Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Rabid Squirrel Half Marathon

The race started with a parade of racers chanting in greek chorus style, "Everybody Walks!". I'll just let that sentence settle into your brainpan for a moment. To say that the Rabid Squirrel is a "unique" race is an injustice. Actually I can't think of a single word to sum up the race, but here are a few choice ones: creative; random; fun!; excruciating; surprising; beautiful. The race organizer, Derek, is either a mad genius, or simply mad. It doesn't really matter since his race is awesome. I mean, where else are you going to be carrying acorns in your pocket as you stumble across rocky mountain trails? Or singing songs and dancing at aid station check points? No other race that I know of, that's for sure.

The Race
I'll forgo all my usual blather and just graphically describe my race experience. It will speak for itself.



The Start
We were organized into starting corrals based on the creativity and insanity of our written test results. You read that right. We took a test after signing up for the race. I won't spoil the wonderful, random nuttiness of the test for future participants by giving away the questions, but suffice it to say the questions left me scratching my head and laughing at times as I "answered" them. The corrals were labeled with various sledge hammer ratings. I was in the Rainbow Vomit corral.

I can't explain this madness, so I'll just copy Derek's explanation:

"your sanity score will be on your bib. no sledgehammer means you didn't take the test. the plain sledgehammer means you are just crazy enough to take the test. 

the white border is a score of "acorns". you are nuts, but you are still a squirrel in training, but you've got some growing to do. the yellow border means you are bananas! who doesn't love you?! but don't slip! 

the multi colored border means you are rainbow vomit (this was decided months ago, so we're not riding the fb wave). in your head there are pretty colors and thunderstorms and barfing unicorns barfing up pots of gold with little dancing green guys running around smile emoticon....and if you get the pink border, you scored "flamingo toothpaste". for all of us, this is self-explanatory... "

And in case  you were wondering, the corrals determined your starting order, which for the first half mile of very narrow single track trail, made the difference in being passed by many people, or having to pass many people. Next year, I'm shooting for Flamingo Toothpaste.

To Moore's Knob
After starting, we headed up to Moore's Knob. I have been to Hanging Rock State Park dozens of times, so I knew exactly what to expect: STONE STAIRS. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them. I know exactly how many, because I've counted them at my other favorite Hanging Rock race, Top Of the Mountain To Ya!. For the benefit of my fellow racers, I started counting them out loud as we ascended. I made it to 37 before I was told to "Shut up!" by friends (hi Brandy!) and strangers. So, I'll let you do your own counting from now on.

There are precisely a steaming, heaping, crap-load of these stairs leading up to Moore's Knob.


At the top of Moore's Knob, there was a check-in point and a tiny little aid station with pineapple chunks, gatorade and water (in tiny little shot cups). The view was simply gorgeous!

Sauratown and Pilot Mountains in the distance

To Magnolia Springs
After having my bib marked, I headed down off Moore' Knob towards Magnolia Springs. I kept waiting for the trail to become "runnable", but I was sorely disappointed. In fact, my hip flexors really started getting sore since all I seemed to do for the next mile was hop, skip, and dance down a very rocky gully that was labeled as a trail. Finally, near the bottom there was a whopping 50 yards of runnable trail before we started the grinding climb up to House Rock.

To House Rock
The climb up to House Rock wasn't as bad as the climb to Moore's Knob, but it still required a good bit of hard, joyless climbing.

My friend Brandy makes climbing look easy and happy.
I hate her.

Arriving at House Rock, there was again a small aid station with water, gatorade and a small selection of snacks. I grabbed a cookie and was about to leave when a volunteer with a bag of acorns said "Here, take this acorn!". Okay. Um, sure. This seems random, but I'm fine with that. I put the acorn in my pocket and continued down the trail towards Wolf Rock.

To Wolf Rock
For the next mile I had this acorn bouncing around in my pocket. I had all these strange triple nut thoughts rattling around in my brain, which I tried to keep to myself. Stumbling into the next little aid station at Wolf Rock, I was greeted by a volunteer who instructed me to smash my nut with a sledge hammer. I made sure it was the extra nut and smashed it hard!

