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.

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