Yah, I know. I’m almost 43. and just now posting this backblast for # 42.
We did the warm up. we ran to the Baptist Church (Don’t tell Freight a Presbyterian and a Pentecostal wrote on the parking lot in chalk) 4 corners stations, Blocks for curls, over head presses, abyss merkins (optional, no sharing blocks) 21 of each, halfway to second corner, do a burpee, second corner, squats and monkey humpers, 42 of each, 3rd corner Merkins and Diamonds, 21 of each, 4th corner Flutters and LBC’s.
Rinse and repeat
Mosey to mental health center, Monkey humpers at the bottom, Nur up the hill, 5 burpees. run back down, rinse and repeat, Return to Startex,
Yes, there was music. All would agree there was at least some good music if only because I ended with some Rush with Tom Sawyer just because the guys tolerated my George Strait without any real complaining. However, that is not what I will remember about this workout. Here is what I will remember….
We gathered around for a few minutes before it started. There were a few Kotters…..Wimpy and Dr. Feelgood. HIPAA and Shortsale were there on injured reserve (sort of). Shortsale is working back from a knee thing and HIPAA went through that gender reassignment surgery recently. HIPAA seems to be handling that well and we are all proud of him….her…..it….whatever…..we are proud of HIPAA anyway. There were the usual PAX hanging out getting ready for PainLab or bootcamp. I also saw what I thought were 2 FNGs-one was with Stroganoff and was getting the usual pep talk about what to expect. The other guy was part of the crowd but still off on his own and a bit quiet. He did not really look nervous like an FNG, however I did not think I knew him. I started with a quick disclaimer and made a point to say I thought there were 2 FNGs……then I heard the second guy speak up and immediately knew he was not an FNG. It was Brownstreak with a beard that ranked up there with another PAX named Jeremiah Johnson who departed from us recently but left his little brother JJ here in his place. Honestly, I almost ran up and gave him a hug. Can’t tell you how many times I have thought of him or spoken about him. We spent several years together with many of the other PAX growing the region. He was a big part of our region’s success. And then he was gone. We reached out to him, not just me but several of us did. I’m sure he was going through some stuff like we all do. He would surface every once in awhile and then he was gone. In all honesty, I tried to get him back out here. He needed us and we needed him. I am sad and embarrassed to say I eventually gave up on him. I don’t have a good excuse. Is there a good excuse? Ever? I can tell you this-I was thrilled he chose Bootcamp this morning. He and I both knew it was going to be tough to get out there and do the bootcamp thing when he was a bit rusty. But he did it. Not only did he do it, he spent some time with the FNG and I am sure the Gator was better for it. If Gator does not come back I will be surprised. Why? Probably because of my music choices, and maybe….just maybe because he and Brownstreak spent some quality time together which is what this F3 thing is really about. The quality time you spend with your F3 brothers is going to be what you remember when you move into the last quarter of your life. You will remember things like BRR, The Moron, Tuna 200, Palmetto 200, The Moron, Rucking the BRR, Crowder’s Ridge CSAUP, The Mortimer, slip N slide at GasHouse, The Moron (did I already say that???). Those are things that put a smile on my face when I am falling asleep in my nice warm fartsack safe and sound in the great country of ours. The workouts that we go to help facilitate these relationships that lead us to do stupid stuff that makes us better men. It is ISI at its best. But it requires us to be together which is really my point-reach out to that Kotter you have not seen in awhile. Bring that friend from church or work that has never been here. Introduce him to these guys and make sure he comes back. And don’t make the mistake I did by giving up on him when he does not show up. If you have to, go to his house and do Monkey Humpers in his front yard until he comes out to run you off-we did talk about doing this but never followed through. Could have been another smile-maker if we had…
As far as the details of our bootcamp, we did some running, some hip slappers, derkins, merkins, squats,….and other stuff. My favorite was a new thing called “The Fireman” where we went to the steps at the church and ran up and down the steps, did a burpee, ran up and down the steps, did 2 burpees, and kept increasing burpees each trip down. We did this while listening to the song “The Fireman” by George Strait. One other highlight was at the end I turned off George Strait and put on some group you probably never heard of called Rush……this put a smile on Stroganoff’s face, he started running, jumping, and singing like he actually enjoyed the noise coming out of the speaker????!!!!
Get that Kotter back out here.
thanks for posting Brownstreak-hope to see you real soon.
