I Immediately Regret Doing This: Draggin’ Aspen

The blogosphere is full of weirdos, cat-gentlemen, and Craig’s List posters. In the milieu of what can be a terrifying and terrifyingly unfunny land, there is an oasis, a sweet haven of laughter and quality humor writing that is called The Byronic Man.

I asked the proprietor of this quality weblog to guest post for Snotting Black, another hilarious and altogether exceptional humor blog, on the topic of “I immediately regret doing this.” He came through in spades and sweat. Read on. And then go to his blog. And then come back to mine. Then get a sandwich.

I’ve certainly been there before. As in sleepy, not exerted.

Draggin’ Aspen

I ran in a half-marathon a couple weeks ago, called the Haulin’ Aspen (Get it?  It’s a pun!).  I enjoy running and have done one half-marathon before, but would not ordinarily have considered running in this one because it is notorious for being one of the toughest trail races in the area.  Very dirty.  Lots of hills.  Sharp switchbacks, some of which are very narrow and on jagged rock.  A rollicking good time, right?  But a friend suggested is a kind of group activity, so, hey, I figured, why not.  We’d tough our way through this thing together.  Toast our awesomeness with a beer afterward.  So I signed up.

Short version: I wound up being the only one who actually signed up for the race.  Call this Bad Omen/Regret Milestone #1.

That morning turned out to be the hottest day this summer.  It was hot before we even started running, and a number of people stood around muttering, “I thought we’d get at least a little time before we were actually too hot.”  Bad omen/Regret Milestone #2.

I had run the course a couple times before, which was helpful, and made me in to a prophet of wisdom and faith beforehand as we milled around the starting line.  “You’ve seen the course?” two women asked.  “Is it as bad as they say?”  “Yea,” I replied, “Verily, it is true that there is about two and a half miles of straight uphill in full sun, but thou must have faith that an aid station waits at the end with Gatorade and gel packs.”

Side note: those gel packs they give runners – if you’ve ever seen those – why are they all like ‘chocolate cream’ and ‘apple cinnamon’?  Who the hell’s jogging along in the heat and thinking, “Man, a big piece of grocery store pie would really hit the spot right now”?

Then we started running and immediately closed in to a narrow, dusty path.  Vision obscured.  Dirt inhaled.  Sun pounding.

It was pretty immediately clear: I’d made a mistake.  This would not be the last time I’d have this thought.  The heat was brutal, the dirt was thick (there would come a moment where I’d blow my nose and dirt would come out.  Not brown mucus – dirt).

There were definite stretches where things were looking up… until they looked up for that two and a half miles in full sun on the hottest day in the summer.  We can call that the Turning Point from “Regret Milestone” to “Mother F***er…”

The kicker of this race is that trails aren’t quite long enough, so you get so close to the end that you could hit the people crossing the finish line with a rock (which was tempting), and it’s directly in front of you… and you take a sharp right to run another mile and a half.  Now that’s just mean.

I finished, so I suppose there’s that.  I’ve done one before, and on that one when I hit the 12-mile mark I kicked into gear for that last mile.  Hoo-ah, and all that.  This one when I hit the 12-mile mark I was puttering, thinking of activities I might take up besides running, and trying to remember the signs of heat stroke.  I was not alone.  We looked like that moment in the horror movie when the protagonist looks out the window and sees the zombies shambling down the street.

But I made it.  I didn’t even check my time, I just stumbled around looking for fluid – water, beer, vinegar, mustard, whatever.  I did have a beer, but there was no toasting of personal awesomeness, only the desperate need for fluid and carbohydrates and, hopefully, death.

I’m proud of myself for getting through it… but I keep waiting to think, “Ah, I’m glad I did it.”  And… I’m still waiting…

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36 thoughts on “I Immediately Regret Doing This: Draggin’ Aspen

  1. My husband says I`d run, jump or crawl over fire, a bed of nails, and a river of snakes if it meant getting a tshirt at the finish line.

