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Holiday Lake 50k Virtual

It has been almost a year since I ran my last ultra.

I have not been maintaining my fitness since then.

My body is very clear on this point.

But GJB and I want our Holiday Lake hats. So we needed to get our virtual run in.

And we could’ve done the actual course. With, like, 2,500 feet of elevation gain.

And my body maybe would’ve been happy about that.

But Beautiful Beastie said Day Creek. And I’m compliant. So that’s where we went.

Got to the parking lot and BB immediately turned into frat party Key Master. And took our keys from us. And locked them in her car.


No, that’s fair.

I have a history.

Of saying, “this no longer brings me joy.” And peacing the fuck out. At the first opportunity.

And Day Creek offers several of those opportunities.

And it started off fine.

As we were heading out. GJ may have asked something about our route. And where we’d come out.

And BB said something. That wasn’t Doty Ridge.

And I was immediately confused.

And spent the next 18 miles trying to math. And map. In my head. To figure out our route.

And every time I’d ask. She’d just giggle.

Well…that’s not really an answer…

We started out on the Mountain Junkies Forever 10 Miler route. Which I ran virtually. Over at backwards McAfee. A few weeks ago. Which was awful. And awesome.

This part of the run is pretty.

And runnable.

Then out to the fire road for the climb up to Bobblett’s Gap.

And it wasn’t awful.

Because we were taking our time.

And fueling.

And we got to the tunnel.

And I was still feeling good.

Turned onto the AT. And headed over to Hammond Hollow.

Which is my favorite part.

Because it’s a beautiful, fast descent down to the fire road.

And I don’t love the fire road.

But I was still feeling good.

And fueling.

Then made the climb back up Spec Mines.

And it’s not my favorite part. But I was still feeling ok.

But then we get to the top.

And here’s the part. Where my body always starts to break down.

15 miles in.

Almost halfway through.

And I was ok.

But the moment we turned onto the AT.

This is where my body just starts spinning wildly out of control.

I don’t know what it is about this section of the AT. But it always. Always. Wears my ass down.

So by the time we got over to the crossing at Blackhorse Gap.

I was struggling.

And we were 18 miles in.

And my brain math map attempts were becoming more frantic.

As we crossed over Blackhorse Gap.

And headed down the other side.

And my back and hamstrings were slowly tightening. More and more.

And it didn’t matter how many Kind bars or Skratch gummies I shoved into my mouth. My energy was draining.

And around mile 19. BB shoved some Aleve at me.

And it was covered in a white powdery substance.

Which she assured me was her electrolyte powder. And not cocaine.

And I was certain I didn’t care at that point.

Because I’ve never done cocaine. But I was pretty sure it would’ve been a better fuel source than anything I was carrying in my pack.

Then we stopped at a creek crossing to refill our packs.

And I pulled out my water filter.

And then repacked it.

Along with the jacket I was wearing at the start of the run.

And I thought I’d cinched it in pretty good there.

But apparently I didn’t.

Because about a half mile later. I realized it was gone.

And it was a nice jacket. With my school logo. And my name on it.

And I wasn’t even tempted. Nope. I can’t even care about it.

So I definitely didn’t mention it to BB and GJB.

Because I was afraid they’d make me go back for it.

So I waited until we were at the bottom of the mountain. Several miles out.

And BB says, “make sure you cinch all your stuff down good, because this is where it gets rough.”

And first of all. This is where it gets rough? Because I don’t know about y’all. But this shit has been rough for the last 20 miles.

But also. Yeah, I already lost the only thing I was carrying back there. So…

“Oh no! Should we go back for it?”

Dear god, no. Absolutely not. It if was meant to be, it will find its way back to me.

And so we went on our way.

Along some bullshit that is not a trail.

And flirted with frostbite through five or six or twenty creek crossings.

And this is where BB started pointing out that Nor’Lord created this route.

Well, of course he did.

But we made our way over to the fire road. A fire road. No idea which fire road.

Because my brain was definitely not processing where in the fuck I was.

But I was starting to think that she was gonna make me climb up Blackhorse Gap.

Which is about 2 1/2 miles of awful.

But then she suddenly stops.

And I kinda look around. For a trail.

I’m not sure why we’re stopping here…

And she says something like, “I’m sorry” or “blame Nor’Lord”

I’m not entirely sure.

Because my brain was busy trying to process what in fuck she was doing.

Because she just starts climbing up the side of the mountain.

And GJB just follows her.


Well, this can’t be right…

But because I’m compliant. And was desperate to end this. And I had no idea where in fuck I was.

I followed them.

And I don’t know how long this climb is.

BB called it a little baby Christmas Mountain meets 24th Street climb.

But that doesn’t sound accurate.

Because it felt like it went on for days.

And I was trying to work my way around the bushes. Without killing them.

Which really was just making it twice as hard.

And then suddenly the mountain started spinning.

And I had to grab onto a tree to keep from falling off.

And I assumed it was my blood sugar dropping. So I dug through my pack frantically looking for a Kit Kat.

And that helped. A little.

And as I drug my angry body up the side of that mountain. All I could hear was BB at the top. Just giggling.

And when I finally made it. I demanded cookies. And dark chocolate. From each of them. Because holy hell, y’all.

And I definitely demanded to speak to Nor’Lord. You get his ass on the phone right now. He and I are gonna have some words.

And fine. That…I refuse to call it a route. It’s not. It’s not a route.

But that shortcut admittedly cut out a mile or so of the Blackhorse Gap climb.

But there was still about another mile to go. Before we made it back to the parkway. And on down the other side. To my beer. And chips.

And while my Strava was putting me right at 31 miles by the parking lot. GJ’s dumbass fully accurate watch had him a mile less.

So he took off. So he could get his extra mile in by the time I finished.

Because I damn sure wasn’t gonna follow his Strava.

But then the cookies. And chocolate. Kicked in.

And my beer and chips fantasies were growing stronger.

So I managed to catch them at the top of the descent.

And jogged my happy ass the last 2 1/2 miles back down to my car.

And when we hit the second gate. At the parking lot. Strava said 31.14 miles.

And it was beautiful.

And while GJB went off down the road for the rest of his bullshit mileage. BB pulled out the finishers awards she’d brought for us.


Finishers awards should always be food.

And AD and Chaos Legend showed up. With beer. And puppy cuddles.

And we toasted our badassery.

Because 7,000 feet of climbing.

This is exactly what Saturdays are for.

And we’ll do it again. In two weeks. At Terrapin.

And my body might be almost recovered by then.

And I’m gonna assume Nor’Lord has played no part in the creation of that course. So it probably at least can’t be worse. Right?

It can’t.


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

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