June 13th 2015 Sparky and YHC made our first post to F3. We posted at Gashouse where 21 total men showed up to workout. We had been EH’d by Dolph a few months earlier at a men’s retreat at Snowbird. He told us how tough it was and well if it’s tough for Dolph why the heck would we want to do it? I was about 8 months into my weight loss down about 50 lbs at the time and had just started going to the gym 4-5 months earlier. My gym membership definitly did not prepare me for what was to come! That being said after it was over I couldn’t wait to do it again.
So on this special day we decided to run it back and do that workout all over again. Thanks to BB we were able too! Our first workout was Q’d by E4 and The Godfather. Sparky took E4’s part and I took The Godfathers. Below is exactly how it went both times!
Here we go….
Mosey to Flag (Pledge) then mosey to the GMS Football Field…
Side Straddle Hop (x20)
Body Builders (Dr Feelgood… -counting improving – you would be proud) (x10)
One Lap (400M)
The Thang (E4)
PAX meet on the sideline and partner up.
One partner busts out Merkins while other partner sprints to the other side and back. Flapjack and continue counting where partner stopped. (x150)
Mile of Fun
One partner completes Escalator (10 Diamond Merkins, 20 Plank Jacks, 30 Squats) while other partner runs 400M. Flapjack then Rinse/Repeat until a mile is completed.
Godfather takes over.
PAX divide into six groups and go to stations set up around the field. At the whistle, start the station. At the next whistle, rotate to the next station.
1. Station 1 – Bear Crawl Suicides (5 yards/back, 10 yards/back, 15 yards/back)
2. Station 2 – Squat Jumps (100/AMAP)
3. Station 3 – Two Minutes of Mary (30 LBC, 30 Freddie Mercury, 30 Rosalita, 30 Flutter Kicks, 30 LBCs)
4. Station 4 – Crawl Bear Suicides (5 yards/back, 10 yards/back, 15 yards/back – BACKWARDS)
5. Station 5 – Burpee Broad Jump (broad jump instead of vertical jump AMAP)
6. Station 6 – Blimp (5 Burpees, 10 Lunges, 15 Imperial Walkers, 20 Merkins, 25 Mountain Climbers, 30 Squats.
Modified Zombie Walk
PAX spread out across the goal line. At the start, lunge with right leg then the left leg, then do a full squat. Rinse/Repeat to the 50 yard line.
Johnny Cash AKA The Ring of Fire
Circle up in plank position. PAX hold plank while one man does 10 Merkins. When he finishes the next man does reps until all in circle finish.
Mosey Back to Parking Lot
One Minute Wall Sit, 10 Derkins, One Minute Wall Sit, 10 Derkins, One Minute Wall Sit, 15 Derkins
Copy and paste is awesome! So we met back up with the painlab and it was done!
The day of our original post we had 4 FNG’s 2 of which are still getting after it. The other two may not have comeback due to their names-Thong and Bangkok. Yeah Sparky and I got lucky! Today we had 2 FNG’s! One that had to much to eat the night before and one that Stroganoff forced to come to keep his job(ok that may not be true). Either way he came and rucked along with Stroganoff and Hipaa(good to see you sir). I could go on and on about what F3 has meant to me and all that it has given me but I don’t want to bore you. I’ll just say there must be something to it because 5 years later we are still here.
Beautiful Saturday morning, nearly equal amount of Pax for Painlab and Bootcamp. Disclaimer, pledge, a bit of warm up that went something like:
SSH: 20 ic
Merkin: 10 ic
LBC: 10 ic
Squats: stopped around 9 ic, time to roll, Painlab follow Big Pappy.
Upward stroll to Grier parking lot. I borrowed a maybe or maybe not so renowned exercise from Pizza Man implemented at Midoriama. We picked a length a bit close to a football field length, maybe twice as long who knows…….The length will be to run after we perform the following at each side:
World War something or Big Boy sit ups: 10
Rinse and repeat 4 times. PM’s original version contained 10 burpees. I figured my modification was best if we were to keep the Q (that would be me) from having to be carried back to homebase.
