Sunday, March 30, 2014

GFH3 Run #1,745; 29 March 2014

“Perfect Hash weather,” the Mufti congratulated hares and hosts before the brief began.  Perfect, indeed – or at least it may have been in San Diego, maybe, or one of those Mediterranean islands like Capri.  Perhaps Phuket, in Thailand, is experiencing an idyllic spring, but in Oakton this afternoon, we had a firm, steady rain and not quite enough Fahrenheits to make it feel friendly.  On the plus side, these conditions weed out the fair-weather hashers, leaving us with a close-knit, √©lite group of 26 to brave the elements in our various ways.

Big Balls on Deck briefed the team, explaining that the rain had probably washed away most of the Xs and many of the Ons, so, y’know, good luck.  He also advised that credit for any good parts of the trail go to Paddle My Candee Ass and Mini Schlonga, while complaints regarding less-good parts be directed to him.  It’s easier to be gracious like that when you’re 6’5”, don’t you think?

Haaashing in the rain; I'm haaashing in the rain; what a glooooorious feeeling
[jazz hands, everybody!] I'M HAAAAAPPY AGAIN!

So ten runners slid down the wet clay hillside to the trail, while 11 walkers split up into at least four contingents.  One of those contingents was BC3, who made it as far as the car, which she then drove to Target, claiming later that she had the most challenging route of the day.  The runners will take leave to disagree; their four-mile true trail included plenty of mud and at least one stream that hadn’t been there in the morning.  Dances with Bulls went in mid-way up the calf; rumor has it that Air Horn wound up practically swimming the thing.  They were further slowed down by scores of trees that were generating fluffy white foam at their bases, which looked confusingly like flour – although the actual flour was mostly shades of yellow-brown by the time the hashers found it.  Nonetheless, not much more than an hour after the brief, the Davis deck was thick with successful and now semi-dressed hashers changing into dry things.

So happy he did not have to hash on Sunday, when today's rain ceded to giant chunks of frozen slush.

Once re-dressed, they headed indoors to where Jill, Norm and PMCA had ensured several groaning boards of pulled pork, beans, chicken slices, four salads? or five?, and a multi-veggie casserole, plus chips and dips and cheese on every surface and brownies somewhere.  Many, many bottles and one Black Box of wine and a beer selection that included a growler and Warrenton’s finest Bust Head English Pale Ale enabled everyone to wash down as much food as they could stuff into themselves.

Mufti announced his own 1,497th run, and his dear wife’s 497th.  Coincidence?  Hmmm...  But if he stays home for the next 20 years, she can catch him up.  Boom Boom reached five, Phoenix Rising 700, and Irene the double-6s (600 to the Number of the Beast!).  Dave, who volunteered a portion of his lawn for Drill Me Fill Me’s trail last week, chose this as his first hash (99 to the cup!) and he and his brand-new sneakers got thoroughly baptized.

After threatening "another boring Mufti run" Our F.L. helped host this one instead by bringing dessert around the room.

For a visual lesson in stream-jumping form, check out the photographs here.  (That first one, of BBoD – he is making a funny face on purpose.  Never mind why.)  For a sunshiny beautiful hash, keep your fingers crossed and your aura shiny, and join us at Valiant’s next week.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

GFH3 Run #1,744; 22 March 2014

The first hash of spring brought spring-like temperatures and celebratory sunshine pouring across the ponds, lawns and briar patches of Great Falls.  After dusting himself liberally with flour, the heroic Drill Me, Fill Me opened his home to 37 hashers including head chef Irene and co-hare Air Horn.  DMFM to AH:  “I’m covered with flour, and you’re practically clean.  How did that happen?”  AH showed off his beautiful, custom made (of plastic grocery sacks and duct tape) flour bag in explanation.

Mad Dog, leading the pack as per ;-)

The Mufti, returned from tropical climes on Sunday last, just in time for the 900th snowstorm of this winter, expressed appreciation for the weather, concern about the lapse in discipline the GFH3 suffered during his absence, and a promise to re-instill said discipline with an iron fist.  Several people chuckled appreciatively.  When AH and DMFM promised no death march, several people huzzahed appreciatively.  The hares also noted that the marks really were on the left, mostly, and that they had permission for a half-dozen or so forays onto private property.

