I keep clearing my throat.
I think there may still be a little piece of cheeseburger lodged in there.
See, what happened was…
People kept posting about the need for volunteers for Blue Ridge Marathon.
And I kept worrying about how in hell I was gonna run Promiseland 50k++ the week after running Blue Ridge Marathon.
And so clearly the universe was taking care of me. Or trying to. I’m not easy to care for…
So I emailed my girl Julia. Switched to the virtual BRM. And signed up for some volunteer shifts.
And then I looked at my calendar…
My choices to run the virtual were: the day after Promiseland 50k++. A weeknight after work. During SOL testing season. Or…Sunday.
I mean, I’ve done more impulsive things than run a spontaneous road marathon.
Like run a spontaneous Promiseland 50k++. Last year.
Except. Who here thinks I know this course? Show of hands. Anybody? Anyone?
So, I figured as long as I hit the three main peaks, I’d be close enough.
Decided to start at 8:30am.
Because, dammit, I was not gonna wake up early on my last day of Spring Break.
And I didn’t ask anyone to join me. I almost never do. (I have serious issues with rejection.)
But Tiny Brazilian offered to chaperone the first half of my run.
Starting at the giant bicycles. Because I wanted my car available as an aid station. So I could switch out my pack for a handheld after the first half.
And about twenty feet into starting. I felt pain in my heel. And then saw the blood.
Well, that’s gonna be a pain in the ass for the next 26 miles…
The plan was to run up to Roanoke Mountain. Do two loops of the mountain. And head back down to transition to my second half.
But. I mean, have you been on the backside of Roanoke Mountain lately?
There is nothing there that makes you want to turn around and go back up.
So after we’d climbed over the last downed trees. I said I’d be close enough to 13 without a second loop.
And that made TB happy.
So we made our way back down to the cars.
And I tried to switch out my pack for my handheld.
And TB got all “mom” on me, and made me keep my pack on.
“You need to hydrate.”
“Here. You put this on your foot.”
Oh. No. It’s fine. I don’t need a bandaid. I can’t even feel it now.
“You put this on.”
And once I was prepared to TB’s satisfaction. We headed on down Fishburn to meet up with Rogue and Fall Risk.
Which is when I realized. From Rogue’s reaction to seeing us. That I was in shorts and a tank top. Sweating my ass off.
And TB was in long running tights, a shirt, a jacket, a buff, and a hat.
I just don’t even notice it anymore. Girl been dressing like that all week.
And Fall Risk started pulling snacks out of her pockets. That she’d stored. And carried. Up the mountain. For me.
That’s love, y’all.
When we got back up to the cars again. TB relinquished custody over to Rogue and Fall Risk.
And the three of us headed on up to the Star.
When we got to the top. Rogue asks.
“Do we need a picture of this?”
I mean, we’ve probably got about 1,000 pictures of this between the three of us. If we really need one at any point. I’m sure one of us can find one.
Headed on down the Old Road and over to Lew’s.
Where Rogue refilled her handheld. And Fall Risk relinquished sole custody of me to Rogue.
I mean, ok… If y’all really sure you wanna turn the two of us loose on our own…
And this is probably where it started to fall apart.
In all fairness, Fall Risk was present for the cheeseburger conversation. Coming down the back of Mill Mountain.
And she did nothing to stop it.
And when Beautiful Beastie texted me. And I told her our plan to stop into Fork in the Alley for cheeseburgers. To eat on our way up Jefferson. She said nothing to stop it.
And when BB and Everyone’s Favorite Husband finally found us. On our way to FITA. Still. No attempts to stop us.
BB did give us plain old ice. Which was magical. Because I was quickly melting. And Rogue had splashed all of the water she’d managed to refill right out of her handheld. Because she doesn’t know how to apply a lid.
BB: “I’ve also got a bag of Doritos for you. I’ll give it to you on Peakwood.”
EFH (Many minutes later): “Wait. Did you say we’d see her on Peakwood?”
BB: “It’ll be fine, honey.”
Ain’t nobody wanna spend their recreational time up on Peakwood.
And so we stopped. At FITA. And I’d like to point out that I only ordered a cheeseburger. While Rogue insisted on also having fries with her cheeseburger.
And then we took off. Freakin speedwalking. Up Jefferson. While Rogue inhaled her burger. And I took small, reasonable human bites of mine.
And I don’t know why in hell we were walking so fast. Because we were already well beyond my normal marathon time. And we were only 16 miles in.
And as Rogue was transitioning to her fries. After swallowing her burger whole. The universe said “fuck these fries.” Like a cat. And knocked the fries right out of her hands.
And in my panic over seeing french fries fall to the ground. In waste. I started choking. On the bite of cheeseburger I’d just taken.
And spent the next several miles hacking. Trying to get the burger dislodged. From my throat.
I’ve always known that my cause of death will be asphyxiation from food during exercise.
There are worse ways to go, though…
And no sooner had we finished eating. Than the pain. And discomfort. Settled in.
Because your digestive system basically shuts down during long runs.
So, that burger was just sitting. Undigested. Somewhere between my esophagus and my stomach.
And that was the point that we both realized. That we really could’ve just split a burger. And been content.
And I gotta be real. I am dead sure that at that point. My body wasn’t even finished digesting the 25 lbs of nachos from the night before.
So, Rogue had the brilliant idea to climb Peakwood. From the backside. And if you’ve ever run down it…
Like, super steep.
And we were carrying a lot of meat in our bodies.
And I just didn’t even care. At that point. If a car took me out.
At one point. Where Peakwood intersects with West Ridge. Rogue said. Out loud. For me to hear. “Do we really need that extra 1/4 mile at the top of this?”
And I said. Out loud. For her to hear.
No. No we don’t.
This bitch turned her ass right on up West Ridge.
I thought we said…we didn’t…
Ok. So we’re doing this now.
And so that was bullshit.
And we went back down the same steep ass way.
So BB and EFH couldn’t find us. To give me my Doritos.
Because we were improvising the hell out of this route.
And I was really just done. By the time we saw GJB. On his dumbass bike. Coming up. As we were going back down.
And he said something about Big Lick. For the finish line.
But I really just needed to not be wearing shoes anymore.
And we were walking a solid three feet out of our way at each crosswalk. Just to use the rampy parts. Because Rogue wasn’t lifting her feet a damn bit higher than necessary.
And I was so in support of that.
So by the time we finished up Rogue’s half. I needed flip flops. Desperately.
And the absolute worst feeling. Is making this climb.
Knowing that your shoes. And means to get to beer. Are somewhere at the top of this.
So. Far. Away.
And then. Hours later. I could see her.
And she was beautiful.
And I limped my way to her. And pulled off my shoes. And maneuvered my way over to Big Lick.
With BB. And EFH. Brought me my Doritos.
And 100 Miler. And Dude I Don’t Know. Were there. With their dog. That doesn’t adore me. No matter how much I tried to sell my animal rescue history.
And GJB asks, “you going to go get a beer?”
Because his greedy ass wanted me to hobble all the way inside to get him one while I was in there.
But it’s done.
I got my Bastardized Blue Ridge Virtual Marathon done. So I can volunteer on Saturday.
Pretty sure I’ve run an actual ultra in the time it took me to do that marathon.
But it’s done.
And I crammed more mileage and elevation into one week than I’ve ever done before.
And I ain’t gonna do a damn nother thing for the next two weeks.
Because those 67.58 miles served as my training. For Promiseland.
And don’t nobody offer me a burger for at least the next month.
But really. Ima need more of y’all to sign up to volunteer with me. Because I can’t have just done that for nothing.