Split Custody and Runageddon

In Season 9 of The Office, Oscar explains the staff’s response to Stairmageddon.

So when something as routine as elevator maintenance happens, and people are forced to expend cardiovascular effort, we have to compare it to the end of time.

I’m gonna go ahead and claim this description for what happened at 3am this morning. Let’s go ahead and call it Runageddon.

I was assigned by my tiny double marathon training partner to get in 30 miles today. On the mountains. Starting at night. When I should be sleeping.

And apparently I was the only one assigned 30 miles today, so no one was volunteering to run those miles with me. They were down for some of the miles, but not all. And there was some question over who, if anyone, was willing to run at 3am. So, like any child from a broken home, they finally agreed to split custody of me and share the responsibility of supervising my run. It would be broken up into two loops of Roanoke and Mill Mountains.

The two responsible for signing me up to run the Blue Ridge Double Marathon were assigned the 3am shift. It seems like punishment. I think it probably is.

So, 3am on Roanoke Mountain looks like this.


Yeah. Can’t see much there, can ya?

While running with friends when Roanoke Mountain looks like this, things happen. Maybe you lose one of your running partners and you have to call out to them to see if they’ve been kidnapped. Or maybe they’re pooping? Dude! Are you pooping?!? (Sorry, Roanoke. Yes, that was me yelling about poop at 4am.) When there’s no response, maybe you start seeing speed limit poles following you. Or possibly they were dancing. In our defense, speed limit poles often utilize the same reflective design as the clothing worn by your running partner. And, you know, oxygen.

I swear we stood there for ten minutes trying to determine whether or not a street sign was moving toward us or possibly doing the Cha Cha Slide. Until, finally, the street sign was within several yards of us and we could see that it had two legs and we could hear the music coming from its earbuds. I’m not crazy.

The sounds, though. In pre-dawn darkness, the sounds filtering through the mountain trees are monstrous. And it’s possible you begin to credit every single sound to an approaching chupacabra. Shrieking. Hooting. Rustling. Breathing (including your own) can all be attributed to a chupacabra. And we most definitely have these creatures in the area. Do you realize the crazy that exists in the Appalachian Mountains?

Then you make it to the top of Mill Mountain and you see this view.


Good. Sun coming up keeps us safe from the chupacabras. Bigfoots. Zombies. And maybe the sun will burn off the arctic tundra winds that have frozen my extremities.

So, we make it back to our cars with 17.7 miles in. Well, two of us make it back. I suspect the third may have actually been taken by a chupacabra. Don’t worry, though. I hear they prefer goat blood and this running partner is most certainly not the GOAT. (See what I did there?)

At any rate, my 3am shift handed off to my 7am custodians and we headed back out towards the mountains. Imagine my excitement when they suggested we skip Roanoke Mountain and instead just do Mill Mountain and Peakwood. I’m pretty sure my legs did a little cheer. They’re stupid. They weren’t really thinking it through. They learned, though. Oh, they learned.

We make it back up to that stupid Star at the top of that stupid Mill Mountain and see this stupid view again, except in the daylight.


But if you think that daylight will alleviate the hallucinations, allow me to share more.

Everything really seemed to be ok until we started up Peakwood. Peakwood. Freaking Peakwood. Dumbass Peakwood.

So, there are two points on dumbass Peakwood where a secondary road splits off to the left and you have to keep right and continue up the relentless climb that is dumbass Peakwood. But when you’ve already run an entire marathon and you’re not really getting the oxygen and your legs are quickly shutting down and you have been up since 1am and all you really want is a hot shower, hot coffee, and hot food, your brain doesn’t really process information accurately. Do you know how soul crushing it is to think you’ve already passed the second road split and that you’re almost at the top and then see the actual second road split 20 yards ahead of you? It’s devastating. It’s like someone has reached down into your soul and dug around for every single essence of hope it can find and is slowly, painfully tearing it out of you.

I almost sat down. Kim almost let me. But I’m not entirely confident about my chupacabras only hunting at night theory, so I decided to keep moving.

So, there was that.

And there were other things like glass walls that didn’t actually exist, but I swear on all that is good that they were there moments before. I’m going with alter-universe. I mean, there’s some shit out there that our brains haven’t really gotten to the bottom of yet. You don’t know. And if there is gonna be some alter-universe space portal anywhere, it’s gonna be on dumbass Peakwood when you’ve already put in more miles than your legs were really willing to do in the first place.

Or maybe your friend starts insisting that the rich Peakwood folks have mannequins in their backyards. I mean, these are not backwoods redneck types that just collect things in their yards. These are the high class folks that keep their lawns mowed and actually pick their dog’s poop up out of the yard every time he goes. They’re not going to keep random tacky items like mannequins as lawn ornaments. That’s not how they roll. (But seriously, how cool would that be?) So, obviously we’re talking some sort of zombie or alien being that only animates at night, when you’re most vulnerable to attack. Or, like, some I Am Legend mess. Thank goodness we waited until sunup to hit dumbass Peakwood. Zombies can’t handle sunlight.

I’m not entirely sure how I made it back to my car at that point. The only feeling I had in my entire body at that point was the sharp, relentless pain in my feet from shoes that have long needed replacing.

But it’s over now. And I’d like to point out that I ended up with 30.7 miles today. I only needed 30. That .7 was unreasonable.

So, what I’m saying is that I both hate and appreciate my running partners for not only making me put in the miles today, but for also listening to me whine and cuss and possibly even get a little mean. (I know. It doesn’t sound like me to me, either.)

And we’re running dumbass Peakwood again on Thursday … after dark … if anyone wants to join us.


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