The Massacre Marathon is one of a few races that I look forward to each year. The race is a 16-lap marathon around a local park where the first lap is 2.2 miles and each of the following laps are 1.6 miles. While it’s open to solo runners, the majority of participants put together two, four, or eight person teams. To keep order, organizers have a couple rules. Four person teams must alternate laps. All other team combinations can run whatever lap configurations they choose provided each person on a team runs at least one lap. Got it? Good.
I’m not a Krispy Kreme guy. I grew up outside of Chicago where the town literally ran on Dunkin and the four food groups were glazed, creme filled, cruller, and munchkins. Those were the days. Unfortunately, by the time I made my way to NC, got married, and had a kid, Dunkin’ took the fun out of getting donuts, which left me with Krispy Kreme.
A few months ago, while my wife slept in, I took my 4-year-old son to a local Krispy Kreme. We walked in and he made a B-line to the glass providing a panoramic view of an assembly line of glazed delectables. His mouth gaped as the donuts were dunked in oil, flipped, and run through “Sugar Falls” for a good glazing. From that point forward he’s been Krispy Kreme all the way.
Let me break for a second, flash forward a few weeks, and then I’ll jump back to more donut stories in another flash forward-back scenario.
John, Lakeside’s race director, and I went out for a run with a friend of his. We started at Bryan Soccer Complex, made our way 4 miles down the trail to Yanceyville Road, and then onto Blue Heron Trail. Just as we entered the woods John hit a stump in the middle of the trail and fell to the ground pretty hard. I laughed, he didn’t, and the three of us continued on. On the way back, John hit the same stump, I laughed again, he didn’t again, and the three of us made the 4 mile return trip to the car.
This year marked my fifth year running the Reindeer Romp 5K in Jamestown, NC. What makes this race particularly enjoyable is not the course or the post-race bananas. No, this race is my favorite because I get to run it dressed up in some ridiculous holiday-themed costume.
I’ve run as a Christmas present, the Grinch and his sleigh, a Christmas tree, and as a conductor pushing the Polar Express. Each year it has become increasingly more difficult to top the previous, which is further complicated by the increasing number of costumed runners who are vying for the top prize. If I was going to compete I was going to have to dig a little deeper this year.
To aid in the creative process, I called up my 100 song Christmas playlist and broke out my sketch book. After almost an hour and a half of scribbling to the tune of Christmas classics, Nat King Cole came on. At that point I knew exactly what I was going to create.
Back in the fall my buddy, John, asked me if I was running Pilot Mountain Payback again. I told him that I would run it provided I was able to train for it. If I learned anything from last year’s adventure it’s that the marathon isn’t really a marathon. It’s a come-to-Jesus journey in which you run up and down a mountain with the hopes that you don’t come to Jesus before you cross the finish line.
Flash forward to the first week of January when I found out I had a kidney stone. Pretty awesome, right? Well, a week later I ran a 15-mile trail race. Pretty smart, right? Over the ensuing few weeks I ran a grand total of 40 miles which averaged out to about “not enough to run a trail marathon” miles per week. That’s when I told John that I wouldn’t be participating.
Then Mother Nature intervened…