It was Early February and YHC decided that I wanted to run the P200 and was told by Montross that it was a no-go and I could enquire about the Mortimer … which I knew would not work since it is allergy season and I am allergic to hills.
Montross did tell me that Sarlacc and Brillo were interested, so I reached out to those guys … and told Scribbles he was running. With a Team of 4 and the deadline approaching, we made the decision to run the P70 and enlist 2 more runners which Gavel jumped at the opportunity and an FNG to be named later, Liono overheard a conversation one Sunday at our church and immediately jumped on board … a few guys from Fighting Yank and a couple guys from Folsom … and we have a team, “Fighting Folsom”!
If you are keeping score … I ran the Tuna 200 in 2019 and Brillo ran the Blue Ridge Relay but no one else had ever run a relay and in some cases, hadn’t run a lot, period. We enlisted HeadCase as the driver figuring he could log a few miles here and there if needed and we had a pre-race meeting at Wild Wing Cafe to assign legs and workout all the details. Let’s get ready to RUN!
3 days before the relay, Sarlacc pulled a calf muscle and tried to tough it out the next day only to make the decision that we needed a sub … and in walks the Veteran Relay Runner, Boudin!
We met Friday at 11pm in the Roses Parking Lot, where Sarlacc quickly volunteers to drive us on a familiar route and we hit the road toward Awendaw Park for a 4:30am start time … but not before a stop at Waffle House in Orangeburg, SC for food at 1am where we all ate probably too much except for Boudin who caught a nap in the van.
Off to Awendaw Park where we pull in close to 4am to pitch black skies, high winds and unseasonably cold temps … as the Race Director tells us this is the coldest Palmetto he’s ever been a part of! The Pre-Race meeting begins as we stand in the dark being tossed to and fro by high winds and close to the end of his instructions, Brillo asks … can we go now? The young man was cold, but ready to get this party started. The countdown begins and the race kicks off as Brillo embarks on 9.84 miles into the dark. Sarlacc has decided that he will drive us from leg to leg and does so, as if he’s driving through his own neighborhood never needing directions.
At EZ 1, we wait with the other 4:30 start teams and several 4:00 teams … as Brillo emerges from the darkness giving us a lead. Brillo IN … Boudin OUT! Boudin is gone … like a flash of lightning to run down Hwy 17 for 4.98 miles! Brillo makes a quick wardrobe change and assumes a very comfortable position riding shotgun … where he didn’t move from for the next couple hours!
EZ2, as Boudin picks up a few kills … he finishes his first leg with sub 8’s and passes off to a Rookie Relay Runner, Liono for 2.24 miles. Liono makes short work of the 2.24 miles and runs faster than he thought he could and starts looking forward to his next leg which is 8.61 miles … more on that later! Liono IN … Scribbles OUT for 6.02 miles!
On the way to EZ3, we make a quick stop for a bathroom break and to purchase much needed chapstick, where Scribbles actually passes us! At EZ3, Scribbles rolls around the corner in an all out sprint to finish with sub 8’s for his first leg! Scribbles IN … Gavel OUT for 3.84 miles!
We load up the van and head to EZ4 and beep the horn at Gavel as he is running around one of several roundabouts in the Charleston area … and lo and behold, he pulls a mini-BOS and runs in the wrong direction for .3 miles before turning around and getting back on course to finish out what is now a 4.44 mile leg to Cooper River Bridge.
AT EZ5, it should be YHC’s turn to get into the race, but previously … Young Brillo had talked about how he wanted to run the Bridge, so being the gentleman I am and being allergic to hills as previously stated I gladly let Brillo take on the Bridge; Gavel IN … Brillo OUT for 5.37 miles over the bridge and back!
At EZ6, whic is the same spot as EZ5 … and the longest rest break for our Van , YHC asked HeadCase who went to drive but had only been able to ride if he wanted to run a couple miles, which he gladly obliged and took the handoff from Brillo … who explained that the bridge run in blistering cold winds was one of the worst runs he had ever experienced. Brillo IN … HeadCase OUT for 2 miles!
At the 2 mile mark … YHC and the Van waited for HeadCase and his long legs to show up, and he did so right on the heels of another runner and passes the bracelet to me as I follow that runner for the next couple miles of my 4.08 mile partial leg. Thanks to HeadCase, I was able to get a kill on the previous runner and finish my leg faster than I thought I would or could. Doodles IN at EZ7 … Boudin OUT for the 6.53 miles into IOP!
At this point, I’d like to make note that we have all run a leg and some have started their second leg and there is no other van to pass off to … which means NO extended break for a meal or for rest! We press on with snacks and determination to get ‘er done!
At EZ8, Boudin shows up a lot faster than we anticipated, running very low 8’s on a very challenging leg of the race! Boudin IN … Liono OUT for 8.61 miles out of IOP which has previously been stated by the P200 Team as a TOUGH LEG! As we cross the bridge out of IOP, we find a place to park and wait for Liono to arrive around the 4.2 mile mark and as he does … it’s obvious that he is ready for a break, so YHC tags in to finish the final 4.41 miles, which I will admit is the flattest portion of the leg and I’m able to maintain a decent pace and pick up a couple kills and get to EZ9 feeling pleased! Doodles IN … Scribbles OUT for 7.94 miles!