Photo stolen from Chris Boyce, a man
who was both slower and smarter than
me in this race.


I may have been a bit too enthusiastic with my nut smashing. Sorry, Derek.

To Hanging Rock
After my smashing success at Wolf Rock, it was off to the next check-point at Hanging Rock. If I thought any of the previous climbs were stupidly unrunnable, the climb up to Hanging Rock proved to be the worst. Not only was it totally unrunnable, it was also swamped with day hikers. But I eventually made it to the top where another volunteer instructed me to dig through a bucket of acorns and find the one that had my initials written on it. I spent what seemed like an hour digging through a bunch of acorns unable to find the one with my initials. Eventually, I told the volunteer I couldn't find it. She looked in the buck and in one second, found my acorn, sitting right on top in plain view. The nuts in my brain had apparently been smashed in the first 7 miles of the race. I chucked it over the cliff edge, got a quick picture with my friend Heiko, who had been running with me for the past 5 miles or so, and then headed down, down, down.

Me and Heiko after carrying, smashing, and throwing nuts off cliffs.

Down, Down, Down to the Finish
Getting down off of Hanging Rock was nearly as difficult as getting to the top. Heiko and I took a wrong turn and ended up falling down a very steep rock filled gully. Luckily, the gully intersected the trail we were supposed to be on, so aside from hammering our legs, no damage done.

Arriving at the visitor center, we were again greeted by a volunteer who assigned us a song to remember and sing at the next checkpoint at the bottom of the mountain. I was lucky enough to be assigned the "Chicken Dance" song, which really has no words. I could barely remember my name at this point, so song lyrics would have been problematic to say the least.

Somewhere along the waterfalls section of the Indian Creek Trail, the trail became so steep that you had to side step your way down tiny little rock ledges that were supposed to be steps. It was in this section that Heiko and I were separated. I turned around at one point and he had simply disappeared. I learned later that he was attacked by the trail. I couldn't hear the thump of his body slamming into the ground over my own banging heartbeat and screaming quad muscles.

At the bottom of the mountain was the final aid station. A young volunteer asked me to sing my song. I stumbled around flapping my arms in a seemingly drunken imitation of the chicken dance chanting "Chicken Dance! Chicken Dance!". It's all I could manage with what brain power I had left.

At this point I just wanted to be done, but still had about 3 miles of rolling single track left. After several near wrong turns and some running through some very beautiful creek trail, I arrived at the Dan River, and what I thought would be the finish. I looked around in confusion at where the trail dead-ended at a boat launch into the river, but another friendly volunteer quickly informed me that the finish was only 0.2 miles downstream. Great, I thought, almost finished! But then she informed me that I would have to run through the river to get there.

Way down the river on the right in the white shirt is my friend Aline.
I somehow managed to catch her just before the finish way around the bend.
Sorry, Aline!

I tried everything to get down the river as quickly as possible. I ran in the middle on the rocks. Very slippery. I ran near the edge in the shallow water. Lots of tree roots and hidden snags. I ran along the bank immediately next to the river. Lots of sucking mud. I ran through the woods above the river. Briars, brush, and poison ivy. Nothing worked. It was all slow miserable going. And I loved every second of it!

Actually, the river finish was the best part of the race, and probably the reason I will endure this madess again in the future. This race was definitely insane, but just perfectly nutty in the best way.

Hand made finisher award. Custom bib. And timing "chip". 



Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Eggses, My Precious - Raleigh IRONMAN Half Marathon

I'm not sure how I got talked into signing up as part of a 3 man relay team for the Raleigh IRONMAN Triathlon, but I've done stranger things, so I guess it doesn't matter. It may have been because my normal training partner is one of those uber-fit tri guys and told me it would be "FUN". Never trust a tri guy.

