Friday, June 14, 2013

Bethel Hill Midnight Boogie “fun run” 26.2

“Every race punishes you for going out too fast, but the Boogie is vindictive about it.” Jonathan Savage

From the Boogie Races website:  WAIVER AND RELEASE: I realize June in North Carolina is hot and humid. Most people and doctors advise against running in heat and humidity.  Also, running at night presents special problems such as seeing where you are stepping and watching out for cars.  I understand that this area has specific hazards such as rattlesnakes, copperheads, polecats, wildcats, and rednecks who like to drink and drive and throw things.   I know that 26 miles can be tough under any conditions but with the possible conditions in this event 26 miles could turn out to be much more of a challenge than I expected.  Nevertheless, I like to struggle and really, really want to participate regardless of the expected pain or risk.  Therefore, I want everyone to know that I am not being forced to do this event and that I agree for myself and any survivors or possible claimants that I may leave behind, to save, release, and keep harmless the Mangum Track Club, its members, the Runners From Hell and any volunteers or sponsors or any other helpers that may be involved with this event from all liability, claims, or demands for damages incurred by participation in this event or any of its parts.  I assume all responsibility for my participation and certify that I am properly trained, mentally fit, and medically able to participate in this hot, hilly, and possibly night marathon.  I agree to use a light after dark. I will not litter.  I will not kill snakes.  I am aware that this event is limited to  no more than 75 entrants and that registration may close abruptly at the race director's discretion.  I realize that the race director's {or his delegate} authority is all encompassing and will abide by anything he tells me.  Knowing everything in this waiver has not deterred me from entering this event and my signature below indicates that I have read and agree to all this stuff and still intend to participate.  I also promise to have fun. “MARATHONERS BEWARE:   This is not your normal marathon.  This is all rural, not a city marathon.  The course is not certified.  You will be in the middle of nowhere all the time with no porta-potties, no splits, no mile markers, no spectators, and late in the run possibly even no other runners.  There are only 6 houses on the course and they have dogs.  Aid stops are over 5 miles apart, so you will need to carry a water bottle. If you decide to quit, there are no pick-up vans, so you will either have to walk to the aid station or hitch a ride with somebody.  The race will start at 6 pm and the temperature will probably be about 85 degrees with little shade.  Darkness comes about 9 pm and there are no street lights.  You will need a light for the reasons cited in the waiver.  If you need to be catered to every couple of miles along the course or worry running in the dark, perhaps you should not come.  We really have seen everything listed in the waiver except the polecats and they are there too.  The drop out rate among veteran 50-milers is usually 40% or so.  Think long and hard before you enter this event.  If Lao-tzu were to give advice about this event he would say, "Come with no expectations and you will not be disappointed."”

It is a race where you ask “are you doing the full (50) or the half (26.2)” and no one seems to mind…  

The marathon slogan is:  “A little Boogie is better than no Boogie at all”
So what does one do when you get a PR marathon?  Go out the next weekend and run a hot, humid, nighttime marathon!  Ok, so maybe most folks take a week or more off, but I didn’t.  I have been to this run 3 years in a row, and even with the dog bite last year, I still came back!  It is a great group of folks. 
I went into it with no expectations.  Didn’t want to push it and get injured, so the only goal I set for myself was to sub 5.  I treated it like an ultramarathon where I ran the flats and downhills, and walk the uphills.  I was still dealing with fatigue from Sunburst, the travel time back and forth, and I was fighting a summer time cold from getting worn down…  

We arrived about 1:00 at Bethel church and set up the camper.  I had the family with me this trip.  The Boogie is an event where many families attend to show their support for the runners.  

Slowly this lonely stretch of road began to fill up with cars, canopies, and people.  It is a Mangum Track Club event and is much like a family reunion of sorts with my running community.  I always like to attend MTC events, though my schedule does not always allow for it.

The Boogieman did things a little differently this year, he started the 50 milers at 6:00 and the marathoners started 10 minutes later.  I thought it was a good idea and it worked well!

