Holy crap its in less than a week!

Dakota checking again to see if he
got a mention on my blog.
Holy crap its a week away! To those in the know, I'm referring to the 5th annual Medoc trail race, and for me it is THE race. The race itself is actually a dual trail race where participants can choose between the ten miler or the soul crushing, lung puncturing, quad smashing marathon. I'll be running the ten miler. I've been running this race for a few years, and along with a close friend of mine, have the medal tattooed on me. (They proceeded to change the medal the following year, I still like to believe its coincidence.) This is my story. Cue the gavel sound from Law & Order.  

   Your first question might be, why isn't he running the marathon? Isn't that what runners do? I counter your question with a question. Are you a runner? Before you answer "yes," I would like you to remind you what blog you are reading. Right; that's what I thought. (For those of you still reading, thank you. Any actual runner who mistakenly found their way here has already switched over to Dakota Jones's funnier blog about smoking guys like me.)  Truthfully the answer to why I'm running the ten miler is that I have to win. Every year I run fast enough to place in my age group for last year's times, and every year I am shut out once again. This is the last year for a while that I'm giving myself a chance to win at the ten miler for a while.  (you get a beer stein if you win this year!!!)  Plus after giving my legs rest on the couch for a month, (due to the start of the semester) and with my steady diet of pizza and Sam Adams Octoberfest, I've gotta believe I've got a chance!

I wonder if they'll put a picture
of me on the label like a Wheaties box...

   The race starts off with the first mile or so on the road that leads into the park and then loops around. The first time I ran this race I felt pretty good about it, convinced that I could definitely do nine more miles of this. And then, as would so frequently happen in future races...my assumptions were corrected.  Enter the hill at mile two. I think my feelings are best summed up by the following  charts:

   The trail flattens out a bit after that, giving your legs a short break before encountering stairs, mutant horseflies, 50 foot drops, slick bridges, and hair pin turns.  After what seems like an eternity of switchbacks and loops you finally come to a trail head and pop out just short of a parking lot. If you're a first time medoc-er stop here, I wouldn't  want to ruin the horrific heart stopping shock you'll get when you step out.  For most of us it starts with tears of joy that the journey is over, perhaps even a final fond look back to the trail we just ran. This elation doesn't last long however, as every year there is a volunteer who smiles at you, and with a single grim reaper like sweep of his hand, directs you to the next trail head and back on your race journey. The tears of joy quickly turn to teeth grinding frustration as you're sure that any judge would totally define this as a justifiable homicide.  Once again, I feel my emotions at this point in the race are best summed up in graph form.      

   Sooner than later however you will once again begin to see light at the end of the trail. My usual thought process by this point in the race is, "well, it's about to end one way or the other. Either way, I just don't care anymore." For the past couple of years it turns out that the light was just sunlight without a tree filter, but one of these years I'm really expecting to head into the light and be reunited with my grandparents. The light also shows a clear 100 yard path straight to the finish line where you'll truly be done and reunited with those who have already finished and are still more or less alive. 

Susan is totally in her element
out on the trails
   And I'm doing it all again in just a few days! This year is a special one, the start of many I'm sure. Because this is the year that so many close friends who have been far flung across the nation from Hawaii to Denver, from east coast to west coast will all be reuniting. And while I know that we'll be able to see each other through vacations, weddings, the birth of children and the like...there's something special about getting to go to a race all together.  An event where everyone from the race directors to the volunteers and even people who have no affiliation with the race other than they came to watch their spouse or friend, cheer their throats raw for you. I place where we all get to play, even if just for a little while, and the recant the hardest parts of it or compare the biggest battle wounds from the trail before we depart again. This is of course, after we all try madly to defeat each other on the trail. Each of us are friendly and cordial right up until the conch shell is blown, then, male or female age division or not, everyone is in the same pride division. To make matters worse, several of the girls running in our "gang" this year have a good chance to beat me. In the running world this is termed "getting chicked." And while it happens to me quite often at races, the only thing that comes to mind when it happens is the infamous scene from Jurassic park, when the velociraptor sneaks up on the hunter and his famous last words are "Clever girl...clever girl." So between that, wanting to win a fancy glass to drink my beer out of, and a deep-seated desire to yell out the phrase "I'M WINNING ALL THE SPORTS!!"  as I cross the finish line this year it ought to be one crazy race. 

   In spite of all of this, or maybe because of it, there is no better feeling in the world than crossing the finish line at Medoc. Maybe it's because everyone there is an example of what people should be: caring, helpful, and just all around good, I know I become a better person for around eight hours or so for just this one day a year. (Medoc is largely my version of the Grinch who stole Christmas.) Maybe it's just that the race exhausts you so much all you can be is happy. Or maybe it's the LSD that they lace the red beans and rice with. Whatever ever it is, I don't care, I just know that after this weekend I'll be counting down again until Medoc 2013: marathon edition. 


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