Sunday, April 27, 2014

GFH3 Run #1,749; 26 April 2014

Next spring, try to remember that Sally and Richard have a hot tub, so you should bring your swim suit to their annual GFH3 hash out in Lovettsville.  And mark your calendar for the event, as it is well worth the drive to practically-West Virginia AND practically-Maryland for this event.  Their home is perched on a hillside with sweeping views of a vast field, a sylvan arcadia and some blue-tinted, gently rounded mountains bumping the sky.  All of this easily visible from the hot tub.  Plus... wait, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

And did you notice the Hash flag, marking the right driveway?

Twelve runners, eight walkers, three sitters and two hosts made the drive to farmland for today’s hash, and they were rewarded with glorious blue skies, the puffy kind of clouds that may be cumulus, ideal temperatures and a world in bloom.  Also, a not-too-challenging run of about five miles, mostly on roads, although out in these parts, ‘roads’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘pavement.’  Before they set out, Sally did a lyrical interpretive dance to ensure that the hash marks they’d used mean what this group thinks they mean.  They do.  It’s all okay.  So everyone leapt uphill into the backyard, then downhill into the front yard (ha ha!), got mixed up with the walkers, and made it to the street.

The walkers were ambling Hiddencroft Vineyards-ward!  This was Sally’s recommendation, and not half bad.  The vineyard, a bit over a mile from the house, is owned by two NGA alums and self-taught vintners.  They are doing impressive work with the Chambourcins and Vidal Blancs and Cabernet Francs and Tannats, which we know because 5.5 walkers and a rebellious runner enjoyed the vineyard tasting.  Our kind hostess provided a ride back to the house, in case the walkers couldn’t hold their liquor.

No, seriously -- this is a running club.
The runners were all back by the time the walkers returned, and had made vicious work of a couple substantial cheeses whilst awaiting the schnitzel.  It arrived in due course, to round out the robust potato salad that Richard assures us is the main part of the meal in the Czech Republic.  Salad, baked potatoes and cookies ensured no one went hungry; several boxes of Black Box and a diverse selection of beers that included Guinness and Tecate ensured no one dehydrated.  Peanut, Mango and Kantje provided a bit of entertainment.

The Mufti provided a roll call that revealed the double sixes for Gale, the triple sixes for Easy Strider (whoOOOoo-ooOOooo) and the return of Rrocks Starr, finally bored with all that blazing sunshine and warmth they give him on the west coast.  The Oral Advocate got credit for the meeting for showing up, despite having claimed that sixty-some miles of bicycling and 90-some miles of driving exempted him from the run; Phoenix Rising got no credit for asking Air Horn please to tell the Mufti that he demanded credit on grounds of some feat of athleticism committed elsewheres today.  The fire kept the worst of the gnats away, and the dogs played some more.

Floor show.
Next week:  Saturday at Spurt’s on the 3rd, and then we switch to Wednesdays on the 7th, with the Mufti celebrating 1,500 runs and BC3 celebrating 500, at the Reston Pavilion I believe.  In case you need reminding which one is the Mufti, you’ll find him pictured here, along with a few of his dearest.

THIS JUST IN:  From Bad Fred a/k/a Cums Too Fast - he improved his time in this year's Boston Marathon from 3:15:08 last year to 3:09:55 this year.  For those of you asking why he couldn't break three hours, please note that a) breaking 3:10 was a significant achievement, b) he's qualified for Boston 2015, and c) he's preparing for a 12-plus mile swim around Key West that takes place in late June.  Good thing he's a C-lister, right?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

GFH3 Run #1,748; 19 April 2014

It was an Easter egg hunt... for one little egg.

Greg and Lori sent the runners out into the Herndon woods at the back of the house, at the unconsciensably early hour of 3:06 or thereabouts.  They got a good size pack -- about 22? -- and offered them a healthy trail of roughly four miles, with a bit of mud and brambles and a fence enclosing ten or more dogs at someone's house.  Easy Strider thinks one dog, maybe two, is fine.  But a dozen?  The one egg, however, was near that house, and Air Horn found it right where E.S. left it, in the middle of a check that no one ever marked, and carried it back to the On In as his trophy.

Scrabbling, in the True Hasher fashion.

Meanwhile, a gaggle of runners decided to stay on the road after muffing a check, instead of scrabbling back into the woods and running along the fence guarding the super-secure Fairfax County water treatment facility.  Boo!  Shameless shortcutters!  They missed some extra mud.  Not as much, however, as an entire contingent of runners who seem to have veered off long before Wiehle -- no report from those people, but there they were, on the deck, enjoying the warmth and the cloud cover and the fajitas and a wide selection of wines and beers.  Maybe twelve walkers managed to divide themselves into at least three groups taking distinctly different routes; half of them arriving after the runners were all in.  A very straggly hash.  Whatever happened to that Fist of Discipline the Mufti promised to bring down upon us all?

