Thursday, January 31, 2008

2008 Crowder's Mt. set for 4/26... Gastonia, North Carolina. Link to Race Application may be found at or on the Runner's From Hell homesite.

RD Sam b. warns,

RFH/Team Slug reserves the right to refuse anyone who they don't like from running in this race. You know who you are. If you are offended by this application then you are too sensitive to run this course.. It will probably be cold, raining, snowing, or something and you will probably fall. People fall and are killed yearly at Crowders. Usually it is a drunk trying to fly like Superman off one of the cliffs. I release all of those involved in this race from liability. I have been informed not to complain about the hills.

I've known Sam for a long tyme; I'd take him at his word.

Happy Days, Hitman.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mr.Cantrell on "Why they quit."

Originally posted on the Ultralist, and republished here with permission of Mr. Cantrell. The Barkley is a special event, and for all who have been "out there" it holds an eerie, and dangerous attraction. happy days, john.

"with apologies to those few who have finished the barkley 100,
i dont really believe that it is the exclusive realm of the trail running gods.
as a matter of fact, the fastest 100 milers who have taken to the course
have seldom even finished a fun run.
on the other hand, some of the most successful barkley runners
have never made much of a splash anywhere else.
about the only credentials that seem to translate directly into barkley success
are multi-day trail "records".
people with fast thru-hikes on the AT, PCT, etc, have done quite well.
past & future winners of 100's like WS & Vt have had their difficulties.

for the experienced trail runner, Barkley is a different sort of animal.
the suicidal downhill speed that translates into fast times elsewhere is just
suicidal here.
the key abilities, instead, are a high tolerance for climbing and sleep
this one is more geared toward an ultrarunning vito antofuermo than a sugar ray
(yeah, people are lining up to become human punching bags. go figure?)

unlike most ultras, the fast runners dont exactly run off and leave the slow
people who hike up to the fire tower to watch the runners pass thru the 12 mile
almost always comment on how close together everyone is.
"i thought they'd be all strung out, like other races. but everyone is really
the leader at 20 miles is usually around 8 hours and the laggards around 10,
altho once a runner spirals into despair, with the attendant twenty rest breaks
a mile,
miles per hour turns into hours per mile, and the game is over.

why is this?
i think the answers are in the numbers.
when a highway has a 3% grade, they put up signs warning trucks.
when a highway has a 5% or greater grade, they have special speed limits,
and runaway truck ramps.
in 100 miles of barkley, 95 of those miles are on gradients of more than 5%.
87 miles are on gradients of more than 10%.
50 miles (fully half the race) are on gradients greater than 20%.
there are even 11 miles done on gradients over 30%.
some people love the thing, some hate it.
i think they will all agree, it is hell out there.
normal humans can only tolerate so much abuse.

no one can go fast, but as long as you keep going, you can only go so slow.
it isnt likely that you will exceed the time limit, until you have given up.
the nastiness of the 60 hour limit is that, while attainable,
it does not leave enough time for rest.
once you figure in the night-time slowdown,
there simply is no chance to dawdle anywhere, much less sleep.

and this is why people quit.
taking an endless hammering from the course,
the clock constantly nipping at their heels,
trying to adjust as the weather fluctuates wildly from hour to hour,
staying focused every second, so they wont get off course,
lonely, in pain, no chance to relax,
the relentless pressure, all day and all night, day after day,
sooner or later, something has to give.
99% of the time, it is the runner.

i can excuse people who want to try it once,
it sounds so cool and exciting.
but those who go back are very special people...
only in the short-bus sense of the word special.
because the reality is like being punched in the face for 2 and a half days."


Monday, January 28, 2008

Wrong-Way Charlie sends greetings...

...and no, I am not making this up. All Slugs eventually come home, All of Them. and there is no better slug out there than Charlie. he says,

Hello 'hitman'?
Long thyme Know sea?
Sorry I missed the 18th annual fattest butt ... My black slug shirt has been in the ash bin of history for about ten years. Hope that you're doing well.
charlie wojcik

and in honor of charlie, we're reposting one of his greatest essays...

How to Finish Last Anywhere/Anytime

Are you considering running your first marathon or ultra and worried about coming in first, or even just beating another runner? Well, fast forward right past that, because it doesn’t have to happen. Not if you listen to me. This article will address the likelihood, however distant, that you will be last. This is an area in which I excel. I have had three or more last place finishes in each of the previous seven years. With the right training and preparation, or should I say the lack of such, you too can finish last. That is assuming you are not in direct competition with me. After all, I am the master.

There is no steadfast rule to being last, and luck helps. To increase the odds of being last you must first visualize it in your mind. Believe it deeply and know it to be so. Prior to the race go around behind all the runners and look at the back of their heads. If it’s a track run, that’s all you should ever be seeing. If it’s a trail run, you’ll only see them once, and then their heads will slowly shrink, then quickly disappear. In a large group at the start line close your eyes, look skyward, spread your arms like an eagle, and begin chanting out loud. This will give you a lot of starting space and help to size up your competitors. Start slowly and ease off. This is an area where Slugs have a great advantage. They not only preach this philosophy, but they live and breathe it. Be in no rush out of the starting gate. If logistics allow, begin running in the wrong direction. As people yell for you to stop, just wave at them and smile. This most certainly will confuse the race workers and allow you to waste a bit more time.

