So many pictures, so little time – Hatfield McCoy Marathon Weekend, Part 1

You know when you’re a little kid and you’re going to go to Disney World and you’re SO EXCITED that you can’t sleep the night before? So then you wake up at 3:30 am and shake your parents til they wake up and then promptly pass out in the car from sheer joy and excitement because you’re going to see Mickey? That’s basically how I felt about the Hatfield-McCoy Marathon.

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No feudin’, just runnin’

I had signed up for the race back in 2010 before I ran my first marathon. I was one of those excitable new runners who thought I would run my first marathon and then just keep running them like nothing had ever happened. I was signed up for something like 5 marathons on the day I ran my first one, so clearly I had no idea what the hell I was doing. One of the races I had signed up for was Hatfield-McCoy, because I had read about it on another runner’s blog and it looked like so much fun. So imagine when my devastation when I got a stress fracture in my hip 2 weeks after running my first marathon that took 8 whole months to heal. Ergo, I did not run the Hatfield McCoy Marathon in 2010.

Team T-Rex took off from Columbia promptly at 8 am on Friday morning to make our way up to the Kentucky/West Virginia border. We had a new addition – Amanda, a friend of mine and Kristen’s from work, who would be joining Kate and I in the full marathon. I’m not sure she was entirely prepared for the wonder/devastation that is a Team T-Rex road trip.

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Amanda in front of the casino/smoking lounge inside the gas station we stopped in. Yeah. This really happened.

I was so super impressed with myself because I had done my brewery search long before the trip and discovered that the closest brewery to the race, which was in a teeny tiny town, was in Johnson City, Tennessee on our way there. No problem, since that would be about 4 hours into our trip – lunch time! When I double checked the brewery website on the drive up, though, I learned  that said brewery did not open til 3 pm, long after we passed through. So the obvious conclusion was to find a different brewery that opened earlier and adjust our lunch time accordingly. And that’s how we ended up in Asheville, North Carolina at 10:40 on Friday morning, waiting for the Asheville Brewing Company to open at 11.

We had some time to kill, so we walked around the downtown area a bit and looked at all the breweries we couldn’t go to since they weren’t open yet. We also found some very kindly old men passing out Bibles in front of a busy conference center. Except no one wanted one and everyone ignored them. I wanted the old men to be happy, so I walked right up to one and asked him for a tiny Bible of my very own. He looked shocked (what does this say about my life?) and said “Oh, I’m sorry! I should have asked!” and handed me one. I figured this might come in handy.

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I am now the proud owner of a tiny orange King James Bible. Short version.

The Asheville Brewing Company was delicious and the staff was great. Kate and Kristen got the pizza buffet, which looked AMAZEBALLS, but since I’m on a diet and Amanda is an actual healthy person, we got black bean burgers instead. And Team T-Rex washed it all down with a delicious microbrew.

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I hope this tradition never dies. But I guess I’m kind of in control of that, aren’t I?

We noticed a lot of crosses along the road since we were in God’s country, so Kristen and Kate started counting them all while I took a little nappy. When I woke up, I decided it would be a good idea to read a verse out of my tiny Bible for each cross that we saw. I mean if the old man gave me the tiny Bible, I might as well use it, right? I’m not sure anyone else really appreciated my verses, but we did learn who will NOT be inherting the kingdom of Heaven, and these include, but are not limited to: fornicators, whoremongers, idolaters, adulturers, revilers, murderers, and the like.  Looks like I’m out! We also stopped at a scenic overlook to see what God created.

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Team T-Rex lookz at mountainz.

I like to wave at people/high-five when I’m drunk, but also when I’m not drunk, so I stood on the fence and waved to the passerby.

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I also high-fived God for making such a pretty place.

One of the verses I read basically said something to the effect of “when you are weak, then you are strong.” We decided to remember that one for the race because we thought it might come in handy. A mantra, if you will.

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Peas go on road trips.

We reached our hotel in Kentucky with only some minor navigational errors. Kristen is improving dramatically in this department. We got there around 3:30 and the pasta party wasn’t til 6. We headed over around 4:30, figuring it would take half an hour to get there and then we could spend an hour at the expo and walking around the town.

