The Stanky Creek 25/50k was a grueling event at 5:45am, even though the race didn’t start until 7am. When you have friends like mine (Von Ralls, Brian Swanson, Greg Perry, Chris Perry , Brad Montgomery, and Mark Fortune…let me know if I forgot any of you as*holes), there is no “safe” place. Poor little ole me was being tormented, and bullied before the sun come up along the Bartlett horizon. It turns out that hard-boiled eggs from the local truck stop are not the choice breakfast of long distance runners. It took me a while to convince these novices of my expertise, but I had them begging to sign up for my nutrition plan before it was all over, and our new rally cry was born….EGGS AND HONOR! A cry which will forever echo in the wooded canopy of Stanky Creek, along with about 4hours worth of gas expulsion from yours truly. There also seems to be a social stigma associated with the swapping of “Body Glide”, so while Von was happy to allow me to use his, he made it abundantly clear that he wanted me to keep what remained in the cartridge for myself, that he would not be using it anymore. My “friends” were quick to point out the lack of hygiene associated with my actions, I pointed out that I am the pitcher of fungi and disease, not the catcher. I am like the human version of the Komodo dragon, native to the greater Memphis area. I believe that refrigerators are over rated, and that expiration dates are meant to be used as ball park estimates. Anyways, all things considered, I could not have asked for anything more. The weather was great, the people were great, the event was great, and the hanging out after was great. The race itself…
…it was ROUGH on big boy. I have NEVER done anything so difficult in my life (I seem to be saying this a lot lately). The respect that I have for the people in this community has gone even higher than I thought possible. I never dreamed I would have so many mental and physical peaks and valleys during such a small amount of time, but it was well worth it. My mind was going crazy, but I tried to remain positive for as long as I could. I know how much my attitude can affect every aspect of my life, so I have to be real careful about where I allow my thoughts to go. I am very interested in spirituality and I like to find God working in as many areas of my life as possible. When I first became interested in the spiritual realm, I had a friend suggest this:
“Remain irrationally OPTIMISTIC and in an unrealistic state of GRATTITUDE”
If I have learned anything over the last few years, and in my fitness journey, it has been this, “I just don’t know”. I don’t know what kind of day I am going to have. I don’t know how I am gonna feel during a particular exercise. I don’t know when I am gonna PR different lifts, or different races. I don’t know how I am gonna feel during or after any given competition, race, or event. I have also learned, that this is the beauty of it. The fact that I feel sh*tty and tired, is NOT an indication that I am going to have a bad workout. The fact that my legs feel sluggish in the vehicle or at my desk, is not an indication that I will feel bad at the gym. The fact that I embarrassed myself at work, and I feel depressed, is not an indication that the afternoon run is going to go poorly. The only thing that God requests from me is to suit up and show up, and his job is to make sh*t happen. There is ALWAYS something unexpected placed in front of me, usually when when I least expect it, to make me push a little harder, want to be a little better, and enjoy the fruits of my labor. It might be the paraplegic who is busting his ass at the track, or a new person at the gym, a beautiful sunset during a run, a cool breeze on a hot day, a deer on a trail, or in this case, it was a girl named Shelly who was passing me on the trail. You see, I had mentioned that I have the utmost respect for my colleagues at these races and events. The main reason for this is because the respect that I am given. No one made fun of me, or treated me like I am a 250lb obstacle that is blocking their trail, or that I did not belong. EVERY SINGLE PERSON who passed me had words of sincere encouragement. A couple of muther fu*kers had kind things to say BOTH times that they passed me (when you are capable of passing someone twice on 7 mile loop, you can handle being called a muther fu*ker)! I felt like I was receiving MORE respect by being passed ,than I would have been getting while passing. It was a remarkable feeling. Having started off the race with fresh legs, I felt great. Mark Fortune and Chris Perry were kind enough to allow me to keep the lead during the first lap as sort of a mine sweeper, and bridge assessor. They knew if the trail held up, under my load, then they were good to go. They used me up, and then left me sucking wind in their dust. I kept good pace for about 7 miles before an overwhelming feeling of fatigue came over me. My world turned black and negative. I had joined the dark side, and was being filled with stinkin thinkin. I was the fat kid, who did not belong out here with these athletes. It was a bad idea from the start, and I just wasn’t cut out for these type races. My dream of doing a 50miler was just another bullsh*t fantasy, that was never going to happen. I was a bad father and business man who is going to die alone and penniless under a bridge with kids who don’t love him. I was alone and empty. There seemed to be no one within 5 miles in either direction. My fellow drama queens and alcoholics will understand this type of thinking, all too well. This is when God showed up. Only his name was Shelly and he was traveling with a friend. As I was barely able to get one foot in front of the other, two young ladies came behind me and told me I was doing great, and by great, I think they meant great at looking like an actor from a “Swamp Thing” horror film. I was groaning, panting, and cussing like a sailor. I had never seen either of these two ladies when one of them said, “keep it up, because you have to blog about it….I love reading your blog”. It took me a few minutes to get my head around it, but then I realized, as plain as the nose on my face, that God was watching out for his Beefcake. I was BACK. I felt like a million bucks. I was able to comfortably “fit” with my environment. I was able to clearly see that I too have a place and a part in what I am doing. There are many things that I am unable to do as well as others, but there are other places in which I can contribute, and this made me feel good. Isn’t this what our existence is supposed to be about, using our excess to balance someones deficits, and vice versa? Thanks for the motivation Shelly, I needed that!
I rounded the first loop, bloody nipples and all. I changed my shirt and was back at it, and suddenly I crashed again. There would be no recouping from this one. I was DONE, but I would finish, undoubtedly. I made it to an Aid station where all the king’s horses and all the king’s men tried to put Beefcake back together again, but their efforts were futile. I had one lady stripping my compression sock off my foot, because the circulation was being cut off from my ankle, and trying to get my shoe on, because I was cramping to bad to get it on myself, while another gentlemen gave out paper towels and bandaids for my nipples. Another gentlemen decided that the big guns were necessary and broke out the duct tape, and we pastied these bitches up. I got back on the trail and grunted my way to the finish. I was tired, my attitude was sh*tty, and I was in pain….but true to form, my company was SPOT ON. 4hours and 10minutes later my Olive Branch CrossFit family was there, with all their loudness and Mississippi-ness, that I love so much, and always willing to tolerate my pouting, moaning, and groaning. They were full of high fives and compliments, that made me feel like I had just broke an Olympic record, all the while giving me just enough space and support to let me decompress, knowing that with a little sleep and a lot of food, I will be back in the gym hollerin and breaking sh*t in no time. After expressing my bad attitude to my girl Amanda Kimsey, who is the trifecta of smart, strong, and hot, she was quick to share with me a bit of perspective, which read:
I love where I am, what I do, and what all you people allow me to be today. Its not always pretty, but its always me, and y’all seem to be ok with that.
Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,