Finished, guys were looking at me for more whooping and I’m like, wait boy’s, I’m whooped. Too bad, I’ve got the Q, let’s try another Midoriama favorite via straight from Freight’s book. I had recently downloaded an interval timer. Have to say for only $19.99 per month this thing works great? Anyway, we did some modified from Freight’s original order AMRAP for 40 seconds on and 10 seconds off. Freight’s original version was in the rain so we skipped the running after each completed round. Instead we did Burpee’s. Well, relying on my original notion of it would be better if I returned to homebase on my own we did a not so quick or too slow mosey a couple of hundred feet out and back. The intervals looked something like this:
AMRAP: 40 seconds on and 10 second break…..
Merkins / Jump Squats / Flutters / SSH – Mosey not too quickly or too slowly a couple hundred yards
Diamond Merkins / Rocky Balboa’s / Freddie Mercury / Goofballs (car came down the parking lot as we were doing this) – Mosey on……
Last round was Open Mic pick from original intervals. I think we did Flutters, Hammers, and something else, who knows. You can rest assured there was some exercise involved.
Almost time to go home, needed a time burner. My typical go to is a mosey and hold position splitting half the group. Count off 1’s and 2’s. 1’s run a certain distance while 2’s hold position…….1’s return and hold positions while 2’s run……and so on and so on.
Crabwalk Plank (you figure this one out)
Time to go back, finished a set of flutters with Painlab.
Gashouse Bootcamp Q’s for June:
Freight 6/13 (5 year anniversary), Hushpuppy 6/20 (Birthday), Whoopee 6/27
Still need 7/4
Painlab: Sledge-O-Matic with Painlab Q 6/13
Little Theatre is conducting an awareness campaign featuring a Masked Singer. There may or may not, or just may be a contestant standing in our circle today performing a rendition of Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen
CSpan’s recent Roundtable Podcast featured some excellent thoughts and words regarding current events happening in society
Check out Stroganoff’s recent interview on F3 American Yammer
Farmers Market is giving out facemasks
Prayer Vigil being held at the Rotary Pavilion Sunday night at 6:00 pm
Back in late February, late March, YHC agreed to take a Q at Gashouse, which would be a VQ for this AO. YHC was looking forward to it, but then COVID19 changed things and then the quarantine. So when we finally were able to get back to bootcamps, YHC reached out to Linus for a Q spot. Sent out notification on Twitter and Slack that workout would be explosive, so pressure was on to provide PAX with a good beatdown!
IW x 15
Don Qs x 15
Mountain Climbers x 15
Merkins x 15
Phase II is under way so our AO’s were open for up to 25 in the gloom and we had exactly that number combined for the Gashouse Bootcamp and Painlab.
We had a quick warm up with one set of Imperial Walkers before splitting into the two groups.
The Gashouse group came with me (a few reluctantly as they were disappointed that Whoopee was not the Q) and we headed to the track at Grier Middle School for one big dose of a Wolfpack Grinder. We would spend the entire workout on the track.
We started this way with some In-Cadence work:
Run 1/2 lap
Rinse-Repeat two more times
25 Flutter Kicks
Run 1/2 lap
Rinse-Repeat two more times
60 seconds of plank
25 Freddy Mercury’s
20 Low-Slow Squats
Run 1/2 lap
Rinse-Repeat two more times
Amrap as follows until time called:
Run 1/2 lap
Time to mosey back to the Schiele with a few minutes left for some Mary:
60 seconds of plank
Bells ringing by this time and we were done
Good work Men.
It was great to be back out with a larger group and getting some great work in. Lots of mumblechatter today kept the workout moving along.
Twenty PAX arrived to participate in the Pain Lab or a bootcamp at the OG and finest AO in the Gastonia region. YHC anticipated that there would be more than ten bootcampers and had several Weinke’s printed out. #Preparedness
There was lots of EC out there, both running and Rucking. When the ruckers returned we saw Jobu and Godfather! #Kotters Another look around the circle revealed a particularly swole Dolph who has obviously been slinging the weights lately. #Curlsforthegirls
Watts Up led the combined warm up and gave a disclaimer.
Short Sale took half the bootcampers and I took the other half. Some modifications may have been made but here is the basic workout:
Dora 1,2,3 with Jump Squats, LBC’s, and Flutters
Track work: 10 burpees, Nur half a lap
10 burpees, 50 Squats, Karaoke half a lap
10 burpees, 50 squats, Karaoke, 10 8-count bodybuilders, run half a lap, Plank one minute
Run half a lap,
Step ups, 20 IC; Derkins 10 IC, Dips, 20 IC x 3
10 more burpees, and return to start with more Jobu’s (Monkey Humpers) and ten more burpees.
