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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Hashtravaganza 6

Saturday, I went for something much different than my status quo trails.  I ran my first Hash Run.  I learned about the Hash House Harriers several years ago.    I was told that they were “drinkers with a running problem.”  Sounded interesting, but years passed and I never “hashed.”  It seemed to me that beer and running didn’t mix.  With all the falling and tripping I do on the trails sober, how would I run after some beers?

My friend Emmett Rahl invited me to The Hashtravaganza located on Orange County Trails.   I thought it was a good opportunity to end my mourning over Old Goat.  It was time for some play in the wilderness and to chuck the seriousness.  First things first, I decided to take a bus to the event.  I metabolize alcohol very slowly, which means if I get pulled over, even after a small amount of alcohol, I will probably blow over the legal limit.  That’s just not a chance I don’t want to take.  Call me paranoid.  Besides, I love riding the bus!

My stop was 2.5 miles from the run start.  At the start, the entire group, including organizers and workers take off.  It’s a moving sort of run.  This of course means that I HAD TO make it in time for the start.  Somehow, someway, I got turned around and ran 2.5 miles in the OPPOSITE DIRECTION.  This of course meant that I had 5 miles now to run, and only about 30 minutes to do it.  DOH!

So I took off running with no hopes of making it in time, but really wanting to make the start, so I did the unthinkable.  I stuck my thumb out.  Yes, I tried to hitch a ride.  Much to my disappointment, car after car after car whizzed by ignoring my request.  Finally, after about 2 miles on the return 5 mile trip, a mini-truck pulled over.  The driver was a male named Abraham, the passenger squeezed in the back seat was male as well.  I hopped in the car with a quick back-up plan conjured up on the spot.  I left my door unlocked, with an eye on it to make sure the driver didn’t lock it.  I also didn’t seat belt, so I could have quick access out of the car if need be.  Hitch-hiking is not recommended behavior, especially for females.  Needless to say, hubby was not happy (he actually called me when I was in Abraham’s car).  I am pleased to report that the driver was rather nice and drove me all the way to my destination, about a mile past his turnoff.  He told me that his car broke down last week, and he tried to thumb a ride, and no one picked him up.  That’s why he pulled over to give me a ride. 

I made it to the Hash in time to have a small breakfast (they had a great “continental” spread) and a beer.  100+ drinkers with a running problems were in a festive mood.  Each had a plastic mug hanging somewhere on their attire, hooked to their backpack, etc.  I hooked a plastic mug given to me by Emmett onto my running belt. 

The day was too long, with too many separate adventures to detail it here without writing a book.  I will try and make it brief, by starting with how Hash Runs work (or at least these Hash Runs – Hash Runs are run all over the world, so they probably vary).

Saturday, we had 5 separate hash runs, I say “runs” and not races, because they are not races.  Anyone caught running competitively gets loudly declared a “racist.”  Each run started off with a couple “hares” who took off first with bags of flour to mark trails.  The rest of us, the “hounds,” waited fifteen minutes and then ran off after the “hares.”  Quickly into the run, there’s a “T” for Turkeys for the easier route, and an “E” for Eagles, for the hardest route.  I took the “E” at each occasion.

Some of the flour markings lead off onto “false” trails.  So, we listened to the whistle wearing “hounds.  They blew twice when we were “on trail,” and once once for “off trail.”  Often people yelled out, “Are we on?”  or “On on?” 

During the course, we also saw the marking BN which means “beer near.”  Here we “hounds” stopped for a beer.  There were also whiskey stops along the way, where runners took shots of Jack Daniels or Honey Jack.  (I  steered clear of the shots being that I am not a liquor drinker, liquor referring to the “hard stuff.”)

Something very interesting about Hash Runs, is that runners are allowed to cut the course.  Cutting the course is taking short cuts, some small, like skipping the corner and running through a field to catch the course up a ways.  Cutting the course under regular circumstances is a big No-No.  In all the “races” that I have run, I have never cut the course, though I have seen runners do it (though very few).  The first time I cut the course on Saturday was very liberating.  I must have cut the course 5 more times after that.  (With glee I might add).

After the first Hash Run (remember we had 5), all the runners met up again for more beer, snacks, awards, and drinking songs.  Everyone had smiles and there was lots of laughter.  Sometimes the “hares” were booed for making such a difficult trail.  The person voted to have done the stupidest thing on the run was awarded a toilet plunger to carry with him/her for the entire next Hash Run.  One more thing:  When a “hound” catches a “hare,” it’s called a “Hare Snare,”  and all the “hounds” have to wait fifteen minutes before taking off again (so that the hares can get out far enough).