Two kinds of tortillas, chicken and beans and veg and cheese and....

Anyway, the run was great, the weather was decent, and the potential sighting of a blue heron added a pleasant anticipatory tingle to enhance the beauty of springtime in northern Virginia.  The food was excellent and plentiful, although it would be interesting to know where the Fist of D. was when early finishers were snarfing up guacamole by the quart.

Now we get serious.
Food largely dispatched, and a very happy looking cake on the table, the Mufti broke tradition by presenting new names before calling the roll.  Lori, actually at 103 runs, was up first, and was thrilled to learn that the Executive Committee's original pick of 'Nippletism' had been shortened to 'Nipples.'  Acid-green t-shirt presented, she bravely raised the cup of beer-wine-water to her lips, and had the Mufti snatch it away and dump the contents over the edge of the deck to wither the mulch below.

Rick (105 runs) got to hear several of the nicknames proposed by his nearest and dearest, including 'Howls for Hooters' and 'Sugar Daddy.'  He promised there are stories behind those, but didn't tell them.  With a flourish, the Mufti presented the bright red t-shirt emblazoned, 'Climax Investigator.'  Nipples offered C.I. the 100-run cup, and he actually swallowed a mouthful of beer-wine-Gatorade punch.  It made his mouth look funny.

Welcome to the Executive Committee!
Lots of cheering, hooray hooray, and short speeches, and joy abundant about the land.  Mufti's roll call was pretty exciting, too, with Rachel earning five bonus runs for correctly guessing the number recorded for her on the C List (6, so she's now at 11).  Aaron made it back for number two, and admitted he was unfamiliar with the local strain of poison ivy, having been here only two weeks.  Oh, boy.  Someone watch him carefully.  Chris, Rosemary and Alyssa celebrated #1s, and Randy and Tim both hit #2.  I myself reached 300 runs, and you may now all call me Bubbles, instead of the nickname being exclusive to the Ole Fud.  Probably no one but me will call him Trouble, though.

It was a great hash.  Nipples had prizes for the three hashers involved in discovering the egg:  handsome furry ears and a little chocolate bunny.  Plus cake, without even a birthday.  Check out the pix if you like; thanks to Blow in the Hole and Beef Strokemoff for shutter assistance.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

GFH3 Run #1,747; 12 April 2014

What a day for a celebration, or a small slew thereof.  The sun has finally returned for good, and something like 55 barbarians broke down the gates at Air Horn’s to help him celebrate his something-or-othereth birthday and the marriage, last fall, of his charming daughter Brogue Bait to the delightful Seth.  BB and Seth attracted a whole bunch of whippersnapper friends and relatives, including the ridiculously whippersnapperish Mallory, who hasn’t yet begun to toddle.  The Mount Vernon H3 sent a half-dozen or so representatives, attracted by the 70-degree temps, the woodlands of Great Falls, and the possibility of champagne.

Do this.  Go these ways.  Marks are on the ground, or somewhere.
AH and Pumpmaster set, and Pumpmaster promised to sweep, carrying home any victims of his youthful exuberance in one arm.  Ah, to be young in the springtime, and a professional gym rat.  AH reminded everyone that cars + hashers = danger, and regretted the intrusion of roads into his trail.  Then everyone ran away, except the walkers.  The walkers stayed for advice on where to walk, and then they all strolled away and began ignoring the advice.

If they are going to make days this beautiful, you might as well run around in them.
About an hour after they set out, the runners emerged from Riverbend Park onto Riverbend Road, and then it was only a hop (up onto the shoulder, to be out of the way of the cars), skip (up and down the pipeline hills) and a jump (over a little creek) until they were back at the On In.  Shortcutters finished first, unless they walked their shortcut, in which case they came in after the sweeper.  AH finished his Peruvian-chicken run a few minutes after the last runners arrived.  Everyone fell to with vigor when the hosts started stirring that delicious green sauce Peruvians serve with their chicken.  After a while, with the first hunger pangs sated, the hosts started popping corks, AH sending them high over, and eventually down into, the crowd.  People grabbed their bubbly, added o.j. as desired, and started toasting.  AH also, in an excess of celebratory spirit, demanded his birthday song, which this reporter found unusually painful.  Thanks to Rick for that. 

Heads up! but only if you're wearing safety goggles.
On behalf of the Hash, the Mufti presented the not-that-newlyweds with a handsome hare to decorate their happy home.  AH made the usual pseudo-speech.  The double-barreled cake (vanilla for birthday; chocolate for marriage) was trimmed with the same china cake-toppers that decorated AH and his late wife’s wedding cake 40-ish years ago.  Sweet.

