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Henry Parsons Trail Marathon/Half Marathon


“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.” -Henry David Thoreau
January 3, 2016

Here we are, not 3 full days into the new year, and I'm freezing my ass off at 6am while driving out to some Godforesaken trail to run another Godforesaken race. I have spent the last 3 weeks preparing for this race by... not doing much of anything. I have ran NONE, and eaten MUCH. On top of an already poor diet, I went on a three day Christmas food bender at my Mother-in-Law's house doing suicide ladders of fudge, chicken ball, and pork; back and forth, back and forth. They say that the human body is like 80% water or some sh*t, but I was at LEAST a 30% combination of fudge and pork...I regret nothing. It was the best Christmas since LazerTag. An extra ten pounds of love was gonna have to work, cause it was sticking on me like cake batter.

The morning was perfect for me. It was freezing cold, and the temps would be slowly rising, but not get up past about 55 degrees. I was delighted to see all of my friends who were either participating or hanging out during the race. It was all of the usual suspects, plus some. The half marathon was going to start thirty minutes after the full marathon, and the full was an "out and back, twice". This meant I would be able to see everyone, at least once. I knew that Brian Williams and Lisa Barker would be volunteering at different aid stations, so it was comforting to know that I was running towards familiar faces. Unfortunately, those familiar faces just tell you the same damn thing overtime you see them. It's generally the same dialogue:

Aid Station Helpers (Brian Williams/Lisa Barker/Frank Dembia/ James Holland):"Hey, how you feeling?"

Me: "I feel like sh*t. I think my feet have snapped off at the ankles and are only being held on by my shoelaces. My nipples rubbed off four miles ago, and the left side of my face is sagging. It's like a horror film/war movie out here, you gotta help me."

Aid Station Helpers: "Sure, we would love to help. We have M&M's, potatoes, PB&J, and Vaseline. You're doing great, keep up the good work, bye bye now."

I was originally running with Billy Moore, which I knew was dumb cause he is badass and can run forever, but I was enjoying the company while I had it. We reached the aid station and I stopped at the buffet line. He decided to continue on, (as if it were some kind of race or something). I made it to the quarter point, when Lisa Barker says, "where's Amanda?", and I said, "she is coming. She is back there a little bit with David." Lisa just kinda smiled and said, "yeah, cause she runs smart, and you just kinda take off all crazy." Ain't that the truth! Anyways, I knew my time with Amanda would be soon enough. I kept fair pace to about the halfway point, when I started to feel the pinch. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you want to look at it, my friends (Amanda Drogmiller,Stefanie Williams, Brian Swanson, and Mark Fortune) were there to remove any option of quitting. Mr. Swanson was kind enough to mix up my Tailwind, because my co-ordination was fading. It was re-energizing to see the gang, to put it mildly.

At the halfway point, I was able to pass Amanda in an opposite direction, and she says, "Im not gonna make the cutoff." I assured her that we were well above cutoff, and we had plenty of time. I waited a minute or so for her to catch up, and for me to catch my breath, and I would get to enjoy the next 6-7 miles with her, before she ultimately left me sucking air, and repeating the "F" word over and over, par usual. She did, however, get to see Beefcake do what Beefcake do best, and that is...bust my ass. I grabbed a root and went down hard. Fortunately, I rolled over by using a technique called the "Floor Food Turnover" or "DoubleF-T". This is a technique which is put into practice, generally during massive hangovers, when you know that you are going to do nothing but eat and sleep all day. You buy $30 worth of Taco Bell at 10am. In between naps, while facing the pillows of the couch, you gracefully fold your arm backward all the way to the floor and without looking, grab an individually wrapped taco. If you practice this move often enough, it will eventually become second nature, and you can implement it during situations just like this.  I "DoubleF-T'd" on my back, and was proud to know that I had actually fell forward. At times, during long runs, I feel like I am going so slow that I am actually going backwards. Soon after, Amanda would frolic lightly into the woods, not to be seen by me again, until the end of the race. 

"Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome"-Samuel Johnson

We had completed another trail race, and this was all well and good, but the REAL goodness was in watching a couple of friends of mine dominate what they previously believed that they couldn't. My friend Melisa Burgess is one tough chick. She has been through some stuff in her life, as all of us have, and has come out on the other side. What she has been through is not important, but the fact that she lowered her shoulders and went directly through it is where I find inspiration. Upon bettering herself Melisa also quit smoking about a year ago, and did what people do when they quit smoking; She put on a few pounds. She felt bad about herself. She had a bad self image. She was angry, lashed out at everyone, and laid on her couch and felt sorry for herself. NOPE. She got her sh*t together, reached out to others, and worked her ass off. I would watch her progress on FB and was inspired, not only by her, but the supportive comments that her friends made. As she got further and further in her goals, I sent her a text, begging for her to sign up for Herb Parson's. This was her reply:

I have never, in all my life, been called such a horrible thing.

I have never, in all my life, been called such a horrible thing.


I told her to come and see how far she could run, and just stop when she felt overly tired or hurt. She did the toughest part, and registered for the race. When Amanda and I were starting the second half of our marathon we saw Melisa coming in the opposite direction. My day was made, and at that point, I knew that I was going to finish.

Proud of my buddy, Melisa

Proud of my buddy, Melisa


A little bit behind Melisa was my new friend Debbie Lindsey. I asked Debbie when I first met her, why she decided to get her sh*t together. She told me that she had spent her life at the ballfields watching kids and grandkids be active, and now it was her turn. This woman, in her mid fifties, has jumped in with both feet! I pleaded with her to do the half marathon with us, and just see how far she could make it. She said, no way, but the people at Olive Branch CrossFit encouraged her just to sign up. Just make the move, sign up, and see what happens. Well, what happened was that Debbie showed up in her ass kicking boots, and tore up and down both directions of that trail, and conquered all doubt. It was a wonderful thing. Debbie Lindsey and Melisa Burgess, I owe you a big "thank you" for an extremely awesome day!

My girl Debbie kicking that ass. Thats what AR. women do...they kick ass.

My girl Debbie kicking that ass. Thats what AR. women do…they kick ass.


Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,

Wilson “Beefcake” Horrell