Honey Badgers and Hillbillies – Hatfield McCoy Marathon 2013, Part 1

As proof that I am a real person without an endless source of income, my marathon plans for June changed a few months ago when I decided I would like to be able to afford groceries. Amanda and I had originally intended to go to Iowa to run a marathon the second weekend in June, but ultimately decided against it after seeing how much flights to Des Moines were going to cost. It wouldn’t have such a big deal were it not for the fact that we’re going to ALASKA (everybody shriek with excitement!!) this month, which is basically going to bankrupt us. It was then that I realized that staying closer to home would mean that we could go back to the greatest race in the world, the Hatfield-McCoy Marathon! Amanda still needed to run a marathon in Kentucky, and even though I already had run in both Kentucky and West Virginia, I would gladly return to my most favorite marathon without complaint! It’s driving distance and very budget friendly, so I couldn’t turn it down. Remember how much fun I had last year?

Amanda and I headed up on Friday morning and made our traditional stop in Asheville for lunch and craft beer. Although you can get into the WV/KY area late, you don’t want to, because you’ll miss one of the best parts of the entire weekend experience! Included with your race entry fee is a free pasta dinner and most importantly, a skit performed by real descendents of the Hatfields and McCoys that tells you a brief history of the feud. The race starts in Kentucky (on the McCoy side) and ends in West Virginia (on the Hatfield side) and runs past many sites that are historically significant to the feud along the way. Can you tell I just absolutely eat this stuff up? Even though I did it last year, I was in heaven. Ugh, I love this race. If you’re going to get sick of me talking about how much I love it, it’s probably best to stop reading now.

5550_401039600011836_1403633841_n Best course map ever? Definitely.

When we went to pick up our packets, we were surprised by how much bigger everything was this year. It is obvious the race is growing, and I give my blog 100% credit for that since my epic race report from last year has been read quite a lot. Yes, I’m sure it’s that, not the tireless work by the race committee or the fact that it’s the best race ever. This year, our bibs had printed graphics on them, and they were awesome! We got tech shirts and a race bag that had all sorts of very useful items, including, but not limited to, a cup from the local payday lender, a grocery list notepad from the local grocery store, and a one of those pill organizer things that old people have. It’s easily the most useful race bag I’ve ever received. While picking up my stuff, one of the volunteers looked at me and said “Oh! Oh! I know you! I know who you are! You’re T-Rex Runner! I read your blog!” And it was really adorable. Her name was Kat, and she was doing the half marathon the next day. I love it! I also had the opportunity to finally meet more of the great Ladies of the  Honey Badger Elite Running Squad of Oregon, or HBs for short. It’s about time!

We were also entertained by a very informative and amusing talk by the race director, David Hatfield, who is totally adorable helpful and everything a race director should be. And he makes fun of himself for being a hillbilly, and I like people who can make fun of themselves. I like people who are descended from infamous historical figures even more, so he wins on both accounts. Another great thing about the pre-race spectacle is the opportunity to win the greatest door prizes you will ever see. If you read my entry about last year, you’d know that I was the lucky recipient of a glorious t-shirt with a giant sequined heart on it that said “love.” Could my luck hold out for this year too?

20130607_202113 Even better than last year!

As the photo above would indicate, our luck not only held out, we totally cleaned up. I won a ceramic angel that sits on a ceramic bench (separate pieces, mind you – a gift for the home), Katherine won this year’s wreath/hat conundrum (it’s technically a wreath, but I think the options are bountiful) and Amanda won a camo hat. Sadly for Katherine, she had to fly back to Oregon and would not be able to take the wreath-hat home, so guess who ended up being the lucky recipient? That’s right. And if you think it’s not hanging on my front door right now, you are horribly mistaken.

After the glorious pre-race activities, Amanda and I headed over to the Belfry Fire Department to turn in for the night. Why, you ask? Because that’s where we were staying. See, the greater South Williamson/Williamson area doesn’t have a whole lot of hotels, so accommodations are hard to come by and often far away. After staying about 30 miles away last year, Amanda and I decided to stay close. The fire department was only 2 miles from the start and finish areas, and they provided air mattresses, towels, and pillows for $25. Many of my friends were staying in churches, fire departments, and other random accommodations, so I liked the idea that we were getting the full experience. I also found out that one of my personal blogging heroes was staying at the fire department and I got super nervous about meeting her. So, T-Rex fans, take note – it’s not weird if you see me somewhere and you say hi, even if you feel awkward. I was totally awkward when I accosted Stephanie and was like “Um you’re the reason I run marathons because your blog is so awesome and I think we should be best friends and oh are you going to Colorado next month ok byeeee!” So yeah. Can’t really be more awkward than that. She’s totally nice and cool, by the way. As if there was ever any doubt.

921134_10200434969570168_1525746699_o Proof that I’m not always high maintenance

I don’t know what my problem was, but when the lights went out, I was not ready to go to sleep, even though I had been exhausted earlier in the day. I had hurt my left hip on the trails on Wednesday, so maybe I was worried about the pain I was feeling, but then I got a headache, and then I kept thinking about how I wasn’t falling asleep, and sure enough, by the time 5:30 am rolled around, I had barely slept at all. I’d say it was about 2 hours of light dozing, which meant I had a really spectacular puffy face glaring back at me in the morning. Nice right? And this was supposed to be a marathon where I take a ton of pictures. Nonetheless, we got rolling and made it to the starting line – on time, unlike last year – but we did not make it in time for the Maniacs picture. So just look at the one below and imagine our heads in there somewhere. There were something like 500 total marathoners and over 115 of them were Maniacs! Crazy!

980247_10200148623498675_459750040_o That’s a lot of yellow.

I was lucky enough to meet a lot of readers before the race! Man, y’all were not shy and it was awesome! Thank you to everyone who came up and said hi! I guess we weren’t too hard to find despite the fact that we busted out the pink Maniac singlets for this race. It was great catching up with lots of old friends and making new ones. Sometimes, it’s just as much fun before the race as it is during!

p1010129 I’m terrible at the Honey Badger pose, but I’m learning. p1010127 Look who came out to represent Team T-Rex! The assistant race director himself, Mr. Alexis Bautasa! And of course, not to be outdone, the seamstress behind the greatest mascot costume in the world! 704908_10200097129770371_1592454355_o OH HERRO DENIS

As with last year, there are just wayyyy too many pictures happening for this to be one post, so stay tuned for Part 2, in which I actually run the race and set a new record for most sweat ever produced by a human being.