Sunday, February 12, 2012

GUTS Coosa Training Run

12 FEB 12 - 0ยบ - COLD AS SH!T

So, GUTS did a training run up at Vogel State Park.  It was cold as shit, we got up early as shit, and were tired as shit in the end, but had a shit load of fun...which consequently is 1/3 a pant load or 1/15 a butt load.   Check out the pics yo!

Franco & Steve heading up the trail.

Ice crystals.

Like a ninja.
Let me tell you about the ninja in the above photo.  This kid is going to go places and do things that a lot of people will hear about.  That's all I have to say.  Wait, no it isn't...I have much respect for that gangsta ass fool.

According to this sign the Coosa and the DRT share the same single track...

Heading down to Wolfpen Gap.

Blood overlook.


Blood Mountain benchmark.

Just having fun.
This trip was a blast.  One thing to keep in mind is that when Blanton says it will take 15 minutes to do something, triple it for a normal person's time.

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I wasn't going to write anything about this run aside from what is above, but I was asked to do a write-up for the next GUTS newsletter about our club's training runs.  Here's what I wrote. 
It’s 11:00pm Saturday night and I’m starting to panic.  Tomorrow morning is coming fast and it’s going to be a cold one.  Being the over prepared non-Boy Scout that I am I go over my gear once more making sure I have everything.  4:00am comes quickly as I hop out of bed and head off to meet Steve, Franco, Janice, and Sally whom I will share a ride with to the GUTS training run at Vogel State Park to run the Coosa Backcountry Trail.  Once we arrive at Vogel and say our hellos to the 15 or so runners we’re off on our 4 hour adventure (some of us are really slow…that would be me). 
The great thing about these training runs is that there is usually always someone there for you to run with no matter how fast or slow you are.  And, have no fears, someone is always willing to hang back and run with you if you’re not feeling well, are tapering, or are just…well…me.  Spending time with people in the woods, chatting and running, and sharing life in general just does something for one’s soul.  It strengthens it.  It builds bonds and friendships.  It’s just good.  Whenever possible I try to make these runs, because of that, and I don’t feel like I have to…I want to!
The run went GREAT! 
Despite the freezing conditions we all had many a laugh.  One of the funnier moments was when Sean was laying on the ground, trying to scare the crap out of me, and Franco decided he was going to sit on a log right beside him…there goes the surprise.  All I could do is laugh when he jumped up and tried to scare me…really…it’s not like I couldn’t see him…I even asked him what the hell he were doing…maybe you had to be there…
Anyway, to make a long four hour run story short, the crew I rode up with patiently waited for me to return, and they weren’t even all that mad (at least they won’t tell me) when they found out that I decided to run up to Blood Mountain as well adding an extra 45 minutes to the day.  They actually said that they were kind of jealous!  The car ride back was much more animated than the than the one up as we shared stores of our run and even discussed, at length, the differences between a sh!t load, a pant load, and a butt load…these was critical as we wanted to be able to adequately describe the amount of fun we actually had out there!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Cursed Race...NO MORE!!!


For those of you that know me and have had to put up with my unending ramblings about running, you probably know or heard that the RTR has been what I called a 'cursed race' for many years.  It goes something like this:
2008 - didn't know about it until race weekend and couldn't go mountain biking.
2009 - missed registration.
2010 - signed up... got INJURED...volunteered at AS 3/4.
2011 - signed up... got INJURED...volunteered at The Pit.

Well since my last check-in I've been doing whatever.  I have been focused on fixing my diet as it was COMPLETELY out of whack and am starting to see results.  More importantly, I am getting back to my running roots and running more and more just for fun.  Anna and I have been running some trails and around her neighborhood...just places that are different from what I have been routinely doing.  I've also organized a few fun runs including a night run with my buddies Frank and Rami.  This was a blast!  2+ hours of ridiculing and picking on each other, sharing stories about our lives, and listening to Frank tell us about the Corleone family...which he still has to finish.

The spirit of Monsignor Frank.

So, there is no hiding the fact that this is in big competition with MMM for being one of my favorite races.  Red Top Mountain edges out Fort Mountain just by a little bit as being one of my favorite places to run.  That being said, I have adopted this race as being mine, though Jaydene (the former RD) and Jim (the new RD) would completely disagree.  Technically it is theirs, but I am that lurker in the background that knows this park like crazy and has spent hundreds of miles and hours running, hiking, and mountain biking its trails.  Not to mention exploring places like the Blair Witch Trail, the Stone Fire Place, the Diving Cliffs, the Iron Mine, Haunted Tree...the list goes on and on.  I think there is only one place in the park I haven't checked out...which I plan to do tomorrow :-)
SO, I kind of feel obligated to do whatever I can to help out.  Officially, for the last two years I've marked part of the course with James T., picked up the Chobani from Publix, and bought the Dunkin' Donuts volunteer breakfast.  It's not really all that much but it keeps me happy. 

Chobani in space bags from the planet moon...35 cases to be exact.

Unofficially, before the race I'll run a course check (a.k.a. training run) or two checking out the condition of the trails and noting things that might need to be fixed like a board on the bridge or whatever.  I also posted these handy course check photos on Jaydene's Facebook wall.

PM course check.
AM course check.

First, I have to mention that this was Anna's first trail race...and she did AWESOME.  Though the results will show her 1 second behind me, she really won.  She ran really hard and at the end were it not for a bad cramp (to which I was like "Thank God") she kept picking up speed running harder and harder.  I really wanted to cross the finish together, but oh well...we were racing :-)
So, what about those 75 people?
Well, we started at the back of the pack.  And when I say back there were only about 20 people behind the two of us.  For real.  That put us in about 328th place.  We ran with Jen R., Len T., and Wes B. (wow all three names have three's a sign) for about a half mile or so, then started moving up.  Eventually around mile 2 we found Frank and passed his slow ass (I can only say this because he would have beaten my ass were he like 40 years age that is...I think he's pushing 80).
Anyway, we just ran!  At each aid station we knew someone.  We knew people at the road crossings. We had people yelling and cheering for us from other trails.  It was cool.  I love this club!
Somewhere around mile 6 Avery met up with us.  He is the son of Ultra Running Chef Ryan and a kid that I met in Publix a couple of years ago because we both had on a pair of Crosslites.  We ran together for about 3 miles and talked the entire time.  As it turns out, though I tried really hard to mentally crush him, Ryan did an awesome job of building up his mental fortitude.  I think I could have run a good bit faster on this part of the trail, but we were talking and, well, I kind of got lost.  Yes, I got lost in a conversation with a teenager and yes it cost me a sub 2-hour time...but doesn't matter because I passed him as well...ha ha ha ha...another victim of my supreme speed and power.
Eventually I could tell that Anna wanted to take off, but she was being nice to me so I picked up the pace and started running again.  She's a tough cookie.  Don't let her pretty smile fool you.  And heaven forbid if she wore glasses when she ran...crap...I'd be toast.
Anyway, the last few miles were nice running and walking a couple of hills.  Then as we crossed the little wooden bridge on the makeshift trail we could see the finish line.  We ran all of the hills together and even passed a couple more people...and then something happened...we finished.  I broke "The Curse of the Rumble".

Now that that's over I guess it's time to reflect and get ready for next year.  I have offered my services to Jim B. and hopefully I can do a lot more next year.  I know I am going to mark the course, pick up the Chobani and probably get the breakfast, but I'd love to ultimately be the course marshal.  But, really, whatever I end up doing I am sure I'll be happy!