Except that would imply there was an expo. Or a town. And there was neither. The expo was actually a packet pick-up, and literally you got your number and your shirt, and that was it. If you didn’t come prepared, there was literally NOTHING to buy. So we now had 57 minutes to kill. We drove over to the finish area to figure out where Kristen would park and wait for us and figured we would walk around for awhile…but Williamson, WV is only about 2 blocks long. We all wanted to buy Hatfield-McCoy souvenirs, but we couldn’t find them anywhere, so we headed over to Wal-Mart to see if maybe they had something. They didn’t. One of the employees suggested we go to “the big mall across the way” and check in the gift store there.

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I was actually doing a ballerina leap, but the photo does not accurately capture that. It does however capture the light from Heaven shining down on this shopping emporium.

The big mall across the way is in fact probably smaller than the Wal-Mart, and the characters in it are far more shifty. People could definitely tell we were not from around there. The gift store in the mall only had Hatfield-McCoy books, but no pint glasses, no t-shirts, nothing. It looked like we were going to have to give up the search, but we did enjoy our experience at the mall. Did you know there is a department store called Magic Mart? There is. It is magical, as the name implies. We were very disappointed to not be able to purchase any Hatfield-McCoy merch. It kind of surprised me since that big mini series came out last week and everyone is talking about the feud right now.

Dear Pikeville, KY, Goody, KY, South Williamson, KY, Matewan, WV, and Williamson, WV,

If you need an economic development director, I am available. I have a lot of good merch ideas that I think you would benefit from.

Cordially,

T-Rex Runner

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I mean, I think this idea speaks for itself.

We still made it to the pasta dinner about 15 minutes early and had time to meet Alexis, who we had all become friends with on Facebook. He’s a local runner who works with the race committee and has been pumping everyone up for months! We took our seats with some new Maniacs and found my friend Charli, who I met in Delaware, and her roommate Karen. When Karen came up to the table she said, “Look! It’s T-Rex Runner! Can I have your autograph?”

Apparently my desire to be famous is now a source of amusement to all my fans. I suppose that’s fair.

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Charli, Karen, Kate, Me, Kristen, and Amanda at the pre-race pasta party.

The pasta party featured a dinner show that explained the Hatfield-McCoy Feud with actors in costume.   Let me give that to you one more again. ACTORS IN COSTUME. You know what the T-Rex loves? A dinner show. You know what the T-Rex loves even more? A historical dinner show. Afterwards, we got to take pictures with Ol’ Ran’l McCoy and Devil Anse Hatfield, the patriarchs of the two clans. Or the actors that played them. Whoever.

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Devil Anse told Kristen she looked like the feudin’ type because she grabbed his gun. So many jokes, so little time.

After dinner and the show, it was time to do the door prizes. There appeared to be a huge stack of door prizes, and by this time a good number of people had left because it was nearly 8 pm. We figured we had a pretty good chance of winning door prizes.

Race director: ” Number 149?”

Silence.

Race director: “Number 80?”

Silence.

Race director: “Number 230?”

Silence.

And so this went on for quite some time, with very few people actually being there to get their prizes, but it was very exciting every time someone was. Except not that exciting for us because we weren’t winning. The prize selection was getting slim and then finally Karen’s number was called!

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Is it a wreath? Is it a hat? Did she just win the Kentucky Derby? NO ONE KNOWS.

When she went up to get her prize, the sweet old lady handing them out asked Karen what size shirt she wore. When Karen responded “small,” the woman said she didn’t want want to give her something that she couldn’t use. And then she handed her that wreath/hat/rosette. I think you can see why.

The next lucky winner was ME!! Did I shriek? Did I jump? Did I run. Yes to all of the above. I knew there was greatness awaiting me.

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“What size shirt do you wear? Small? I have the most BEAUTIFUL shirt for you!”

Yes. The sequined love shirt is my door prize. Is this not the MOST BEAUTIFUL shirt? Does it possibly get any better than this? IT DOES NOT.

Amanda and Kate also won prizes – they got sweet hats sponsored by a rubber company. The only members of Team T-Rex that did not receive door prizes were Kristen and Charli, and they were very sad.

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Winners do pageant waves.

We wrapped up the dinner by greeting the race director, David Hatfield, who as you may have guessed is indeed an actual Hatfield descendant.

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Team T-Rex with Alexis on the left and David, the race director, in the middle. I’m sure he was totally pumped to meet us.

He reads my blog and told me that sometimes my entries are too wordy.

So I guess that means I should end this one.

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