Finally however you will be forced to start. Pick up the pace ever so slowly. Watch the cutoffs; they are there to give prima donna race directors a chance to discredit the truly slothful. Remember if you get pulled, you will be unable to finish last. This defeats your goal. Maintain constant glacier-like speed throughout the run. Avoid “jack rabbit” starts and screeching stops. Take a break at the aid station. Relax, have a cup of coffee and make faces at the other runners at they roll by. Remove shoes to check for foreign objects. Tiny rocks do bad things to tiny toes. Ask for some Vaseline, and request assistance in placing it on your most delicate parts. Consume mass quantities of fuel and liquid. Instead of grabbing two Oreos, pick up the entire package and gobble them down. Shovel them in and chew. Get that good full feeling going. Remember watering the flora and fauna with blown pretzel chunks and bile is sound ecological policy and earns you bogus points in the standings. Ask the other runners and aid workers lots of meaningless questions. After asking, refuse to listen to their answers. Start humming profusely. Absolutely confuse them with your wit.

Dehydration, boredom, and loneliness are the three biggest obstacles for the mental deficients drawn to running insane distances. Avoid running with friends. Even better, avoid having any friends. After all, you never know where one may appear. It will be hard not to resist picking up the pace during times of high spirits. If you feel good immediately stop running. Begin doing jumping jacks on one leg until you feel dizzy and sick. Then continue running. On the other hand, you will have no trouble going slowly when you feel lousy. And you will. Enjoy it, soak it in, and share your agony with anyone who will listen. Cry, moan, and howl out loud. The more noise you make, and attention you attract the better. On a track run, practice getting in the way of the real runners. If possible trip and fall over at least once an hour. That means in a 24-hour run you should trip at least 24 times. My personal record is 39 falls in 24 hours. Granted, it was raining. On a trail run, enjoy a hobby such as stopping to gaze at wildlife, or turning wayward turtles upside down. Don’t worry someone will put them back.

If someone tries to get behind you, immediately lay down on the ground. I don’t care if you’re at an aid station or not. Just lie down and begin sobbing. Do not move until that runner gets back in front of you. This is your race to lose, your time in the sun. Don’t let some other loser take what’s rightfully yours. Stand up, be proud, and finish last. In conclusion, and most importantly, please make note of the irrefutable physical fact that it takes the same amount of energy to run slowly as it does to run quickly. This is the law. The Running Law and thou shalt not break it. Do not be concerned with being barred from the event. There are thousands of events. It would take 200 years to get kicked out of all of them. You’ll never live that long.

In my next article, I will share helpful hints for failing in a 100 mile run. Those are going to take a lot more, or less, effort. Work hard on today’s lessons, worst of luck to you, and see you in the loser’s circle.

Charlie “Wrong Way” Wojick

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Salt at Barkley??? That Explains IT !!!


If memory serves me correctly, you started the RFH and TS feud years
ago at the Strolling Jim. You said those exact words regarding the same
table with Slugs and RFH members. I always wondered why you salt the trails
and now I know.

LV would be your kind of race/run/walk/etc.

Pres, Slugs From Hell

Yankee Slugs...headed SOUTH !!!

i think we all know the slugs are not worthy to eat at the same table with
the RFH.

and it warms my heart to know that SC parks love ultrarunners almost as much
as the tennessee parks love us.
if ya'll are gonna run as bandits i might have to try & enter.
havent ever been arrested for walking on a hiking trail.... yet.

if i am in the company of a terrorist leader at the same time,
it ought to make a good clipping for my scrapbook.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ranger Rick harassing one of our Finest!


Hey Ultra Runners,
The religion debate will piss many off. I am one of those in
the majority and a Christian. Proud of it and don't care what any of
you think.

Now the real questions. Are Runner from Hell runners better than Team Slug
runners? Or will a truce be signed and both groups crash the Laurel Valley
Ultra because a permit has not been granted after several phone calls and
the application for a permit was sent in August. The Special Use Permit
Ranger said that my application is in a stack of papers, "over there".

And according to Janet Reno I am also a leader of a terrorist group.

Claude Sinclair
Runner from Hell and SC Team Slug

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pokey / Grand-Poobah Promoted !!!

PhotobucketChief Slug Running Man has sent top-secret, slug-coded notice (via FedEx) to the East Coast Director of all Team Slug Operations that promotions have been approved. Pokey-Slug has been named President of all Delaware Slugs, and will be assisted by the Grand-Poobah of the Eastern Shore.

Pokey comes to the Slugs with outstanding slogging credentials, and a big heart. Unlike most of the Slugs she is highly-educated with a real job. As a biochemist she shares two thoughts. First, don't drink the water directly out of the Slug-pond. And second, Mexico makes fine tequila. Finally, Pokey is a Hokie. Now how ya gonna beat that!

The Grand-Poobah (due to ongoing numerous slug-names) appears to be ably following in the slug-tracks of one Mister John Clark, The man with a thousand nicknames, the famed overhand midnight bowler, the man with two much scalp and not enough hair. Yes, the same John Clark that shoved da'Hitman over a fifty foot sand bank in Virginia Beach so as to secure third place at the '94 Flatlander, and gain a coveted bottle of Jim Beam for himself. Dang we miss ole JC, and his gal-pal
Big Bertha.

