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Found My Limit On A Mountain

Sometimes I go to dinner with my badass fitness chicks to celebrate finishing another monthly fitness challenge. And always someone mentions some random run or other physical challenge we should do. And because of who I am and because I’m already feeling all badass and because Rogue is always sitting there with her piercing blue eyes, I always say yes.

So, as a result, today a bunch of us ran Rogue’s 20 mile training run for her 55k next month.

It was supposed to be my 55k, too, but adulting…

So it’s Rogue’s 55k and we coordinated this entire 20 mile training run just for her.

I mean, I didn’t coordinate. I don’t coordinate. I just follow directions. Try. I try to follow directions. Like showing up for Rogue’s 20 mile training run.

You know who didn’t show up for Rogue’s 20 mile training run this morning? Rogue. Something about sleep needs and whatever. She opted to run mountains alone. Loser.

Whatevs. Those of us who went to bed at a reasonable time started up McAfee Knob at 8am.

That was fun.

There was ice.

I was kind of whiny about that.

I mean, it made it kind of hard to climb the mountain.

But then I finally made it to the top with everyone else and spent some time enjoying the view.

If you look at the Googles, it will tell you that McAfee Knob is 3,197 feet of elevation. Or above sea level. Or whatever. It’s high. And kinda steep. And that was the easy part of the day.

I went in thinking it was going to be the hardest part.

I was wrong. I was so very wrong.

We left McAfee and headed towards Tinker Cliffs.

I was excited.

I’d never been to Tinker Cliffs before.

The Googles doesn’t offer immediate elevation information, but I can tell you, it’s high. Like, forever high. But also, like, occasionally levels out so that you think you’re almost there and you can run on it and then it just starts going up again.

And left Achilles has finally realized what the hell is happening and she’s gonna start reminding you, quite loudly, about all of the damn stairs you ran yesterday.

And it doesn’t just go up. It goes leaf-covered trail up. Leaves, knee deep-ish, covering unstable rocks and roots.

And at some point you might find yourself trying desperately to maintain your footing on the knee deep-ish leaves while climbing up a pretty steep incline when you lose your footing and end up sprawled out on all fours, butt in the air, slowly slipping backwards down the mountain. And you might be prepared to just let it all go at that point, because you might just be able to slide all the way back down to the bottom of McAfee where you can Uber back to your car over in damn Daleville.

But then the tiny Brazilian might be behind you preparing to push you up by your hind quarters and you manage to find some damn dignity and pull yourself back up and continue on up the mountain to hell.

We finally reached the top.

I might have told Tinker Cliffs to suck something.

But sure, the views.

This is where I found it, by the way. My limit. It’s right there on the way up to Tinker Cliffs.

That’s good information to have.

Ok. Halfway point, right?

Pretty much.

The dude with the freaking disarming and charming smile is going to tell you the rest of it is runable.


But it’s not. It’s not runable.

It’s rocks and boulders and more knee deep-ish leaves and the tiny Brazilian is going to ask if you want to “go ahead” and run in front of her and you might scream back in response, “No! Stop trying to make me run faster! You just ran 29 miles of mountains yesterday! ACT LIKE IT!!!”



She ran freakin Roanoke Mountain, Mill Mountain, and Peakwood yesterday. Twice. That’s, like, 5 billion feet of elevation gain.

But she’s so stinking cute and so you dig around in your pack and pull out the two year old Midnight Milky Way bar and try to force it into your mouth in its entirety, while it’s crumbling to 2 year old pieces along the trail.

And it seems to work. Because you stop fantasizing about stabbing anyone.

Although you might completely stop paying attention to white blazes, thus leading you and the tiny Brazilian off trail for a half mile or so before tiny Brazilian suggests that you turn around and get back on track.

So you throw down some 2 year old gummies. And those seem to reactivate the brain activity and calm the beast.

For a little while.

Until you get to Hay Rock and dude with the freaking disarming and charming smile is going to tell you that it’s only 5 miles of runable downhill to the parking lot. Where my car was. My car. That would take me to the food.

And water. Because this beautiful view is the exact point that my water ran out.

They all whined about the strong possibilities of running out of water before we even started.

I didn’t believe them.

I was wrong. So very wrong.

And then the others, including dude with the freaking disarming and charming smile, took off, leaving the tiny Brazilian to deal with all of my whining and complaining about what a damn liar dude with the freaking disarming and charming smile is.

She joined in on my complaining. I felt a little redeemed. She doesn’t complain. Much.

I felt even more redeemed when she helped me accost the poor college girls that were smart enough to hike in from the Daleville side for a pleasant hike to the rock, to ask how far we were from civilization. They must have heard the desperation in my voice and seen the hunger in my eyes, because one poor girl offered me the only food she had. A blow pop. While the other two desperately threw out restaurant suggestions.

I was on the verge of dehydration. And starvation. And I had to poop. Which is a very odd feeling. To feel completely devoid of food while also experiencing the very real sensation of trying to keep the waste of what little food you had consumed inside.

The very real food fantasies running through my head, were the only things that kept my legs moving.

And then, out of the woods, like a knight, a vision, a hero in trail shoes, came Endong. Carrying water and thin mints.

It was the most glorious site I’ve ever seen.

And so, powered by hydration and chocolate and food fantasies, I managed to run out as directed. By Endong. Who, while telling you how fucking awesome you are for making that run, will insist that you run it out. Because you’re not a damn pansy.

Except I kinda might be…

Sooooo yeah.

21.25 miles. 4,364 feet of elevation gain. SEVEN hours.

I feel…accomplished. Badass. Happy to be back on my couch. But also back in the running game. Kind of.

And also like when Rogue finally decides she’s actually going to run that route, she’s going to do it by her damn self. Because I can only imagine how much worse it would have been if she’d been there with me.

And maybe like I should choose my friends better.

I mean, one of us put in way more mud work here…

Except that it was awesome.

And these people are awesome.

Even dude with the freaking disarming and charming smile who, listening to the tiny Brazilian and I call him a damn liar, says in his freaking disarming and charming voice, ” I’m sorry. English isn’t my first language.” And then he smiles.


Anyway, if y’all need me, I’ll be complaining about Rogue and all of the scrapes and bruises from this run and seeing if I can’t make left Achilles stop threatening me.


Just reading and writing and running and looking for my happy place.


  1. martywinn says:

    Sounds like fun. Must be nice to be off your 5 mile/week limit. It’s Hay Rock, not Hanging Rock, right?

    1. Huh. Odd that I would’ve gotten the name wrong given how much it put me through. I’m pretty sure I called it Hanging Rock all day knowing it was wrong, too.
      But yes. It is Hay Rock. And yes, super nice to be rid of limits. Even if they should probably still be in place.

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