Medoc 2012 race review

   I would like to start this blog off with an addendum. While I was  pleasantly surprised with the number of people who read my blog at Medoc this year, I was also assaulted with one question by everyone who recognized me. "Why didn't you include the part where you vomited at the Raleigh 8000??" 

I'm gonna give this race everything
I've got! ...In about 10 minutes...
   While it's true many athletes often push themselves to the point of breaking during feats of greatness and vomit right afterwards, I may just be the only one who does it beforehand.  I like to think of it as a testimony to my upcoming greatness. In truth, I get incredibly nervous before most races and rarely eat anything as I know my stomach won't be able to handle it. Given the morning of the 8000 I felt very dehydrated I thought it best to drink a Gatorade on the way to the race. The resulting sea foam blue poltergeist like moment in the parking lot of the race start allowed me to answer the now infamous "Is it in you?" question posed by Gatorade with a firm, resounding, "No." 

Now...on to the race review...

   A four am wake up call and the pickup of a running friend on the way to the race lead to an awkward drive where she let me know that no one had actually heard of this "Medoc state park" before. After a few moments of silence she observed that we were "Really far our in the middle of nowhere..." This leads to inevitable question of all passengers who ride long distances with me: "Ummm....Are you going to kill me?" About the same time we drove by the Medoc metal shop and Where I let loose with "See?? Medoc's real!" And while I'm sure that my maniacal grin did nothing to alleviate her fear of me being a serial killer, the rest of the trip to the park was a short enough ride to keep her from jumping out. 
 It took years of creating fake race results, medals, race reviews,
 pictures, and finally this sign to plan the perfect crime
 We arrived at the race site around 6:30, a full two hours before were supposed to start. We joined the shivering group at the packet pick up and then quickly made our way to the shelter where someone had taken the opportunity to build a fire.  We took the time to meet other Medoc-ers who were huddled around it sharing the warmth. Immediately we were welcomed into conversations of pr's, boston marathons, diet plans, and the best taco bell combos. (It's the number 4 with extra hot sauce.) Before long the sun had begun to rise and soon the park was flooded with cars, runners, and supporters of all kinds. I was soon reunited with friends and we wasted no time making sure that we could get the same "reunited" picture with at least seven different cell phones . Four port-a-potty breaks later (approximately 40 minutes in normal peoples time) they were calling for the marathoners to line up and be ready. I quickly sprinted down to the field to give my two friends who happened to be running the marathon some encouragement before they hit the trail. 
 Before long it was our turn to line up for the ten miler. Remembering the upcoming hill I told myself that I would keep a reserved pace for the first mile or so and save my energy for that monstrosity. The conch shell sounded and before the first quarter mile was up my shoe had become untied.  I peeled off to re tie and then sprinted to close the gap with a friend whom I had taken off with. Catching back up with him I explained what had happened only to have the other shoe untie itself. Pulling off once again I realized that I wasn't going to be able to sprint and close the gap again without breaking the pace plan I had. With a frown and a sigh I started in, hoping to close the gap eventually without wearing myself out. That morning I'm certain that Serendipity's slow sister was filling in as she once again loosened my right shoe laces. With much profanity I ran to the side of the course untied and then double knotted each shoe and then sprinted off promising myself that I would not lose my mind if I lost out on placing by the rough 15 seconds this shoe debacle had caused me. 

   You may have notice that this entry is building to be a little longer than the normal one. For those of you who would like to say "Yeah, I read Honeycutt's blog," in order to blend in with the cool kids, I give you the short, cliff notes version of my thoughts during the race broken down by each mile. 

Tell my wife and kids I love them
Mile 1: Ok, here we go! How many *%*@$&* times can my shoes come untied?!?
Mile 2: Garmin is off...this sucks...hopefully it'll catch back up
Mile 3: Sooooo very glad I suckered other people into running this with me...
Mile 4: I'm passing lots of people, I'm winning all the sports! *fall and slide for five feet* 
Mile 5: stein...want more to...shut down...trash talking friends...
Mile 6: It's been 3 days...don't know if I can go on...I'm surviving off small animals and the deer I caught last night
Mile 7: I don't remember what the outside world is like...can I ever return to civilization?? 
Mile 8: People...?? ohhhhh gummy bears...
Mile 9: Aid stations are awesome
Mile 10: legs tired...finish line close...have to speed NOT face plant again...

   It's true that my Garmin was off at the mile two marker and I was worried about how true it would be while I tried to use it to stay on pace. (As it turned out, it stayed fairly accurate after that) After a few twists and turns on the trail and a small leap over a river, I caught sight of the same friend who had left me at the start of the race and quickly set a new goal. 
We hit the hill at mile two and I began to slowly close distance on him. Throwing cares and my hamstrings to the wind I sprinted past him and targeted the next runner in front of him. Painting a mental target on the white tech shirt he wore as he powered up the mountain I gave chase. We passed several marathoners and I tried to wish many well, but the elusive man in the white shirt seemed to increase his speed ever so slightly with each step up the hill and bend in the trail, causing me to be short of breath as I tried to pass. Darting my eyes down to the Garmin I was surprised to see we were already at mile 4.  

