What an adventure! The Gibsons go hash running

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The author after returning from her hash run.
The author after returning from her hash run.

What an adventure! The Gibsons go hash running

by: Shannon Gibson | .
Stripes Guam | .
published: October 25, 2012

Editor's Note: All I can say is you really have to read this story by Shannon Gibson. You will laugh out loud! Shannon, thanks for sharing your great adventure with the rest of us!

The nagging just wouldn't stop.

"Come on honey, hash runs are supposed to be so much fun. Let's try one!" My husband was bound and determined to dust off our running shoes and attempt the Guam hobby of hash running. I finally gave in and decided to give it a try.

We selected outfits we didn't mind getting dirty and suited up for the big event. We stuffed a backpack with water and granola bars and set out with ambitious spirits.
While driving to our destination, we pondered what was in store for us. My husband, MM1 Addison Gibson, disclosed his expectations of a "group race in the jungle" and I shared my opinions of a sketchy, conjured-up hobby in a non-discreet manner.

Upon arrival to the hash run start site, we immediately started to doubt our choice of apparel. While everyone else seemed weathered in the art of hashing equipped with long pants and shirts, we attempted to blend in wearing shorts and tank tops, cloaked in an obvious lack of knowledge.

Nevertheless, we are an adventurous couple and were up for the challenge of trying something new. The sight of familiar faces put us at ease as we joined our buddies and prepared to start. The lead hasher took center stage and rattled on about the rules, terms, and goals. My husband, being the eager outdoorsman that he is, listened with a schoolboy's ambition. I couldn't help but feel as if I was in over my head. There was no turning back now!

The whistle blew and we were off on the trail. Thoughts of "I wish I would've listened to that guy" and "What the heck is an 'on-on'?" were running through my head almost as fast as my feet were taking me through the rough terrain of the hash trail. We dodged tree trunks and jumped in unison over mud puddles as my husband cheered me on to "go faster!"

The unexpected terrain was half the fun: one minute you were trampling through waist-high sword grass (as previously mentioned, we were in shorts) and the next minute you were wading through murky water up to your chest. I couldn't help it, my husband was right. I had the expected adrenaline high and was truly enjoying pushing my own limits until things took a turn for the worst.

As if the "fun switch" had been turned off, we found ourselves out of the clear terrain and in a dense jungle of trees. We looked left and right for the markings that would indicate we were indeed on the correct path. The ever-present Guam drizzling rain had washed away most of the signs that, in an uneducated manner, were drawn on trees and grass beds with white chalk.

Immediate "I told you so" comments spewed out of my mouth but my husband knew they were laced with fear. We were lost! To make matters worse, the sun was beginning to set and we had no flashlights.

Suddenly, we also realized that we were alone. Our fellow hashers, in their experience, were far ahead and most likely at the finish line enjoying a cold beer. Apparently, it's a hashing tradition to leave the newbies stranded and left to fend for themselves.

After accepting the fact that we were being hazed and on our own, we set out to find our way back to the marked path. Along the treacherous journey back to civilization (or so it felt), we ran into a few "issues." Unknowingly, we passed a boonie bee nest. My husband climbed up a small cliff to see if he could get a glimpse of a glowing fire from the finished hashers. I followed him up the cliff but instead of reaching the top, a blood curdling scream escaped my lips.

As if patiently waiting for the most naive of the two hashers, three boonie bees swarmed in and stung me on the forehead, pinky finger, and through my shorts! If you've ever been stung by a boonie bee, you know it's as if a wasp and yellow jacket had a malicious love child and blessed Guam with its existence.

My husband attempted to calm me down but his attempts were futile. I was swatting at the air and apparently putting on an entertaining show, according to my husband's recap of the event. After I regained my composure and thanked God I wasn't allergic to bee stings, we set back on our way to finding the rest of the group. We ended up in a flat field of grass and resulted to yelling for our friends as it was becoming darker.

We decided to split up and yell but to still stay within hearing distance of one another. As I was gathering the air to holler another time, I heard my husband yell out a distinct complaint meant just for me. With my imagination running wild, I bolted through the field as if my life depended upon it.

In our almost 5 years of marriage, I had never heard my husband yell that loud and with that much apprehension in his voice. As I reached his side, he looked at me in horror and said, "Something crawled up my leg. It had claws, too." So with my swollen forehead, finger, and backside and his apparent run-in with a gila monster, we couldn't do anything but laugh.

Right about the time when we needed it the most, we heard our friend shouting our names. Oh, feelings of relief washed over us! Following the sound of the voices, we found ourselves at the campfire with everyone else. Of course, we were the last to finish and the group swore that they would've came looking for us had we been gone any longer. My husband and I spent the remainder of the evening giving the play-by-play of our adventure all while enjoying a beer, admiring our wounds, and laughing at our mishaps.

The moral of the story is this: Get out there and try new things. You may encounter a few stumbling blocks along the way but isn't that what life is about? Roll with the punches and learn to laugh at yourself. 

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