Team Tizzel is proud to continue our series of guest posts by our friend Michael Miller chronicling his adventure with Eddie McCoy to tackle 39.3 miles of racing in one day; and in two different states. Today's post will cover the Road trip from Savannah to Orlando.
Part 3: Where We Drive to Orlando, Eddie Learns That It's Better to Write the Blog and We Discover the True Meaning of War Eagle
With a 5 to 6 hour drive and another race ahead of us, obviously our number one priority after crossing the finish line was to immediately head to the Race Merchandise tent. Without this stop we wouldn't have RnR Savannah Finisher Shirts to wear to the Wine and Dine after party. Because let's face it, the only reason to run a marathon and half marathon in the same day is so you can "not so subtly" let everyone know that you did it. The hardest part is the nonchalant strut and conveying a false air of indifference of doing #goofyinaday as we walk around Epcot in our finisher shirts and marathon medals, but we had a long car ride to practice.
Now Eddie is a quasi-pseudo-celebrity in the marathoning community, which I am constantly reminded of whenever we run races together. Usually it entails someone coming up to us after a race as we are eating in a McDonalds or walking back to the hotel. Complete strangers come up to him in groupie mode and introduce themselves and talk of hearing him on The Marathon Show, seeing him on Facebook or some other forum. As the person with him, you either become invisible or get the luxury of taking pictures of the two of them. In this case I got to take Eddie's pick with Marathon Man, another quasi-pseudo-celebrity in the marathon world. While I've come to accept the role of invisible sidekick photographer when we run together, my heart goes out to Eddie's wife, who in my opinion should get to punch Eddie in the arm every time it happens....which I like to think would leave him with a constantly bruised shoulder.
Back at the hotel, Eddie quickly cleaned up so he could watch the Auburn game while I got ready. Now this wouldn't have bothered me except for the fact that just as I was about to relieve myself before getting in the shower Eddie started screaming "GO GO GO GO, YOU CAN DO IT YEAH WAR EAGLE." After ascertaining that I didn't leave the door open and his screams had nothing to do with me but something happening in the game, I was finally able to mentally relax enough to finally be able to go to the bathroom. Interesting fact, people screaming "GO" when you are about to pee makes it harder to do so.....go figure.
We got on the road relatively quickly after cleaning up. I drove so that Eddie could download his video and pictures from the race to make "A Fast Eddie Video" of our adventures. Eddie makes videos of all of his races and by doing this now, he could post it before we ran Wine and Dine. This would meet the dual purpose of reminding people who didn't realize from our constant tweets and Facebook posts that we were doing #goodyinaday, but also to help solidify his quasi-pseudo-celebrity status. In this case though, since I would be prominently displayed in the video, who knows, maybe someone would recognize me for a change.
One thing I learned during our drive is that Eddie shrieks like a girl. A pre-pubescent one at that. And unlike other character flaws, this could obviously not be overlooked. And when he's shrieking "oh my god we are out of gas," it really cannot be overlooked. To say that we were driving with the needle below E is not an understatement. In my defense, I couldn't see the lower half of the fuel gauge (or the brightly glowing empty light) due to the angle the steering wheel was set, but that didn't seem to mollify Sir-Shrieks-A-Lot in the passenger seat. Since we were about to pass an exit, and the sign indicated the next one being a dozen miles down the road, my priority was to cross two lanes quickly and safely. Eddie's priority was to try and take a picture of the fuel gauge to post to Facebook ASAP. We made the exit and took a right to find a gas station. We went right because it was down hill and we weren't 100% certain we would make it if we went up hill to the left. We did, but you wouldn't know it from the way Eddie kept verbally reliving the horrors of how bad it would have been if we ran out of gas. I am not saying it was non-stop, however I started to look for cars with Auburn decals in the hopes if getting him to yell WAR EAGLE out the window.
