Fast forward to this past weekend - on Friday, we received an email from the race organizer telling us what to expect. There was a description of the types of zombies we would see on the trail. There were going to be two types of zombies, "the Stumblers are the traditional, slow-moving, shuffling zombies. They like to hang out in groups and while they're extremely easy to outrun, they will try to box you in to steal your flags. You'll easily see the big group standing in the middle of the trail. The second type is the Chasers. These guys are antisocial and like to be alone on the trail, but they can run after you for short distances. Watch out for these guys, they like to hide." The email also told us there would be additional flags hidden along the trail but there might be zombies nearby so watch out. When Jackie read the email, she was so fired up she was like a kid in a candy store. I, however, started having heart palpitations and visions of haunted houses in my head. I do not enjoy being chased and I especially do not enjoy being chased by zombies!
Jackie came by the house around 7:45 on Saturday morning and we were soon on our way to Athens. A guy at work gave me quick and easy directions to Swan Lake Park which is where the run was taking place and we found it with no trouble at all. There were four or five waves of runs throughout the morning, beginning at 7:00 a.m. and starting each hour after that and we had registered for the 9:00 a.m. wave. We got signed in and were given our belts and flags. It was very cold on Saturday morning and so we found a spot of sun to stand in while waiting on our wave to start. While we were gearing up, a man from the National Guard asked Jackie about signing up for the National Guard. She turned down his offer quicker than he could even get it out of his mouth.
Our wave started a few minutes late - probably about 9:15 or so. They played this crazy zombie type music and made an announcement about the types of zombies we would encounter, told us the zombies wouldn't touch us so please don't touch them, told us to stay on the trail and wished us the best of luck. I was really nervous and had the feeling of doom in the pit of my stomach. I knew I wouldn't be able to run much, if at all, and I was dreading being scared by the zombies out on the trail. Jackie on the other hand was super pumped and excited. Soon the horn sounded and we were off; there were lots of folks running and me, well, I was just taking my sweet time.
It wasn't long after the wave started that we heard screams up ahead and we soon encountered the first of many zombies yet to come. There were zombies of all shapes and sizes - kids, women, and men. There were Army zombies and bride zombies and runner zombies too. My flags were gone in about the first three minutes of the course and the zombie that got my last flag held on to me while I screamed, "I thought they weren't supposed to touch you!" There were not, however, any dog zombies. Thanks goodness.
Jackie and I walked the course and she screamed more than I did. I was looking at the side of the road to see if there were any zombies hiding in the bushes so I would see them before Jackie did and she ended up being the screamer, which was hilarious for me.
We encountered lots of people who were just out walking on the trail for the morning. I asked one lady is she knew there were going to be zombies on the trail that morning to which she replied, "no, but one of them needs to see a dermatologist." This obviously gave me and Jackie a big laugh.
The run was such that at the 1.3 mile point, you turned around and headed back to the beginning encountering the same zombies you had seen previously. The zombies at this point we were not too concerned with me or Jackie and we often found some of them in groups talking - I never knew zombies could be so social. The one who held on to me at the beginning of the course said as I passed her on the way back, "There's the one that walked me a minute ago," which again gave me a big laugh.
Apparently after you are finished running (or walking) you can go get zombie-fied and get back out on the course as a zombie. We didn't have time for that, but will keep it in mind for next time as being a zombie is sure to be bug fun.
After we were finished, we got our Zombie Fun Run T-shirts and made a stop by the doughnut shop in Athens and picked up some sweets for Sunday morning. We then hit the Cracker Barrel for some breakfast/lunch which was exceptionally delicious as I was beyond hungry at that point.
It was a super fun morning and we had a great time. A big thanks to Jackie for slowing her roll for my non-running self! We will definitely be doing this run/walk again next year!