Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Bethel Hill Moonlight Boogie. Well, half-Boogie, but solo.

I have talked about the Boogie before, and how important it is to me not to bollox it up. I have bolloxed it up before, and I don’t want to bollox it up again.

This is another one about how execution can make or break (bollox) the boogie. The stories about the heat, the hills, the pigeon sized deer fly, the snakes, drunk rednecks are all well documented, and the race waiver is still one of the best out there.

This year I was adding a a new dimension to my race. I was going to run it solo.

I was horrified to learn that I would be traveling for work on Boogie day! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! At May Madness, though, I talked to Doug “The Boogieman”, and asked him about the possibility of starting the race early. A week early. I also asked, if I could downgrade from the Full-Boogie (50 miles) to the Baby-Boogie (26.2). Doug very kindly agreed, and said he would recognize my finish and  record my finish time with an asterisk for the early start.

Of course I wasn’t going to be totally alone. Lady Sarah the UltraPup (who recovered within a day of Chatooga) was going to pace me again.

My plan was to start exactly 6pm, a week early. When I left Sanford the weather was true Boogie weather. The thermometer in my car read 92oF, and it was nice and humid. However, the temperature plummeted in the 75 minute drive to Bethel Hill Church, to a mere 84oF. WTF? This is very-unBoogie like. Oh well, cooler weather wouldn’t be a bad thing. On the way to the start, I hid a cooler at the Dog Pen which would serve as my mini aid station. My truck would be the “main aid station” at the start of each loop.

The course is basically a lollipop. A 6 mile loop, then a 4 mile out and back (down Bethel Hill then another 1/2 mile to a turn around and back). So, the marathon, is two full laps, plus the 6 mile loop. For the 0.2 , at the start you run a very short 0.1 mile out and a 0.1 mile back.

At 6pm on the nose, I started my 0.1 out, and just as I was wrapping up the 0.1 mile back, a car pulled into the church parking lot. It was Merrie, Doug’s wife who was going to keep me company for the first 6 miles! Wonderful, then I would only have 20 miles on my own. I have seen Merrie at the occasional race, but had never met her before. Somewhere between 1.5 miles and 2 miles, Doug also joined us. And he would stick with me for a full loop. The pace was as easy as the conversation. As promised, Merrie went home after 6 miles. Doug stuck with me down the out and back and back to his car. So basically I had company for the first 12 miles or so. That really helped. When we got back to his car, Doug very kindly offered me a beer. We chatted for a few minutes while enjoying the beverage, then I carried on the run.

This was right around dusk. It didn’t take long for the loneliness to kick in – about as quick as the darkness engulfed Lady Sarah and I. I made sure we were both lit up like Christmas trees, I had flashing red lights on my back, a head light, and Sarah had her flashing red and reflective collar on.

This was also when the head games started. Seriously – everything seriously screwed with my head! Every crack in the pavement became a rattle snake or a copperhead. Every noise in the woods was a pole cat, even the lightning bugs when they first fired up became the flashlights of stalkers in the woods, (later on though – the lightshow they gave me was incredibly impressive), and every pair of headlamps became a drunk redneck ready to throw beer cans and run us off the road.

Of course none of that was the case. Every car gave us a wide berth, the noises in the woods were probably rabbits (coulda been pole cats though, who knows?), and the cracks in the pavement, were just cracks in the pavement.

The mind games and the loneliness really just made me want to get it done, it was actually pretty scary despite the fact that there really was nothing to be scared about. I picked the pace up quite a bit once I was on my own (or maybe it was the beer), and even more so for the last 6 miles.

Sarah of course was simply awesome as always, and had a perfect rhythm going, and was probably the only thing that kept me from completely going nuts. I know that if there really was a polecat stalking us, she would of course alert me. I think. Probably. Hopefully, anyway.

So with nobody at the finish, I just stopped my watch, and wandered over to the truck, sat down, had a beer and celebrated my 4th Boogie (and 3rd finish).

Thank you Doug for letting me take part in one of my absolute favorite races, even though work got in the way

Boogie done. Not Bolloxed.


  1. oh wow. that's so cool. things like this make me love the running community.

  2. Ahh . . you've now broken the "Bolloxed Boogie Blues"! Next year we'll simply Boogie through . . .