First the 50 milers were off, then 10 minutes later we were off!  What is cool, is that the marathoners do the .2 first.  There is an out and back of .1 mile then we start off on the rest of the course.  .2 done, 26 to go!

I was trying to keep up with Walsh, but even with his “oh I am not sure if I have a 26.2 in me” comment, he was GONE!  It was probably for the best, because he and I have this tendency to push each other along, especially towards the end….  

The first part of the race is a 6 mile loop.  Just past mile 1 is the “scene of the crime” from last year.  You may or may not recall that Joey and I got attacked there by a Walker Hound during his attempt at the Boogie 100…  (you can see that report here).  I got a chill running by the house.  I heard the dog barking, but he was hidden away in a shelter.  I kept my eye on the house the whole time.  

*whew* - got past the “dog house” and was heading to the “dog pen”.  No joke…  Right around mile 4 is where the aid station is at the dog pen.  These guys were great.  Had my handheld open and they had the water right there to pour in right away.  Grabbed a few twizzlers and I was ready to go!  I was amazed that I drank 20 oz of water the first 4 miles.  It was HOT out and I was soaked with sweat from the humidity.

I was sticking with the plan of a gu and an s cap every 4 miles.  This was in addition to anything else I was eating from the aid stations.  First gu was hot and liquidy.  Got a sick feeling eating it as I had a flashback to Sunburst when I nearly brought it up, but I kept my composure and got it down with no issues.  *whew*

I walked some with David on this next stretch.  I haven’t seen him since Hinson.  Someone from vac n dash took a pic of us walking down the hot road.
Picked up the pace again and headed back to the main aid station at mile 6.  Someone was there ready to fill my empty water bottle, I grabbed a peanut butter sandwich with chips, and headed down Bethel Hill.  

This next section is an out and back of 2 miles – 2 miles out and down the hill, and 2 miles back and UP the hill.  I decided to pick it up some as I felt like I took it way easy on that first section.  

Running DOWN Bethel hill the first time is awesome.  You get the chance to see everyone coming up it on the other side because the sun is still up.  Lots of encouragement along the way being sent and received! Had lots of folks say “lookin strong! great pace!” I was feelin really good and the pace I was keeping was quick.  Ran all the way to the turnaround, then headed back.  Took a gu at mile 8.  Again, really liquidy, but no issues!  Much slower going up that hill.  It’s a killer.  Most cars have issues going up this hill.  7 Nation Army came on the iTunes and was the perfect tempo.  Put it in powerwalk mode and kept movin. 

Top of the hill – woo!  More water, another sandwich, off down the hill!  Down at the intersection there was a truck full of 20 something boys/men.  Of course one calls out at me while I am runnin… :s  gotta love the rednecks ‘round here!  Least they were not throwing beer cans….

Kept another close eye on “the dog house” running by – nope, he still was not in view.  In fact, they had all their animals hidden away.  

Decided to skip the gu at mile 12 and ate some twizzlers at the dog pen.  Another water refill and I was good to go.  

Uneventful climb back up to the main aid station – you guessed it – more water and another peanut butter sandwich.  Was looking for my family this lap, but I was quicker in getting back this time and they missed me.  I needed a light ‘cause it was going to be dark by the time I got back.  Oh well!  Running in the dark it is!  Took off back down Bethel Hill.  It was hard to see who was coming up the other side ‘cause it was dark.  Not as fun as it was the first time…  All you can do is say great job to whoever the shadow with the light on is – maybe you know them, maybe you don’t! 

I was quite amazed at how much water I was taking in.  It was HOT n HUMID and I was soaked with sweat.  There was no one behind me and no one in front of me so I took a quick stop, not ‘cause I really had to go, but because opportunity was there…

Made it to the top of the hill, took more water, then headed back out. I was trying to stay up with someone I had nicknamed "ironman" because of his ironman tat on his calf. We had been going back and forth the whole race with passing each other back n forth.  This lap was no different... 