The good thing about doing the run leg of a triathlon is that I didn't have to stumble out of bed at 0-dark thirty in the morning to catch shuttle buses from Raleigh out to the swim/bike starting areas near Jordan Lake. Instead I wandering into downtown Raleigh at a civilized 10:30AM. I found the right officials near the transition 2 (T2 in tri lingo) bike-run area and had my legs marked with my team's bib number and big R to indicate I was part of a relay team. Then I waited. And waited. And baked in the hot sun. And then waited some more. By the time my biker had arrived, I had been waiting in the now 90F stew that passed for air for 2 hours. But hey, I like the heat, so no problem, right? My bigger worry was that I hadn't run more than 9 miles since February, but then again, why worry about that either? This was easy, flat, boring street running. Not the gnarly technical trails I call home. This run should be easy!

Eggs Over Easy
I'll be honest, the first 4 miles or so were indeed easy. I felt comfortable with the heat and my pace. In fact, my legs felt great! But then, slowly, inevitably, I began heating up. There was almost zero shade and very little breeze. What breeze did blow felt like a low speed hair dryer on high heat setting. If my facial hair hadn't been soaked with sweat and Gatorade, I'm sure it would have singed right off.

Around mile 5 I started getting light headed and the world started wobbling, I panicked and started downing large quantities of Gatorade at every aid station. Two aid stations later, I began to endlessly burp Gatorade and hot stomach bile. Sooo delicious! As I finished the first lap (yep, the course was two laps down Hades Street... err, I mean Hillsborough Street), I seriously thought about DNF'ing the whole thing. But then I thought, I'm already sweating my nuts off, how much harder can it get?

Hard Boiled Eggs

Lap 2 was the worst! Not only did it get hotter, which didn't seem possible, but I was soaked in sweat. My good old Umstead Marathon Tic shirt weighed about 10 pounds and was turning into a salty, crusty, sandpaper sack. My underwear already felt like it was made entirely of sandpaper stitched together with barbed wire. Sooo comfy!

Chafing seems like such an inadequate word to describe what was happening to both my nips and my huevos. It just doesn't do justice to the acidic salty grinding that accompanied each step of the "run" after mile 8. I snatched dollop after dollop of vasoline-on-a-stick at every aid station and buttered myself with abandon. No shame. No hesitation. I gladly sacrificed every last ounce of my pride for a tiny bit of relief.

Around mile 9, I started putting ice under my hat. That worked so well, that at the next aid station, I filled my pockets with ice. I also tucked in my shirt and dumped more ice down the collar, letting it collect around my waistband. That wasn't enough to cool me down, so I went full monty and dumped handfuls of ice down my shorts into my briefs. Finally! Relief!


Scrambled Eggs
The last few miles, I ran. I mean I really ran. I had enough ice on my body that I was actually out of the heat exhaustion zone. Other runners could hear me coming from behind and would stare as I passed. I'm sure they thought someone carrying a foam cooler full of ice was passing them. Nope, just some idiot with his underwear full of rattling ice cubes.

In the last mile of the race, the ice in my underwear had melted to a small enough size to start dropping out of my shorts as I ran down the street toward the finish. "Yeah!" I thought, "Trail runners are so cool we crap ice cubes! Deal with it tri guys!"

Post Mortem
Someone always asks me if I'll run the same race again when I have a miserable first experience. My answer is usually "Not no, but HELL No!". Well since I think I've already run through Hell in this race, I might actually run this one again next year. I mean, it couldn't get any worse, right?




Sunday, February 8, 2015

Uwharrie Withdrawal

Lately, I've started to think of my body as a checking account of sorts. I slowly build up a healthy balance with regular exercise and healthy living, only to overdraw the account with racing, beer, injuries and general stupidity. Going into Uwharrie with an overdrawn account is not a great idea. Old Uncle Uwharrie exacts a high toll on any runner foolish enough to stumble down his trail over his rocky hills and streams. And have no doubt, Uncle Uwharrie will be paid in full, regardless of how fast or slowly you run.

