Sunday, June 10, 2012

I'm So Proud of You!


1 JUNE 2012

OK, as our trip to NC began I knew I was going to blog about this one.  After all, the BMM was one of my first blog posts from last year, so I thought it would be fitting to write about it again.  Anyway, on the way up I kept thinking of fun catchy names for the title of this post but I think the one that made it is the best one.  Because you are curious, here are some examples of the others:
  • I'll be at Your House at 5, We're Leaving at 6
  • It Could be Doo Doo(1)
  • Look...Does that Guy Have a Puddin' Stain?(2)
  • Black Mountain via Spartanburg via Clemson via Walhalla
  • Boiled Peanuts
  • My House...It's Gone...It Was Under Where That Bulldozer Is
  • It Goes Up What You Can See, and then It Goes Down Under the Ground
  • Dude’s Arms are Scary
  • 10K Then Beer
  • Ooooh Can I be Number 22?
  • "This One's Coming Off My Bucket List Today"
  • It's Only 10 Laps
  • Baby, You've Done It...We're at 26.8Miles…I’m So Proud of You…I love You…YAY!
  • Lap 10 - Victory Lap
  • 6 Pimento Cheese Burgers, 6 Fried Egg and Cheese Sandwiches, 4 Pots of Coffee, and 5 Bananas
  • What an Amazing Weekend!


So after leaving Anna’s place around 8 we decided to start the trip off right by stopping in at Mickey D’s and getting our traditional fast food road trip breakfast and coffee.  As we got in the car she remarked to me that something smelled funny.  Being the guy I am I took the rap for it thinking it was probably the gas I let ‘escape’ before I got in.  Driving down the street it got worse.  I rolled down the window.  It got worse.  It had to be rotting trash somewhere.  At McD’s she discovered the source…it was her shoe...actually it was the turd(3) that fell off the bottom of it in the parking lot.  I burst out laughing!
For real?  This was going to be how the trip goes?
Just up the street there was this demented crazy homeless looking dude break dancing his way across the street.  All of a sudden I just had to laugh again, and our conversation went like this:
“Oh my God Anna, look at that guy!”
“Babe, that’s not nice.  He probably has a problem.”
“Yeah he does…look…no way!  Is that a ‘puddin’ stain’(4) on the back of his shirt?”
As he roundhouse kicked his leg over the fire hydrant we both burst out laughing.  It sure was…and he definitely had a problem.

Finally on the highway.

On our way to Clemson I got an e-mail from my buddy Paul letting me know where this boiled peanut place was right outside of Walhalla.  Perfect, as this is another road trip staple.  Well, we never found the place, but we did end up driving up to Issaqueena Falls and the Stumphouse Tunnel.  I mean why not?  We were here!

The Ring.
Just us...actin' normal.

Next stop on the tour was a visit to Clemson where I was going to show her where I lived and then take a stroll around campus.  (Oh, and yes, we found some boiled peanuts off Hwy. 11 in the middle of nowhere.)  Being the goober I am we toured all of the places I worked, where I rode my bike on the highway and then we went to where I lived.  Well, as I drove up the street I about cried.  I was crushed.  Actually, my house was crushed.  Seriously.  Like crushed crushed.  I was only able to tell her where it was by stating that the bulldozer was literally sitting in the living room.  Memories.  Gone. Bulldozed into the freakin’ ground.  Turn the page.  Close the door.  Another chapter…done.  (Don’t tell her, but I am secretly happy.)
So, after having my spirits crushed like a house by a bulldozer and after having her laugh at me as I sat there suffering in the car I took her on a tour of Clemson.  Though really corny, and probably pretty lame, this was a special tour.  Yeah, I think you might have to be me to totally get it.

On to Spartanburg!  Our next destination before we hit the road to Black Mountain was The Beacon Drive-In.  We saw this a couple of weeks ago on a show on the Food Network, and we HAD to go since it was only kind of out of the way.  After an hour of deliberation on what to get, this was the decision:
“I’m gonna get the Beacon Burger A-Plenty”
“Now, do you know what the Beacon Burger is?”
“Nope…but I’m getting it.”
“It’s two beef patties, three pieces of bread, lettuce tomato…(some more words)…now, do you think you can handle it?”
I looked down at my belly, laughed, J.C. laughed, and then he called it.
I handled it…like a boss…a boss that was about to pop at the end.  WHY did I think this was a good idea?