Sargento gets a participation medal as an injury prevented him from completing every exercise but A) he was present B)he brought an FNG (Who lives in Dallas and didn’t go to Folsom) and C)modified as necessary. Welcome FNG Laettner. UNC Grad and 6 years in the Marine Corps #thankyouforyourservice
A socially distant COT was in order with prayers going out for Breaker’s M, all the PAX, a man undergoing a kidney transplant, and those with uncertain career futures.
When YHC saw the Mortimer posted online, YHC was intrigued. It sounded awful but a few things made me strongly consider it. The fact that Granite Falls to Boone is 39 Miles and yet this race was described as 100+ miles let me know something was amiss. Then I heard that the race was going through Wilson creek where I used to camp every year and even into high school with lots of good friends. Harpers Creek Falls is a cool spot. And one EZ was at Kidd Brewer Stadium and the last leg ended at the top of Howard’s Knob and the best view of God’s creation (App State) in the world. YHC shared the link with F3 Gastonia to see if there was interest. I talked about it in COT’s when I posted. Most people were aghast and said that it was a really stupid idea. (You know who you are). I reached out to the race director to see was this race a real thing. It was and he said they were limiting the number of entries so it motivated me because YHC didn’t want to miss out. This would be the first running of it. With no luck at getting a team, I fired off an email to a group of local PAX. Defib responded and said it sounded like a horrible idea and there was no good reason not to do it. That set the tone for a series of hard commits. Whoopee, Breaker Breaker, JJ, and then reluctantly Stroganoff. I got an email from Short Sale saying he didn’t check the email account I sent it to and therefore was happy he missed it. With the HC, I reached out to the race director to confirm our entry and learned there weren’t many more teams. Teams from Raleigh, Winston, Boone, Hickory, Meca, and the Gashouse. That was it. Time to arrange logistics. The first thing I did was ask the M if she had anything on race day. Technically since the race starts and ends on Saturday, it was only a one day event, and it was free! Not seeing anything on the calendar, I put down the Mortimer on her calendar. Team Hill Runnin’ Bitches was born. (One guess on who picked the nickname?). This race would bring the Pub Q and Diablo Q together at last!
The race was free but we needed to raise $1000 for charity. HRB selected Cancer Services of Gaston County in Whoopee’s honor. (I Wanted to make this a big fundraiser but it didn’t work out but we did our thing and made good on the entry fee). Next time YHC will do better.
The PAX of Team HRB started training. Defib ordered a crowders mountain run. Thank goodness he did because I realized that there is no way to run up hills like these without training and realizing you half to walk at times. You realize the mental battle Is real and you can’t quit. I did crowders a couple more times and each time went a little farther or faster or both. It still wasn’t enough to equal the elevation I knew was coming, but that is the best we have around these parts and we are fortunate to have it.
I ordered up a van from Enterprise the week prior. I sent a pre-blast a day before the race. Defib was assigned to get 8 oz soft drinks using the Quiche model of pre-race quick energy. Breaker took Friday off and he went with me to get the van. The weather was looking good to have a race through the mountains as this was the same weekend as the blizzard of 1993. We were fortunate.
YHC’s M went to dinner with friends Friday as I stocked the van with the race handbook, a power inverter, chargers, a cooler, and all the personal gear. YHC synced the phone to the Ford sound system for streaming purposed and then tried to lie down for a quick siesta but before I did I texted the M and asked if she could be home by 2120 hours. “Why?” she asked. “Because I need to get to GSM by 2200 and Tater Hole by 2300!”
M: “What?” I thought the race was tomorrow. “It is” I replied. It starts at midnight.
YHC picked up Breaker and off we went to meet the rest of HRB at 2200 at the GSM international HQ. Let me tell you, a high roof 12 person Ford van is the ticket. Plenty of room and you can stand inside and there is a large area in the back for gear. YHC queued up the Mortimer Mountain driving music playlist with Jerry Reed’s “East Bound and Down” and off we we went up 321, like YHC has done so many times before. We got to tater hole an hour early. A few other teams were there. Most had Suburbans or trucks. YHC thought we might be in trouble. Would the roads be that bad? A conversation with Cousin Eddie didn’t reassure anyone as he kept saying that some parts were “Sketchy”. There was a washed out section with large drop off the road. Yikes! Then they talked about a lack of cell signal from legs 7-13. But at least we had a paper map right? (Shit! I forgot the paper map!) Then they gave us a radio with a spare battery. “Turn it on and hopefully you will be able to communicate with someone in another car.” On one hand it made us nervous about getting lost but on the other hand it was a huge opportunity for Breaker Breaker to talk on the radio.
