Medoc Trail 10 Miler race report

October 25, 2017 at 8:30 pm Leave a comment

Last Saturday, I had the wonderful opportunity to race the Medoc trail 10 miler Saturday thanks to Bull City Running Company (thanks for the spot!). Last year, I “ran” the marathon in a personal worst (which wasn’t terribly surprising, given my training, or lack thereof). I knew I was pacing the Bull City Race Fest half Sunday, and my legs were just finally starting to come around from my 24 hour race three weeks ago, so my plan going into Medoc this year was to 1) not injure myself and 2) run reasonably hard but not so hard as to be wrecked for Sunday. Basically, I wanted to treat it as a workout. Having run the year before, I knew generally what to expect, and thusly knew the entire thing was runnable and a decent time was possible.
We drove up the morning of, and in a total departure from the norm for me, were there 45 minutes before the race started. Being used to having to roll into a race whilst getting my shoes tied, bib pinned, etc etc, it was weird to park and have the opportunity to just sit for a minute or two and relax. Once the marathon started, I went and got my bib, bathroom, shoes, jogged around a bit to warm up. As I made my way to the start, I recognized Ben (randomly… Ben won the half marathon at Triple Lakes the year I ran my first official ultra out there, back in 2011, so I knew he was fast and probably gonna win). Ari told me before I lined up not to do anything too stupid (HA! It’s like she doesn’t even know me) and I took my spot near the front next to Ben and Jon.
Right at 8:30 we were off, Ben shot out ahead and I gave chase at a pace I knew was fine for the road mile+ but would definitely slow once we got to the trail. That first mile felt better than expected, given it was the first fast mile I’d run in 3 weeks, and as we hit the trail, Ben was already out of sight and I had what I figured was a few second gap on the first place woman. I knew the first few miles were fairly runnable so I was determined to push hard until I got to the “mountain” and that’s what I did. I had set my watch to heart rate mode because I knew the GPS would likely be wonky from the twisty trails and I was more concerned with running a consistent hard effort on the undulating course, which I think helped me stay more engaged throughout.

Making the turn onto the trails around mile 1.5

That first mile or two on the trail were really pleasant. There was no one I could see in front of behind me and I was just enjoying the feeling of whipping in and out through the trees, up and down the small rollers. The big hill came right around mile 3 and I pushed hard knowing it wasn’t that long and I would get a nice, long, runnable downhill stretch immediately after. Once at the top, it took a few seconds to feel like my heart wasn’t going to beat out of my chest, and then I pushed the rest of the way to the aid station by mile 4.

Moosin’ and feeling good somewhere in the middle miles

I grabbed a quick water at the aid station and proceeded to recklessly (Ari would probably say stupidly, I would probably agree) bomb downhill back toward the river. In retrospect, it would have been far more prudent to use a modicum of caution here, seeing as how I was already pretty sure I was not going to catch Ben, and a rolled ankle (or worse) would have derailed the rest of my Fall plans, but damn was it fun! I literally was yelling WEEEEEE out loud the whole way down. Once back along the river, I began to come up on some marathoners, which helped me stay mentally engaged. The next few miles meandered about and as I got to mile 7, where you can sort of see the start area through the woods, I got a mental boost, knowing I only had 3 miles to go. I pushed the ensuing downhill and focused solely on running to the next marathoner, reeling one in, going by, and setting my sights on the next one the rest of the way. Somewhere in this section, there was some stairs I managed not to fall down, and some twists and turns to make back up the elevation, all I managed to push well enough. When I got out to the bathrooms by the RV camp area, I knew I was basically done. One more quick jaunt through the last wooded section and I popped out by where we started. There was one final big grass loop and I picked it up a bit. After trundling through three loops last year, it was nice to make a right to the finish on my first loop this year. I crossed the line in second place, a little under 68 minutes, two and a half minutes behind Ben, and about two minutes faster than I figured I’d go.
Medoc is such a cool race, the volunteers and other runners are also so friendly and encouraging, the trails are beautiful and runnable, and the atmosphere is great. Plus, the medals are gorgeous (coming from someone who cares zero about race medals) and the swag is top notch (seriously, the hoodie is SO SWEET). I’d HIGHLY recommend it to anyone looking for a fall trail race. Thanks again, Kim and Jason, for the chance to redeem myself some for last year.
Post-script: I managed to make it to the start of the BCRF half about 10 minutes before the start, much more Mark-like. That left me enough time to hand my friend Andy his bib (good thing too, he’d go on to finish in 2nd in a PR, after running three legs of the Tuna 200 the day before!), tie my shoes, and say hi to the other 7:00 pacers. Happy to report that despite some residual soreness, I managed to get around the course almost spot on, coming in about a minute under 7:00 pace, with a few happy racers in tow. All in all, a solid weekend and REALLY awesome to see so many friends doing great things on the trails and roads.
Mark, out.

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