Sunday, May 5, 2013

Philosopher's Way 15k Race Report

Executive Summary:
1st overall in 58:42, a course record in this pretty storied NC trail race. It has been a while, and I am so happy to check back in with everyone! Fortunately, I now have two functioning Achilles tendons and a law degree! Thus, I can now physically perform my own original ballet, then legally sue you in the state of North Carolina if you infringe on my Swan Lake adaptation. However, after reading so many Scalia dissents during the last three years, I am now a strict Constitutional originalist. So in my ballet, there are only white swans, all male, which conceal carry massive, phallic assault weapons in a totally heterosexual way. AS THE FOUNDERS INTENDED.

If Obama had it his way, they wouldn't be able to hold hands.

So I am all done! Call me David, B.S., J.D. A major in Environmental Science wasn't even a Bachelor's of Science degree at Columbia (it is a B.A.), but I hear that whenever anyone has a law degree, the BS comes complimentary. BOOM LAWYERJOKE.

Addie laughs at lawyer jokes. Puppy is easy to please.

Oh gosh how I have missed all-caps. They are frowned upon in law journals, academic writing, and Ryan Gosling fansites.

Add "Ryan Gosling Eating Ice Cream" to the list of reasons that the first provision of my will is to delete all Google searches.

Anyway, things are going really well. School is officially out for the longest summer, with a bunch of super-humbling news updates (which I won't bore you with here...basically, my plaque collection is no longer confined to a few hard-to-reach teeth). Possibly the most random piece of news is that I'm the law school flag bearer at graduation. First, the law school has a flag (?). Second, I have seen too many war movies to think this is an honor. It's like being commissioned on the Enterprise, only to be given a red uniform and a Russian accent.

Training has been rolling along awesomely! My training partner is a puppy. She is younger, faster, and a more experienced running shoe minimalist. I think inov-8 sponsored the wrong member of the Roche household.

With law school in the rear-view mirror, a puppy on my lap, and absolutely no dead bodies in the back seat, I traveled down to Carolina North forest for the Philosopher's Way 15k. I have never run on these trails, and it was awesome to finally experience this race. It always has a sell-out crowd of 400 runners with some studs in the mix. The group that puts it on (the Trailheads) has a uniquely eccentric outlook, possibly best embodied by this picture:

He made the mistake of signing the liability waiver 65 million years ago too.

The warm-up included either 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, or 42 poops in the woods. SPOILER ALERT: that is what the Lost code meant all along. BRAAAAAHHHHHMMMM..

Finally, for the first time in inov-8s (the awesomely fast and durable Trail Roc 245s), I was ready to race. After returning to racing post-injury a couple weeks ago at the awesome Medoc Spring Races (where Alex Varner, 4-time Dipsea champ, took my lunch money by a minute and we both lost to Lorraine Young in the handicapped-starting system), it was great to feel like myself again. We lined up, did butterfly stretches as an excuse to covertly fart, and THEY'RE OFF!

The 15k course is shaped like the digestive tract. We started at the mouth, spent a quarter mile on the straight bridle path (the esophagus), got tossed in a loop on some single track that led into the forest (the stomach), then proceeded to go back and forth over and over on technical, leg-muscle-digesting trail (the intestine), only to somehow exit at the finish in the same place the race started. So I guess that in this analogy, the mouth and the butt-hole are in the same place and have similar excretions. Basically, that gives the course map all of the qualifications necessary to run for the House of Representatives.

Did that make any sense? NO. Was it worth it to make a political joke? Skittish rattle shrimp forklift.

Anyway, after turning on to the technical single-track 1/4 mile in, I attempted to get out of sight as quickly as possible. At races like this, out of sight can be out of mind because every turn requires focus. Once a little bit of focus leaves, a runner can lose 2 or 3 seconds per turn (so a billion seconds over the course of this race). With trail superstar and multi-time defending champ Duncan Hoge chasing, it seemed like sprinting was a solid choice. Each time the trail opened up, even for 10 meters, I'd try to recommit, pumping my arms and flailing my legs before screeching into the next corner.

Yes, I am not accustomed to shirts, and yes, neither are my nipples.

Apparently, based on that meters comment, I was using metric in my race execution. I blame the race organizers for advertising a carbon neutral event. Global warming and kilometers are two things only Communists care about.