At the start line, which was a dock over the water, Whoopee got ready. Stroganoff relieved himself in the woods. Then a couple on a moped ride by. The Mortimer Relay probably foiled an otherwise goo “necking” spot in Caldwell County.
Cousin Eddie thanked us for participating in this crazy idea. The disclaimer was brief. Don’t get hurt! Don’t get lost! Don’t get attacked by dogs! He said there were 50 signs marking the course and then a combination of caution tape and pink ribbon. Very clever since we aren’t supposed to be on certain routes. The guys from Dam to Dam sent him the flashing lights since the China lights weren’t shipped in time. All the PAX circled up for a social distanced Name o Rama. The team from Winston Salem had one PAX and the rest FNG’s. The rest seemed to be seasoned F3’ers. A prayer and then a countdown to the start as other teams were in pursuit.
The start line is at the bottom of a very steep hill. Dang. The race started with a video and countdown. At midnight, the race began.
Whoopee started us off. We took off in the van and looked for the first EZ, which was an old gas station. We started waiting. The first runner cane in from the wrong way, we think? Who knows? We started looking in every direction for Whoopee. He came in third out of the 8 or 9 teams from a different direction but he had a strong run.
JJ headed out while Whoopee got cooled down and we drove off to EZ #2. This EZ was at a church at the bottom of Hibriten Mountain. It seemed like we drove fifteen miles to get there. We almost a got gas but I passed up the station and got called out on it by Stroganoff later. (Of course I did) You can’t get away with anything when you are with F3 men.
We got to the EZ and Stroganoff went to the woods to relieve himself again. Then Breaker Breaker let some thunder strike in his pants, filling the air with sound. (Thunder on the mountain?). This happened a few times and the giddiness of not having normal sleep began to show itself. The silliness was creeping in.
While we waited for JJ to appear, you must realize that JJ bought the world’s most effective headlamp. The thing has three lights on it. It has high and low beams, fog lights, and auxiliary lighting. The thing lights up the road like a locomotive. You knew who it was coming in. Defib took over from JJ and faced the first bad leg of the relay. Up to the top of Hibriten Mountain and back. We didn’t have to leave the EZ for two legs. You can sense what is happening here. This was just to run this mountain. It certainly didn’t take us closer to Boone. The Race Committee knew what they were doing. We figured an hour or so for the up and back run with no light on the trail and a steep climb. In that hour, JJ, Stroganoff, and YHC all visited the trees again. Defib came flying down the hill making it look easy because, well, Defib. YHC hit the Strava button and off I went. Another runner started in front of me and took off like a bat out of hell. He had a red blinker on his back so I figured I would stay with him. I had my leg printed out. It was two pages. This leg had a lot of turns. I soon realized this guy was hauling ass. My first mile was 7:28. He was at least a quarter mile ahead of me. I soon I realized I would have to use my underpowered headlamp and poor near sighted vision to read the legs while breathing hard. This was a good combination of rural roads and city neighborhoods and ups and downs. I had dog biscuits in my pocket just in case and thought I needed them once. Unfortunately, YHC made a wrong turn and ran further than necessary. I soon realized my error and turned around but killed my time team early on and we really needed to stay with the groups since we weren’t sure exactly where to go for each EZ. I ran harder, frustrated with not using the strava route I preloaded all along.
I came home to hand off to Stroganoff who informed me that the whole van was asleep. He took off and I met some good guys who were waiting for the last two runners. I let the van sleep for a bit while I cooled down and changed clothes. As I walked to the driver’s door ready to leave, Breaker suddenly woke up and was shocked that I had already finished and asked if stroganoff was running. Um, yes! Let’s go! Breaker moved out of the driver’s seat as he was the next to run and I drove us to the next EZ.