Mufti started roll-calling.  Paula arrived, damaged but undefeated, at the double-4s; was it Sally at double-3s?  Seth made seven.  Land Ho made it to two hashes in a row, and promised to come back really soon.  She’s taken a j-o-b, so Saturdays may be busy for a while, and she’s working at a marina, so the employee discount may make the paychecks moot.  Ole Fud abandoned us for West Point and lacrosse honors, but Double-Breasted Booby flew in from the west coast just to see her favorite hash.  A bunch of people won cheers for their first hashes, huzzah huzzah and 99 to the.  Next week should see Rick and Lori with their new names finally awarded, and Mufti and BC3 will host on the first Wednesday, which is to say 7 May, at the pavilion.  They will, on that occasion, finally achieve their 1,500th and 500th runs, respectively.

There are photos of much of the celebration and some of the sunshine right here.

And they lived happily ever after.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

GFH3 Run #1,746; 5 April 2014

One of the things that makes hashing so much fun is that once or twice a year you get to host, and when you do, you have no idea whether 26 people will show up, like last week in the rain, or 56 people, like this week in the bright sunshine.  Of course if you’re Valiant, and have a reputation for bringing the sun, a birthday to celebrate, and a track record of amusing things like apologetic police intervention happening at your hashes, you probably plan for the higher end of the range.

On on!
Of course, with more people gathered, it’s easier to lose someone, or several someones, and this was a hash of many losses.  Who would have predicted that at the outset?  We had, after all, great weather.   Valiant offered a well-marked trail through beautiful territory, and warned against following the less reliable runners.  There was a promise of cake at the On In.  So the pack took off into an innocent Great Falls spring, and wended its way north and downriver, shoving deer out of the way as needed.  Chip Off the Old Dick was so pleased with the scenery that he took what he thought was a longer route, and wound up way in front.  Missing his friends, he chose one of the many checks to essay what was surely a false trail, and headed back to True when he heard the hounds hallooing.  Most of the pack was keeping together nicely, and emerged from the woods to jog through South Down on the appropriately-named Bliss Lane.  A splinter group of short-cutters rejoined the pack from the east, which seems like it ought to have been a long-cut, and Jeffy Lube, after a late start, came pounding down Springvale at the end.

Almost Bliss
The runners joined the walkers over multiple pans of lasagna and eggplant parmesan, and a wonderfully tangy salad, Black Box wine and a variety of beers.  The clouds massed and the crowd donned jackets and sweatshirts.  Blow in the Hole asked whether anyone had seen New Sandra, and the question spread.  Reports emerged that she’d been seen walking with several others.  As brains and memories sparked and fizzed, Sandra and co. strolled in from their walk.  Heats it UP is almost certainly to blame for the dilatoriness, as she tends to take the expression, “Let’s just go a little farther,” just a little too far.  Job Blow, asked whether he’d been worried that she’d gone missing, attested, “Well, I was just starting to wonder about that.”

The Mufti started the roll, and Suck Squeeze Bang got in the car to go hunt for Heater Beater, another late-starter.  She almost ran him over as he rounded the corner into the driveway.  Mufti was excited by Paul’s double-sixes, his own 1,498.5, three first-timers, the return of Pulls Out Early and Land Ho, Job Blow’s 400th, Zipperhead’s newly-zippered thoracic cavity and its enhanced capacity, and Valiant’s birthday.  We were all excited by such an eventful roll, though tempered with concern that no one had seen Paula for a really long time.  The cake finished and Job Blow re-named (Cums and Blows, maybe? [no, it's actually Blows and Goes -ed, months later]), search parties organized themselves and headed out in different directions via foot, car and bike.  It was getting really quite chilly when an unfamiliar car pulled in with Paula in the passenger seat, and the searchers were recalled.  Paula had also started late, and on losing her companion decided to turn around and go back before it got any colder.  A wrong turn or two took her way far off trail, with the temperature dropping and no one in sight.  No banjo music, but plenty of other alarming encounters eventually brought her to Bea and Dave in Loudon County, who thrust her into a warm car and drove her down the Pike to us.  Paula resolves never to run alone in Great Falls again.

It does not matter WHEN they put the cake out; you are NOT ALLOWED to eat cake until AFTER the birthday song.

Meet the rescuers in the photos.  Also, Mufti asked me to post the thank-you note Blow in the Hole sent to the GFH3 care-of him; so here it is.  Finally, click here to read about Joyce S.’s daughter’s best friend, Jaime Rowley, killed in March while running in Ashburn.  Her friends and family have raised over $100,000 to help fund her daughters’ educations, and are considering spreading the effort to the families of other runners injured or killed while pursuing their sport.