In the early summer of that year the deer were still hungry from a hard winter that offered too much cold and not enough food, and they were not timid but instead watched us plaintively as we passed in the near-moonless sky, or they darted in front of us without warning, on roads named Blue Ridge, or Old Bell or Mountainview.
We were a patched-together crew of Horsey veterans and first-timers, from the regions affectionately called Metro, South and beyond, with faces fresh for the challenge the course promised. We moseyed in together, ‘moseyed’ being a subjective term that for one man means a certain pace and for another man, something else altogether. But the leader waited for us all at the top of the hill they call Blue Ridge, and he gave his instructions, and all followed.
It was a simple plan, but the simplest and best plans often mask the amount of work that went into their creation. Down the dark descent of Mountainview, only to face quickly its steep and unforgiving grade before a hard right onto Old Bell, somehow, again. The incline up Old Bell looking no more threatening at its start than a white midsummer wisp of cloud, but delivering a punishment on the men’s legs like that of a tornado spun loose of its skyward roots.
To the end of Old Bell the men ran, then back out and right onto Wilby for more deer. Down again, up again, and to the corner at Mountainview, where the one they call Chester lives, or simply stands, or simply is. Down the northerly end of Mountainview and then up, up again, for in this country it seems the roads always move up, and the downs don’t quite make up for it, not quite. But they were men of honor and of valor, and they did not complain. Not one.
The leader waited on them all to finish this first pass, then asked for five hand-release burpees. This being somewhat counter to the normal approach for a summer Monday at the McHorseArse, the men could have complained. But they were men of dignity and strength, and they did their burpees, and they moved on.
Reverse course, on your own. 5 more burpees at the flag. Reverse again and do it all over. The same downs and ups, but there being the distinct feeling each time of more ups than downs. The leader among them struggled mightily to keep the one they call Lee (TM) in his sights, and almost resorted to walking toward the mythical Yucca at one point, but the voice in his head said no, no Lee is not walking, and the one they call Hollins is not walking and the one they call Horeshead is not walking (though maybe Horsehead was walking a little bit, but that is between him and his Maker, and is not for other men to know or judge, for Horsehead is a #HIM and this is his namesake), so the leader did not walk.
The one they call Hollins was running with his shirtless friend, the one they call Nabisco, whom some call Cowboy, but we do not, unless it is in jest. And toward the end, as we all were in our individual pain boxes of varying degrees, Hollins announced that he was suffering from some internal malady, a physical sign that all men have known in their gut and must address immediately, and alone. And so Hollins went away. But we knew he was a capable man and a man who knew where and how to remedy his situation, so we did not follow him.
With only minutes until the time to meet the rest of the crew, the leader approached the corner where so many before him have reported of mysterious sightings of the one they call Chester, and where he was certain he earlier saw Chester leaning against an idling pickup truck, but the truck was no longer there, so he assumed Chester had left. But now the leader saw the man again, standing alone without shirt, pants or socks, but with cigarette and bowl in hand. And the leader looked away, and tried mightily to focus on the road, and the pain and the sweat at the blinking light from the one they call Lee (TM) ahead of him. But he could not burn the image from his head, just as one cannot unsee the horrors of war when one has witnessed them first-hand.
The men, being men of their word, assembled at the neon flagpole at the allotted time, paid their respects, and proceeded back down the hill, to the flat section of Old Bell, and to the gravel lot still dusty for lack of rain. There they looked again for the one they call Hollins, but he was nowhere to be found, for his situation must have required indoor attention. They drank from weathered water bottles or plastic cups, and some dried off with frayed towels, but some did not. The one they call Grave Dancer provided a quality prayer, for it was honest, and brave, and true.
13 or 14 started at Carmel Rd. Park, we picked up 2 or 3 more at Carmel Middle, and by the end, we had 16 for an on-the-move mash-up of arm, leg and ab work.
What else happened
So, it’s been a few days, but I’m pretty sure 11 dudes showed up, and I know we spent time on the baseball field and on a really dark street, and this is probably close to the rest of it:
COP in main lot, respecting the natural circle that #DMZ pax always form at 0528: SSH x20, plank jack x15, seal jack x15, squat jumps x15, mericans x15
Mosey through Carmel Rd Park, and to the immaculately-maintained baseball field that Hannibal somehow didn’t even realize existed. Divide into 3rds for 10 sumo squats jumps at 2nd base, 5 pull ups at the 1st base dugout, and 5 at the 3rd base dugout. Marvel at the Pax’s ability to do pull ups using the shingled roof of a baseball dugout. Thanks Titan for the inspiration, probably 4 years ago. Repeato until the Q calls time.
Repeato, but with dips at the dugouts, until Q calls time.
Head over to #@Church @CharlotteCLT, cross Colony. Think we’re turning right on Tufton Brae for a brief COP in the cul-de-sac before heading to Mill Pond for the #MainEvent. Quickly realize the road is going on, and on. Stop at the end, where it changes names and doglegs left, for COP: wide-arms, flutter, Michael phelps. Ask someone if this road ever ends; One Eye says yes, and he seems trustworthy, so we head left in search of the end.
