Sunday, October 14, 2012

Medoc Mountain Trail 10 Miler Race Report

Executive Summary:
1st overall in 55:47, 1:51 faster than last year. I think that time margin is a palindrome. But I am not entirely sure, because Big Bird taught me what that word meant, and I just heard that he is the budgetary devil. incarnate. DEVILINCARNATE.

All consumption is good. It lead to growth. Cookie Monster/Ryan 2012. 

Assuming I pass, this is my last year of school. Luckily, I have classes with titles like "Readings in Happiness" (seriously, that is one of my classes). The curriculum is geared towards lawyers, so we do things like read "Inferno" and think about home.

So this year is primarily concerned with the law journal, the company, and the public interest job search. The journal is going realy  good. The company now has a full-time lab in Research Triangle Park and has had some great local media coverage (CEO Justine is a superstar). And the job search has been amazing!


Crap, it looks like Joe Biden is fact-checking me. I hope he never looks into the details behind the 1 hour, 30 minute marathon I did before climbing all of Colorado's 154 fourteen-thousand foot peaks in a single day. I'm a numbers guy. P89X!

If he was using the Shake Weight, it would be physically impossible not to vote Republican.

To be serious, public interest jobs move at a much slower pace than private firm jobs (where, over a year ago, many had a general idea where they'll be working, how much they'll be paid, and how rarely they'll feel the sun on their skin unless their office is strategically placed near an east-facing window). This results in a lot of applications and networking. And, most of all, it involves waiting. That's the hard part, I guess. Waiting is the opposite of how I like to approach problems. A 20-page paper? Just start writing. A 20-mile race? Go out in a 4:40 mile. But this is different. I hope to make a positive difference for people and for the environment, and I guess that waiting is an integral part of that goal. I just hope that when Godot arrives, I can do my part to make the world just a slightly better place.


Screw you and your facts Joe! 

Yes, Joe, Paul Ryan excites my base too.

Anyway, things are amazing, and the uncertainty is actually really exciting. In some ways it is a lot like lining up for a race, taking a deep breath, and having no idea how the day on the trails is going to unfold. And, if Medoc is any indication, it is at that moment, with my loved ones cheering, the Fall air crisp, and the nervous energy flowing, that it is impossible not to realize just how awesome it is to be alive, in this or any moment.

But the start line is getting ahead in the story, because first I needed to get lost on the way to the race. I exited I-85, and started driving east. About 20 minutes later, I passed 85 again, still going east. The Bermuda Triangle has nothing on North Carolina's Triangle. Also, if you say "Triangle" a bunch of times in your head, it begins to lose all of its meaning. Then you realize that language is a social construct. Shit, so is money. And pooping in toilets. ANARCHY!

After adding an hour onto the 90 minute drive, I arrived at Medoc just in time to see my dad off on his first-ever marathon. I was so proud of him, and got a quick hug just before his race began. It's a good thing I got it in before the race, because based on the two pools of red on the front of his shirt at mile 20, a chest-to-chest post-race hug would have resulted in severe trauma.

A quick warm-up, saying hi to the best Race Director ever Michael Forrester, dousing myself with water (a pre-race routine), AND THEY'RE OFF!

The cover on my romantic novel can be used to induce vomiting. And, surprisingly  to cure hemorrhoids. Don't think about it too much.

The best thing about dousing yourself with water when it is 40 degrees is that you go really fast in the first mile to avoid a reenactment of the end of "Into the Wild." So I went out way too hard on the park roads, hitting the mile marker in 4:41 before we careened off onto single-track. My mom was at the turn screaming her head off, which sent empowering chills down my spine. Or that could be hypothermia. 

She is 61. Holy crap she looks incredible.

After looking for Rose to tell her how cold it was, I decided to let go of the floating door and commit to every acceleration. I think that is my number one tip for trail racing--commit to each turn, each slight downhill, and each rock-jump, trying to make up a second or two at a time. Those seconds add up, and I think that fast trail racing is anything but meditative. I think it's best to be in the moment, with your brain screaming "Go! Go! Go!" As the old road bike racing saying goes, "If you're not moving forward, you're moving backward."

On the climb up Medoc Mountain, however, my brain was screaming "No! Go! Slow!" 


Get out of here Biden! 

I'm sorry Joe.

