Monday, July 21, 2014

El Scorcho 50K Recap

El Scorcho 50K lived up to everything that it had to offer… anticipation, training challenges, fear, doubt, FUN, heat, relief, and elation.  There are so many other words to describe this race, but you have to do the 50K at least once.  CHECK… I’m good!

I did the El Scorcho 25K for the last 3 years and figured it was time to jump up to the 50K. I was definitely nervous when I clicked on that register button.  I knew that there’d be a lot of early morning training runs.  Most of my training runs started in the 4am hour to beat the heat.


Chris and I got our packets on Friday with a longer than usual lunch.  After we got our packets, we took a drive over to Trinity Park. I showed Chris where the Start/Finish line would be.  It was so crazy weird to see this park during the day. Chris and I have been running and carpooling for quite awhile.  He’s been hearing about El Scorcho for the last few years that he had to see what this insanity was all about.

It was great to see Chris run his farthest distance of 25K while tackling El Scorcho.  The pride was all over his face as he finished!


20140712_150651 As you might’ve noticed, I bolded the word FUN up above.  One thing I wanted to do was to have FUN during this race.  I figured I’d change my shirt with every lap.  Every shirt would have the number of laps that I’d have to go.  So, I’d start with 10, then 9, 8, 7… until I got to 1.  I used Glow in the Dark Duck Tape that I bought at Walmart.  I had the number on the front and back of the shirt.  I wanted to be seen coming and going. 

To right are the shirts as I laid them out before heading to Fort Worth. I will have an upcoming blog post that will go into a little more detail and pictures of the shirts.

The Race

I chose to go with the early start so that I could start at a decent hour… 10pm versus midnight. As well, it seemed that most 50K runners were starting at that time.  I also wanted to have the cushion of 2 more hours to finish the race.  I didn’t want a 6 hour limit hanging over my head as my goal finish was between 5:30 and 6:00.  Those times seemed very reasonable.  I’ve completed one other 50K at the Cowtown Ultra Marathon. The difference being is that this race was in July vs. February.

I wanted to run at a 9:00 min/mile pace and then rest at each loop when I saw my family.  As well, I’d be changing my shirts.  That was the original plan, but that 9:00 min/mile pace was pretty hard to keep.

Splits-1-15Above is my Strava details of the race. It shows 30.7 miles because I didn’t turn on my Garmin until after the race started. Yeah, I freaked out a bit. I really do like have the numbers to look at to see how I’m doing.

The first half of the race I pretty much kept up with my plan… run 9:00 min/mile.  You can see when I took longer breaks every hour to get GU and Endurolytes.

It was fun changing shirts every lap. It gave me something to look forward to and the dryness of the shirt was very welcoming.  I think if I wore the same shirt that it’d be totally drenched!


The first few laps were pretty uneventful and easy. I opted to not run with a headlamp. I have a few headlamps and a really good one, but I don’t like wearing them in the heat. Anything on my head during the heat tends to give me a headache. I did carry a small little halogen flashlight that I used occasionally. I had it in my pocket which was 30% annoying as it bounced around a bit.  I did finally toss the light about half way through the race. 

There was a brilliant full mount which was pretty cool to light up the way.  I also relied on other’s headlamps here and there.  It was almost like sharing their umbrella on a rainy day, but less intrusive.

The course was pretty smooth/flat except for a few spots that had a lot of erosion type of crevices.  After a few laps you knew exactly where those spots were coming up.

Tank Tops & Compression Sleeves

4-1-cropped I strategically numbered my glow in the dark race shirts. All of them were the thinnest running shirts that I had.  As well, I had a few that were tank tops. I normally don’t wear tank tops, singlets, or sleeveless shirts since I don’t think I have the guns for them. However, in the dark, anything goes except for shirtless running.  With 3 tank tops available, I placed them at loops 4, 3, and 2. I wanted to finish in last year’s El Scorcho short sleeve shirt.

After 6 laps (18.6 miles) I was really looking forward to a tank top.  Another reason that I’m not crazy about tank tops is that since I don’t wear them, I’m usually sporting a farmer’s tan.  It was an awesome feeling to get that tank top on. It symbolized that I was on the downhill of the race or was it the uphill… not sure.

I also took this break as an opportunity to get my CEP compression sleeves on. Oh, I love these things!  It was like a nice warm hug!