Debts Public and Private
"I'm done." That's all I could think of as I climbed the big hill towards the 8 mile aid station. Both of my knees were shouting at me. With every step, they yelled "IDIOT!!" over and over in my mind. What the hell was I thinking? I hadn't run more than 13 miles in nearly a year and a half! Not to mention the knee surgery that fell within that window. Even attempting 20 miles on a pancake flat greenway, bordered by singing daisies showering me with codeine laced pollen would be stupid. Running 20 miles in Uwharrie would simply be insanity. Well, welcome to Crazytown! I'm mayor, police chief, and resident drunk, all rolled into one.

I'm in last place,
just behind a lost glove.


Loans from Friends
Unfortunately, the mayor of Crazytown is an honorary position with no salary, so when Uncle Uwharrie demanded payment around mile 8, I couldn't even bounce a check. Luckily, my friend Harold was at the aid station. His confidence and encouragement (and pushiness) got me back on the trail when my own self doubt and self debt was about to derail my race. Staring down 12 more miles of Uwharrie with cranky knees is scary, but good friends can sometimes pay you forward.

After a long, lonely, painful stretch on the trail past the 8 mile aid station, I recovered a bit. My knees settled down and stopped screaming at me. I found a rhythm that worked - walk the hills; dance gingerly through the rocky streams; cruise the flats and downhills. But mostly, I just tried to enjoy the beautiful day.

The last few miles of the 20 mile race are wonderful. Not that they are easy (they are NOT), but it's the stretch when you begin passing all of your 40 miler friends (way too many to mention here!) on their second half. More deposits to my empty account at just the right moments. Simply excellent!



Paid in Full
Crossing the finish line this year was especially good for me. There have been times during the past year and a half when I thought I would not be able to run again, much less run Uwharrie again. Hearing the cheers of many friends as I crossed the line, and receiving my beautiful finisher's cup from friend-in-injury, Spinz, was fantastic. Satisfying on a level that is difficult to explain.



This year, somewhere around mile 13, it hit me. I really did miss Uwharrie. No matter how much I moan and complain about the stupid difficulty of running on a trail seemingly designed to destroy runners, Uwharrie really is a special place. Even with my legs burning and my heart threatening to turn itself inside out, cresting every hill in Uwharrie is a primitive pleasure. In the same moment that I realized I had Uwharrie withdrawal, I also realized that Uwharrie has deposited some of the my most precious memories. Someday, when my running bank account has been completely depleted, I'll have only my memories, but I'll be rich.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Revival with CCR

Camp Chestnut Ridge Trail Runs is one of those small, local races that I have grown to love so much over the past few years. It's a race packed with good cheer, good people, great food, great trails, and an awesome atmosphere. And yet in its fifth year, it is still sort of a well kept secret among the local trail running community. It shouldn't be a secret at all. It's a gem of a little race.

I've been trying to get to CCR Trail Runs for the past 2 years. Both previous years were derailed with illness or injury. This year, I finally managed to make it to the starting line in decent health, having perhaps bitten off a bit more than I could chew with an 8 mile race registration. Having just run a 5 mile trail race the previous weekend which felt like a Goldilocks distance, I didn't quite have the confidence that I could sustain good form for 8+ miles of single track. But when it comes to races, what I lack in confidence I more than make up for with stupidity. Never underestimate the power of stupidity.

Bad Moon Rising
Of course, the night before the race I felt the distinct sinus pressure that tells me I am about to fall off the cliff of good health onto the jagged rocks of sinusitis. Harnessing the power of stupidity, I shot some saline up my nostrils, took some pain meds and went to bed chanting the "I am NOT sick" mantra.

The next morning, I woke up feeling pretty good. Stupid good, even.