Salaries and benefits have not been made public, however it is suspected that the compensation package includes lots of Dogfish Head Ale, and Ginger Brandy. Expect more information to follow in the weeks and months ahead. Regardless of Ranger Rick, an abundance of sea-salt, and absolute disregard for any moral decency, the Slugs appear to have gained a foothold, and should be leaving a slimy trail through the First State for years to come.

From Key West (where da'fishins good, and the beer is cold)
Flattest Foot Freddie.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Everything's FROZEN in the First State...

Yes, it was twelve degrees on the back porch this morning; and i thought hard about getting back into bed. But, if i'd crawled under those warm sheets, and fallen asleep; i'd have missed those couple of hours with pokey on the frozen tundra of central delaware. and, God knows; i enjoy my time on the trails; with pokey. the pond was frozen this morning, and nothing was crawling out of it. bright sun, clear day, with absolutely "pizzed-off" squirrels throwing stuff at us...perfect day; perfect run, as we wake up daily, one day at a time; and try to get fit, for the spring; frozen and iced up beard, beer slushies, and a glazed pond. life is good in delaware; but lets face it. Sluggos belong in Florida!!!

happy days,

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Tornadoes hit Mississippi...Too Close Home...

"If anybody is wondering:Where are the young idealists? Where are the people willing to devote themselves to causes larger than themselves? They are in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan straddling the divide between insanity and order." David Brooks

hitman and allslugs;

forwarding pics of recent tornado at caledonia high school. you know sometimes we take our life and our possessions for granted. we get upset over things that don't even matter. i'm sending you a couple of pics to share how quickly life changes. i miss my slug-buds and hope to see ya back in n'orleans real soon. for God's sake; ENJOY EACH MOMENT, and try to stay out of trouble :)

gulf coast ufo division
team slug int'l.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

State of the Slugs : 2008

We live in a crazy world; that's for sure. Change seems inevitable and constant. And, we live with it. Over the past nineteen years we've all evolved; we're definitely not the same people we were in 1989. Looking at this pic, always takes me back. Me and da'hitman were brothers, and always will be. We didn't save the world, but we sure made a lot of friends.

First, I see below that Mr. Clean checked in, and I have to agree with him in congratulating the newest Sluggos. Welcome aboard! I really have a hard time imagining we're still handing out those old black slug shirts. But we are. You know I've tried to explain Team Slug over the years to hundreds of people. At marathons / ultras around the country that shirt is a great conversation starter.

I try to share with other runners that TSI is not actually a running club. Not like the Peninsula Track Club or Virginia Happy Trails Club. Rather, we're a "state of mind", maybe an idea whose time has past. Hitman and I, all those years ago decided we weren't going to change. We would hold olde-tyme events, all fat-ass style; no aid, no fees, no rules, etc. Period. Always. And it's worked.

While other clubs are holding events with hundreds of entrants, waiting lists, etc; Team Slug is lucky to get twenty to the starting line. And I say "lucky" in the most respectful of ways. Hitman always say, "The right folks show up." And, after all these years I have to agree with him. TSI appears healthy, and poised to continue in holding the most worthy of all non-events.

I think the news has leaked out already; but TSI will be offering "20th Anniversary Beer Steins" to all the Slug-finishers in the fall in Delaware, Carolina, and Florida. It will be to "kick off" Team Slug's twentieth year in the ultra community; and at the request of one of the original slugs, Mr. James "The All-Niter" Moore.
Rumour also has it that the "Boogy Bayou Swamp Stomp" will return to Okaloosa County out in the Florida Panhandle. Can anyone say, GATOR!!!

Friends, Life is Good; and I appreciate each one of you, and look forward to seeing you on a trail someday soon. Don't worry about looking for me, I'll find you.

Happy Days,
Chief Slug Running Man

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Spell of the Yukon

I wanted the gold, and I sought it, I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
Was it famine or scurvy -- I fought it; I hurled my youth into a grave.
I wanted the gold, and I got it -- Came out with a fortune last fall, --
Yet somehow life's not what I thought it, And somehow the gold isn't all.

No! There's the land. (Have you seen it?) It's the cussedest land that I know,
From the big, dizzy mountains that screen it; To the deep, deathlike valleys below.
Some say God was tired when He made it; Some say it's a fine land to shun;
Maybe; but there's some as would trade it; For no land on earth -- and I'm one.

You come to get rich (damned good reason); You feel like an exile at first;
You hate it like hell for a season, And then you are worse than the worst.
It grips you like some kinds of sinning; It twists you from foe to a friend;
It seems it's been since the beginning; It seems it will be to the end.

There's a land where the mountains are nameless, And the rivers all run God knows where;
There are lives that are erring and aimless, And deaths that just hang by a hair;
There are hardships that nobody reckons; There are valleys unpeopled and still;
There's a land -- oh, it beckons and beckons, And I want to go back -- and I will.

There's gold, and it's haunting and haunting; It's luring me on as of old;
Yet it isn't the gold that I'm wanting; So much as just finding the gold.
It's the great, big, broad land 'way up yonder, It's the forests where silence has lease;
It's the beauty that thrills me with wonder, It's the stillness that fills me with peace.

