Well another year has gone by and another El Scorcho in the books. The race this year was a lot cooler than last year. I had a Personal Record (PR) for this distance and course! Beat last years time by 17 minutes! But I get ahead of myself. Let's start at the beginning
El Scorcho Overview
For those who are not familiar with this race, it is a 50 KM (31 Mile) run that occurs at Trinity Park in Fort Worth, Texas. You can read more about it here. Since it occurs in the middle of July, it normally is SUPER hot, hence the Scorcho moniker. And due to the usual extreme heat, the race doesn't start till 12 AM!
The course is pretty much pancake flat and is a 5 KM (3.1 mile) loop you do 10 times. This is more challenging that you might think, because it does get monotonous at times.
Training this year for the race went pretty well. I had no calf or knee issues and my speed has really been improving. If you go to my Garmin Connect page, yes you may have to register to see it, you can look at my training times. Had some great runs in there. I had bought a pair of Pure Flow neutral shoes and have been using them for my shorter speed work runs. I think that has helped a lot.
Day of Race
Since the race starts at midnight, I drove from Houston to Forth Worth that morning. I wore compression socks to keep the blood from pooling in my legs. I really think that helped. The drive took me about 5 hours. Hydrated the whole way and stopped here and there to stretch my legs and stay loose. I checked into my hotel early and since it is conveniently located basically a mile from the race course, it is super convenient. After I checked in I drove myself to IHOP to have my pre-race meal early. For those of you who read this blog, you know I always take a picture of my pre-race calorie fest. Well this time, the service I got was so poor and the food quality so bad, I didn't do it. But all well. I had 2 eggs, french toast, coffee, orange juice, wheat toast and hash browns.
After I ate, I went back to the hotel and tried to nap a bit. No dice really. But I did prop my legs up and again I think this helped me stay rested. Around 6 PM I got up and walked to the nearby shopping center and got a subway and picked up some additional supplies for the race and headed back to the hotel for dinner and getting all my race stuff laid out.
Items shown here are:
- Race Shoes
- Race Belt
- Body Glide
- Chamois Cream
- Big Towel
- Water Bottle with Hydration Belt
- Granola Bars
- Nutri Grain Bars
- Bug Spray
- Head Lamp
- Massage Stick
- Race Shorts
- Race Shirt
- GPS Watch with Heart Strap
- Hand Towel
- Timing Chip
I did my best to keep relaxing till about 10 PM and then I got dressed and fought with the stupid timing chip. This is a technology that has changed a lot over my racing career. In triathlon you normally have a big old piece of plastic that is held in place by a neoprene strap around your ankle. But for ultra races they now give you what looks like a piece of paper with a circuit board printed on it. This piece of paper gets folder into your laces and is kept in place by an adhesive. This is what it looks like:
Arrival at Race Site
At around 11 PM, I piled all my stuff into the car and waved goodbye to the puzzled hotel staff (not just because I was some weird dude waving goodbye, but because I had a headlamp and a racing belt on and it was the middle of the night). Took me all of 5 minutes to get to the race site parking lot and another 10 or so to walk from my car to the start area.
This is what the start and finish line looks like:
I set up my water cooler about a hundred feet past the start line since I will be coming through here after each of the 10 laps. I found my buddy Ryan V, one of the Race Director's, and chatted him up for a while. The temperature was actually really pleasant compared to last year and I hassled Ryan that he needs to change the race's name to El Moderato! HAHA!!
I headed over to the big El Scorcho sign and had my picture taken as a momento as well:
At about 11:50 PM I got in line with the 50 KM racers and I got handed a glow in the dark necklace. I noticed about half the guys took their shirts off so I did too! Then a guy sang a great rendition of the National Anthem and at 12:00 AM the gun went off and it was on!
Here is a shot of me right as we were getting started. That's me on the far left.
I started out going pretty at a pretty good clip with a perceived exertion of a easy to moderate pace. As you can see with all my laps below, I kept up this pace for the first 10 miles or so. But as the race went on I got slower and slower. I had a really hard time keeping my hydration and calories going for some reason. Those of you who have followed my races in the past know that this is a constant battle for me. Once I start getting dehydrated I lose all thirst and hunger mechanisms and start a downward spiral. I saw that I was on pace to beat my time last year and for the last 5 KM I really turned it on and ran hard, especially the last mile. Got my heart rate really up there at the end.
I crossed the finish line at the 5:28 mark and crushed my previous time from last year by 17 minutes!
Once I was done, I felt pretty tired but not too bad. I tried to hydrate and eat, but my body said no dice. In hindsight, I should have gone to the medical tent and had an IV, but I always feel like it would be putting people out and just decided to just grab my stuff and head back to the hotel. Of course I did get my finishers medal!
Once back at the hotel I took a shower and that's when things started going down hill. I tried to hydrate again but my body was still being stubborn. So I tried to nap a while to see if I started feeling better. I got a late checkout for 1 PM so I had some time to try to recover but I was feeling like pounded doo doo. Like the little soldier I am, I decided to put on my big boy pants and do the 5 hour drive home. It was miserable. Not only was I totally out of it by being dehydrated, I somehow pulled my trapezius muscle and it was really hurting the whole time, especially while taking a deep breath. I've done 14 hour races and felt better than this. But I still had to go home so I just pressed on.
Once I got home I was listless and almost delirious. My wonderful wife was really concerned and kept asking if she should take me to the emergency room to get hydrated. But I said no. I forced myself to drink and by the evening I was feeling better. Went to bed at 9 PM which is VERY unusual for me and felt much better by the morning. By Wednesday I was able to start training again.
So I learned some great things at this race:
1. Just because it is cooler, you can still get badly dehydrated.
2. Always go to the medical tent and get IV if you get dehydrated.
3. Slow down so that the race photographer can get a good picture of you on the race course! I only got two pictures from this race because I was moving too fast going past the race photographer for them to make the picture available.
Well, that's all for now. Next race is the Redman Ironman Distance triathlon in September.
Tri Your Best!