So I was having a bit of a tough day on mile 4 as the trail went up, but was able to regroup on the flat bridle path along the ridge. For some reason, this race was biting into my legs and searing the pit of my stomach. But the awesome thing about trail running is that it's not a scientific calculation where you want the slope of the lactic acid line to result in you reaching 100% fatigue at the finish line. The trails are anything but linear, with inflection points and asymptotes that correspond with the terrain. 

On the descent off the ridge, I got that smiley feeling thinking about loved ones at the finish line and on the trails. I started to pass marathoners (they started 30 minutes earlier), and each one of their encouraging words added some pep to my step. At mile 7, Mom once again unleashed an empowering cheer, and I began sprinting down the next section of single-track.

Everyone on the course was amazing, echoing my mom's yells, and I tried to use each inspiring word as motivation to make the next section hurt. Crossing a grass field toward the finish line, Michael began screaming over the loudspeaker, "David is WAY under course-record pace!" With one last acceleration, I crossed the finish line in 55:47, around 9 minutes up on 2nd place. 

Medoc is one of the best races I have ever done, and an example of that are the "trail names," where you make up a nickname for your bib. It is custom to use the trail names in conversation, as I learned when the reporter came up and addressed me as "FartSTRONG." The best thing about the day, though, was seeing my hero finish his first marathon (in record time for his age group) just 4 months after his diagnosis. Love you "Nose Hair the Magnificent"!

Thanks so much to Michael (the best RD ever), all of the amazing friends at Medoc, and everyone reading. You guys are awesome :)


  1. Congrats to you AND Nosehair! What a great day for the whole Magnificent family!!

  2. Thanks so much Karen! Actually, Nose Hair is our last name, and bestowals of Magnificent are made on a case-by-case basis :)

    So excited to see you tonight! I promise I wasn't looking at a picture of a Tutti Frutti cup when I typed that.

  3. You really killed it this year! I hate that you passed me in the campground just before I finished my first lap, since one of my goals for this race was to *not* see you on the trail since I had a 30 minute head start (yeah, my goals are random and sometimes stupid). Then again, it was cool to see you breeze by like I was standing still. The only thing my oxygen starved brain could come up with was "Get'em Cat Daddy Man!". And did you ever "get'em"! Congrats on a big win and the course record!

  4. Wow, incredible time!!! how technical was the trail because that is a fast time for 10m even on flat ground!! Btw I have the same shoes as you!

  5. David, I hate that I missed running far behind you at Medoc this year. You're right about so many things in this report, one of them being that Medoc is one of the best races around. Assuming you don't have a self-imposed win limit on a given race, I hope to see you there next year!
    Congratulations to you and your dad!

  6. Scott!! Thanks so much, your exclamation meant a crap ton at that stage of the race. I thought it was you from behind (if you know what I mean/that's what she said), and your yell confirmed it. It really made the last little bit, and really helped me.

    Great job out there! That is a lot of event to bite off :)

  7. Dylan, the trail ain't to technical, with only a few sections that require significant slowing. You should get into trail racing with me! We can do a midnight run on the 22nd! Then get wasted on protein shake before your interview. SWOLL.

  8. Thanks so much Ash! I missed you out there, hanging out for a bit is a trail race tradition. Maybe the Eno race?! I mean, splashing across a creek might be a little intense for my delicate sensibilities, but I'm willing to give it a shot. Water-resistant pedicure and all.

  9. You've finally revealed your secret power - that action photo of you shows that you actually fart glitter while trail running, confusing the other racers whilst simultaneously giving yourself a jet assist. Well played, Mr. Roche.

  10. Haha sounds good to me! I have lots of questions to ask/advice to gather regarding training and racing alone when I see you next week!

  11. Dylan, I learned most of what I know from Christian Hesch.

    Seriously though, that LetsRun thread is RIDICULOUS.

  12. K! That is actually a common misunderstanding. I don't fart glitter (that is far too not gross), I actually fart with enough velocity to open up 5 small holes in the space time continuum. Sometimes I like to have Mexican and punch Hitler.

    Thanks so much for the comment :) Hope things are amazing!

  13. Hahaha! "Asymptotes?" Gutsy call literarily, that one. So's my syntax this evening. Congratulations on another race well executed. If races were murderers and you were a state'd be Texas!

    The stars at night aren't the only thing that's big and bright,