What all the evil, super fast
trail runners are wearing this year.
   Deciding that it was time to find a new target I shot past another runner who complimented me on the Medoc tattoo that adorns my calf. Thanking him I speed away to finally over take white shirt.  About a half mile later I took a 90 degree turn with a smirk on my face and planted my foot on a shell that gave way. I slid for a couple of feet and rebounded cursing at the time lost. I heard a shout from behind form the same runner who had complimented my tattoo earlier. "NOW you're really running Medoc!" He chuckled.  I was dumb struck by thoughts of how close his voice was to me and how freaking fast EVERYONE seemed to have gotten this year. 

     Refusing to look down at my leg, I slung my hand across it and brought it up to eye line to see if there was any blood. A cursory glance told me it was just dirt, but it hurt like hell and felt like my knee was coming out of the skin. I knew if I stopped to check it out I would just become demoralized if it was bad so I chose to swipe and look at my hand every couple of minutes instead. 

   Keeping white shirt ahead of me, we plunged through a couple of aid stations where I tried to politely indicate with a combination of wheezing and waving my hands in my best YMCA dance impression that I didn't need anything. 
Luckily, it was just a
flesh wound
   With my knee throbbing I took some relief in seeing the mile 7 marker sign come up. Not too long afterwards I saw stairs coming up and a very kind marathoner moved to the side to allow the faceless white shirt, (whom I was sure at this point was in my age division) and then myself, a  clear path down stairs towards the river. He jumped step after step and not wanting to lose him I followed suite.  We soon came to another small hill where I saw his pace drop dramatically about half way up. Ah ha! I thought, This is where I catch him! It took me roughly seven seconds into the hill to realize this would not, in fact, be where I caught him as my legs also gave way to the might of the incline. 

  Coming over the hill I lost sight of the white shirted bandit, but I attributed it to the multiple turns ahead in the trail. Determined to catch him I sprinted ahead giving it my all and was came upon to other runners moving at a good clip. We ran together for about a half mile before I passed the first, and after another quarter mile, the second. 

   We were now in the home stretch with less than two miles to go. At this point I was equal parts trying to pick up my pace from where the hill at mile two had destroyed it, and trying stay on my feet. Just before the mile 9 mark and with the white shirted menace no where to be seen, the last runner I had passed moved by me. Obliging him some room on my left side I vowed that no other runner would get past me. I forced my arms to do their most awkward white-man-on-the-dance-floor movements to keep my balance even as I sped up, my face to contort in ways that would scare small children as I braced with lung shattering pain, and my gave way to breathing that sounded like a pug on an acid trip. 

I always look terrible in race pictures
    I powered through the clearing at the false finish, nodding in respect to the volunteer managing it this year, and reminded myself I was almost there. As I darted into the next trail head I caught glimpse of the last runner who passed me, and even though I knew I couldn't catch him I dropped into my fastest pace of the race and hoped everyone realized that the Honey badger don't care expression on my face was the best I could come to a smile at this point. 
   Bursting out of the trail for the last time during my race I pushed on what felt like the longest tenth of a mile ever and headed for the finish line. I crossed under the banner with a clock time of 1:19:12; just a few minutes faster than last years time. I was honestly a little unsatisfied with myself as I looked around at how many people who could potentially be in my group stood around relaxing, having finished the race a while before. 

The other participants in my age division had
plenty of time to prepare for my arrival
     This bitterness of probable defeat didn't last long as the feeling of finishing Medoc once again settled in. I was given my medal (which is HUGE this year) and went to pick up this year's finishers surprise. 
   This year all finishers received a hands free water bottle emblazoned with the Medoc logo. I was psyched to pick it up (been meaning to get one for a while) and  have some of my first endurance challenge races planned this year, so I know I'll get a chance to put it to use and have everyone asking the question: THAT guy finished Medoc??

This year's finisher's surprise...

 At this point I'm sure you've guessed that once again, I ran fast enough to place with last year's winners, and once again was pushed out by this year's. (I have no idea why I imagine that every year everyone but me is content with their times and will not improve at all.) To say that the guys (and gals) who won their respective age divisions are insanely fast is an understatement. And not taking anything away from them at all but I think it speaks more to the Medoc trail race event than the fact that a bunch of fast people just showed up. This year a lot of new names were called out as division winners and the race itself sold out in less than 30 minutes. (the second chance offering held later sold out in under 60 seconds!) What other race can you name that's only been around for four years (prior to this past weekend) who can sell out that quickly, have more people dedicate themselves to showing up year after year just because the volunteers and race directors are so genuinely great, and draw high level high level athletes to their event? If you can think of one, let me know.   
And this year's medal

  Oh! And then there's the awesome swag! Besides the always cool long sleeve tech shirt, (I love these things so much I still wear the one my dog chewed holes in from my first year) and the finishers surprise, they always having someone extra cool to hand out. Take this year's honey stinger waffles, a super cool Medoc koozie, and the best thing of all, a Medoc window sticker! 
Between this and the tattoo, I've blown any chance
in Hell I ever had of fleeing a crime scene

But my story doesn't end there. Spending time with a great group of friends waiting for the two souls braze enough from our group to tempt fate with the marathon was worth the trip to Medoc alone. And just to have a little more fun I did break the course rules and rejoin my friends for another eight or nine miles on their last loop of the marathon course. Karma appropriately punished me by causing me to trip over a root, spin head first through air like I picked a fight with Jason Bourne, and land ribs first on to a rather large, pointy rock. (Still worth it.) 

   And as for the guy in the white shirt? Even though I looked all over, I never saw him after the race. Maybe he was just a figment of my imagination; my Tyler Durden trying to push me and make me better. And if that is is the case, inner me has great hair. Just sayin.


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