Beacon Burger.
This Tall.

Well, after a fun back road drive from Spartanburg to Black Mountain we met the GUTS crew, set up camp and staked out claim for our canopies.  I love this part.  I just do for some reason.  From teasing Anna that she was going to pop our air mattress to arranging our coolers so that they could be easily accessed to yelling at Susan that she was encroaching on our tent space, it is just fun!

Camp. (Photo: Anna G.)

As if I needed any more food after the Beacon Burger we all went to dinner at this pizza joint in town.  What a great pizza!  And though we were known as the ‘Leper Colony Table’ we still had a good time.

Leper Colony Table (with me being an idiot...again). (Photo: Jason G.)


2 JUNE 2012


Race time.

At registration it turned out that I didn’t make it to the sign-up sheet…I guess that information was lost when they lost the data for the race website.  As they penciled me in they gave me a number…20…no, wait, that was already given out.  21…I didn’t want freakin’ 21.  I asked if I could have 22 instead…Anna had 2…I’m a total dork.

GUTS - Pre Race.  (Photo: Jim B.)

About .5 miles into our last lap (at the time) Anna said to me:
“I am doing my first ultra today.  It has to be 10 laps, non-stop.  I am checking this one off my bucket list today.”
I’ll never forget that exact spot.
I knew that she was serious.
I knew she was going to do it.
I knew that I was going to do it all with her.
There are some things you can be 100% certain of.  You feel it. You know it.
I was going to run every mile with her no matter what.

Smiled the Whole Race.  (Photo: Jim B.)

At mile 26.8 I grabbed her hand walked across the spray painted mark on the ground, gave her a hug and then congratulated her.  Technically, this made her an ultrarunner, but there was one more lap in store…her 10th “victory” lap.  Around 7 hours after we started, we were done with 31 miles.
One thing great about this race is that people began to recognize us.  The lap counters knew our numbers.  People along the course would remark “They’re still smiling.” or “She’s still in the lead.” or “Look, it’s 2 and 22.”  It was really nice hearing this.

Well, it was beer and food time.  We had snacks and beer and snacks with beer.  One of the things we catch grief or get teased about is how over-prepared we are when we go camping, but this time our friend Jason said something that we still laugh about a week later.  “Oh my God, y’all have a charcuterie aid station.” as we sat eating our salami, pimento cheese spread, and crackers.  Ha ha ha yep, I just laughed and smiled again.

Later that night the “Charcuterie Aid Station” impressed everyone with our pimento cheese burgers.  Yeah, that’s right.  People offered to pay.  People devoured them.  People remarked “O.M.G. this is the best burger ever.”  I think Jason might have had sex with his.  Yes, they freakin’ rocked. 
Oh, and lest we forget, another great moment as we all sat around the tent chatting was when Kerry and Matt  (I think) remarked at how fast Jason was running on one of his laps.  Well, as Jason explained, he went to the bathroom and took a really great crap(5) that made him feel really awesome…in fact, so awesome that he ran the lap as fast as he could!  Apparently this was impressively fast and I so wish I was out there to see him tear by!  This will now forever be known as “The Jason Green Lap” or “Puling a Jason Green.”

Well, the night wore on, and we never put our numbers back on.  We had every intention of doing it, but it was just nice to sit down and chill with our friends and chat about things.  At some point we walked over to the tent and laid down…well, then it was officially over…sleep took us en force and I only remember a few things that night:
  • Mama Kim yelling “Hey Aaron and Anna…where did you go?”
  • 6 freight trains in a row.
  • My excessively loud snoring…yes I was called out on this by everyone sleeping around me.
  • Someone smack talking us in the morning that we were still asleep…I called them out :-)

3 JUNE 2012

Finally we got out of bed.
To run, or not to run?  That is the question.
Well, after making fried egg and cheese English muffin sandwiches and about 20 gallons of coffee we decided that it would be best to just pack everything up and get back to Atlanta so that we didn’t miss the Brothers of the Sun Concert that we went to later that afternoon.

10 laps.

31 miles.

1 hell of an achievement.  I’m so proud of you Anna!

Well, that’s it!  I couldn’t have asked for a more funner weekend trip!  I mean, it was a TON of fun!  From start to finish we smiled and laughed the WHOLE time!  It was…


2 & 22.