Thursday, July 19, 2007

Monday, July 16, 2007

El Scorcho in the dark ...

Andrea and I have friends who live north of Dallas. Since we were in the area, on Saturday evening we decided to travel up and go to church with them. I shook hands with my friend and he said “I heard you were running today. How did it go?”

“I am running but not until tonight … at midnight,” I told him.

“You’re nuts,” was the only reply he had.

That is the reaction I got from most people when they found out that I was going to run a midnight 25k. Andrea is to the point where she kind of understands, or at least tolerates my running, but even this race seemed a bit extreme for her too.

I was concerned that the change in schedule would mess up my running. I am a creature of habit and I run almost exclusively in the early morning. I tried to rest Saturday afternoon as much as possible and took about a two hour nap. Nutritionally I ate lunch at noon and then did not eat anything else until about 9:00 pm, then I ate a bowl of cereal and a banana just like I do on race morning. I also took a Succeed Scap electrolyte capsule.

I got to Trinity Park right at 10:30 pm Saturday night to pick up my packet. I was planning to pick up my packet at Fort Worth Running Company on Friday afternoon but they sent an email late last week saying packet pick-up would only be available the night of the race. Things went well except that they only had small and extra-small t-shirts. They said they would have to mail the rest at a later date.

People milled around until the race director made a couple of announcements about 15 minutes before the race. The course was advertised as a “well-lit trail” through Trinity Park. The race director informed us that apparently there were communication issues with the city and many of the trail lights were out. People who had head lamps or flash lights were asked to team up with people who came without any lighting. Andrea is the organized of the two of us and before I left the hotel she gave me the mag-light she walks with. So I had a light but it was not necessary.

The course was very dark. I took the flashlight out on the first loop but I put it back up because it was cumbersome to carry and I really didn’t need it. Once my eyes got adjusted to night running I was able to run even the darkest parts of the course without any problem. It was cool to run in the pitch black and it gave the race a bit of mystery. It would have been an entirely different story if the footing was bad, but that was not the case.

The course was also a 5k loop so I had to run it 5 times. I usually despise multiple loop courses but this was not so bad. Most of the course was soft (grass or crushed rock) with a little bit of concrete sidewalks and some asphalt.

I ran pretty hard the whole way. At first I thought I was running too hard but I never really hit a spot where my mind or body told me I would have to slow down. When I finished there was nothing in reserve.

I finished by my watch at 2:14:44 with official race results coming out later this week. The volunteers were great and did a good job encouraging the runners. I had a great time. It was good to get a break from the typical road race and be able to do something different. If it weren’t in Fort Worth I would say I would like to run this race again. But I doubt I will travel all the way up there for El Scorcho alone.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

El Scorcho 25k


This morning I ran 10 miles to finish my training for El Scorcho. The coming week will consist of a couple of short runs but mostly rest, hydration and fueling so I can run a 25k Saturday night/Sunday morning @ midnight in Ft. Worth.

Andrea has a conference this weekend in Grapevine and I am just tagging along. A couple of months back I started surfing the internet for a race that same weekend in the Dallas / Ft. Worth area. All I could find was a 25k/50k run at midnight at a park in Ft. Worth. I signed up immediately.

This is the first year for El Scorcho. It is limited to 200 runners because of the permit with the park where it is held and they filled up months ago. Now there is a waiting list. The race is called El Scorcho because even at midnight in July it will be hot.

Little did I know when I signed up how hot of a race registration I was getting … in more ways than one.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Firecracker 4 2007

Andrea, Anna, and I loaded up at 6:40 am and headed to Dunbar Park to see if the Firecracker 4 would still be run in the rain. When we got to the park there were people everywhere even though the rain was coming down pretty good.

I dropped Andrea and Anna off in front of the pavilion and after parking caught up with them to register for the race. Andrea and Anna signed up for the 2-mile walk and I signed-up for the four mile run. Andrea’s sister Gwen and Gwen’s son Matthew signed up for the 2 mile walk as well.

At about 7:15 we headed to the starting line and stood in the rain. After a moment of silence and some instructions the race director yelled “Go!” and we were off right on time at 7:30. I had my iPod wrapped in a Ziploc in my Nathan runner’s belt. I had the volume way too loud as the race started and struggled with it for a little while at the start.

My first mile was fast (for me) at 7:14. The rain was still coming down and I tried to avoid the puddles for the first mile. There was a large group of runners ahead of me in the distance and a string of people behind so I ran alone for the most part. The third place female passed me at the beginning of the second mile.

I passed the 2-mile mark on the Yaupon bridge over Oyster Creek in 7:34. The sidewalk on the bridge was full of water and I decided at that point that I would splash through the puddles like the big kid that I am.

The third mile was slower and I struggled with whether I should keep running as hard as I was or just slow down and enjoy the rest of the race at a moderate pace. I was having the internal arguments that come in almost every race. I decided to keep pushing.

Mile three was the slowest at 7:46. At that point I realized I had a chance to break 30 minutes. I messed around to much in the third mile arguing with myself though and even though I pushed I missed the 30 minute mark by 12 seconds. I tried to catch a runner in front of me but it was not to be. I was out of gas and he had some left. I ran the last mile in 7:33 and finished the race in 30:12.

Anna won the female division of 2-mile walk. She was extremely excited about that. Gwen came in second and Andrea in third. Matthew won the male division of the 2-mile walk for the second year in a row.