While waiting at EZ10, Scribbles reaches out in the middle of his sub 8 running to let us know that he is ready to let HeadCase get back into the game … and with almost 2 miles left in the leg, Sarlacc and HeadCase find Scribbles and make the exchange … which HeadCase then knocks out a couple low 8’s himself. HeadCase IN … Gavel OUT for 7.09 miles wearing a water pack!
Sitting at EZ11 and watching a couple other teams begin to celebrate before the final leg with shots of Fireball, we anxiously await Gavel’s arrival. Earlier in the race, we had already realized that only 2 of the 8 people in our van drank alcohol and that Boudin and Gavel would be able to drink as many beers as they wanted at the finish! Gavel emerges from his 7.09 miles wishing he had not taken the extra weight of the water with him but excited to see his wife and kids cheering him on. Gavel IN … Doodles OUT for the final 3.19 miles of the relay!
Heading down that country road to the finish, I can see a runner struggling in front of me and decide to reel them in … and just as I do, I take a glance over my shoulder realizing that I wasn’t the only fisherman on the course. I turned into Awendaw Park and looked back to see no one, hung a right and could see the finish line before me. I had collected 4 kills and had not been passed the entire race by man, woman or SilverBack Gorilla; when all of the sudden a gust of wind takes my hat to the ground. I stop to pick up my hat and see a runner quickly approaching, so I kick it in the best I can and try no to get passed … BUT, about 100 yards out a guy comes zooming past and I do what I can to finish strong as my brothers run across the line with me. I was pleased at what we had accomplished and excited to finally get some real food as we collected our medals!
It was late in the afternoon and a long time since our 1am stop at Waffle House, so we made short work of the Moe’s Tacos. We took a team picture as Gavel met his wife and kids to stay an extra night in Charleston. Sarlacc and Brillo also met his wife and daughter to stay the night in the Charleston area as the rest of the team loaded up for the ride home and it was time for HeadCase to earn his Driver Status!
A few miles down the road, the van is quiet and I tell HeadCase to take a detour to a place called “The Wreck” where I thought would be a nice place to see some sites from the now Netflix Famous Series, Outer Banks. We pull up around 4:45 to realize they open at 5 for first come first serve … so we jump in line to scarf down some local fare of shrimp! NOTE to the P200 Team … when in Charleston, Eat Local … not at a Chain Restaurant.
The service was quick, the food was great and the day was getting long, so we snapped a few pics of the place and took off. HeadCase got us down the road in record time … but we did have enough time to stop for DQ and gas along the way. We found ourselves back at Roses Parking Lot before 10pm … WOW, that’s a lot to accomplish in less than 24 hours! As we waited for everyone to grab their gear and catch their ride, we are disecting the day and Boudin drops a nugget on us … “Guys! It’s not what you can do in your first leg when you are fresh and ready … But it’s what you can do in the last leg when you are exhausted and have nothing left in the tank! That’s what it’s all about!”
These relays have a way of getting to know one another and spend some great time together even if it’s compacted into 23 hours! We learned that Sarlacc is who we thought he was … a true HIM who would do anything for anyone at anytime! We learned that Brillo is a great young man full of adventure ready to conquer the world … and I do believe he will be able to do so! We learned that Boudin is a great man to have on your team, full of experience and willing to share that experience to better everyone around him … and he’s available if you ever need him! We learned that Liono was eager and ready to dive in to this adventure not really knowing half the team but becoming part of the F3 Family like a true brother should. We learned that Scribbles is capable of running a lot faster than he though he could and thank God of that, because his dad is in no way as fast he used to be … and oh yea, we also learned that he can sleep anytime he gets still, no matter what! We learned that HeadCase will do anything and everything that’s needed for those around him … and if I’m honest, I’ve known that for years! We learned that Gavel is a great teammate … willing to push beyond what he thought he was able to and that his family is head over heels in love with him and I believe he feels the same way about them!
As for YHC, I went home … took a HOT Epsom Salt Bath, brushed my teeth and went to bed; exhausted! I woke up the next morning though … wide awake with the words of Boudin in my head … “it’s what you do when you are exhausted and have nothing left, that’s what it’s all about!” I heard those words and saw the guy passing me 100 yards short of the finish line … and began to wonder, what could I have done differently to change that outcome? What could I have done 100 yards before, 1 block before, or even 1 mile before? It haunted me … and I even used it in my sermon at church that day.
Let’s be honest, 2020 and 2021 have been exhausting at best! It’s time for true HIM to be true HIM … it’s time to show those around us what we are made of, now that we and everyone we come into contact is exhausted and have nothing left in the tank! As for me, I plan to pour it all out from this day forward … like the Apostle Paul, my life will be poured out to the last drop. As for me, I plan to not wake up the next day after the next relay wondering what I could’ve done … I’m gonna leave it all out there somewhere on the road, because gentlemen … that’s what it’s all about!
Until next time…