  2. Great story! Reminds me of the one race (a mini-triathalon) I entered. It was sponsored by the local YMCA and called the Y-Tri (another pun, but one that was quite appropriate in my case). You gave me a great idea for a post! Thank you (I can hear you saying “You’re so very welcome, Lorna!”) 😉

  3. Wow. Just… wow. I avoid running unless something’s chasing me.
    Or to get ice cream. I’d run to get ice cream.

  4. Nothing scares me more than the phrase “jagged rock.” Glad to hear you made it through without injury. A friend ran Chicago several years ago, which is usually notoriously hot. And somehow there’s never enough water stations and the participants usually end up dehydrated, sometimes severely.

    I have never done a trail run (even a short one), and having already had joint injuries, probably never will. They really scare the crap out of me.

  5. good grief.. I’d have quit 5 mins in. it sounds dire.

  6. auntyamo says:

    Fab! Just fab! 🙂

  7. I’ve run two half-marathons – one in a driving rain and one where they ran out of water at the mile marker 6. Your description of the zombies made me laugh out loud. That’s exactly what we looked like at the finish line.

    I’ve always wondered the same thing about the goo flavors. I’m not sure what flavors would be better, but apple pie is not one of them. Even Gatorade can be a bit too sweet during a race.

    Kudos to you for finishing. And next time those “friends” ask you to join a race, make sure they sign up first!

  8. susielindau says:

    This is an excellent story! I just read it to Danny and he agreed! You survived to tell the tale and that, Byronic Man, is what it is all about!

  9. Go Jules Go says:

    Thanks for hosting B Man, Emily, so I could laugh at, I mean with, him!

    B. I can’t stop shaking my head and giggling. I don’t know what’s better – the face full of dirt, the apple pie gel packs or the finish line that’s just out of reach. Not for all the booze in the world.

    This was hilarious. You’re my hero.

  10. Carrie Rubin says:

    Very impressive. Now add a 20-mile bike ride over roads paved with dangerous potholes and a three-mile swim in water teeming with pirhannas, and you’ll finish the Death-Is-Likely Triathalon.

  11. Where’s Bonkers? (That’s rhetorical.)

    Now that you’ve said it out loud, it’s only a matter of time before someone comes up with the idea for mustard gel packs.

    Hi Emily — I came because I saw that B-Man was shouting at you in email and I wanted to make sure you’re ok. He didn’t mean it. It’s that artistic temperament and all. We suffer for his art.

    Thank you both for a fun weekend read!

  12. Dude! I love that you were shambling. Almost no one shambles these days anymore. Glad to see you’re bringing it back.

  13. speaker7 says:

    Ugh. I felt like that running a one-mile family race. It was a very humiliating experience to have toddlers and the elderly passing me with such ease while I was cramping up and wishing for death.

  14. Ape No. 1 says:

    Well done B-man. I am about 3 weeks away from a running similar “team” half here in Sydney all by my lonesome with absolutely no sign of any of my friends who were “definitely doing it this year”. I’ll keep an eye out for the mustard and vinegar stand at the end of the run.

    • The plus side is you can wear you finisher’s medal and shirt and socks and anything else you get around them all the time and rub it in. Mention that your knees hurt, mention the people you met at the end, etc.

  15. Tell me, why would anyone do this? Beyond proving you have a streak, a giant streak, of masochistic tendency; why do this?

    Congrats on finishing!

  16. Michelle Gillies says:

    You are a braver man than I. Any thoughts of my wanting to try this running thing have been permanently dismissed. Thank you.

  17. k8edid says:

    I get tired driving 13 miles – I so admire your run, but it sounds truly awful. I can’t have beer (yet) so I think I’ll have to go straight to shots in your honor…

  18. […] Emily over at Snotting Black asked if I’d be interested in writing a guest post on the theme “I Immediately Regret Doing This.”  Well, I think she might be writing a post on immediately regretting asking me to guest post, […]

  19. Important note: That’s not me in that photograph. I didn’t look that dignified at the end.

  20. tomwisk says:

    Congrats. I get tired thinking about it.

  21. Pleun says:

    Well done! And congrats on the finishing 🙂
    And Emily, thanks for inviting The Byronic Man.

  22. Audrey says:

    Awesome contributing article, Byronic! Although I have to say this doesn’t make me feel inspired to do a half marathon now… Sounds like a truly brutal run. And are you saying then that you were literally “snotting black” from all the dirty? You’re a champ!

  23. Good job! Beer and pasta to celebrate!

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