Sunday, October 21, 2012

Medoc Trail Marathon 10/13/12

I've been procrastinating on writing up my posts since I did the Medoc Trail Marathon (my first trail marathon and actually first marathon ever) on Saturday.  Although I started to feel normal by Monday, I just didn't feel like making the effort to write about what I did! Pre-race: after Wednesday (10/10/12), there was an intense amount of resting and carb-loading.  On Friday night, with my running buddies (Jim, Lisa, and Barbara plus Lisa's husband Ed tagged along), we went to Outback Steakhouse and feasted on a bloomin' onion (cleaned it) and then I had a Victoria steak 6 oz butterflied and cooked medium well with a rice pilaf and brocolli.  It was delicious.  We stayed in a hotel in Rocky Mount so that we would only have a 30 minute drive to Medoc State Park after.  I got up early, showered, put on my race clothes, panicked because I couldn't find my headphones, and ate a breakfast of 2 slices of whole wheat bread with almond butter and tea plus 16 oz of water.  The hotel suite we were in didn't have a toaster in the little kitchenette so I ended up "toasting" my bread in a frying pan, it was okay.  We left the hotel at 6:35 pm and  got to the park by 7:10 AM (race started at 8 AM) and felt good. It was pretty cold- mid 40s but we were all excited!  Parking and picking up our race packets was easy.  DJ Digital Art was already playing good music and they continued that throughout the day! Besides the four of us, I also met two co-workers who were doing the 10-miler, Pete & Michelle.  I loved that other people from work were doing this race.
I decided to wear the Medoc long-sleeve shirt they gave us over my long-sleeve tech shirt instead of trying to run with a jacket on.  I also had bought a belt that held 1 water bottle and a little pocket for food, I was initially going to try and run with music but didn't prepare enough for that. So I was carrying 20 oz of Nuun-flavored water and 1 mini-Larabar (100 calories, cherry pie) and 2 Cliffshot blocks. 

The marathon started at 8 AM and the 10-miler race started at 8:30 AM.  We lined up appropriately in the back and took off slowly when the race started. It was funny, the race organizers greeted us by blowing into conch shells as we ran past them.  I have never seen that before at a race.  The start of the race was the bit of road leading into the park and then making a U-turn back and a left onto the trailhead, mainly to thin people out.  This is the last time I saw Barbara, Lisa, and Jim!  0.2 miles into the race and I was running in the back of the pack.  I'm glad we ran here in August because it was comforting to know what was coming up and being ready for the big hill at 1.5 miles.  I felt pretty good but even just 3 miles into the run, my legs were feeling it- I think I still had some residual soreness from the weightlifting earlier in the week.  At the first aid station, I drank 2 little cups of lime-yellow Gatorade and kept on going.  I had a Honey Stinger gel and more Gatorade at the second aid station and continued this pattern in every lap.  The first lap went pretty well and I was averaging 12:20 min/miles and saw that I had finished it in 1 hour and 50 minutes.  I got a little ahead of myself, thinking I could keep that pace and finish in 5 hours 30 minutes. That didn't happen.

I slowed down in the second lap, feeling a bit tired and trying to conserve my energy.  I had a Honey Stinger gel at every aid station to make sure I didn't get hungry and one time a cup of gummi bears and once some pretzels.  They offered potatoes (not enticing to me at the time) and chocolate chip cookies (definitely not what I wanted in a long run). I mostly ran alone, once in a while a faster runner would over pass me but it was nice just being out there. It warmed up pretty quick and when I finished the first lap, Edward was taking down people's times (he volunteered) and I gave him my top shirt and kept going.  On the second lap, I just kept telling myself to move and counting off the miles each time I saw a mile marker sign. It was great when I saw 18.4 miles done and still right under 4 hours so far!

At that point, I started clocking the time and each half mile and had conversations with myself like "ok, there is only 6 miles left, that's only a little more than 1 hour" (not really for me but that is how I got myself to take the next step). I also had much time to think about what I was doing- why the hell was I running when I was so freaking slow? What was the point? Why did I sign up for a marathon when it takes me all day to finish!!!! I am never going to do this again. Why do I pay money to run? What's wrong with me. I want to do this again, I like running, I like the races because it motivates me and gets me going.  I love the atmosphere at a race and the excitement.  Maybe I can get faster, maybe I'm just slow now because I had a back injury this year and couldn't run at all from March-June.  I was running the gamut of thoughts during this race.