True trail was just under four miles, with a mix of pavement and dirt footing, and at least a couple of fences to traverse.  Walkers went in different directions, some taking and some ignoring the advice of their kind host.  Easy Strider, back on the DL, and I kindly marked checks that the FRBs forgot, those SOBs.  The pack did get a bit strung out, and several runners seem to have gotten confused at the very end of the trail, heading up Springvale (sadly missing an amusing back-check six) or across the back yards of people who hadn’t necessarily granted permission.

Not content with hashing for a hobby, Paint in the Ass and Easy Strider are taking up taxidermy.  Or something.

No buckshot pursued anyone to the On In, and good thing too as it messes up the flavor of the chicken tikka masala.  A wide selection of beers, fruity-nutty salad and tiramisu made the meal complete.  Most everyone sat outside, which is a midge tricky when the pool is still covered, but worth the tip-toeing on a day like this one.

Mufti called roll without incident.  His own 1,497 has apparently been scrupulously audited already.  Chris expressed regret that her years of hashing in foreign parts still doesn’t get her past two at the GFH3.  She is, however, thrilled by the lower-key and lack of down-downs at our country club.  Nobody put a foot through the pool cover, and everybody checked for ticks.  Right?

If you look at the pictures, you will notice a sequence that begins with Air Horn, seen from the left, with both hands together in front of him.  Sadly, you can’t see the snowball he’s packing between those hands.  The subsequent pictures show him readying to throw, Easy Strider getting ready to catch, then catching, then observing the snowball, then laughing at Mini Schlonga, who is brushing snow off his shoulder, then M.S. setting off to supply himself with his own snowball, then one of Gale leaping up to extract snow from her shirt, then Gale chasing M.S.  Hijinks of this sort aren’t the norm for our usually sophisticated hash, but spring fever takes different people different ways.  Thanks for photos, Irene, Beef Strokemoff and Suck, Squeeze, Bang!

The kind of day that makes some of us wish to stop time.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

GFH3 Run #1,743; 15 March 2014

Beware the Ides of March, they cautioned J. Caesar back in the day, but the warning doesn’t seem to apply to the GFH3.  Perhaps that’s because for Lezley, there’s no such thing as the Ides; she calls it "two days before St. Patrick’s Day."  So she ladled up a warm and sunny day, silly hats and green beads that caused one Herndon civilian out on trail to guess that we were celebrating a tardy Mardi Gras.  We were, of course, actually celebrating the news that Zipperhead got through serious surgery successfully.

Lezley and Lori were responsible for a five-mile true trail for the runners that included, in the celebratory spirit, ‘real water crossings, not the wimpy Herndon ones.’  That’s a paraphrase, but Lori’s share of the brief certainly included the word ‘wimpy.’  The walkers’ trail is a perennial favorite, permanently marked in blue and white spray-paint arrows.  Word is that the runners’ trail went a considerable distance; evidence suggests that it was quite successful in keeping the pack nicely grouped.  Only Rick got seriously lost; that’s what you get for being FRB at that age.  Sheesh.

The pack, part I, following Rick and Mini Schlonga, both some distance ahead.

Back at Antrim West, there was a feast of corned beef on a platter, regular beef stewed up with spuds and carrots, and a sublime potato-leek soup for those who eschew red meat.  (There’s a pun struggling up through that sentence.)  Also some sausage, possibly to be called bangers just for today, and a huge quantity of Irish beers, including Guinness, which is Good For You, that more than satisfied forty hungry hashers.

The Mufti having decided not to return early from Hawai’i, the Associate Mufti performed his signature 45-minute roll call.  For reasons of his own, he first demanded a shot of whisky, then settled for a nip of Drambuie.  Later, for what can’t possibly be any good reason, Don brought out a full-size, brand new bottle of single-malt Scotch, which the Hash consumed so quickly you’d think they believe they’re worth high-quality hard liquor.

