A few years back, MFH (My Favorite Husband) and I were snooping through Netflix trying to find something to watch. On a lark, we had decided to see if there were any movies about running. We stumbled across the documentary about the Barkley Marathons.
Let’s be serious, any running documentary with a subtitle: “The Race That Eats Its Young” you’ve got to watch it, right?
MFH popped some popcorn and we settled in for an evening that would light a fire in me to stretch my limits to the max!
MFH liked the race registration fee. What was it, $1.60 and a flannel shirt or some socks? Something like that. Oh! And a license plate from your home state/country if this was your “virgin” year at Barkley. I thought that was hilarious…and bent. It appealed to me immediately…and besides, how many races have the “starting gun” be a guy lighting up a smoke? I loved everything about it!
Seeing the runners congregate at the yellow gate? I knew I HAD to get to that gate. HAD TO!!!
The question was, how did a runner get to the yellow gate. That was the million dollar question and I’ve been trying to learn exactly how to do that. While I’ve been trying to learn the secret handshake, I’ve been working hard on my abilities as a runner. Pushing my limits. Increasing the distances. Working hard to prepare myself for my ultimate #BucketList race.
Since that initial viewing of the documentary, I’m very seriously embarrassed to admit to the exact number of times I’ve watched it. I’m mesmerized.
Any race that has places in it with names like: “Rat Jaw” and “Testicle Spectacle….” let alone the elevation gain of 12,000+ feet per loop? There are simply no words!
Now, this kid is no dumb bunny so I’ve been trying to figure out if the BIG Barkley, all five of those marathon plus length loops is anywhere near something I could ever hope to accomplish. I came to the realization that the “Fun Run,” successfully completing 3 loops would be a dream come true! I was also honest with myself and knew that doing ONE loop would be amazing!!!
Enter what I affectionately call the Baby Barkley or the Barkley Fall Classic (BFC).
A few of my friends announced they would be running the Barkley Fall Classic this year (Sept 2017) and I’ve been watching their training with keen interest. I watched them last weekend as they struggled and conquered those famous obstacles of the BIG Barkley.
To simplify explanation, the BFC is pretty much one loop of the Big Barkley. There’s a few differences but not a lot. I thought, I could get my feet wet at the BFC! See what this thing is all about and give it a shot.
Now, poor MFH, he gives me these talks…I tend to chase rabbits with my running goals but I really DO want to focus on ultra running and have been seriously working that way over that past few years. Knowing this, when I told him Friday evening I was setting the alarm for 10:45pm so I could try to register at 11:00pm for the BFC, he just gave a resigned *sigh.* When the alarm went off, I tiptoed out of the bedroom and booted up my laptop.
Right at 11:00, I was on UltraSignup trying to register. I think just about every other person on the planet was doing the same thing because the site wasn’t budging! It was locked down solid!!! I would fidget, pray for the site to open, fidget some more, open a new window and try again to get in!
Finally after about 40 minutes of trying, I managed to be able to click on the register button! I thought for sure it was sold out already but the register button said there were 22 slots left.
YAY and YIKES!!! YAY that it wasn’t sold out but YIKES because there were only 22 slots left! The way my laptop was doing a big fat nothing, I figured for sure I was doomed.
All of a sudden, I was asked what size shirt I wanted, had I run BFC before, if I could would I run the BIG Barkley (of course!) and then asked for my CC information. I gave all the info and hit SUBMIT!
The most beautiful sight in the world appeared before my eyes:
I Was In!!!
Holy Cow!!! Pinch me I’m dreaming!!!
Looks like MFH and I will be taking a little road trip up north next September because this Mississippi girl is on her way to Frozen Head in Wartburg, Tennessee, and will run those famous trails! Lots of training ahead and I can’t wait!!!
Looks like my 2018 dance card is about full. I’ll be trying for the NYC Marathon lottery (again~year #5 for trying) in the fall but other than that, this is my 2018 racing schedule as it currently stands:
Wrapping up 2017 with Brazos Bend 100 in December.
January, Bear Bait 50M
I’ll be volunteering at the Mississippi Blues Marathon at the end of January.
February, Phoenix Marathon
March I’ll probably be volunteering at the MS50 Trail Run. I really want to run it this year but if I’m still totally toast from those other races, I’ll be volunteering. This is a terrific event~best ultra in Mississippi!
May I always run the Coke 10k in Corinth, Mississippi. I love this 10k!!!
Summer will be a little bit of low miles for recovery then kicking training back into high gear for BFC.
Fingers crossed for NYC and that will wrap up 2018.
Happy Running, all!!! Thank you for all your words of encouragement and congratulations about the BFC! Wishing y’all many happy miles!!!