Well, I am going to try to do this justice, but if you weren’t there it just is not the same. Van 1 left the day before so I will leave the Van 1 backblast to them. This will be my attempt to summarize our 30+ hours of some serious fun.
So after months of preparation, 7 studdly pax left Gastonia at 530am Friday morning headed for parts unknown to embark on our first BRR challenge. Nervous energy was obvious as The Mayor drove us through the dark. We made 1 stop for a steak, egg and cheese biscuit for Dolph then proceeded onward and eventually reached our destination-LZ1 where we would wait for Van 1 to arrive. I think I made about 5 trips to the port o john while we were waiting. As the sun was coming over the mountains, The Mayor pulled out a special 3rd F prepared by Dr. Feelgood-great words of encouragement that settled my nerves. There were also 3 cards from our M and families-1 for each leg. This was the emotional push I needed at the right time. Shortly afterwards Van 1 came rolling in and we were moving on to the course with Dolph waiting for the handoff from ToolTime. We proceeded to go through our first legs and slowly but surely the confidence grew and the nerves faded away.
After completing our first legs we went on to a local watering hole in Boone to down some grub and a cold beverage. We narrowly avoided major disaster thanks to a disgruntled local man who had his car towed from the space we were parked in. After filling our guts we rolled onward to the next LZ where we set up camp. We put our sleeping bags on a metal trailer in a parking lot and waited for van 1 to arrive. We were entertained by a skipping fairy who seemed to have a deficiency of F3-poor guy. Don’t think it was a choice for him. Some people are programmed differently. I think this is where Pfqueesh tried out the shoe washer-excellent results but probably not to be repeated in 2017. Our shower decided to unload 3-4 gallons of water into his shoes and the trunk of our van. Thankfully he brought a 2nd pair of shoes.
A little while later we were off again leaving Dolph to complete his second leg. The second legs for our van were a bit more eventful. I think this is where Dolph decided his leg was not long enough so he ran part of it twice in the dark. I think his leg had the most banjos and Ned Beatty’s as well as the least teeth per square mile out of the whole race. Pfquietch was chased by multiple dogs all teeming with rabies during his leg. Each of us powered through this leg with determination and fought our own demons along the way. I think the second leg was really a tough leg in a lot of ways. It was hard for me to focus on this leg knowing we had a long night ahead of us and then another run in the early morning hours with little to no sleep. One of us even thought they saw a Sasquatch on his leg. Running in the dark in unfamiliar territory was a bit unnerving. This leg ended at a fire station where van 1 had been resting. As van 1 took off to complete their final legs, we settled in for a quick meal and some much needed quick rest. There were freshly dug potatoes with warm showers waiting for us. After a quick meal and enough time to down a quick drink, we were back in the van and on our way to who the hell knows where???? There was some discussion between The Mayor and his shotgun assistant Dolph however I was in the far back and being an old fart, my bad hearing made me feel like I was underwater listening to 2 sea lions argue over a tuna. Eventually we arrived at the final LZ and quickly laid down in our sleeping bags. I think OutHouse was on a cement basketball court and slept ok. I was serenaded by a chainsaw named Mayor as he snored his way through the early morning hours. JK2 claimed a seat in the van while the rest of us spread out around on the ground somewhere. I woke somewhere around 5 am with Dolph walking around the van checking out his muscles in the mirror. I don’t think the guy slept much that night. Before too long he was hunkered down in front of some pancakes just under 1 hour away from his mountain goat leg. Before I knew it we were back in the van and moving on through the legs. I have to say the mountain goat legs and the “very hard” (I think second) leg for Pfkeitche were some impressive legs that would have literally brought me to my knees. Doing them on little sleep added another layer of pain that I had not anticipated. We all powered through our 3rd legs like champs, each shouting words of encouragement to not only our team but also to other teams. This was an emotional leg for me. The first part of my leg was uphill for just over 1 mile. As I was coming up the hill knowing I had 5+ miles downhill and then we were finished, I thought about a lot of things. I thought about my wife and kids and how they were hoping I would do well. I thought about all the training runs I had done with the other BRR runners-JK2, Stroganoff, OutHouse, Defib pushed me and pulled me to miles I would not have done on my own. I thought about the 3rd F from Feelgood. I thought about the words of encouragement from Feelgood and Roscoe from the day or 2 earlier-Roscoe leading the Downtown workout in honor of all the BRR runners (see his backblast) and something from Feelgood about “Outta my way bitches, two more legs to run!” I thought about where I was a little over 7 and half years ago staring at the walls from a hospital bed wondering if I would see my kids grow up. It took me awhile to get up that 1+ mile so I got a lot of thinking out of the way. When I got to the top I called my M and my brother just to let them know I was thinking about them. I pulled a Pizza Man and took a selfie-video for posterity-I needed to get some things out of my head. Coming over the hill was exhilarating-I could feel the end coming quickly and wanted to soak up every second of it. I sent a text to our team when I was a mile out and shortly after received a bunch of texts of encouragement. The final turn into town with a quarter mile left was amazing. I could see, hear, and feel the GasHouse Pax yelling and waving as I closed the final distance. I know I was running but I really felt like I was floating through the air in some out of body experience as I made the final turn and crossed the finish line headed for the picture area with some of the best men I have ever known. After a quick shower we headed for some food and cold beer while we sat on the grass in some Asheville park enjoying the fact we had all pushed the rock and for a brief moment, to me, felt like it actually moved just a little bit.
This event seemed like something out of the movie “Stand by Me” at the very end. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. The very end of the movie ends with one of the main characters saying “I never had any friends like the ones I had when I was twelve…Jesus, does anyone?” F3 has given me some friends like the ones I had growing up and doing things like BRR lets me relive that feeling over and over again. If you weren’t there, you missed out.
I hear they may be doing this crazy BRR thing again next year……