Find the end. Learn later that road is called Loch Lane. COP of something down there, then run back to the midway point. AYG back to the end, with 5 burpees at the start and finish. Return to the end of the Loch, with 5 burpees at each driveway on the right. Turns out there aren’t many, so that was easy. Return with 5 hand-release mericans at each driveway on the right (new right). There are more, so it’s not as easy.
Regroup for COP: diamonds (yes, Orlando, the index fingers and the thumbs are supposed to touch), Boone left and Right, and more squats. Mosey out, head south (!) on Carmel, to find Tufton Brae and prove YHC isn’t insane. He’s not, and the street is even shorter than he thought. COP with something I can’t remember.
Head home, stopping for some People’s Chair and air presses at @#C@@#%%Clt#NC, then back to the sandlot for 5 pull ups and 10 jumping lunges. AYG back to base. 2.4 miles.
Thanks for the keys, OneEye. My glutes were still sore on Wednesday, which suggests we did more squats than usual. Or that I have a weak ass. Or both.
Jamboree, I hope you thawed out eventually, though I doubt you would have admitted you were cold.
The moon was big, almost full and orange, a site FNG was ready to roll, and Kirk was nowhere to be found. Swiper asked for clarification: “So, we’re going to run to HT and then stay there?” Yes, exactly. Let’s go.
So, last week’s PB motivated YHC to skip his weekly #crunchybabycrack of Ring Run, and instead post much closer to home at the wildly popular SOFAWIB.
And apparently, when you show up at SOFAWIB and increase the attendance by 25%, you get invited to Q the following week.
And apparently, you’re required to write a pre-blast, or Swiper hijacks your Q. So here I am.
0530 under the light of the SUPERMOON, @ Ye Olde Providence Elementary by the Marsh.
…and to steal a line from a recent Nash BB: Times I saw on the clock: 0509, 0526. At 0509, OK, I’ll get up in a minute and get my Q-face on. At 0526, Holy crapola, the workout starts in 4 minutes, and I live 2.5 minutes away, by Maserati. Time to get moving.
Fly in HOT to the Carmel Rd Park lot at 0534, no one around. Quick headlight scan of the Church @ Charlotte lot in case they’re hanging out there. Nope, these are chiseled Carmel Road Park pax, which means only 1 thing: They’ve vacated this awesome city park/church AO and are heading to the home of the Cougars (#cougarpride!).
YHC found them, as expected, 1/2 way down Camilla, having stopped at each speed bump for 10 burpees. Park the #swagjeep in the principal’s spot at CMS, apologize profusely, and wrestle the Q back from One Eye, who was planning on 41 more minutes of burpees.
The Remaining Thang
Nekkid Man Moleskin’
19 Pax were curious to see if we really would try to run a 16-mile roundtrip in 45 minutes, and instead kicked the teeth off the Gaywind Hill (hee hee..).
In the days of the original Wagon Wheel singer, that S stood for “sergic,” as in “Lysergic acid.” Fortunately for us, it’s a much simpler, 4-letter word in F3 land: Slow. And we can do slow.
14 guys with 26.2 on their mind and 1 with 13.1 on his showed up at the Cap’n Jack statue very early (for a Sunday morning, anyway) for the first running of the Wagon Wheel.
The objective: run a long way (that’s L), pretty darn slowly, even if it’s hard to shut down your testosterone-fueled rabbit urges (that’s S), for some prescribed distance (that’s D). Egypt was told his job today was to “MANAGE THE FREAKIN PACE” (yes, in all caps), and Egypt doesn’t ignore things in all caps, so he managed the pace. The Slow mantra stems, in part, from OBT telling us it’s best to train with some long and slow runs, and OBT’s run like 3 (three) marathons, so Egypt listens to his advice.
He told the assembled baker’s dozen that the average pace would be north of 9 minutes, probably south of 9:30, and that he would not give chase to any rabbits that decided to break away. He kept his promise, thanks in large part to the steady partnering from Birthday Boy Uncle, Furyk, and (when he wasn’t sprinting ahead to catch up with the showoffs) Fishwrap, letting the breakaway pack do their thing. It’s a free country, and a Sunday morning, afterall.
Course was lovely (though those damn hills are still there), weather was ideal, pace was good. The breakaway pack reported finishing at 9-even, though they did inadvertently (or so they claim) cut the route short by about 1 city block at the end (it’s Brevard, not Caldwell, boys. Come on, the streets are even in ABC order uptown – even Uncle knows that). The instruction-followers finished their 13.08 miles in 2:01.:04, which is exactly a 9:15 pace. Exactly.
Pesci, Egypt considers himself redeemed from past transgressions now.
Word on the street is that Silent Bob posted for the half-marathon training run at 0630 (7.5 miles), only to find himself alone. Which brings to mind the ancient question: “If Silent Bob runs for an hour by himself and says something, does anyone hear it?”
Pleasure to lead you this morning, gents. Oh Dredd, next week it’s 14 miles, so you might want to get at least 1 in this week to prepare.