The next EZ was a church in the country. We drove a long way to get there and pulled in. Except there weren’t any other vans in the lot. A runner passed by and we figured the EZ must be further down the road. We felt for Stroganoff who was still out there in the dark. I mean dark. We got to the next church and saw the trucks and flashing lights, indicating the correct EZ. We waited. There were dogs barking everywhere. They got closer. Soon they appeared at the front of the church in the road. Three of them in the dark barking in the middle of the road. We sheltered in place, not wanting to risk it. Breaker was running next and got out of the van. We waited to see if he was attacked as I locked the van doors and cracked the windows. “Let me know when it is safe”, I told him, while handing him my dog biscuits. Soon the dogs moved down the road just as Stroganoff handed off. Fortunately, JJ let Breaker wear his lighthouse so boats knew where shore was from miles away and the dogs got out of the road for fear of being run over by the train.
As an aside, we weren’t trying to be antisocial but the van is so nice that I guess no one wanted to leave. It was like a large cozy den. We had everything we needed, and of course Defib smelled great with all of his clothes smelling like Tyler laundry detergent. (See my previous BB where I detail that). Had we gone the Suburban route everyone would have been jumping out at the first chance to stretch. I will never run a race again without one. Plus, it was a 2020 model with 700 miles on it and still smelled good inside, for now. It got good mileage and the tow mode was good when we went off road and climbed the many hills.
With Breaker out this was the first 1/3 of the race out of the way. Whoopee would be next. He had to run down a two lane country road to Brown Mountain Beach Road onto packed gravel to the EZ. We drove ahead and parked near the Brown Mountain Beach resort. A local drove up in a truck and wanted to know what the hell we were doing. I think it was around 0500 in the morning at this point. Running a race we said….
Whoopee appeared and handed off to JJ and the lighthouse on his head. It was dark everywhere except in front of JJ. We drove ahead once more to the next EZ at Betsey’s Country Store. It was colder now and the van was nice and warm. Everyone was sleeping so I claimed the short seat and put my head down for about 25 minutes. When I woke up I got out and socialized with the PAZ outside the store. It was daybreak and the store was open! Some PAX were drinking coffee. JJ came running in and handed off to Defib who had a pretty bad leg #9 through the hills of packed gravel and dirt. The HRB van drove on to the next EZ, right beside a creek. At this point we all relieved ourselves again but Breaker was on a mission. He was scoping out the scene to find a place to be alone. He Several other PAX had hiked up a nearby trail to return minutes later. Breaker saw this as his best opportunity to get closer with nature. He and his TP disappeared for some solace in the woods and returned a while later. His fly was down. “Hey Breaker, your barn door is open.” Hey Breaker, “what do airplanes do?”. This continued throughout the relay every time he relieved himself. As was stated earlier, you can’t get away with anything.
We started getting giddy again kicking tires with other PAX at the EZ. One PAX grew up in the area. He was smoking a pipe. Yes, between running this awful race, he was puffing away. Dang.
In the middle of laughing we sensed a runner coming down the hill. It was Defib hauilng ass. Surprised, I took off my sweatshirt and threw it in the van, started my strava link and took off. I had just had an 8 oz Coke and wasn’t really ready to run yet but I tried to get my mind right, after all, this was leg 10. The highest elevation gain in the race. 4.8 miles uphill for 1873 feet. I got this. I fired up Motörhead “The Game”, as I crossed the creek at began my ascent.
The first part was more of the same. Running through the woods with the creek beside you, except getting higher and higher. It wasn’t long before the road turned into pavement and I was in the open again. Some nice properties on both sides of the road. This isn’t as bad as I thought. Keep running.
Then it started getting steeper. My steps were shorter and more effort was needed to keep up the pace. The breathing got strained. My calves were shot from running the first leg. I feel a tweak in my left hammy every so often. Modify the gait so as not to pull anything. The road turns back to gravel and packed dirt. It keeps climbing. Mile one is done. Alright! Four more uphill before relief. The second mile has all the other vans and trucks pass me from the race. I give breaker the Hawaiian hang loose sign as they pass. Keep running and start walking a little. Mile two down. Still not so bad. Then I hit some switchbacks. Climbing each time. I hear a dog barking and look up through the steep woods and see a house way up there. No way that dog is running down here. Keep going. Head down, my back starts to ache. I don’t know why either. I try to stretch my shoulders. I look at my pace. 11:30. Then 11:31. I start running again. Twenty paces , then ten walking steps. . This is starting to get old. Mile three down. I look to my right again and am at the same elevation as the house. Damn this is steep. I start getting mad. Keep going. This reminded me of getting tased. When you get tased, the jolt is for five seconds, then it’s over. I remember the first second or two thinking, this isn’t that bad. (Miles 1-2). Then maybe seconds three and four getting pissed because it was taking so long and starting to hurt. (Miles 3-4). By second five I was ready to cry. (Mile 5).