Down on the Corner
One excellent benefit of this year's race that other runners with small children will appreciate is childcare. As in FREE childcare, provided by the race. This race benefits a kids camp, so this is a very shrewd move on the part of the race organizers. Knowing that my 8 and 10 year old would at least be monitored by an adult during the race and that my wife and I wouldn't have to arrange for a sitter was a very big deal. Childcare alone might even bring us back for the race in coming years, but that's not where the race goodness ended, by any means.

Arriving at the race, which is a really easy 20 minute drive from southern Durham, parking was a breeze. Checking in, we were given the normal race shirt, but also a very nice pair of custom running socks! I love gear swag like this from races.



Oh, but the socks were nothing compared to the food spread at the start-finish area. For a small race, the goodies were excellent and reminded me of the food at an ultra marathon, rather than a small 4 or 8 mile trail race.

Very good coffee.


Look at that spread!

Rolling
Enough about the amenities, how was the actual race? Glad you asked. The course is a mixture of technical single track and broad bridle trail. Both the 4 mile race and the 8 mile race (which simply adds on to the 4 mile race) seemed to be about 80% single track and 20% bridle trail. This was a great mixture for the fast folks, as the bridle trails provided a half dozen or so sections to hit full stride, offering a nice break from the slower single track. For a turtle like me, it was good to hit some stretches where I didn't have to concentrate so hard on foot placement.

The 4 milers and 8 milers all start together, so there were a lot of fast 4 milers out front (and passing me constantly), but once I started the second 4 mile loops, it was nice and quiet. In fact, I only saw about 3 people during the entire second half, but that's fine with me. I like a peaceful run.

"I will smash that camera" says 431.
Beautiful bridle trails.
Some tough single track, even with the
leaf cover blown off.

8 milers get to run around this lake twice. Gorgeous both times.


Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
Luckily, I'm heading back into good times, even if my running isn't "good" just yet. I'm just glad there are still a few happy little local race surprises out there. Races like these remind of those Summer days when it rains while the sun is shining - a pleasant, refreshing surprise.

I've seen bad times and bad races. CCR Trail Races are neither. Do yourself a favor and check out this race next year.



Saturday, November 15, 2014

Ravens and Writing Desks

"Why is a raven like a writing desk?" asked the Mad Hatter in the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Much like the Mad Hatter, I have no idea. Why that question floated through my mind as I stumbled down the trail during the Raven Rock Trail Races is an even greater mystery since I haven't read Carroll's books since I was child.

I'm not one to totally zone out during a trail run. My mind percolates with insanities and inanities, which spontaneously bubble to the forefront of my consciousness as I struggle to traverse the rocky, rooty ground during a trail run. That may be the reason I still stumble and fall so much, even after all these years of trail running. That, or the fact that trail running is just ridiculously difficult. Still, the pertinent part of the Mad Hatter's question remains: Why?

Why run trails, even after knee surgery number 6? Why run trails, even after spending nearly a year recovering from plantar fasciitis? Like the Mad Hatter, "I haven't the slightest idea."

Raven Rock Trail Races
I have wanted to run Raven Rock for several years, but it always seemed to fall on a weekend with a conflict. This year, as part of my Cackalack Attack adventure, I set everything else aside and finally made it down to the sand hills area for the race.

Let me tell you, for mid November in NC, it was freezing! My car registered 26F when I left for the race. After a leisurely hour long ride, it had crept up to a balmy 31F as I pulled into the parking field by Raven Rock State Park. Not that 31F is extremely cold, but 3 days before the race it was over 70F. It seems Winter had been turned on with a flick of the Canada switch. (Note to Canada: keep your arctic air to yourself, hoser!).

Brrrr......!!


Warning to anyone considering Raven Rock Trail Races for the first time: the parking area is a LONG walk (0.65 miles by some folks measurements) to the registration and check-in area. Don't cut your arrival time too close! Luckily, I'm a habitually early arriver, so I had plenty of time to make the journey to check-in and then hang out with the usual suspects from Raleigh-Durham who had made the trip down for the race.

All the way to the end of this road, then
right and down another long stretch to
the start-finish area.