With the exception of Eddie's near death out of gas experience, overall the trip was uneventful. Lunch at Five Guys, a pic at the "Welcome to Florida" sign and heavy traffic as we closed in on Walt Disney World. After a quick check-in at Pop Century (a Disney hotel), we headed over to Boardwalk (another Disney hotel) to meet up with Eddie's wife Anna to get our gear before hopping on the bus to the race start. At this point two things occurred that was extremely annoying. First, we waited for over an hour to get on a bus due to what appeared to be poorly organized planning on Disney's part. For the first time we thought our #goofyinaday was at risk as we might not make the start due to the extremely long gaps in between buses. Second, while we were waiting, it happened. Someone yelled from the back of the line "hey Eddie, love what YOU are doing today, YOU are so inspirational." Forget Anna punching Eddie. Right then I wanted to....I mean seriously, there were two of us on this adventure and while I may not be a quasi-pseudo-celebrity this was getting a bit much.
Finally the bus came and we were away from Eddie's latest groupie and off to the second race of the day.
The True Meaning of War Eagle
Whenever I talk with Eddie and Anna about why they yell War Eagle, they always stumble through statements like "there are three versions," and "after the civil war there was a game," etc. etc. Like most legends, I figure there is a kernel of truth in what they've told me, however I tried to weed through the legend to come up with what I suspect is close to the truth.
Shortly after the Civil war, two good ole southern boys, Aubrey Burns and Clem "Sonny" Kladdilehopper were doing what good southern boys are known for...drinking shine. And as happens when men drink shine, they started to talk trash with each other. Who was smarter, who could create a University in their own name because they were so so smart...and eventually, who would have a better college football team. Because let's face it, drunk men talk sports. After much trash talk they both focused on how cool their mascot would be. Both chose a tiger, but could not agree as to whose tiger would be better. So they came up with a stupid dare to settle things. Because let's face it, drunk men talking sports come up with stupid dares.
Down the road was an ornery old Colonel from the War. The reason why he was so ornery was because he apparently had to ride a horse up and down the historic cobblestone streets of Savannah, but that's not important for this story. What was important was the fact that he had a collection of prized animals...mostly chickens, but also a Tiger Striped Tabby named Biscuit. Our two southern boys decided whoever could capture Biscuit would claim the title of best college mascot....or some such thing as they were too drunk by this time to remember why they were after that darn cat, but after it they were.
So as the two of them raced, or more accurately, stumbled through the Colonels farm for most of the night they both managed to grab ahold of the cat at the same time. A wrestling match ensued. And as Aubrey was about to wrest the cat free from Clem, Clem yelled at the top of his lungs the Colonel was coming, startling Aubrey who stumbled backwards and fell over in a puff of feathers. And in this chaos Clem dropped Biscuit and ran off.
Now here's where it gets interesting. The Colonel, Sanders was his name, arrived shotgun in hand and pointed at Aubrey who had by this point staggered back to his feet. Through the yells of the Colonel, and through his own shine induced haze, Aubrey realized two things. One, the cloud of feathers was caused by his crushing of the Colonels prized rooster. And two, unless he came up with a compelling story as to what happened to said rooster, he was going to end up meeting a similar fate, albeit at the end of Col. Sanders shotgun. It was at this point he yelled out WAR EAGLE...which caused the Colonel to yell out the same in shock.
So in this field, covered in feathers, Aubrey Burns concocted a wild tale of "a War Eagle attacking the Colonels chickens, which he interrupted before it killed them all....so you see, um, he sorta saved all of the other chickens, and really, um should be thanked, by maybe getting something to eat.....or even better, to drink." Because let's face it, drunk southern boys tired from doing stupid dares get hungry. Though this fanciful tale had more holes in it than a sieve, the Colonel chose to believe him. Maybe it was because he himself had partaken of the shine, or maybe it was because he admired Aubrey Burns moxie. Either way, he took that chicken, fried it up and they had a celebration of the heroic gallantry showed that day. And through drinks of shine and ever increasing shouts of War Eagle, two legends were born. One, was of a heroic deed marked by the clarion call of War Eagle. Something which Aubrey Burns eventually passed down to the vocational school that still carries his name. The second was when Colonel Sanders started to exaggerate his prolific use of seasoning. And when he eventually moved to Kentucky, he would tell people that the salt and pepper he used that day was really 57 herbs and spices in his "secret recipe."
So whenever you buy a bucket of chicken, drink some spirits, or see a fellow Auburn alum....feel free to add your own voice to the call of War Eagle.
Next Up Part 4: Where We Take a Bus Ride and Eddie Shows Me His Tiny Buns.