2020 Smashdown

Pics from Official Start of 2020 popped up in my memories today.

That time the portal to chaos was opened.

I’m not out there today.

Today I’m here. On my couch. With coffee and books. Like all the other people afraid to peek their heads out to see how 2021 gonna act.

Not because I’m scared. I ain’t scared. Psht. You’re scared.

I’m only here because I have to be here. On my couch.

My legs said so.

They’re refusing all activity today.

I think I’ve talked them into some yoga later. After coffee. But they said if I even look at my running shoes. They’re gonna spontaneously paralyze themselves.

Seems dramatic. But ok. That’s fair.

Because they put in some work yesterday.

Beautiful Beastie had been talking about a 50k at the 40 Acre Wood for months.

Luckily, my sad showing at the Chaos practice last weekend led her to only assign me 20 miles.

And Bropunzel only need some weird number like 11.736 miles to finish out 2020 with some outrageously large, but even number.

And I’m pretty sure 100 Miler was assigned to 50k. With BB. But I’m not sure if she knew that…

All we really knew was that we were gonna send 2020 out trail runner style. And then spend New Year’s Eve at home. On our respective couches. Like the 2020 level exhausted grown ass humans we are.

BB called it the 2020 Smashdown. At the 40 Acre Wood.

So, what Everyone’s Favorite Husband has created at the 40 Acre Wood is a three mile loop of trail.

Which sounds serene. Simple. An easy to follow plan.

It’s not.

First. The elevation gain. In a single loop. Is somewhere around 5,000,000 feet.

Ok. That’s an exaggeration. But it’s a lot. A lot. Of climbing. And really steep descending.

But also. It kind of just loops all over the place. I’ve gone through it a couple of times. And at no point during any of those times did my brain understand how we got where we were.

My Strava looks like a drunk three year old drew out a race course.

Yeah. Could you follow that?

So, my plan was to just run around BB and EFH’s backyard until my Strava hit 20.

This is something I’m entirely comfortable with. As I explained to Bizarro Beastie. Tuesday night. For our Grassy Hill run.

She and I ended up with 5.14 miles on that course. I think 1.14 of that was spent looking for the overlook. Which we’d apparently passed right by. Probably more than once.

GJB says it’s not even possible to make that course a 5 mile course.

Psht. You don’t know what we can do.

I believe we went off course approximately five times that night. Which is pretty close to my average. So I was well within my most comfort zone.

And I was fully prepared to do the same at the Smashdown. The 2020 Smashdown. Where we would run the hell out of 2020. And leave all that bullshit out there on the trails.

But when I was driving up the road. To enter the 40 Acre Wood. I noticed an arrow. In the ground. On the side of the road. Pointing into the woods.

Well, that looks like a course marking.

Yep. He sure did. Everyone’s Favorite Husband not only went through the entirety of this course. Cleaning it. Making it pristine. And painting particularly threatening roots orange.

But he also marked the whole damn thing.

So when I got there. And BB and Bropunzel and Bizarro Beastie were already out running. EFH tried to explain it to me.

“There are some spots that have two sets of arrows. If it’s the first time you’ve passed that spot, follow the single arrow. If it’s the second time. Follow the double arrow.”

Well, that sounds simple enough. It sounds simple enough.

“And if you decide to run the loops backwards. Just do the opposite of what the arrows say.”

And my brain tried to process this. But it was still panicking over keeping track of first time second time directives. So it said, no. We both know you do not need opposite way knowledge. He knows you do not need opposite way knowledge. Everyone reading this knows you do not need opposite way knowledge. We will not be processing opposites.

It’s fine EFH. I’ve got this. Just point me in a direction to start, and I’m good. What’s the worst that can happen.

And his face said he was actually imagining the worst that could happen. But he pointed me to the start anyway.

First two loops. Absolute perfection. I was managing first time/second time arrows easily.

And the course had excellent course marshalls.

That would relax and monitor the course.

Until they saw my iffy behind trudging my way through.