Kudos to the race organizers for having both hot coffee and hot water for cocoa mix at the start-finish aid station. I took advantage of the hot beverage after the race once my sweaty race gear turned into a salty, stinky, chill suit. Actually, the main start-finish aid station was really quite nice, with a good mixture of snacks, including donuts, breakfast trail mix, and the usual assortment of bananas, pretzels, and the like. A food truck even showed up with various options (sorry, I didn't have my wallet, so skipped it totally).

More like an ultra marathon aid station.


Golf Balls, Leaf Blowers and Luxury Trails
The trail itself (at least the 5 mile section I ran) was fairly technical. Lots of roots, and a long section with golf ball sized rocks, which made running downhill seem even more out of control that usual for me. I've always jokingly complained at other races that the organizers should have blown all the leaves off the trail before the race. Well damned if the Raven Rock organizers hadn't done that! Not that it made the race any less difficult (there were plenty of roots and rocks to contend with), but it was sort of like luxury trail running. I felt like trail running royalty! Well, at least like the royal court jester of trail running anyway.

Luxury, I tell you!


The 5 mile race starts going downhill, and continues going downhill with only a few upward bumps, for a couple of miles. Then there is a decent ascent followed by an indecent decent before arriving at the Cape Fear River. Which is where I made my only mistake of the race: I missed the turn. Unfortunately, I was following several other people who also missed the turn. Only when we had entered a non-luxury, leaf covered trail did I begin to question our route. By that time, I heard several other trail runners yelling from the luxury trail, calling us all back (aren't trail runners great people?!). All in all, I'd say we lost only a few minutes and a handful of positions in the race before we made our way back.

Wrong way!

Right way!

The last couple of miles of the race is uphill, following Camel Creek for a while, then crossing it and heading up a 0.75 mile meat grinder of a hill to the finish. It's been a long while since I thought my heart would burst from my chest and flop away into the underbrush, but I got to experience that pleasure again on the way up that hill.

Beautiful day.

Great trail.

Once you cross this bridge, it's heart attack hill time.

Just before the finish. Blow your nose,
wipe your face, and finish with pride.

There is just enough flat ground near the top to get your heart under control and your snotty face cleaned up for a respectable sprint across the finish line. All in all, my finish was pretty good. I ran the entire course and finished in a respectable 52 minutes. Very few fast people showed up for the 5 miler this year, so I managed to sneak in at 25th position out of 122 starters. Not too shabby, for me anyway.

The Riddle
No, I still don't know why a raven is like a writing desk. I also don't know why I continue to stagger to the starting line of trail races on gorgeous, frigid NC mornings when I could be home tucked into my oh so warm and comfy bed. It's certainly not because I enjoy the near freezing heart attacks that seem to be guaranteed at every race. Well, maybe just a little.

Legs? Is that the answer to the riddle?



Sunday, November 9, 2014

Miserable Failures


As a runner, I'm a miserable failure. I'm slow, I'm injury prone, and I never know when to back off. And no, this isn't some sort of pity party. Those are just the facts of my running life, and I'm perfectly fine with that reality. Well, as fine as I can be given my self loathing nature (You suck, Der Scott! You're right, Der Scott, I do. Wanna go for a run on our bum knee? Hell yeah! Let's do it!).
I'm pretty sure this wouldn't keep me from running.

On the other hand, I LOVE to run trails. I can be slow on trails and never consider it a shortcoming. Moving slowly through the forest on even the roughest trail is as close as I can come to a religious experience. I know that sounds a bit kooky, but it's honest. However, what I love most about trail running is the trail running community. I've stopped counting the number of interesting, intelligent, impressive people I've met through trail running. If the trail running community is a slice of humanity, it's the best slice I've experienced. (For what it's worth, jury duty served up the worse slice).

So I'm terrible at running, but I love it.  If you've read any of my posts here, you already knew that. What's new then? Well, after 9 months and one knee surgery I "raced" again, at the perfect comeback event - The Misery Run.