Robert Service in 1907

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Greetings From the Heartland...


and, first let me say Congratulations! to all the new Slugs; and welcome (i've been following the '08 fattest butt story). there are hundreds of lies about this little gang of hoodlums, and how each came to be slugs. my entry into the "Warped-World" of Running Man & Co. came in the fall of 1990. and, it is TRUE. in the spring i had graduated from florida state university in tallahassee, and september found me sitting in a graduate statistics class at ODU in norfolk, virginia. just two seats in front of me, and one aisle over sat this short, barrel-chested fellow, that always seemed to be happy and gawking around. but, that's not what drew my attention to him. rather, this squat little fellow always seemed to be talking...about...running, and then giving you a funny, wicked smile. come on slugs, you know which one i mean, right???

now i was no athlete, though i did "throw back some serious 12 oz. curls" at fsu, back in the day. then, there was the intramural jello wrestling. but, i'll save that for another letter. as the semester wore on, myself and this odd fellow became fast friends. and we talked, running. and not just jogging for fun, 5k stuff, but marathoning; and intervals, and protein shakes, and hundred dollar pairs of shoes. he seemed to have a one track mind. just when i thought i'd heard it all he told me he was running fifty miles this weekend.

course, i didn't believe him; but did agree to meet him out in western maryland, at a tiny, teenie, little ultra-event; best known as jfk. and he ran, and wobbled, and struggled, and finished. i was smitten, not with this "psycho endurance athlete" but with the idea or running until i couldn't run any further. course the thought was fleeting, and once i saw his toes, and the way he walked for three days, i quickly came to my senses.

until about a month later at mr.taco in virginia beach. we were sucking down tacos and inhaling some cheap beer. life as graduate students ... GUUUUUDD. we were feeling better and better, and as drunk young men do began to get incorrigible toward one another. bottom line, he challenged me to finish a Slug-run, and i was so "wasted" i agreed, shook hands, and signed in ink. there WERE witnesses(who were sober). now, i don't know about you all, but in iowa where i come from a man's word, is his word. it was a done deal. my ass was grass.

so, da'hitman convenes every sluggo in southeastern virginia; and conjures up this fifty kilometer track TWO days. i can't back out, and i can't lie; though i'd never ran over five miles, he had convinced me i could finish. First mistake, i believed him; Second mistake, i wanted that Black Slug Shirt way too bad. though i can't lie, to this day, 16 years later, it's still my favorite t-shirt (though folks never believe how i came to get it)

there's not much else to tell. the pic at the top says it all. i did finish; 124 laps in just under nine hours. it was not pretty, and i was not happy about it. but, i refused to quit. i would prove him wrong, and take my shirt home. and i did. and i was pissed at him for months. i was sure he'd tried to kill me. in fact, i've never ran again, NEVER, not even a 5k. but, i'm still a slug.

and, now after all these years; i look back on that day with great joy. further, i'd share that i've been fortunate to have been loved by a lot of family and friends in this lifetime; but there are few that have given me what that "insane, dangerous, smiling, barrel-chested slug" gave me on that cool saturday morning all those years ago.
as my olde drinking buddy flatfoot fred would say...
happy days,

john "mr.clean" sorenson
tsi, iowa farming division

p.s. all those nasty rumours about the mayor's wife in amish country are true :)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

My First Ultra: Team Slug Fattest Butt


Here's a great read, from a Beautiful Lady, and Brand-New Slug.
I know it's a bit long, and most of us "ain't" that bright,
but this one is worth your time.

She also has a nice blog at;

Friends & Family back in Carolina call her Andrea B.
but, to the Slugs she'll always be Tiny Broken-Hiney.


Nonevent: Team Slug International Fattest Butt 50K (approximately 32 miles)
When & Where: 8:20 a.m. Jan. 5, Kent County, Delaware
Results: 6:05 (1st female)

While focusing on marathon training for the past several years, I’ve been inspired by knowing several ultrarunners and especially by watching merigayle persistently finish her first 100 mile run at Umstead last year. On Saturday I joined their lowest ranks as I took my first strides beyond the marathon distance. Those not quite nimble steps were at times challenging and humbling, mostly fun, and always in good company:

Kickrunners DEturtle, Durt, divaleh, merigayle, SGH, roots

Last fall, I decided to put any remaining fitness from the Kiawah Island Marathon toward a 50K. The ultrarunning group Durt and DEturtle are part of, Team Slug International, organizes an informal one each January outside of Dover, Del. The Fattest Butt 50K "nonevent" is TSI’s variation on a "Fat Ass" run.

As it turned out the Fattest Butt would dramatically change the appearance of my own derriere and, in the process, become the week’s second and true Wardrobe Malfunction run.

Festivities started Friday night when some of us met at a Dover Italian eatery for pre-run carbs. Between bites of bread and pasta, first-timers divaleh and I had many questions for ultrarunners DEturtle and roots. Then it was time to do the usual race preparation routine of getting my gear and clothing ready to go for the morning before bed.

