Saturday, September 19, 2009

I Love Bay's Mountain!

. . . and Bay's Mountain didn't disappoint!

I was joined by four suckers . . . 'er running friends from Rocky Mount! Jon Shingleton, Amber Poole, Eric Pate, and Ron Fleming made the 5 1/2 hour drive for 15 miles of pain! No one said these folks were smart! But what a great group of folks!

The Bay's Mountain 15 mile Trail Run is not a big race . . . probably 50-60 runners. The race starts with a gentle uphill for about a mile! That's about 3/4 further then the longest uphill in Rocky Mount. And way steeper. And the real hills were coming!

The first excitement came just after the aid station at the fire tower at mile 5.

Saw the guy 25 yards in front of me suddenly start jumping around, cussing and flailing his arms everywhere! He would run, stop and swat, cuss some more and run again! Luckily I figured out someone had upset a hive of yellow jackets and they were definitely pissed off! (I kind of feel bad I was laughing at him so hard . . . but he didn't know!! No harm, no foul!)

I stopped and waited until I could see where the hornets swarming . . . then started running as fast as I could through them! Only got stung once!

Things returned to normal until we headed down the single track on far side of the mountain towards Laurel Run. One miss-step and I turned my ankle going down with a hard thud! This one hurt. Really hurt! I honestly thought I had broken my ankle. I just sat there for maybe 5 minutes in pain. I always carry a couple of serious pain pills, so I decided this was the perfect time to take them! I got up and started limping on down the mountain. Every step hurt. But there is no choice . . . you have to walk out! No "sag wagon" here!

After 5-10 minutes of walking, I tried running. Oddly running hurt no more then walking! So I "ran" on.

The next bit of fun started in another 10 minutes when the pain pills started kicking it! Within another 10 minutes I was "drunk" . . . and running! Weird vision . . weird sloshy feeling in my head . . . sort of "floating" down the trail. My ankle still hurt, but I just didn't care very much! Luckily there were no juke boxes or I would have started singing!

Then the trail turns back uphill . . . really uphill! Straight uphill! (Did I mention this was a steep uphill section!)

Honestly, in another couple of miles the pain became manageable . . . I was just "a drunk out for a run!" If I were driving, I would have had a DUI for sure! Weaving back and forth on the trail! Had two "wrecks", going down with all the grace you would imagine. But drunks never get hurt in a wreck!

Down the mountain to Back Hollow and then back up the hollow, past the 10 mile point and climbing on up to Feagen's Gap and the second aid station. Unfortunately they didn't have any beer (that's what us "trail drunks" like at the 10 mile point!).

But heading down from there, I started running out of gas. By the time we left the gravel road and returned to trails, I was spent . . . walking anything that even remotely looked uphill and "running" the flats and downs. With about 2 miles to go, Amber passed me, looking strong! Yes . . . she is more then a little competitive!

When I finally got to the damn dam, I saw Ron, Eric and Jon!

They looked totally rested (and they probably were . . . Ron had been finished for an hour!).

Eric ran with me the last little bit and told me about his yellow jacket experience at that same place! Seems some blond in a orange shirt pretty much save him, helping him get the swarm off his head and legs! My I'm guessing Eric got stung 40+ times! Damn that must of hurt! Ron, Amber and Jon escaped un-stung!

Amber and Ron earned age group awards for their efforts! And we all had a blast! That's what matters most! I'll be back! And I'm betting they will be too!

Special thanks to Sherie Spencer for opening her home to us all! Everyone felt totally at home!

More pictures

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bay's Mountain 15 miler

I am so excited about this run!

15 miles on my favorite mountain at my hometown! This is my very favorite run, ever. Just have always done this by myself whenever I get to town. But this is a trail race so lot's more people will be doing it too. . . well, it's a race for everyone else, but for me it is a run to savor! A run to enjoy every single step!

I grew up hiking and hunting on this mountain. And since 1974, I've spent hours running here. There is no place better!

First, you have to picture the layout . . . two sharp ridges converge at a single point. Between the two ridges there is a hanging valley with a beautiful lake between. During this run you start from the hanging valley by the lake, run up the mountain to the ridge crest . . . about a 800 elevation gain.

Then, run down one ridge to the convergence, then run back the other ridge. Eventually we drop off the ridge top and circle the lake back to the start ares, then back around the lake on a different trail, and return to the start area. Luckily, the course misses one of the toughest climbs . . . I'm not too sad about that!

This one will be fun! And I'm glad Ron Fleming will get to do this too! Finally someone else to experience this fantastic run!

Late Addition:
Good News! Looks like Amber Poole and Jon Shingleton will also be joining Ron and me at the run!! Can't wait!

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Littleton, North Carolina
World's Slowest Runner . . . well, at least in contention for the honor. Just your average "below average" runner.