Wonderful Misery
This was my third year racing the Misery Run (race report from 2011). It's the granddaddy of "mudder" and "obstacle" events in this area, with 2014 being its 19th year. It's also the purest of these sorts of events. Where most events have devolved into bad-ass-warrior-spartan-crotchfit extravaganzas sporting smoke machines, blaring rock music and machine gun crossfire, the Misery Run maintains the simple purity of a cross country race "with flavor".  It's the perfect mix of trails, fields, logs, hay bales, and "mud" puddles. It's family friendly, and seriously competitive at the same time. And chock full of cool, interesting people!



If you are local, do yourself a favor and check it out. In fact for pure cross country fun, check out the entire Carolina Godiva Winter Series. You won't find better race value for your $5. And no, I did NOT omit a zero in that price.

And the best part: kids under 12 run for FREE!



Miserable Comebacks
Alex, the apple from my tree.
How did it go? Miserably, but in a good way. I'm still a bit frightened to run on trails after the recent surgery. My plantar fasciitis (partial rupture) from October of last year is also still hanging around in my left foot like a drunk brother-in-law after a wild New Year's party. Not much of a bother, unless it wakes up screaming and threatening to kill me with a busted beer bottle.

This year, I ran most of a lap with my youngest son, Alex, while my oldest son Ryan and his school buddy, Jonathan, scampered through the woods ahead of us. I tried to let go of the worry and just relax and laugh with the kids. For the most part, everything went very well. The surgery knee didn't bark very much, but did clear its throat a time or two during mysterious foot landings. The PF stayed mostly in a beer coma. The freezing, anthrax-laced cow pasture puddle crossings may have helped with that as well.



Want to experience something magical? Run with kids. It doesn't even matter if they are YOUR kids, just try it. Kids will level you, but in a good way. They run for fun the way I truly desire to run for fun. Unfortunately, most of the kid has been beaten out of me by life, so I find it difficult to experience the pure joy that they get for free. But that doesn't keep me from trying.

Spray me with a hose, will you?!

Take that!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Cackalack Attack

First things first, let's clear up some slang rules. If you are a native of North Carolina, you have undoubtedly heard the slang words "cackalacky" and "cackalack" thrown about when referring to our beautiful home state. More than likely, alcohol was involved when these slang words were slurred. That alcohol was possibly distilled on someone's back porch, and could easily substitute for high powered paint thinner.

So, back to the slang words. I declare the following as the official and final rules of usage: cackalack is to be used only for North Carolina; cackalacky is to be used only for South Carolina. This may upset some folks. Some may even vehemently disagree. Sorry, you are wrong. My rules. Deal with it.

If you are finished spitting and raging at your screen because you disagree with my rules, let's get to the point of this post - Cackalack Attack. I've run a good number of races in Cackalack, my favorites usually in state parks. In fact, of my top 3 favorite races, 2 are in state parks - Medoc Trail Marathon in Medoc Mountain State Park, and Umstead Trail Marathon in Umstead State Park. Since I'm the sort of idiot who chases stupid challenges, I've decided that I will run every single race that takes place in a state park in Cackalack.

The Cackalack Attack should keep me occupied for a few years. There are 41 state parks (or recreation areas or preserves) in Cackalack. I'm not sure how many of them host a race.


Out of those 41, here are the ones where I've already run a race:
  • Umstead State Park - Umstead Trail Marathon
  • Medoc Mountain State Park - Medoc Trail Marathon
  • Eno River State Park - Eno River Run
  • Pilot Mountain State Park - Pilot Mountain 5K
  • Hanging Rock State Park - Top of the Mountain To Ya!
  • Falls Lake - MST 12 Miler and MST 50K
I'll update this post as I find races to assign to the parks, but if you know of any, please leave a comment. And if you want to join me in the Cackalack Attack, I'm up for carpooling and sharing post race beers. But you'll have to put up with my injury moaning and whining. Sorry, all good things come with a price.