I woke up on Saturday, April 30th at 5 A.M. I was planning on driving out to Frederick, MD to pick up my marathon packet for Sunday morning's run. Then i'd spend a leisurely day out at my parent's house enjoying some good food with my mom and dad. Stepping out of the garage in good old Dover, i noticed it was still raining, in fact quite hard. And had been all night. This means up in White Clay State Park (north Delaware) they had some mud. And Slugs like mudd. The more the better. Then my mind flashed back to the phone call with Peanut saying, "Hitman, you need to come do this thing. I don't care if you're registered for Sunday too. Hell, do both of them." But that's Peanut talking. And he is a True Slug. One of the Oldest of the OLD. And he reminded me of it. He was at my FIRST marathon....Over 14 years ago...and reminded me that as I lay on the floor of the Va. Beach Convention Center in March of 1991 AFTER my 1st marathon, I moaned i'd never do this again. But the Running Bug bit both of us. Even he has gone on to finish a 100. Maybe someday he'll send us a story about it.
So, i was off. Instead of due West, i headed north to Newark to commune with the Trail Dawgs. As i drove and pulled into the first toll booth on Rt 1, the attendant was asleep. I AM NOT JOKING. Out cold as a light. I thought she may be dead; so I poked her with a walking stick I always carry in the van. Quickly she recovered as I passed her my dollar out the window. Naturally, I thought this to be a great omen. It was my duty to wake her. The rain continued. Not a light drizzle, rather a serious, turn the wipers on high and hang on downpour. I could just imagine the trail becoming slicker and slimier. I decided to put in Jimmy Buffet and crank it up.
I knew the way to the park (directly through U. of DE), because i was here last year. In '04 on this course i set my marathon Anti-PR with a stunning 6:49. Could this year be better? I grabbed an awesome spot, so i could register without getting too wet :) The registration table volunteers for this event must be the best volunteers for any run anywhere. Nice old ladies and gentlemen. Polite, kind, and no doubt, wondering what the heck we were doing out running in this weather. The Peanut showed up, and like the rest of us was getting soaked. It seemed water was everywhere; and the runners were getting into it. We are, after all, just big kids when it comes to mudd. Everyone knows that. We took off our hats and enjoyed the National Anthem, and a warning about the course. Pay attention to the markings, which were incidentally PINK, my favorite color after BLACK. And we were OFF.
Peanut of course was Gone. As old as he is, he still moves well. Me, i knew the course and enjoyed the view from the back. My goal today was the Crazy Horse Award (LAST PLACE). I talked to some 50-staters enjoying the Glow of the recent Runner's World profile, and trying to knock off FLAT Delaware. Coming here was a Big Mistake. Not only did the Trail Dawgs find some hills, but they put about a million cubic feet of mudd on top of them. I was cruisin' and finally settled in with the Mudstomper. Not to be confused with the Mudmeister. The Mudstomper is from NY, and is a certified UR with the BUS group. Today was his lucky day. He would become a Slug. The Trail Dawg's will take some heat for the run today. The Chickenshit 5K/10K/Half folks will complain the markings were poor to non-existent. Well, it's true they were. But that's what made it so fun. This is an Awesome Event. Absolutely Positively, Category 10; Slugworthy. We need a team here next year.
The Mudstomper and Me slurped through rivers, over squishy ledges, and through the beautiful meadows filled with hostas. With the steady rain the day was a perfect one. Perfect for blending with nature and returning to what we all hope to be. That is, happy. And we were. I was thankful to be out there and be part of this beautiful day. Another day that God made for us to enjoy. The time in the mudd was just an added benefit. Slowly we moved, the half in 3:45, yes Slugs i said it; 3:45. I was on Anti-PR Record Pace. The day could have turned out perfectly but unfortunately somehow we got a couple of folks behind us. I really don't know how. We ran extra sections multiple times, were completely lost for an hour and still managed to finish ahead of a couple of folks. Every trail we were on we passed runners going both directions. I may have had better times on a run somewhere, but i can't remember when. So i couldn't pick up the Crazy Horse Award. Oh well. There's always next year.
We rumbled in at about 7:25. Yes Slugs 7:25. But to tell you the truth i think i could easy add an hour onto it. I saw one other trail that i'm not sure where it goes. Come join me next year; and we'll do it. At 3 P.M I drove to Frederick MD, to pick up my race packet, and in 12 hours i'd be starting my second marathon this weekend. Slugs, Life is Good.