After a few miles of trail intervals, we came to the first water stop. Based on the cheering echoing through the trees, Duncan was about 30 seconds back. When we dove back into the single-track to get thrashed around in the surf, I decided to make one big push to make it to calmer waters. The Trail Rocs climbed so well (I am not accustomed to light-weight, grippy shoes!), and by mile 6 the sound test revealed over a minute gap. Thoroughly knackered, I eased into a more cautious approach, gaining a semblance of concern for the well-being of my ankles. Dazing out on the twisty trails, I suddenly heard the loud cheering of the finish line. I glanced down at my watch to see 57:xx. After being told before the race that breaking an hour would be really tough on this course (the previous best time was 1:00:06), I put my head down for the last few switchbacks and crossed the line in 58:42. The award was New Balance shoes. My training partner is going to get an expensive chew toy.

Seriously, I owe you all so much for the last few years. I have now periodically blogged for half a decade, and the support, brilliantly evil comments, and just the knowledge that you people are out there (whether in person or over the internet) means so much. Thanks for everything guys :) 


  1. Maybe get the shirt a big tat? Sort the opposite of a sleeve.

  2. Barbed wire tat? There would be enough room for about one barb on my bicep. Thanks for the comment GZ! So fun following your daily epicness.

  3. Well maybe you can get the lifetime deal with Inov8 and tat the whole jersey on and then you would never really need to wear a fabric one.

  4. Haha, I get it now. If it wasn't obvious, I don't read good. Can I get the colors in the tat as well? I'd look like an extra from Avatar.

  5. Yeah, it really is odd to see you with a shirt. It makes you look older, I think. But, that may just be because of the degrees and all that.
    Fantastic racing, David! Congrats on the course record.
    And, Addie is looking so big! Gorgeous pup there!

  6. I am looking distinguished?! Wearing a singlet, my porta-potty definitely smells of rich mahogany :)

    Thanks so much Ash! Addie is growing by the day. 25 pounds already! She gets most of her exercise from incessant tail wagging. She sometimes wakes me up in the middle of the night when it is hitting the side of her crate.

    Thanks for everything Ash!

  7. When I saw this post in my feed, I peed. For joy (?). Parentheticals aside and congratulaticals very much up-front: Congratulations! Also, it's great to read new posts from you once again!

  8. Wait,you've never run out there? And you broke the course record? That's just not fair to us mere mortals.

    Congratulations on another big win though! I'll certainly miss seeing you at the local NC races, so please continue to the irony laden snark attack that is your blog. Love it!

  9. Addie does the same thing Pat! Whenever she meets someone new, she rolls over and pees on their shoes. Urination is the sincerest form of flattery, or something.

    You are seriously the best. That quote Lucho used from your blog is AMAZING.

  10. Thanks so much Scott! And I'll be back occasionally when work beckons. I have a feeling work will just happen to beckon on the weekend of a big trail race :)

    You're awesome, really appreciate the support over the years. You rock Scott!

  11. If you're going to get a tattoo, you might as well get a full body tattoo of yourself.

    I don't know if that's funny or not, but it made me laugh when Steven Wright said it.

  12. Too bad the prize for winning wasn't the philosopher's stone... congrats on the successful (understatement) comeback!!! and the prestigious (understatement) plaques and for finishing (understatement) law school!!! understatement, understatement, errata, etc...

  13. Brett, definitely funny. Though I have no idea how they'd etch the flowing locks of low back hair. It looks like a horse's mane.

  14. Dylan, the race was a tribute to Horace Williams, who used to go into the forest to reflect while he was writing. Really cool actually, but I couldn't figure out a poop joke about philosophy. I poop, therefore I am is just too real.

  15. LOL, "Ho-Race". What a name.

    You know, in college one of our fraternity brothers used to go out and wander to think. Eventually a few years later we found out he just didn't like to poop in the house because we had no stall barriers. So maybe good old HoRace's forest trips were more poop related, under the guise of thinking. A lot of people do their best thinking either running or pooping in the woods anyway.

  16. I went to the woods because I wanted to poop deliberately. -Henry David Thoreau

    P.S. That is the best comment ever Brett.

  17. congrats on the degree! cant believe its been 3yrs already. well done.
    you need to take those inov8's back up here to am zof

  18. Pete! Thanks so much :) I could do AmZof if the bike course was changed to 1 single uphill, and the Irish Car Bomb was changed to hot cocoa. Seriously though, I will make a return soon to get my butt kicked by the mountains (2014!). Thanks so much for the comment! 3 years ago this coming weekend I got hit by a car, had to sit out AmZof, then ended up switching over to running. I wonder how things would have been different if that never happened... Anyway, you're awesome!