The end of Hash Run #1

I was amazed to find that running while drinking beers, quite a few of them, is not difficult at all.  In fact, I burned off the buzz early into each run.  And I was left with the numbness.  Ended up, I ran faster.  I didn’t fall; I didn’t trip.  I didn’t fret the difficulty.  I took on the steep hills and thick brush with pleasure and a big grin.  At one point, a group of us ran into what felt like Stinging Nettle.  That stuff with it’s microscopic thorns hurt like heck.  I said, “Oh dang, I don’t do good with Stinging Nettle.”  The runner in front of me laughed loudly.  “Who does good with Stinging Nettle?  That’s like saying, I don’t do good with cyanide.”  Then he commenced to stand off to the side, yelling and laughing hysterically, “Make it stop!  Make it stop!”  Soon after, the stinging ceased.  We obviously had not run into Nettle.  But the “Make it stop!” guy and his friend cut the course and found themselves in a sticky situation at the bottom of a ravine.  Having been stuck in a ravine before, I said, “Don’t do it.”  But they didn’t listen and afterward stood on the other side yelling to runners not to cut the course there, it wasn’t worth it.

The hill behind me only looks steep Winking smile

The sun came out in abundance for run #3.  Fortunately, a cool breeze blew through quite frequently.  We had a full spread of lunch awaiting at the end of run #3 and more beer.  And then we were off again for another tough run.  And more beer. 

Feeling no pain:

Deciding on the plunger award after Hash Run #2:

Hash Run #3:

Beer Stop:

End of Hash Run #3, meet up for lunch:

Hash Run #4, quite strenuous (but fun):

End of Hash Run #4:

During Hash Run #5, I found myself running along the Turkey route.  I don’t know how I missed the Eagle.  But I did see many runners up on a higher trail.  I looked for a way to get there, but only came up on barbed-wire fence.  One of the runners, stepped down on a portion for me, and I carefully stepped over it.  This is how all the runners were, kind and friendly, smiling and laughing. 

Well, we all ran along this trail that quickly ascended.  Pretty soon the flour markings ended.  Yet, we continued running with some of the runners yelling “On Trail?  On Trail?”  No whistles were blown.  Eventually, we hit a dead end and had to turn around.  We all got back on the Turkey route which eventually lead to another Eagle route.  I took the Eagle, cut the course to get to a meadowy tough climb.  This run was the shortest of all the runs, yet it was extremely tough toward the end.  I was quite relieved to end up back at the start, where there was more beer and a full course dinner being cooked up:  steak, chicken, roasted veggies, a green salad with a huge choice of toppings, and of course, more beer. Smile

After eating and joking around some, my hubby arrived to drive me home.  It was a long day.  I felt accomplished for handling 21+ difficult miles so well.  And the above is the SHORT version of this adventure. 

I will add that I woke up Sunday morning sore.  All of my muscles ached.  The bottom of my feet ached.  I slept til noon.  Then I took another nap about 4PM.  Fun times, but boy did they wipe me out.

The Meadowy uphill in Hash Run #5:

I’m tired:Hash2


  1. that looks like the most fun ever. A friend of mine runs with HHH in San Diego, and I would love to join sometime!!

    1. Giraffy, let me know when you do one. I will try & join you. Most of them are shorter runs. I think prefer the multi-hash runs. I never imagined that I could do this. I thought that I'd fall flat on my face. You'd be amazed. You don't fall flat on your face. LOL.

  2. Ive heard of these types of runs, but I dont take alcohol so Im sure Id get drunk after 1 beer and pass out on the course.

    Ive never ridden the bus before and I would be too terrified to hitch hike.

    Thanks to running trails and Flour markers I can set up soccer goals for my kids and they think Im awesome ;)

    I never cut any official races but there was one trail run that I was 99% sure I was in last place that I cut.. I had no intention of getting in front of anybody, but I was just ready to be done. I felt mixed emotions about it and later realized Id only shaved off about 1/10 mile. Woops!

    Ive noticed with my short time on trails that trail runners tend to be more friendly that road runners. Of course Im not saying that road runners are rude, but there is just a difference

    And finally that run sounds pretty dang awesome.

    1. Thanks for reading! I definitely do not recommend hitch-hiking. I think I was temporarily insane. I was however, extremely cautious during the hitch-hiking episode. I have never downed beer during long distance runs either. I was surprised I was able to do it. The Hash Hound Harriers is definitely a unique group. If I had taken any of the hard liquor shots, I think I would have not fared as well.

  3. Sounds like a blast! During my last marathon I had several beer and liquor pit stops and I loved each one of them. I will say that I did better with beer, seemed to sit better.

    1. Lumberjack, I bet there are Hash Hound Harriers in your area. They are world-wide. You should check them out -- in my experience this one time, they were a great group. Yup, the beer sat well with me. I was too fearful to try the liquor. I really didn't trust the shots. I thought for sure I'd be eating dirt if I went for the whiskey. Funny thing though, I didn't see anyone eating dirt, even those who were sloshed. LOL.