The next morning I woke up a few minutes before my alarm and did not want to get out of the very cozy, warm, and enticing pillow-top bed. I could have stayed under the covers all day. After a few minutes of coaxing, I forced myself from the comfort zone and quickly dressed to converge upon the well-stocked hotel breakfast for coffee and my usual pre-long run meal: oatmeal with peanut butter. DEturtle came back to lead a caravan to the park. Race Director Durt ushered us in and runners began casually setting up water and fueling items on picnic tables. Everyone was exchanging introductions and appearing very relaxed. The pre-run routine and atmosphere drastically contrasted marathons, where I get up three hours early to digest breakfast and arrive at a starting area swarming with striding runners and buzzing with nervous energy.

After a short briefing and prayer the run started. Again there was no typical road marathon start of jostling and swerving. Heck, there wasn’t a Start line! DEturtle led us out on the 3.2-mile packed dirt trail circling Killens Pond. We would retrace the route 10 times to reach the 50K distance, passing through the picnic area each time for provisions. The sun brightened a partly-cloudy sky and made the 30-degree air feel comfortable.

I spent the first two loops running and chatting with merigayle and divaleh, and trying to memorize the trail. Durt’s directions had been a simple “keep the pond to your left,” and after the first two loops I felt oriented and ready to spend a little quiet me time in the woods. Gradually I pulled away and hoped I would meet up with "the girls" in the late loops when I anticipated needing encouragement. I had not done any training specific to a 50K other than run a marathon four weeks earlier, recover for a very easy week, then return to regular easy running with one 16 mile long run thrown in on Dec. 22. Total winging it. Everyone had assured me that was more than enough as long as I took the 50K at an easy pace, but I was still questioning my sanity and a little bit doubting if I could complete the distance. It seemed like such a long way, so I decided to simply think of it as 10 loops instead of a specific amount of mileage.

Even for a coastal dweller, the course’s few small inclines barely intensified my breathing. To give my legs a break, I began walking the “ups” and otherwise running the “flats” and “downs.” Without nearby trails to run regularly where I live I was overjoyed to have a good part of the day ahead to be on the path, and spent some time in appreciation of the surroundings.

Before coming in to the aid station for Loop 5, I noticed that my hands were starting to swell. I usually don’t experience that so early in a long run, especially when drinking Gatorade as I had been. I spent a little extra time at the picnic area and took an electrolyte tablet along with a portion of peanut butter and honey sandwich for some extra energy. I had a surge of energy and motivation as I headed out, and was ready to make some good progress.

My pace picked up to what felt like marathon pace and I had the sensation of flying along the trail. It was a serious runner’s high enhanced even more by the natural setting, always my favorite for reflective running. Last night at dinner we had talked about a different event, the Self-Transendence Marathon in New York, but I felt on the verge of my own enlightening endurance episode in the middle of Delaware. On his 6th loop, roots caught up to me now, and I was enthusiastically evangelizing about what a great trip I was having:

“I feel amazing! This is so much fun!”

“It’s such a beautiful day!”

“I just have to watch my footing a little more on this trail! Especially the downhills! I feel a little off-balance going down!”

“But, this is THE BEST!”

Wheeee … I took flight and time slowed as I floated peacefully for what seemed like 10 seconds before coming down hard on my right side. THUD! So much for self-transcendence! I was shocked to find myself face down in the dirt. Not wanting to break the great rhythm I’d had, I moved to get right back up – but was stuck to something. My running tights were clinging to a small stump that left a 3″ hole in the seat of my tights as I stood. roots walked with me for a minute and I remarked “Damn, this is the second time this week I am running with my ass hanging out!” He instructed me to put on his extra pants when I got back to the picnic area, then ran ahead so I could focus on staying upright rather than on talking to another runner. I took two Tylenols to prevent any aching and felt truly lucky to be uninjured and pain-free after that fall. I quickly resumed running, but at a more conservative pace and with my eyes firmly fixed on the trail. When I came upon hikers, I covered the hole with my hand which I'm sure looked ridiculous -- a runner going along grabbing her own butt.

Back in the picnic area there was a little show & tell with my boo-tay boo-boo. Durt and the Assistant Race Director Debbie immediately began showing their genuine concern by taking close-up photos of my bloody butt, but Durt did graciously help me put on the other pants. They fit perfectly and after a cautioning to take it easier and be safe by race volunteer John I was ready for the second five loops.

Maybe it was the fall or the break in momentum with a longer stop, but Loops 6 and 7 were groggy. I wasn’t running slower yet, but I felt less coordinated and alert. I kept thinking how a nap would be perfect and daydreaming about that pillow-top bed I’d get to crawl into later. Everyone told me I would have a low period, so I figured I was experiencing the ultra lull. It still wasn’t anywhere near the struggles I’ve worked thorough in marathons, so I just thought positively, kept up my electrolyte-peanut butter sandwich combo at the aid station, and waited for the fatigue to pass. I got a small boost when I came up on DEturtle, who is the cutest ultrarunner ever with her assortment of running skirts and always positive attitude, even though that day she was fighting a fever.

By Loop 8 I felt revived and like a lifelong native of the trail. By now I could anticipate its landmarks: There’s the first bridge. There’s the place where I fell. There’s the cabin area. There’s the good view of the pond that’s just starting to freeze. There’s the tree where dozens of lovers carved their initials.

Before leaving the picnic spot for Loop 9, I knew finishing would be easy and said to Durt “After the next loop I’ll be an ultramarathoner, and one more after that one, I’ll be a Slug!” My legs were heavier now and I was slowing, but still only felt like walking the “ups.” I discovered what merigayle had told me was true, that starting to run again after a walk break is very difficult on tired legs. So I just kept running.