Hash time is happy time!

Despite taking sick leave (is this elective surgery?) Zipperhead got credit for a run, which is unprecedented.  Ole Fud made it to 700 (he was one of our first hashers, but what with traveling the world to save the global economy all those years, he didn’t make it to as many hashes as he would have liked), and I think it was the Oral Advocate himself who hit 750.  Michael attended his first hash but didn’t put himself up for the roll, and Robert made four.  Whoo hoo.  Lori hit 100, and the O.A. declared her, “Nippletism,” but we’ll believe it when the Mufti says it’s true.  Rick hit 99.2 – he’ll make 100 when Double Breasted Boobie is here to see it happen.  Speaking of Mufti, he’s stuck at 1,496.  Whoo hoo.

Here’s what it looked like.  Be sure to keep checking the website; prospective hero Drill Me Fill Me is considering hosting at an empty lot near his home next week.  He’s considering Port-a-Potties, but you might want to stop by the toilets at the Brogue on your way to the meet, just in case. 

Get well and stay well, please.

THIS JUST IN:  Chip Off the Old Dick fills in the details of an October 2013 run that sounds like an unusually excellent good time for all.  Check it out here.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

GFH3 Run #1,742; 8 March 2014

Oh, the soft advent of springtime in Virginia:  the suddenly warm days, the gentle caress of a hesitant sun, the rapid melt of six to ten inches of snow that drenches the earth and turns all of Great Falls into a murky stew of slick red clay, semi-liquid goose poop and little surprise crunchy bits – nuggets of ice crystals, deer droppings, pointed twigs shed by trees eager for new life.  And the opportunity to run through this slop, under blue and golden skies, inspired 47 lonely souls to congregate at Zipperhead and Phlashback’s and start shedding jackets in the warmth.

We sent condolences to Blow in the Hole, whose mother died early in the week.  We tried to figure out how to tell Roi from Rei.  We refrained from talking baby-talk to Nathan, who is quite a big boy now.  We unfortunately missed the bit about whether to count the backcheck, but heard something about ‘an unusual trail,’ and then we watched Rough Cut run out into the street with a large, milling crowd shouting, “On on!” encouragingly from the safety of the driveway.

Ha ha!  Not that way!
Once Rough Cut figured out that the trail didn’t begin to the left, almost everyone tried rushing through the yard and out the back.  That didn’t work either!  Unusual indeed to begin by running up the street to the right, and smack into G.F. Village.  The walkers, having stayed back to get specific instructions for their trail, mingled with the runners at the light, and Dances with Bulls and Zipperhead watched carefully to be sure no one crossed the streams.  Or trails.  In a moment of bold unusualness, they’d set a figure-eight trail.  After five to eight miles of mostly broken-trail running, the pack hit a backcheck three that got them headed for the On In.

A fine example of getting across broken ground with exuberance.
The gorgeous weather made the patio safe for drinking and eating, with a creamy, rich potato soup and three or four kinds of bread as the feature foodstuffs, and a vast array of chips and dips to fill in at the edges.  Sandra, not content with volunteering to help set on just her third outing with the GFH3, also made some tasty bolhos (or something like that – Mozambiquean doughnuts, or beignet if you’re still in a Mardi Gras mindset) liberally coated with flaked coconut.

The Oral Advocate donned his Associate Mufti  persona, which is very loud, and called the roll.  Infrequent visitors Grey Ghost (the former Wombat Willie), Brogue Bait and Hard to Catch got welcomed back, and there were several first-timers and single-digit-run-count types.  Huzzah!  90-something to the cup!  Lori hit 99, with wailing and lamentations, and Zipperhead... had a birthday!  Good thing the Jazz Swinger made one of her guest star appearances to lead the singing.  The Executive Committee met, doubtless with disastrous results (for other people, not for you, dear), and the sun began to set, taking its gladdening warmth with it.  Queen Cobra and Paul hit the road in her namesake convertible before it got too chilly, while Phoenix Rising sat around drinking, philosophically accepting that his drop-top drive home would be miserably cold.

