If there are kids jingle-belling, though, I might choke someone. I'm not talking about Christmas. While I love the holiday, I don't ever want to experience another winter.
Instead, I'm talking about one of my favorite races on the planet: Dizzy GOAT!
For Ashley and I, this is year numero 4 of Dizzy GOAT. Our daughter, Maddie, and fellow run nebraska homey, Hector, are doing it for the second time. run nebraska in the house. This is a race that we have on the calendar every year and we can't wait for the 2018 iteration. I've searched for a picture of good ol' Hector, but he's apparently some kind of vampire (not the sparkly kind from Twilight) and doesn't show up in pictures.
Dizzy GOAT is a unique race. Unlike other races, this one is time-based. When you register, you choose either the 3-hour, 6-hour or 12-hour option and then run 3 mile loops over and over again at Schramm Park State Recreation Area. Still with me? Good. So not only do you run the same 3 mile loop for 3, 6 or 12 hours, but you also change directions after each loop. As if the concept isn't nuts already, but there's a massive incline called "What the Hill?!" that climbs approximately 125 feet in less than 1/4 mile. On some loops, you're fortunate to be running down What the Hill?!, while on other loops, you have to trudge up that monster. The 12-hour runners start at 7 a.m., the 6-hour runners start at 1 p.m. and the 3-hour runners start at 4 p.m.. As a result of this structure, everyone finishes at 7 p.m..
Of the 3-ish mile loop, 3/4 of it is on dirt and crushed limestone trails. The course is scenic and you're constantly running by or past other runners. Since you switch directions every loop, there are people coming and going every which way which allows for a ton of camaraderie, high-fives and butt-slaps (if you're into that sort of thing).
There are a ton of things to love about this race. The energy from the runners and volunteers is infectious. It's like a giant party. The few volunteer areas are practically like a rave in the middle of the woods, sans the glow sticks and drugs. Then there are the aid stations. These aren't your typical post-race grab-a-banana-or-bagel-and-bottle-of-water kind of aid stations. Here, you have candy, sandwiches, pop, electrolyte drinks, chips, pretzels, pickles...virtually anything your heart desires. Trust me - when you're out in the heat running for 3, 6 or 12 hours, you will want food. Finally, if you haven't been to Schramm, the trails are awesome. It's scenic and pretty, and there's no way to get bored running through nature like this.
I'll be running the 3-hour race again this year. Surprisingly 3 hours goes a lot faster than you might imagine. At first, you're thinking "Holy shit. It's 9,000 degrees outside and I have to do this for 3 freaking hours?!". But then the gun goes off and you finish. I did a lot of scientific research on this and I think it has something to do with the fact that it's time-based, so you're not running against a certain distance; you're racing the clock and trying to get in as many laps as possible in your allotted time frame. Every year, I run myself completely into the ground and I love it. Don't believe me? Find me after the race. You'll know.
But one of the biggest things I love about this race is that I get to see my wife, daughter and friends multiple times throughout the race, which is so unlike every other event, even and out-and-back road race. I might be dying inside, but the support and energy you get from a race like this give you a giant kick in the butt and that boost you need right when you're feeling at your worst.
So if you're running Dizzy GOAT on Saturday and happen to see some idiot doubled over on the grass after the race is over begging for either Sprite, or for someone to put him out of his misery, that's me. Stop by and say "hello", or tell me I'm a moron. Either way...