When I got to the first aid station on my 3rd lap, Frank Lilley (one of the organizers) was there very cheerful asking me if I wanted anything (he offered me everything they had on the table, I said no about 5 times since I just wanted water and a gel and was completely out of enthusiasm at this point as I had 5 miles left. So I said "I just want to finish these last 5 miles now".  I refilled my bottle and ate one more gel and went on my way. There was another woman right behind me and she ran behind me for 1 mile when I tried to pick up the pace (mainly because I had been running alone and now I didn't want to hear footsteps behind me). I lost her for a bit but at the next aid station, she caught up to me (we had about 2.5 miles left!!!!!) and we were off again.  Another woman got ahead of me while I was "snacking" at this aid station and all I could think of was "damn, getting left behind with less than 3 miles to go".  So me and this other lady continue to run and she trips over a giant root, I hear her yelp and I turn around long enough to ask if she is okay, she says she is (she didn't actually fall, just almost) and so I kept running and didn't see her again.  The other woman in front of me- I could see her always a little bit ahead, walking and then running but I finally caught up to her with 1 mile left.  Her boyfriend/husband/friend (?) was coming up on us from the direction of the finish and asked her how she was doing, she was a little emotional- her hips hurt/something else hurt which was why she was walking/running. He ran the last bit with her which was pretty thoughtful!  I finally made it close to the finish line and saw Barbara, Ed and Lisa on the sidelines (cheering me on!!!) and ran the last 0.1 mile to the finish in the very muddy grass. I could see the clock was close to 6 hours so I kept trying to run but it was so muddy I was losing any speed I had. I finished in just under 6 hours.  Jim was awesome and was there ready to take my picture crossing the finish line and Barbara actually ran over and also took my picture! Running buddies are the best!

I couldn't even smile at the finish line and just took my medal and hobbled over to a bench. I wanted to lie on the ground but didn't think it was appropriate.  So I sat down and then laid down on a bench.  I have never felt so tired as I did that day at that time. My legs just were jelly and once I stopped running my feet started to hurt. Those Merrell Barefoot Pace glove shoes were not much support for 26.2 miles. I also hit my left heel pretty hard somewhere on the trail and was feeling it now.  What was awesome: the red beans and rice they had for us! I ate two cups, perfect post-race food. I drank a bottle of water and changed out of my clothes. We all slowly walked back to our cars for the drive back to Raleigh. 

Some facts I found online:
Medoc Trail Marathon - Results
Hollister, NC USA
October 13, 2012
Finishers: 173, Males - 114 , Females - 59
Male Winner: 2:41:04 | Female Winner: 3:42:41
Average Finish Time: 5:00:26 | STD: 0:58:59

I finished in 5:59:05, ranked #145 overall and #42 womens.

I saw the male winner on the trails, he was a skinny guy just wearing shorts and running like a bat out of hell. I wish I could run with such abandon on the trails. I definitely took it easy on the downhills (really didn't want to fall) but I don't think I could ever do better than a 4 hour marathon on the road!    All of them did outstanding, Barbara blew it out of the water finishing in 4:27 and Lisa in 4:48 and Jim in 5:04.  It was Barabar's second marathon and first trail marathon. It was Jim's and Lisa's first marathon (although Jim ran 26.2 miles in the "fun run" we did at Medoc in August).  All of us were pretty happy, Barbara had a fantastic run as did Lisa, Jim's left knee died at mile 24 so he had to walk the last 2.2 miles but still had a good finish considering back in August- it took him 6 hours and 3 minutes to finish the same distance.  It was a great race, very well put together and I'm really glad I got to do many Sunday practice runs with Barbara, Lisa and Jim this past year consistently at Umstead and Lake Crabtree.  That is probably the best thing about running, knowing there are other crazy people who think this is a fun way to spend time.

All the good things about the Medoc Trail Marathon:
Organization, the trails (easier than Umstead but still challenging), the volunteers, the music, the goody bag (jelly beans and Honey stinger waffles, plus cool Medoc man sticker, the cool LONG sleeve tech shirt and more), the emails pre and post-race, the food at the aid stations, the food at the finish line, the runners doing the race, my friends doing the race withe me

The bad things:

I think I will be doing this again next year if I've got teammates to go with me!

Parking- well organized and not far from the starting line

Happy we made it to race day, still unaware of how hard the day will be!

As much as I like running, marathon training did not help me in the weight department, I gained 5 lbs of fat while my kitchen was being renovated and still running 30+ miles a week!

Lisa and Barbara posing with Medoc Man

The start of our race! We are in the middle of the pic.
I think Lisa smiled the whole time.

Barbara taking one look back before smoking us all!

Barbara at mile 6

Lisa at mile 6

Jim at mile 6

Medoc Man ~ mile 7?, they had Medoc man at different places on the trail, it was a big plus for this race!

Medoc man took a little time out to get a picture with me.

We had to do 3 laps before turning right to the finish.


I like how the clock can be seen on both sides of the finish line, it was very, very muddy here.


I was really tired, but my Garmin held up!

Enjoying my red beans and rice.

My medal, very nice.

Marathon finishers!


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