1st overall in 57:38. This race is freaking awesome, a point embodied by the "trail names" on the bibs. I registered, so Dad was once again Nose Hair the Magnificent, while I went by my Native American name, Probably Smells like Poo. It turns out that I underestimated the olfactory presence of bodily fluids by 50%. Because there was vomit. Lots and lots of Green Rain Gatorade-flavored vomit. Of course, I'm an environmentalist so I recycled the Green Rain into dixie cups for the marathoners. No one could tell the difference.
|I convinced my mom to use a shutter speed which would make turtles look fast.|
I have been back for a bit over a week after injury, and feel awesome. Meanwhile, I look decidedly unawesome, like a three-legged baby deer with rickets. The coordination is slowly coming back, however, so I decided to thrust my delicate, fawn-like body at the oncoming shotgun shell of a 10-mile trail race. Mhhhmmm deer veal!
|If you like this picture, Chris Hanson shows up in your living room.|
The decision to enter was spurred by an amazing weekend at Megan's. Her great family, the Valley Forge Park trails, and enough ice cream to turn a baby cow (pre-veal!) lactose intolerant added up to a perfect weekend. Well, perfect except for my lactose-induced weakly disguised trips into the next room to fart discreetly. "Your living room is so beautiful, I need to go see it again!" "Still looking!" "Looked once, need to look again!" "Ummm...now I need to go look at your bathroom with a change of clothes."
That plus the early morning, pre-bathroom trail exploring is where my trail name comes from. Which is slightly related to Megan's, Tastes Better than She Smells. Limburger cheese is her pet name.
Seriously though, Megan is better than Barack Obama times Puppies to the power of all-you-can-eat Whole Foods salad bar. After a Tuesday interview, she traveled back to Duke. So on Wednesday, I traveled to Raleigh, (/drunken screaming) to see my BAAAABEEEE TONIIIIGHT (/Bluegrass crowdsurfing).
|Things get hot when the fiddle comes out.|
Just to clarify, that is not meant to be read as a metaphor.
Unfortunately, on I-95 outside Richmond, I hydroplaned into the median. It sucks, is frustrating, and I feel stupid, but the only thing I remember is doing vehicular pirouettes until impact, when, in slow motion, my Peanut Butter Panda Puffs flew through the air. At the peak of their flight, they paused as if we were on a Space Station with shag carpeting, before slamming into the windshield. Minor whiplash and a very sad car are unfortunate, sure, but that moment of doomed airborne children's cereal was the ultimate tragedy. RIP PBPP.
After two days of recovery, I felt up to running again, so me, my perfect Mom, and Nose Hair traveled to Medoc. To give you an idea of how awesome this race is, the race director offered free entries to anyone who would get tattoos of Medoc, the Speedo-clad Bigfoot roaming the forests. Two guys got HUGE tattoos, which was really cool, but a slippery slope. The same logic got me a tattoo of 106.6, North Carolina's rock leader. While the Hoobastank tickets were sweet, the confluence of a weak decimal and history-major friends makes me super tired of questions about my affinity for William the Conqueror.
|I think the Magna Carta required William to introduce himself to every household in the neighborhood.|
Anyway, we arrived at Medoc State Park, got our bibs from Michael Forrester and Scott Wingfield (the best race directors of all time), and warmed up along the rooty single-track. A quick visit to the woods to live up to my trail name, a strip down to underwear, AND THEY'RE OFF!
It began with a mile on park roads, and I decided to make up as much time as possible before my back acted up on the hills, hitting the checkpoint in 4:47. After a left turn onto the trails, I was alone, with just my hopes, dreams, and an anatomically correct blow-up doll of Barack Obama to keep me company. For full disclosure, those three things may all be the same.
|The face that launched 1000 [horror-induced, race-spectator] shits.|
(Unnecessary, totally skippable side note: Obama has been terrible with recent environmental decisions. Mr. President, industry ALWAYS claims the sky is falling, and that they can't run their business, with each new regulation. They always trot out massive cost projections, the likes of which could buy a year's supply of Mitt Romney's Just-For-Men. But, always, they prove to be wrong. There is a place and time for compromise, and that place is where there is an adversary motivated by rationality. Therefore, with the current scientific and social perspective of the Republican Party, the time for environmental compromise is anytime but now)
Based on that side-note, you can probably tell that I took detours along the course to hug particularly sexy trees. Oh cedars, you got a whole lotta bark, and just enough bite. Anyway, I got into a routine of trying to accelerate close to 4:40 on flats, while dropping back to a shuffle on climbs and descents. At mile 5, the back felt great, and the beautiful trails motivated me to just let go. It was so amazing to feel free again--free from pain, from worry, and from the ungodly smells I left on the trail.
|This blog was briefly scratch-and-sniff.|
There were no survivors.
Passing mile 7, I saw Mom and her awesomeness (and newly super thin body!) made me accelerate again. After a rough mile 9 (with lots of stairs, both up and down), the final windy single-track led me to the line with a 9-minute win. Hugging mom, seeing Dad cross the line, and talking to awesome friends Ash and Mike, it was hard to ignore how fortunate I am. Blah, blah, blah, boring sentimental stuff, poop joke.
Thanks so much for reading, and for everything else. You guys are really incredible, and whenever I meet people at races who happen to read the blog, they are almost always amazing human beings. You guys rock!