker Barrel Ben is still there.
And Tiny Brazilian is talking about the high bondage that is happening.
And you think maybe her Portuguese to English translator isn’t functioning properly due to lack of oxygen. But also, where exactly can I sign up for the high bondage? Because that sounds like way more fun than this.
And then you hit mile 20.
And the climb begins.
And everyone’s gonna get real quiet.
Because we’re all thinking about fucking potato chips.
And not wearing shoes.
Shoes are the devil.
But you get to the tippy top of that climb, and enter Hanging Rock Park, and the entire world is there. Seriously. Ginormous families, representing every single nation in the universe, are there just casually strolling through. As you try to navigate rocks and ATV’s and small children as quickly as possible so you can just get off of that fucking mountain and remove your shoes.
And not a damn one of them had a bag of potato chips I could hijack.
What kind of parent takes their child up a mountain without providing snacks???
And it’s downhill though gravel and cement and almost Dragon’s Tooth style rocks.
And so many children.
But most of them are cheering for us. There’s just something so cool about a pre-teen climbing up a mountain and telling you good job as you’re clearly struggling at life. Those are the kids we need more of.
And really I just want to take my damn shoes off. And this pack. This pack is just so bad.
And GJB is shutting down. And Tiny Brazilian has stopped whining. And we’ve lost Finn’s Dad. But Cracker Barrel Ben is still with us.
And that last mile is a struggle.
Until we get to the last quarter mile. And see the sign. Pointing the 50k runners right to the finish. And pointing the 50 milers left, for another mile. And then we’re all just happy we’re not LeBBQ. Because that’s some bullshit.
And then the finish line.
As a family.
With K-Rob-D and Everyone’s Favorite Husband cheering us in. And Beautiful Beastie bathing in the creek. And Finn’s Dad strolling in shortly after. All smiles. Because 31 damn miles, y’all.
It’s beautiful. The finish. Because it’s all over.
And Everyone’s Favorite Husband throws us in the bed of his pick up truck like the smelly bunch of refugees we are.
And then we got back to the house. And Everyone’s Favorite Husband had a feast waiting for us.
Of course, we had to clean ourselves first. And an ultra runner is at his most vulnerable during the post-race cleaning process.
We were all just sitting there enjoying our food. When we heard, “Oh FUCK!” And then the whole house shook.
And we all froze. Listening for sounds of movement. From the bathroom.
And then we looked at one another. To determine who was gonna go check on GJB.
Beautiful Beastie made a move like she might. Then thought better of it. And sent Everyone’s Favorite Husband instead.
So, apparently GJB was soaping up his feet real good. Because have you seen them? They need it. And that’s how they ended up flying up over his head. Which is when the Oh FUCK came out. But in some miraculous feat of proprioception, he landed, on his back, on the floor, outside of the tub. Without busting his head against the toilet.
And so that’s how Everyone’s Favorite Husband found him. Lying on the floor. Naked. With his man parts all soaped up. Because you gotta let those soak, apparently.
When EVH emerged from the bathroom, he announced that GJB had broken a hip. And then went about preparing his food. And singing.
It still makes Finn’s Dad giggle when you mention this story.
He was fine. GJB was fine.
We were all fine.
So much tequila.
And do you know exactly the best thing to do after running 31 miles up and down the mountains?
So much dancing.
And maybe more tequila.
And I think somebody even slipped a Fireball in there somewhere.
But also tequila.
And because I was probably cuddling a little too much with Tiny Brazilian and also talking about walking down the road to find someone to spend some time with, GJB felt compelled to remind me who I belonged to.
It’s true. She may have ditched this trip for adulting requirements, but she still has trail ownership of me.
At some point this weekend, we tried to talk OT into driving down and tequila-ing with us. But he was also committed to adulting.
Some of y’all just lucky we don’t have your numbers. To harass you constantly when you don’t make these trips with us.
Eventually 3 am wake up calls and too many mountain miles and all of the tequila and dancing catches up with you.
And you pass the fuck out.
And GJB wakes up in the middle of the night in a strange house. In Vinton. And wanders around the kitchen. Until he sees the Cheez It’s he bought. And somehow finds his way back to us. In North Carolina.
The next morning, Badass LeBBQ provided the perfect post-tequila race breakfast cure.
Seriously. I’m gonna start paying all of his race entry fees just to book him for every race I do.
On the ride home, Badass LeBBQ said something about people taking trips like this without all of the running?
I guess that’s something people do?
Other people, though.
Maybe we’ll try that someday.
But for real? There’s just something about suffering through the pain of that many miles and then just letting go. Because that many miles builds trust. And high bondage. And so many excellent memories that you commit to the next dumbass thing.
Pretty sure that one is called Bel Monte.
I’ll follow these people any damn where.
Just next time? Someone bring some fucking potato chips.