Family Support

I cannot brag enough on my family! Ursula, Briana, and Briana’s boyfriend, Chris came out to cheer me on!  Cairo had to work both Saturday and Sunday.  Cairo’s been there at previous El Scorcho races.

We set up camp right after the finish line. I was really surprised when my family always seemed to be there waiting for me. Heck, they could of been dosing off and catching some ZZZzzzzz’s. They were always ready to help me change my shirt. I never had to look for the next one.  They also had my drinks, GU, and Endurolytes ready to go.

Splits16-finish Besides the physical help, they were full of encouragement.  When I had three laps to go, I was moaning and groaning to my wife about the pain and not wanting to be at the race anymore.  She told me that I could do it and it was ONLY 3 more loops. It sounds easier if you say 3 laps instead of 9.3 miles.  :)  She wanted to see me finish this craziness to the end.  I’m so thankful for her selflessness of being there for 5 hours and 41 minutes to only see me for 30 seconds to a few minutes at a time.  She rocks!

During the last few laps I started walking during strategic points along the course. This is especially true with the one hill/incline that was before a water stop and a couple of other points.

Erik Encouragment

I was moaning and groaning again when I had 2 laps left to go.  Actually there was a lot of negative talk in my head for those last laps.  I kept telling myself that I did the training and shut up. I was going to finish this race even if I had to walk the last 2 laps.

When I was changing my shirt with 2 laps to go, I was complaining to my friend, Erik.  I said, “Why am I here?” He said, “You’ve done the training, you’re strong, and you’re awesome!” He said it in such a quiet, but powerful way. It was energizing to hear it from him.  He probably doesn’t know the impact that he had on me, but it was huge!


20140713_034439-cropped I’ve been running with Jeff for quite awhile with the Frisco Running Club. On our Wednesday night and Saturday morning runs, we’ve talked about my upcoming El Scorcho 50K race.  We talked about how he might come run the last couple of laps with me. I really didn’t think he’d come to Fort Worth from Frisco at 2am to run 3 or 6 miles with me.  That’s a long drive at an ungodly hour to run a short distance.

When I didn’t see him with 2 laps to go, I really didn’t think anything of it. I know that I’d have a hard time dragging myself out there at the crazy time!

Below is a video of me which captured my unbelief that he came out for the race. I really couldn’t believe it! I love my running friends! I couldn’t help, but scream out in pure joy that he was there!  CRAZY COOL!

It was awesome to have Jeff along for the last lap. He tried to give me some tax advice and accounting jokes. We’ve got a long history of doing this to each other. The conversation and emotional boost was tremendous!

Briana Finish

Before Jeff showed up, I mentioned to Briana that I’d love for her to finish the last mile with me.  With Jeff showing up, Briana thought she was off the hook. However, I was still hoping she would finish this out with me.  She showed up at the water station that I asked her to meet me at.  You can tell her reluctance, but she begrudgingly came along for the end of the journey.  I assured her that I was not sprinting and we were taking walk breaks.

We were running for awhile and she tells me that she doesn’t have her sports bra. 30 miles into this race and I’m not really sure how to process this bit of information.  I told her that we’d be taking a walk break during the next water station.

1-3As we were walking past that water station, Jeff was making friends and talking it up.  Briana asked me when we were going to start running again. I told her that we’d start running once Jeff notices that we’re still walking. I also told her that at this point finishing 1-2 minutes sooner would not make any difference at all. Finishing upright and happy was the goal. That goal was within reach as we saw the red glow of the finish line clock.  Nothing looks better than those red numbers which you can see about a half mile away.

As we neared the finish, Briana got a bunch whoops and Gig Em’s! Very cool! I told her that we needed to finish strong and we sprinted toward the finish line. I let out the second primal scream of the night as we crossed the finish line!

It was the perfect ending to an incredible race! Thank you, Briana, for stepping out of your comfort zone!

Briana also manned the video camera throughout the night capturing all of the wardrobe changes. :)  Below is a video of the night’s happenings.

If anyone asks why I do the things I do… it’s because of moments that I shared with Ursula, Briana, Erik, and Jeff. You cannot experience all that life has for you unless you get out… get out of your comfort zone and live life!

1 comment:

Mark said...

Great race recap and videos. The glow in the dark shirt concept with the lap countdown was unique. Family and friend support touching. You made the whole event fun! Congrats!