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One year ago today, I published my first post here on Anyone Can Enter.
In the 12 months that followed, I’ve stuck to my mission of competing in at least one offbeat, obscure, wacky, or just plain ridiculous event each month, so long as anyone can enter. Along the way, I have succeeded (winning a national championship in egg tossing) and failed (in nearly everything else). More than anything, I’ve had fun at every step. Even when I was earning the title Last Ass in a pack burro race in Colorado or listening to my friends crack on me for failing to complete the Krispy Kreme Challenge.
The way I see it, this occasion deserves a professionally baked cake. It may seem crazy—buying a cake to celebrate the anniversary of a blog—but is it really any crazier than jumping into a freezing cold lake on New Year’s Day or throwing yourself down a hill after a wheel of cheese? I don’t think so.
Plus, this blog is responsible for more than a series of wacky adventures. Back in that first post, I set a few additional goals. One was to lose about 20 pounds. The other was to run a marathon. I’m happy to say that I have exceeded my weight loss goal and that in four days, I’m running in the Tobacco Road Marathon.
As for next year, I doubt I can stand to lose 20 more pounds and I’m not sure I can continue competing in one event each month. But I do plan to maintain this blog. Sometime after the marathon, expect a more sentimental retrospective, complete with a year-in-review video and a more detailed plan for the future of Anyone Can Enter.
For now, let’s take a look at the first year of Anyone Can Enter by the numbers…
11,975—All-time blog views (not including my own views)
8,667—Miles traveled to and from events
1,776—Stairs climbed at the CN Tower Climb
650—Approximate number of people who endured my attempt to holler at the National Hollerin’ Contest
365—Days my awesome, beautiful wife Carie has had to put up with all this nonsense
350—Most blog views in one day, largely thanks to @darrenrovell
349—Second-most blog views in one day, largely thanks to Penn Holderness
335—Comments you’ve made on the blog
253—Miles I’ve run since October, when I started training for the Tobacco Road Marathon
149—Votes I lost by to the eventual winner of the News & Observer’s Ugly Sweater Contest
86—Percentage of people who voted for me to shave my head for the Warrior Dash
62—Feet between Mike Hepp and I when we completed our winning toss in the National Egg Toss Championship
50—Approximate number of people who jumped into a freezing cold lake with me on New Year’s Day
42—Stone skips registered by Russ Byars at the Pennsylvania Stone Skipping Tournament, 27 more than my best effort
25 (and counting)—pounds I’ve lost since starting this blog
15—Trees we planted during the Asheville Idiotarod
10.5—Doughnuts I managed to eat at the Krispy Kreme Challenge, 1.5 less than the necessary dozen to complete the challenge
10—Men, including me, who entered the Idaho Springs Pack Burro Race
9—Men who finished ahead of me in the Idaho Springs Pack Burro Race
4—Orange habanero peppers I ate during the Bailey Farms Chile Pepper Eating Contest before bowing out to the Toothless Pepper King, who ate 14
3—National champion coaches who declined my request for advice leading up to the National Egg Toss Championship
1—National championship won without the help of national championship coaches
I’m somewhat embarrassed to say this, but one day after crossing the finish line of the Asheville Idiotarod, I’m still feeling the pain of the course.
In fact, I’m in more pain today than I ever was at any point after the CN Tower Stair Climb.
Thanks to the rock hard ground in which we planted trees and bushes along the route, I not only have two open blisters on the insides of my thumbs, but I can barely feel the sole of my right foot. That’s because running shoes aren’t exactly made to give you a firm, wide base when slamming your foot onto a shovel. On every 10th shovel kick, my shoe got stuck between the metal part of the shovel and the shaft. When I got fed up with that, I relied heavily on jabbing the shovel with my arms. So, big surprise, my triceps are also burning today.
Then, of course, there was the matter of actually pushing the cart up and down the city streets for the better part of 3 miles. That took quite the toll on my legs.
I guess this is all to be expected. Unlike tower running, I never really trained for the idiotarod, and it’s not like I was going to get a cart for practice. Or run a mile and dig 15 holes in my neighbors’ yards as fast I can.
Then again, I really shouldn’t be this sore. It’s the Idiotarod, not the Ironman. What this tells me, obviously, is that I’m nowhere closer to being in better shape than when I started this process. While making a giant fool of myself was certainly one of my main objectives, losing a few pounds and getting a little faster remain high on my list of goals.