To make sure I learned whatever I am supposed to learn, on Loop 9 just as I noticed I was coming up on the spot where I’d fallen, sure enough I was bowing before the trail gods on hands and knees again in the exact same place. This time I had been shuffling instead of charging, so I got up, shook it off, and kept moving forward. In the aid station I briefly chatted with Durt before setting out on my last and final slog around Killens Pond.

During what I told myself was “the victory lap,” I took a little time to try to come to some personal conclusions about the tiny amount of experience I now had in the sport of ultramarathoning. I would finish in around 6 hours, the longest duration I have spent on a single episode of any physical activity. The whole endeavor seemed a bit ludicrous, yet I could honestly say I’d had a good time the whole way. Being outside on trails has long been therapeutic to me, and something I've dearly missed especially during the last couple years. This activity combined trail time with my favorite sport of distance running. Coming up on 32 miles with plenty of energy left, I had no problem imagining tackling a longer ultra distance event such as a 50 mile run with proper training. Still, I wasn’t sure I liked the relatively slower running pace, and at times had thought about how a nice day hike would be more fun with possibly less chance of injury. The fall had been startling, and more than once I’d thought about dearly held plans for the first half of 2008 that would be shelved if I’d broken a bone. But I hadn’t broken a bone. I wasn’t seriously hurt save for a spectacular huge bruise on my butt, and the pond loop trail was certainly not the last chance for potential injury I’ll encounter between now and April.

In a few minutes I would come in to the picnic area and see friends’ faces sharing my achievement of a personal distance record on foot. In the marathon four weeks’ prior, I was fortunate to gain a huge sense of accomplishment and reward for hard work. But as I gave the Fattest Butt its final pat, I savored feelings of gratitude, appreciation, and joy that I wish everyone could and would experience by simply putting one foot in front of the other. Running has so many rewards, but I think this is among its most precious gifts.

Running to the picnic area for the last time, I heard a few claps and cheers. “I am a Slug!” I yelled in response. Debbie and roots snapped photos of me coming in and receiving my award, the famous bad-ass black Team Slug T-shirt. Finally I was reunited with merigayle and divaleh, who finished four minutes later to all of our applause and excitement.

It was cold if you weren’t running, and divaleh and I went off to change into dry clothes so we could stay as warm as possible. The bath house was closed, so we ended up changing with only the back wall for privacy. Now we were ultrarunners, who are reputed to be the “craziest” in running circles, so stripping in the woods seemed like a natural slightly nutty thing to do. We rejoined the growing number of finishers at the picnic tables and savored delicious Cup-o-Noodles and other snacks before walking back on the trail with merigayle to loosen our legs and remove a few course marking ribbons from branches. meri's husband Turnin'Wrenches came in for his first ultramarathon and first-ever race finish as we headed out, and we got to be the first to congratulate him.

Everyone pitched in to clean up the little spot that helped keep us going that day. Runner and volunteer Slugs alike said congratulations, thank you, and good-bye to each other before spreading out in their various directions, leaving the trail but taking the rewards and memories of its 32 miles.

It was great to share the trail with fellow Kickrunners, get some great tips from meri, Durt, roots & DEturtle, and share the first-timer experience with divaleh and Turnin'Wrenches. Hopefully some more Kickrunners will post reports. I'd love to hear about the day in others' own words.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Lessons Learned at Fattest Butt

Hello Hitman and Fellow Runners,

John Straub invited me to this un-franchised, un-sanctioned, un-organized, non-commercialized, low stress, low cost, highly prized and humanized un-officially healthy non-event run. And below, is what i learned.
Happy Trails
Craig See ( 1/3 Slugger--- finished Nine Miles)

Lesson Learned (and some to forget):

1. Mud does not freeze off at 28 degrees "butt" other things do.

2. When placing one foot in a one foot deep mud hole, ensure to insert the other foot to same depth at same time.

Slugging with only one five pound foot may cause loss of positive traction rear end, a leg and toe muscle building imbalance, audit by the IRS and a total loss of control on high speed down hill curves, and/ or all of the above.

A five pound weight suspended at the end of a long extremity can also cause centrifugal force to wrap owner of said extremity (leg with mud caked foot) several times around a tree at bottom of said steep downhill. This did not happen to me but I envisioned this possibility several times while going very slow.

3. Bring an extra pair of clean shoes for short notice grocery shopping mission after an off-road race.

Wearing one large black mud covered, still dripping black water and making gurgling sounding sneaker brings weird looks from non-trail slug shoppers and various angry loud speaker calls for "Clean Up on Aisles 2, 3, 4 , and 5!"

4. Never send a lone hungry 1/3 slug guy grocery shopping with expired coupons after a race with the entire family food budget. Yes, the canned goods made it home with only minor teeth marks but that gallon of milk and bag of chips was history and I was still drooling the rest of the way home!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

'08 Fattest Butt -Thanks for a Great Day!!!