I had the opportunity to run with Bill this lap. My kids call him “the toothpick man” as he has a toothpick in his mouth a lot.  I have seen him at many other ultra-events, but never had the chance to run with him. It was good.  If it was not for him pushing me along, I would have not gone nearly as fast that last loop.  Good conversation and great company.  We ran with Ricky some and one other person as well.  The 4 of us pushed on together those last 6 miles.   Ricky and I both had the goal of sub 5.  We knew that we had to push it in, to make that time.  So somewhere in that last mile or so we started picking it up.   In the midst of us running faster, Ricky nearly tripped over a huge frog in the dark!! I guess it is better than a snake, right?  

I saw that stop sign at the turn and I was gone…  I pushed it in, past the turn and up the hill to the finish.  Time?  4:56.  Over an hour slower than my PR from last week but I was thrilled with it :D  Who would have thought? It felt like I was pushing for a sub 4 that last bit – lol!

I picked out my finishers mug – handmade Seagrove pottery.  Smaller than the 50 miler one I earned 2 years ago, but this is the “baby boogie” after all.  Someone put it like this – “The first one holds a full beer, so I have a morning mug and an evening mug.”  Works for me! 

I sat on the steps of the church and chilled out for a bit.  Took my shoes off and checked my feet.  One blister where I had taped it up to prevent a blister, and the toenail I was worried about (should I leave it on or take it off?) was fine (I left it on for the race.  It was damaged in the Sunburst marathon 1 week prior).  The big toenail on my other foot was damaged, and this race appeared to put the final touch on it.  Hello summer and flip flop season!  Who needs toenails anyway?  Lol!!

I got some good dinner from the GREAT people who cooked for us at Bethel Baptist Church.  Big thanks to them for cooking and staying up all night for us crazy folks!  We appreciate you letting us park in your parking lot, and have the start/finish right on your doorstep.

I snuck off to the camper for a quick shower.  Yes, I said shower!  Got some new clothes on and headed back to the finish line to help out.

The rest of the evening and into the morning I volunteered with taking down finish times and cheering the 50 miler runners in.  So proud of everyone who finished, and those who came up and said “I am dropping out, here is my number”.  It is one tough race with tough conditions.  It is not intended to be easy.  Kudos for those who start!

I enjoyed watching runners come in.  I know how I feel when I finish.  Many times I am dazed and need a minute to get my wits about me.  This was the case with many of the finishers and I was encouraged that I am not alone in that area!  Folks would finish and we would tell them to pick out their finishers mug and go get something to eat.  Hey, sometimes two instructions after a race is a lot of info!  One person pushed it in so hard coming up the hill to the finish that he had dry heaves.  My heart went out to him.  He later came back and apologized after he was feeling better.  Hey, nothing to apologize for!  I was glad that he was ok!

One scary moment that morning was when one local (aka redneck) in a truck, who had a boat in the bed of his pickup, went flying through the start/finish area.  One of the runners was leaving in their truck and was pulling out into the road from the side, and the boat guy had to slam on his breaks cause he was going too fast and was not paying attention.  When the runners truck was on the road, the boat guy went into the ditch, and went flying around the truck and towards the river.  Apparently we were making him late to fishing…  I was hoping he would not hit any of the runners on Bethel Hill!  Thankfully he didn’t.
I only heard of one snake sighting at the bottom of “the hill”.  Apparently there was a rattler in the road by the turnaround when the sun was coming up.  

This race was a great experience.  It’s put on by a great group of folks and attended by another great group of people.  I am glad I was able to experience both the run and volunteering through the night.  It was great to cheer friends in, many running their first 50’s.  

I was exhausted and didn’t sleep at all that night.  I didn’t realize til later that I was completely bitten up by the gnats sitting there at the finish.  So it goes… Got home and took a nap, but then was in a zone of sorts the rest of the day.  Got a good night’s sleep and was ready to go Monday morning! 

Thank you Doug for putting on such a great event!!  Thank you to Bethel Baptist for allowing us to use your property for the race and on top of that, making dinner for us.  It is greatly appreciated!


1 comment:

  1. Interesting race report. Sounds like a fun event and just as challenging as I expected given the heat. Nice work!