Monday, June 18, 2012

Boogie Beat Down - 2012 version

Beginning 2008 I started going to the Bethel Hill Moonlight Boogie.  The first year I went with no real expectations or goals other than to see what this race was all about.  So many friends just loved this race, so I decided to go and see it for myself.

I didn't have my blog then, and I didn't write any sort of race report . . . but the afternoon/evening is etched in my mind.  Three things: HEAT, HILL and HUMIDITY.  It was hell on earth.  I did what most Boogie veterans call the 'Baby Boogie' . . . only the marathon (the full Boogie is a 50 miler!) That afternoon it was so hot and humid it was just unbelievable.  97° at the start if I remember correctly.  Janet Smith and I had decided to run this thing together . . . both of us had heard all the stories and were quite terrified of the race.  And Boogie didn't disappoint!  Just at dark the first thunderstorm hit . . . then another about midnight.  The rain cooled the temps but the humidity went to 100%.  Lightning everywhere.  Bad blisters from all the rain.  Finally finished . . . slowest marathon of my life (and even at that point I had some slow ones!).  I had NEVER been so happy to see a finish line in my life!

And ever year since, I have returned to Boogie.  And ever year Boogie beats me down.  In 2011 I finally decided to try the 'Full Boogie' and that turned into one of the hardest finishes I've ever had and one of the few races I SERIOUSLY considered DNF-ing (DFN = Did Not Finish for you non-runner readers . . . all the other DNFs I've had were either 100 milers or one race where I missed the time cut-off.).  I was DFL . . . (That stands for 'Dead Fuckin' Last'!).

So this year I showed some sense and backed back up to the 'Baby Boogie' . . . more my speed!  And I thought it was going to be a cake-walk this year!  At the start of the race the temperature was only 81° and the humidity was LOW!  So instead of HEAT, HILLS and HUMIDITY . . . all we had was HILLS . . . How hard could that it be?

Plus . . . I had decided that this year was the year to intentionally walk the distance.  Okay . . . I'm a wimp!  But I decided virtually no running!  So this year I didn't experience the physical Boogie beat down . . . but I did suffer the mental beat down.

Other runners don't care.  And EVERYONE is supportive of anybody out there trying.  Runners are amazing like that.  And Boogie runners and Mangum Track Club (MTC) runners are unusually supportive.

But I'm a RUNNER.  I've always been a runner.  Since 1975 I've run.  10k . . . then 5k.  Started trail running in 1976.  First marathon in 1982.  I AM a runner.

Sure I've walked.  Many times.  Sometimes when I'm tired.  Sometimes when I'm hurt.  And many time a walking interval is planned.  I usually walk hills in longer races.  But usually I run too!

This year's Boogie was the second race where I walked it all.  The first was the VA 24 Hour race a few months ago.  Walking at that event was necessary to maximize the distance the team needed me to do.  So I was okay with that.  But this was only a marathon.

Intellectually, I know it doesn't matter.  Being out there  is way better than staying at home doing nothing.  Plus, it's simply GREAT to see all my MTC/running friends and acquaintances!  These folks are so inspirational!  And so supportive.  Being with them is like getting free drugs or something! 

How can you not just love these people??  Most are certifiably crazy.  Each is a totally unique character.  And they are all fierce competitors and supportive friends.  Each and every one has a kind work for every person they see.  And there are many many more . . . just like these!

But when I only walk I just don't personally feel fulfilled.

So I want to go to races . . . and not just to volunteer but as a participant.  But I don't want to 'just walk' these races.  Hopefully I'll heal up and everything will be fine.

No matter . . . Boogie is an awesome race that everyone needs to try.  I mean, we all get a little 'full of ourselves' from time to time.  Everyone needs a race that will bring them back to reality!  Everyone needs a 'beat down' at least once a year.  And Boogie is mine!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Boogie Week

Well . . . this week leads to my very favorite race of the year . . . the Bethel Hill Moonlight Boogie (aka 'The Boogie').
Every year this has been one hard race.  Last year I attempted the "Full Boogie" (50 miles).  I finished DFL (and some might say I really didn't finish at all since I was past the cut-off!).  But still loved it.  It was HOT!  It was HUMID! And it was HILLY . . . as always!  Other years I've done the "Baby Boogie" - 26 miles of the same HEAT, HUMIDITY and HILLS!!  In all the years I've done this race the coolest it has ever been at the start (6 PM) was last year's 94°!  Usually its warmer then that!
That is just what The Boogie is . . . But this year it looks like things will be WAY different!

The weather forecast this year says Saturday's high temperature will be 81°.  WHAT??  81°!!  You've got to be kidding me!

No HEAT!  No HUMIDITY!  Only the hills remain . . .
Starting down Bethel Hill

Yesterday, I sent this e-mail to Doug "Boogieman" Dawkins (Race Director) -

"Are you going to cancel Boogie this year due to the predicted terrible weather?   . . . Cloudy with some sun . . . 81° high.

This is going to TOTALLY spoil the Boogie reputation if we have it!!!"

Doug's response . . .

"No, but long sleeves, gloves and knit headgear may be an option."

So . . . if Doug insists on having the race as scheduled I guess I'll still go.  It's always fun to see everyone.  Boogie is almost like an annual clan meeting that every family member must attend!  But is just won't be the same this year.

Maybe there will be more snakes than usual . . .

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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.