Race photos are available at: 2008 Fattest Butt

What an outstanding non-event! Incredible time, and wonderful people. We really appreciate all coming out. Normally, as after any Slug event, we like to write a funny, but relatively honest account; of each runner's journey toward the famed black shirt. Today, we're going to approach it a bit differently. There's no way we can write a single article about all the fascinating human interest stories that played out in the First State yesterday. The Race Director's have to be thanked for stepping up and helping out. Derek Hills and Debbie Straub (each shown at left while sober) were excellent in performing their duties. They also were entertaining beyond belief, and I'm not talking about the Ginger Brandy incident(I do have proof). They are genuinely kind-hearted and loving folks. So thanks, your time is appreciated. Without volunteers we couldn't have handled this many participants. What I would ask this time is if you were here and ran, and would like to share some thoughts, please send them, we will post. I've included the "Official" account, sent off to Ms.Tia at UR, and the official results. CONGRATS to all the Slugs, olde and new alike!!! happy days, da'hitman.

Memories Made in the First State

Each race we attend brings the opportunity for meeting new people, and renewing old friendships. And many of our Slug friendships are now approaching twenty years. We are thankful to the ultra community, for two decades of challenge and flat out fun. As the Slugs and potential Slugs lined up on the first Saturday of the New Year in the First State, it was hard not to reminisce of years gone by.

Traditionally, we like to include each finisher in our Slug summation. That is because at Team Slug we consider each finisher a great hero, a master of their physical and emotional strength, and a Lifetime Slug. And, they receive the World-Famous black slug shirt to prove it. Today we can’t honor each one, but a few must be mentioned. First, A.J. Johnson, a veteran Slug, ran near the front all day, pulling away in the closing miles for his first win with us. But that’s not why he’s a hero in our book. Rather, A.J. introduced ultra running to his close friend, Jeff Holloway, trained with him, and encouraged him all the way to the finish line. Now Jeff is an ultra marathoner, and a Slug. Look for them at JFK, there is no doubt in my mind they’ll finish together.

On the women’s side, we were blessed to have some determined athletes; using their friendship to turn the day into a joy for all who surrounded them. Coming out on top was Andrea Berninger, who had run in the lead pack all day. She overcame many obstacles on the course including blown over trees, deep swampy mud pits, and a serious contusion on her back side. She easily won the best blood award, but it didn’t deter her from completing the distance, and finishing first among the ladies.

We also had a mother and son finisher. Aaron and Patti Lipschutz ran near each other all day. Aaron, a college student in Boston, was home on Christmas break, and the pair decided to make the quest for the Slug shirts a family affair. What a pleasure to witness the love and compassion of a mother and son. With all that appears wrong with our world, spending the day with their family seemed to ease everyone’s burden. Aaron said his mom really wasn’t a runner, she was a biker. But today, she had enough energy to finish the long winter run.

So another chapter closes on Team Slug, and we remind all our ultra running friends. Your finishing time is not so important, not who you are. There are always those faster, and slower, than you. What is important is that you don’t give up. When you wake up and pull on those magical running shoes, step outside into the cool, fresh air, and begin to put one foot in front of another, you are fighting the good fight. You are making things better for yourself, and for those around you. So from Slug-land, thanks! Hope to see you on the trails, real soon.

Flatfoot Freddie

TSI's Fattest Butt
January 5th, 2008
Kent County, Delaware

1. A.J. Johnson NJ M 4:26:00
2. Frank Gousman, Jr. NJ M 4:27:00
3. Josh Dennis NJ M 4:36:00
4. Jess Manning DE M 4:51:00
5. Lloyd Thomas OH M 4:52:00
6. Steve Wehrle NJ M 4:55:00
7. Louis D'Onofrio NJ M 5:09:00
8. Gilles Barbeau BC M 5:22:00
9. Dan Rosenberg NJ M 5:32:00
10. John Straub DE M 5:46:00
11. Jeff Holloway NJ M 5:49:00
12. Ravi Gooneratne PA M 5:58:00
13. Andrea Berninger NC F 6:05:00
14. MeredithMurphy PA F 6:09:00
15. Staci Rudnitsky NY F 6:09:00
16. John Lysinger MD M 6:14:00
17. Aaron Lipschutz MA M 6:35:00
18. Patti Lipschutz PA F 6:47:00
19. Phillip Hesser MD M 6:47:00
20. Anders Grant MD F 6:51:00
21. Richard Monroe MD M 6:51:00
22. Larry Macon TX M 6:52:00
23. Carl Camp DE M 7:05:00
24. Edward Murphy PA M 7:14:00
25. Eugene Bruckert IL M 9:20:00

28 Starters, 25 Finishers.

*Miguel Verdun Gomez of VA, finished 27 miles in 8:20, and
was awarded a "Slug Mug" for the 2nd consecutive year. There
is no doubt in my mind he would have finished the 50K,
had he not fallen into the sinking mudd hole... I know,
I found it, and fell in, while sweeping the course,
this morning :)

Saturday, January 05, 2008

18th Fattest Butt in the books...


...and I am tired. And, grateful. What a beautiful day in Slug-Land. 28 wonderful ultrarunners stepped up to the plate in Kent County, Delaware, to take a swing at Slug immortality. For when one finishes a Slug-run; one is intiated forever into Slugdom. For the young flashy, fast runners; it may not mean much, and the black shirts earned / worn proudly by many hundreds of previous athletes may be tucked away in the drawer.