In this case I knew at mile four I needed to remember what I signed up for. Part of being the Q was making myself take one of the harder routes. I knew the training at Crowder’s Mountain helped. I thought about the relay name…The Mortimer 100. Named for Mortimer Mountain, but also known as the HTFU relay. That stands for “harden the F up” for those not in the know. I thought about that name, I thought things like, pick them up, put them down, I counted steps, called cadences, and finally declared out loud, “Stop being a pussy”.
That was the mental reset I needed and knew it would have to happen at some time on this race. Heck, that is part of the reason you sign up for something this bad.
I hoped I could make up time on the downhill section at mile 5. At long last I see the sign for the Blue Ridge Parkway crossing and start heading downhill. One thing about the downhills for me is the fatigue doesn’t let you run as fast as you might if you were fresh. But it was a relief to know it was going to be some easy rolling hills for the last two down to Linville. I cranked up some Iron Maiden and enjoyed the scenery of the stone walls, wooden fences, and exclusive mountain estates. I finally turned right and could see the van at the post office and, motivated once again, started clicking off on a more normal pace until I exchanged again with Stroganoff. Fortunately, my teammates were awake this time and looked rested at this EZ, so we proceeded to move to the next EZ, right across from the Highland Games area at Grandfather Mountain. Stroganoff came in after a short 2.4 leg (but with about 600 feet of gain) and out went Breaker Breaker. A little bit on pavement right by Grandfather Mountain and then he took a right on Edgemont Road and the sign that says “New Hopewell Baptist Church 5.2 miles”. Fortunately for Breaker this was all downhill. We left the high ground and drove down some backwoods country to the church. We backed into the exchange zone and waited for Breaker Breaker and stretched some and used Breaker’s Massage torture contraption. Whoopee was running next and he peed twice on the church sign in plain view of the locals had they been looking.
Eventually Breaker Breaker appeared and now it was Whoopee’s turn at leg 13, the leg that the Mortimer Twitter handle spoke of in two separate tweets. “…You’ll be wishing you signed up for the Khaki’d Banker 5K instead”, and then the famous, “Race Committee offers its deepest condolences to all runners on Leg 13. The last mile+ of Pilot Ridge is ready to go balls deep in you.”
The van left the Exchange zone and headed back out the way we came in and turned right on Pilot Ridge. This was all uphill. We turned a corner and saw the glorious Linville Viaduct from below. The was a large rock outcropping that was awesome to see until we noticed that it was defaced with all sorts of graffiti. We looked for any of the pink haired hippie freaks that defaced this national treasure so we could jump out and deliver some street justice but there was no one there. We kept going, the engine still in tow mode climbing until we spotted Whoopee up ahead. He seemed to be waiting for us as he ran along and as we approached his pants went down to quarter moon status. I guess he was just airing it out a little for comfort?
YHC pulled beside him and he challenged us to a race. I hit the gas pedal on the mighty Ford and accelerated down a nice steep hill, the first such downhill we had experienced since leaving the church. I am sure Whoopee was relieved to see it. At the bottom of the hill the road curved to the right and we saw what looked like a road going uphill to heaven like Jack’s beanstalk. I started filming as we began our ascent. The mumblechatter started as our van filled with a mixture of empathy, pity, and humor for Whoopee having to climb this monstrosity that made Gastone’s hill look like baby shit. The van started whining as I switched back to tow mode. We turned the corner and it was more mountain. Stroganoff started talking about the leg going balls deep in you. We saw a runner walking ahead. I offered him a drink and he declined. We saw F3-Slaughter still further ahead but he was actually running this section and he too declined water. At some point that seemed like about ten miles of incline we turned back onto 221 to head towards Blowing Rock. Whoopee would still have four miles of up and down terrain to reach the next EZ. When he arrived, he was a little delirious and said he was cold. He said that about five times. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPEYb_6lgmk
JJ headed out to the Trout Lake EZ. We met him there and he handed off to Defib who was ready for his last run of the relay, a 7 miler on the BRP. We followed with a short bathroom break for YHC and, you guessed it, Stroganoff, at Price Park.