Happy birthday, Zipperhead!  Happy spring, everyone!

Bravo for an excellent walkers’ trail that poached on a lengthy section of the runners’ trail, and bravo for the large crowd of veterans and newbies that enjoyed the day together.  And hooray that no one got run over by a deer, although the pack did frighten a substantial herd.  There are some photos of them, showing us how running is really done, mixed in with all the usual subjects.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

GFH3 Run #1,741; 1 March 2014

For her first hash last fall, Paula hosted from a new location for the GFH3, and for her second hash today, she did the same.  See, she moved between hashes, and is now in a luxurious garden-view apartment in west Arlington, where the hills are plentiful and there’s enough parkland to offer up some shiggy, if you know where to look.  And Paula, Mitch and I’m Not Dead Yet knew where to look, so there were rich rewards for the 37 or 38 hashers who decided that the relative warmth offset the overcast skies and met up for a run today.

Hash brief, with background weirdos.
Runners got a five-mile true trail, and walkers got a three-mile – if they chose to accept it, which a few didn’t.  (Three miles is just a skosh farther than some of this crew like to walk.)  Valiant demonstrated the wisdom of a 31-plus year hasher and ran the walkers’ trail.  Judging by the condition of those who ran the runners’ trail, those few miles (Mini Schlonga got about seven on his GPS, but he ran the entire back-check 13) packed a wallop.  Everything undulates in that part of town, so calves and quads and gluts and lungs all get that little extra exercise boost, and by the time they’d jumped off the dam and crossed the stream and gotten all lost and confused around the BC-13, so lost and confused, in fact, that Phoenix Rising wound up running the trail forward, the runners were feeling the workout.  So when they reached a back-check five that sent them up a steep-ish staircase, the cheery smiles were starting to droop a bit – except Easy Strider’s.  He was thrilled to be back on trail regardless of back-checks.  Consensus, though, was that it was a good thing the trail took them more or less straight back to the house from there.

And the good things continued:  the house was full of wonderful smells.  In case you missed it, Paula’s roots are Portuguese, and a business trip to southeastern Massachusetts earlier in the week allowed her to stock up on bacalhau and fava beans.  Many hours in the kitchen (Mitch helped with the cod balls) allowed her to serve up a feast of pasteis, garbanzos with salt cod, stewed beans, and chorizo, with flan and arroz doce (rice pudding) for those who ate up all their beans.  No complaints about the beer, but the wines were truly special today, including a fantastic Portuguese Dao.  Seriously, this is way too good for the hash, but oh how grateful we are.

It's a hash, not a rugby scrum - except when the food comes out.
Mufti shouted the roll one more time before taking off to Hawai’i to rest his throat for a couple of weeks.  Loose Caboose got her birthday serenade.  Mitch hit double 4s; Bionic Babe was triple 3s, someone else was double 7s, and there were some suspect 644s or something, but Our Fearless Leader was almost hyperventilating with the excitement of it all before he finally got around to welcoming four newcomers.  Yay for Beth and Dennis and everyone else.  Double yay if we see you next week.  Sandra came back for #2, and Rick hit 99 with Lori just behind him at 98.  Mini Schlonga is close to 200.  The Executive Committee has some serious thinking to do.

If you like, you can include this story from Rick in that thinking:  “A number of us near the front of the
pack encountered a gentleman walking his dog.  I recognized him as a former Army officer with whom I had served during my career, so I stopped to say hello and briefly explained what this crazy bunch of people were doing as we ran through the woods yelling ‘On-On!’  He was clearly amused, so I invited him to join us.  He pointed towards his small dog and replied ruefully, ‘I can't do that today, but maybe another time.’

“So Great Falls Hashers should not be surprised if one day soon we are joined by General (Retired) Dennis Reimer, Chief of Staff, United States Army, 1995-1999.  As our nation's top Army officer during the conflict in Bosnia and Kosovo, he would certainly have some stories to share with us all.”

I vote Rick contact the general to invite him specifically to the next hash.  And the next one.

Lots of photos despite the poor light conditions; just click here.