Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Medoc's Revenge: Recap Of The 2011 Medoc Trail Marathon

by Bobby Aswell, Jr.

When I first read about the inaugural Medoc Trail Marathon in 2008, I knew I had to run it!  Besides loving to run inaugural marathons, this one had the distinction of being located only 45 minutes from my mom’s house so I’d get to ‘kill 2 birds with one stone’ as the ole saying goes.  That first year, the weather was perfect and I really enjoyed the race so I decided it was time to reacquaint myself with Medoc!

For those that don’t know, legend has it that Medoc was once a young doctor in the area who also happened to be an extremely fast runner.  Obsessed with getting faster, he made all kinds of nutritional concoctions trying to get an edge on his competitors.  After multiple failures, he finally found one that worked.  He became faster and faster as the days went by but also started developing bulges all over his body.  One day while in his office, he was permanently transformed into a beastly looking figure.  When one of his patients walked in, they screamed and asked ‘what have you done with the doctor’?  All he could say was ‘Me Doc, Me Doc!’ and so Medoc was born.  Rumor has it that each year at the race, Medoc pillars around the trails looking for racers to victimize.  After successfully avoiding him in 2008, Medoc would get his revenge this year!

Still trying to avoid Medoc even after finishing!
Located in Hollister, NC, the course is run inside Medoc Mountain State Park and consists mostly of single track trails complete with roots, rocks, bridges, steps, and, of course, hills!  And, the good news is, since it’s a loop course, you get to run it 3 times!

Race morning arrived and it was absolutely gorgeous!  By the 8:00 am start, the sun was brightly shining and it was about 50 degrees.  With a high for the day expected in the upper 70’s, things warmed up quickly but luckily, the trails provided a lot of shade from the sun.

The race starts with a short out and back on pavement before hitting the trail for the first of 3 laps.  The trail is mostly single track with a few Jeep trails mixed in but runners definitely need to follow the ‘keep your eyes on the trail’ rule as it’s covered with a lot of obstacles waiting to cause mishaps!  After a couple of miles, runners hit the toughest section of the race, the climb to the summit of Medoc Mountain!  It’s a steep climb that doesn’t get any easier the 2nd or 3rd time around!

The rest of the course is mostly rolling over roots and rocks, around stumps, across bridges, up and down some very steep steps, and more before finally exiting the trail en route to the next loop.  If you look closely, you may even see Medoc hiding in various locations along the way!  He’s a very imposing figure!

Running steady, I managed to avoid Medoc for 22 miles before he finally got the best of me with 4 falls in the last 4 miles!  Never expecting to fall, I’m always shocked the first time it happens.  In this case, I was cruising along when all of a sudden, around mile 22.5, I was down before I knew it.  Shook up, but no damage done, I bounced up and continued onward.  The second and third falls caught me off guard as well but again I bounced up and continued running with no major damage done.  However, Medoc was just playing with me at this point!

With about a mile to go, I picked up the pace and was about a half mile from the finish line when I tripped up for the 4th time!  Totally caught off guard, I went flying through the air like Superman and crash landed with a loud thump!  I hit the ground so hard that it almost knocked the breath out of me.  That one definitely hurt!  After realizing what happened, I got up, staggered around for a second or two, and then continued on towards the finish.

After crossing the finish line, I received one of the best finisher’s medals ever!  It’s 3-D with a picture of Medoc on the front and a picture of his ‘back side’ on the back!

Front side of 3-D medal

"Back side" of 3-D medal
 After catching my breath, I checked out the damage from the last fall:  2 banged up knees, bruised and scraped up right leg, arm, and shoulder all courtesy of Medoc!  At this point, the race director noticed my battle wounds and asked if I needed help cleaning them.  Not really thinking about it, I asked him to take a picture of the wounds before I cleaned them up.  He laughed and probably wondered if I was crazy!

Battle wounds after my 4th tussle with Medoc!  That fall almost knocked me out!
After cleaning my wounds, I picked up my finisher’s surprise ( a very nice runners hat) and then devoured some of the post race refreshments which included rice and beans, peanut butter sandwiches, cookies, all kinds of nutritional bars, fruit, snack cakes, peanuts, chips, and several different kids of soda..

All in all, it was a beautiful day spent on some of the nicest trails I’ve ever run.  I ended up with a great long run finishing in 3:50:47, 2nd in age (40 – 49).  And, even though I came face to face with Medoc several times, I’m already looking forward to returning for a 3rd visit!

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