Therefore, it’s officially time to start kicking my training up a notch.
Unfortunately, my next two scheduled events are an egg toss and a hollerin’ contest. Unless it’s an extreme egg toss in which I’m blindfolded, running backwards through rush-hour traffic, I doubt it’s going to help me achieve my physical goals. I know for a fact, however, that it is your standard, run-of-the-mill egg toss (although it does bill itself as a national championship).
Don’t get me wrong. I do plan to train extensively for the hollerin’ contest and the egg toss. But in order to kickstart my journey to peak physical fitness, I’m going to need to register for that half marathon sometime soon. That way, I’ll have a goal, and training won’t be an option.
As for right now, I need to grab another ice pack.
I’m happy to say that our cart, idiotapong, made front page news in Asheville today.
Well, it was actually just on the Asheville Citizen-Time’s website. But we were the first team pictured in their gallery.
I took several pics before, during, and after the race. Unfortunately, my phone would not allow me to upload them during the race. Here’s a few now:
A random assortment of competitors before the race.
A team of men wearing dresses.
And, finally, a before and after shot of our ping pong table cart. I think that much flour was caked in my hair, too.
Shortly after finishing the Idiotarod, we shot this video recap during which I was mildly incoherent. I suppose that’s to be expected after pushing a cart 3 miles in the midday sun with occasional stops to plant trees, all while similar likeminded folks ran past squirting water guns, flinging bags of flour in my face, and decorating my head with shaving cream.
In all the madness, I forgot to mention a few important facts. Here they are.
Weirdest thing somebody said to us: “I’m not trying to rape you, I’m just trying to pull down your pants.” This came from a shaving-cream-shooting opponent as she shot Barbasol down the back of Lauri’s pants. Perhaps this should be outlawed next year. Then again, this is Asheville. And the girl did say she wasn’t trying to rape her, so maybe we should give her some credit. Plus, it was a girl!
Apparently, there is a line we don’t cross when picking up trash: For Lauri, it was a condom wrapper. Gross.
Coolest thing that happened during the race: Since we were in last place and because this race takes place on the city streets of Asheville, we had a personal police escort for the last mile of the race. As we trudged along the neighborhood streets, one resident sprayed us with her hose and her boyfriend offered me a beer. I quickly shook his hand, accepted the beer, and we were off. I cracked open the beer and started chugging. After downing half of the New Belgium Ranger IPA, I soaked in the moment. I was pushing a shopping cart made to look like a ping pong table. I was completely covered in sweat, flour, shaving cream, and dirt. I was wearing striped tube socks. I was drinking a beer. And all along, I had a personal police escort.
Richard was right: When I talked to race founder and organizer Richard Handy a few days ago, he told me that this race would be the most fun I’d have while giving back. I’m willing to buy that. Even though we officially crossed the finish line without two of our team members (although they weren’t too far behind, and did finish, just not with the cart), and even though one of them suffered a freak injury, I did have a great time. We planted a ton of trees (ok, it was more like 15, but as hard as the ground was, it felt like a ton, and I’ve got the blisters to prove it). We helped beautify the grounds of a church. And we donated 51 cans to a local food bank.
And after the race was finished, we even got in a game of beer pong.
That’s all for now. A four-hour drive home is staring us in the face. Thanks for checking in on the updates.
We may not have finished in first place, but we did pick up the most trash along the way… therefore, we are the winners of the Oscar The Grouch award. In other words, I now have a gift card worth $25 to an Asheville establishment called JK’s Kitchen.
And this is just in, Lauri just won a made-up-on-the-spot award called the Slyvester Stallone award for refusing to accept a ride back to the finish line after the cinderblock bombers sprained her ankle.
In last place, but I think we may have won some prizes! Stay tuned…
An opposing team nearly rendered Lauri’s ankle useless with an unsuspecting cinderblock bomb. With no chance of winning it all, we’re trying to win the award for most trees planted. Oh, someone else sprayed shaving cream down her pants. Yikes.
Back to digging!
And we’re nearly off.
Carie is getting loads better at ping pong. Too bad real ping pong tables are three times bigger than this one.
We’re here at the start of the race and I think most people confused this with the Nakedarod. Mainly the guys. This scares me.