But my friends, I have been doing this long enough to know some things. First, everyone Slows Down. You may not believe me, but just wait ten, or twenty years. You'll either slow down, or retire from running. And, when one slows down one looks back at those days when they were younger, and free; and the bright sunny ultra days gone by, seem like joyful drops of memory, raining love onto their souls. And one things for sure. The Slug-runs may be small and disorganized, but those running them know why they're here. They are drawn here, to become part of something that can not be bought. It has to be earned, with sweat and determination.

I usually struggle with the pictures to post on the site or blog. Not today, I wanted this one up, to remind us all of what is important in our lives. It shows a mother and son (Patti and Aaron Lipschutz of Philly and Boston, repectively), together earning the Slug-shirt. They obviously love each other dearly and have countless memories to share. Now they have another, and God I am so thankful to have been a part of it. This is what matters my friends. Your family, and those close to you. Tell them you love them, and hug them every chance you get. Time is precious, and Life is shorter than you think.

Happy Days,
da' Hitman.

p.s. Full Story, Results, and Pics will be posted to within 24 hours.

Friday, January 04, 2008

T - 15 hrs...and the excuses are pourin' in;

...the non-sluggos are finally coming to their senses. i've had two cancellations in the past 24 hours, and their excuses are outstanding. i'm tempted to send out a black slug shirt for the best story about "why i can't come to the slug-run." let's face it, those who decide not to come, are probably much wiser than the rest of us. getting out of bed on a cold winter's morning, trying to find delaware (the state is not even on u.s. maps prior to 1787), and then being forced to death-slog through a forest inhabited by known predators, on a minimal sustenance of pond water and stale bread. there just ain't nothin' pretty about it. NOTHIN'. furthermore, the park rangers aren't sure if that swamp monster in the pond has legs or not. one things for certain, that monster's definitely big enough to ambush, and then chomp on some poor unsuspecting, weary, delusion, cold, and frightened sluggo. if you don't believe me, just ask derek; he was danged lucky to escape the beast last january. as a last minute precaution, i'd advise all to carry pepper spray, timber-bug repellent, and finish before dark. you know, just to be safe.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

From the All-Niter to All-Slugs...


A very Happy New Year's wish to all the Slugs. I've waited until the very last minute to send this because I was still hoping to participate in the Fattest Butt (even as a bandit), since the field was full, including the lottery, with all those that could not get in. I do know it is the best non-event to start '08. Tell all we said hello, send LOVE and will be wishing we were there.

All-Nighter and Sluggette

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year to Slug's everywhere!

Team Slug has made it to 2008. Chief Slug Running Man himself called from a drinking establishment of ill-repute (complete with scantily / not clad ladies --- i know because, he sent pics over his phone) in Panama City Beach last night to send greetings to the Slugs. He is very excited about the "State of da' Slugs." We are just one short year now from reaching our 20th Anniversary year (Fall non-event 2009); and are hoping for a TSI Reunion Run. He's thinking Florida or South Carolina (home of the famed, and super-secret Slugs from Hell, so we'll see as it gets closer.

Here in the First State, we're now just a few days from the Fattest Butt. This will be the 18th Consecutive year TSI has held this non-event, and we have a good field assembled. Lots of prospective Slugs have registered, and i expect most to finish. Wisely, hundreds of past Slugs are not coming; though we do remember and appreciate each one of them.

At Team Slug, our goal is to keep moving; and as any / all of us grow older, we're going to slow down and slug / slog. But, we're still here, and still moving. And to us, that's what counts. So we're glad to have you along, no matter what level of "speed" you bring to the course. Of course, speed is relative. There is always somebody, faster or slower; always!

I've also been fielding several questions related to Slug merchandise and the Cafe Press. It was set up by Pavvy, The Big Brown Pony. And, if you don't know him, then i'm sorry. He is one of the Greatest Slugs ever to pull on a black t-shirt. He runs slower & longer, than anyone i know. While I haven't personally used the service, several of the Florida Slugs have ordered off the site, and are satisfied with their purchases. Again, i've seen pics of the thongs --- it ain't pretty :)

For the prospective Slugs coming to Fattest Butt; you will have the Opportunity to purchase one of the Original Black 100% Cotton Team Slug t-shirts. While we are not an "Official Club" and this is a "Non-event"; you will always be a member of our little gang of bandits. Running Clubs / Running Events may come and go; but Slugs are Forever. Veteran Slugs who've already earned the shirt will receive a Team Slug trinket, this year the Finisher's Mug. It is two-sided with the Slug logo on one side, and this logo on the other:


I believe several of you all have a collection of them from past years. Running Man asked me to share that the 2008 Russell B. Cheney event, to be held on September 27th (da' Hitman's birthday); will feature a Team Slug 20th Anniversary Beer Drinking Stein. This is in honor, and at the special request of Brother James "The All-Niter" Moore. Wow, I wonder what James will do with a beer stein ???

Finally, the TSI Executive Board is finalizing the decision on the upcoming TSI 2008 Hall of Fame announcement. I think you all will be pleased. OK, I'm back off to Key West to do some surf fishin' with Running Man. No doubt, da' Hitman will assure that all coming to Fattest Butt WILL enjoy their day amongst Slugs.

Happy New Year,
Flatfoot Freddie