And then they’d get up to escort me to the next intersection.

Seriously. Sometimes they’d be following BB at an all out sprint. Clearly loving life.

And they would hear me struggling along behind them. And they’d stop. And wait. Patiently. For me to catch up.

And in case that didn’t make me feel particularly slothy. I got to watch Bropunzel run up this full speed.

I’m not sure you can tell. How intense that climb is.

How just straight the fuck up it is.

And it was his second time doing it. Because someone said they didn’t believe he’d done it the first time.

And then he did it again. A third time. I guess just for funsies?

And when 100 Miler got there. She ran up that bullshit, too.

It’s fine. I crawled up it like the average human person I am.

And then. As I was finishing up my eighth mile. I was passing through the aid station fire pit area. Where EFH was grilling. And Bizarro Beastie was enjoying the fire.

And EFH asked what I wanted on my burger.

I mean, I need fuel, right?

So I nested the hell out of that aid station. Consuming every bit of that turkey burger.

Before heading out to finish loop three.

Meanwhile. 100 Miler is enjoying moonshine every time she passes through the aid station.

And temps were nearing 500 degrees.

And I was so overdressed.

And this is where I started trying to math.

I’d been assigned 20 miles.

Seven loops would get me 21 miles.

I’d done nearly three loops already. For nearly nine miles.

Four more loops.

Well, that seems…inaccurate. No way I need four more loops of this.

Ok. Let’s stop looking at it as loops. Let’s focus on mileage.

Eleven more miles. I just need eleven more miles.

And that’s the point at which I lost my ability to remember first time/second time arrows.

And just started meandering aimlessly through the course.

Around mile nine, I passed back by the fire pit. Where EFH and Bizarro Beastie and Bropunzel were enjoying their relaxing time.

“Are you done?”

No.

“Do you want to be done?”

Yes.

“Then I deem it to be so.”

Oh. Ok. So, you’re like, opposite of Beautiful Beastie.

“She’s Bizarro Beastie.”

(See? Sometimes. If I’m patient enough. Y’all will create the blog names for me.)

I can’t stop now. BB is right behind me. She can’t see me stop at nine miles.

“Sunshine, remember. This is your safe space.”

I am not ending 2020 with a BB lecture. I will not succumb to the allure of comfort. I will get my 20 miles.

But as I circled back through. After my fourth loop. Around mile 13. And BB had joined them at the fire pit. I heard EFH and Bropunzel mathing.

3:1

They’d decided that this course had a 3:1 conversion rate. Because difficulty.

And I couldn’t do the math in my head right then. But I knew enough to know that 4 times 13 was way over 20 miles.

So I decided on just two more. To get an even 15. (It’s a runner’s even. Don’t question this, math people.)

And there was a point. At 13.75. When I came out on the road. Where I legit considered just running down to the end of the road. And back. To get my 15.

That’s what this trail does to you.

Makes road running. In trail shoes. Look appealing.

But then GJB started heckling me. Via messenger. Because he refused to call in sick to work for this.

“Get your ass up and run. I heard you quit.”

Excuse me??

“Wait. SS is one of two still running. My error. Shut up and run then.”

Excellent cheerleading.

I ended it at 14.66

Because that’s the mileage I was at when I hit the fire pit.

100 Miler came through.

“I’m chafed.”

“And I’m drunk.”

And then she dutifully ran a few laps around the pit. To hit an even 13.1. Because that’s what runners do.

But I feel none of those compulsions whatsoever.

I saw fire pit. And beer. And sweatshirts. Because I was so sweat-soaked that I finally got cold when the sun disappeared.

No way my brain was processing anymore mileage.

I was fully content with my 14.66.

GJB showed up. Eventually. And ran a few loops around the fire pit. In dress shoes. And slacks. So he could Strava with us. And earn the fire pit time.

Because post-run fire pit time is the best time.

So it ended ok.

2020.

We learned a lot in 2020. Most of us.

And it went out ok.

So let’s all remember what we learned. And try not to fuck this next one up.

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