Then on to AHO EZ at Aho Road and the BRP. While waiting for Defib, YHC saw F3 the Fort’s Double D cross the street, climb a hill and disappear to relieve himself in the woods. YHC followed suit later. The temperatures were dropping and the wind was blowing. Then Breaker Breaker and Stroganoff went into those same woods. Breaker’s fly was actually closed as he emerged from the woods with Stroganoff behind. Lots of humor as they went together to the woods. “Surgeon’s did all they could but they couldn’t get the smiles off their faces.”
Defib came in looking strong as usual and I headed out on my last leg, a 5.7 miler with ups and downs but mostly down with an awesome roller coaster type descent coming into Boone. Most runners didn’t like being on Deerfield Road. The most traffic of any leg and zero shoulder with a drop. The route ended with steep uphill at the ASU Field Hockey Field and Stroganoff was waiting for the handoff. He took off for his quickest pace run to get to the YOSEF club parking lot that is sometimes used as tennis courts behind Kidd Brewer Stadium. The rain began to fall as he climbed to the stadium. Breaker Breaker prepared to run the last leg of the relay. Stroganoff came up the last hill and his day was done and Breaker took off to terrain he knows well from his time spent on the mountain. YHC loaded up the troops once more and we headed to the top of the mountain. Along the way we pulled up to a red light on River Street near the Doc Watson memorial bench. YHC told them to look straight ahead and up to the radio tower. “That is where Breaker Breaker is getting ready to be”. The PAX had the empathy again as we began to ascend this monster. The so called “Glory Leg” was 4.3 miles with the last two rising 1313 feet and some spots at 19 degrees. Breaker did a great job bringing it up the hill. The Race Committee had signs posted along the way with sayings like, Not there yet, Still not there, Nope, Not yet. The PAX of F3 Boone were waiting at the top of the hill with a cooler and a tent as the rain continued. It was a celebration as Breaker got just beside the rock that he was to touch. Unfortunately, the headphones were in and the delirium had set in and he looked so confused. Eventually after a lot of yelling and persuading he collapsed on the rock at 1632 hours, 16 hours and 32 minutes from Tater Hole to Boone. For comparison, the Blue Ridge Relay is 208 miles with an elevation loss of 19443’ and a gain of 16712’. The Mortimer was 107 miles and 12,738’ of elevation gain. It was tough, but it was so awesome.
YHC is proud that we were part of the first running of this race. It was an amazing adventure. It was a difficult thing to do, but the feeling of accomplishment is a true “runner’s high”. The Race Committee is planning on doing this again next year and has a survey out seeking feedback on improving it. I think more F3 Gastonia teams will be interested next year.
I am grateful that Team HRB signed up for this. I am grateful that Cousin Eddie and the PAX from F3 Hickory and F3 Boone supported the vision to make it happen. I am grateful to have earned the Mortimer 100 Sticker. I am especially grateful that no one got hurt. When March 2021 comes around this time next year, I know that the HRB’s will be ready once again in a high roof rental van, 8 oz Cokes, and a 16 ounce Appalachian Mountain Brewery YOSEF to hand to the poor bastard that has to run the Glory Leg. #HRB4LIFE
Linus needed a Q for the Gashouse and seemed desperate so I decided to Q last minute because I didn’t have any other plans at 0700.
LInus covered most of the day in his Grumpy Old Men backblast so this post is largely for credit for posting and accountability. (Thanks Watts Up!)
Warm up with SSH, plank series, squats and split Pain Lab and bootcampers.
JJ, Pythagoras, Top Hat, and YHC then moseyed to the front of Grier Jr. High and their new, smooth blacktop parking area. Burpee long jumps x 10, 10 squats per parking space x 10, Bear Crawl 10 parking spaces, Lunge 10 parking spaces, partner carry to the end, Turn around and repeat.
Mosey to FPC Steps, 50 Calf raises at the bottom, bunny hop up stairs and repeat x 3
Mosey the Sherwood for nickels and dimes. 5 pullups, ten merkins, 5 squats x 5 minutes and then 2 minute plank, Vups, and dying cockroaches.
Mosey to the hill below the ballfield.
Mary one round of exercise and then sprint the hill (Moritmer training)
Various ab/leg exercises called
Return to Start just in time for the bells and didn’t forget to pick up the six!
It was nice to get to know Pythagoras who is impacting young minds with his mathematics teachings. We need more Pythagoras’s in our community!