Tuesday, July 17, 2012

El Scorcho 50k

I heard about El Scorcho through a buddy and Doom and I decided to give it a go.  I signed up but really didn’t put much thought or planning into it after that and was basically just taking it as long training run.  I’ve been pretty consistent in my training over the past couple of months but have not really cranked up the volume. 

I’ve put a good bit of training time into stair climbing and you can see some of my thoughts on that here.  I’ve also been trying to get in some more focused gym sessions to add some strength to my lower body and try to maintain some kind of upper body strength.  I knew that I had lost a good bit of strength during the process of dropping from 240 down to 199 and that I would only lose more as I try to get down to around 180 for Cactus Rose.

I could tell that the combo of stair climbing, weight lifting, and trail running was taking a bit of a toll on my legs.  I didn’t plan a taper and figured that just backing off a tad and taking a day or two off would be plenty for a 50k.  The only thing that kind of worried me heading into the race was that I strained my left hamstring during a lifting session 8 days prior to the race.  My longest run b/w that strain and the race was 8 miles and my hamstring tightened up during that run but I was able to walk if off and finish the run on a strong note.  This one nagging concern would ultimately be my main problem during the race. 

Doom and I discussed some logistics via text msg during the week and he had mapped out a plan to finish the race in just under 5:00 hrs.  That seemed reasonable to me and I figured that I would just fall in behind him and try to keep up.  Doom also had some thoughts on adjusting sleep patterns but I wasn’t planning on altering anything.  If my hamstring was a nagging concern, then staying up all night was a major concern but I figured that I would just wing it.  Doom was eventually talked out of his plans by the legends on The List and we would both start the race about equally rested.

From this End to the Other
I decided to use the metroplex train system to get out to Ft Worth because I didn’t want to have to make the 60ish mile drive back home after the race.  It was decided that my wife and kids would make the early morning drive out to see me finish and drive us back home.  Doom, his wife, and dad picked me up at the train station in Ft Worth at about 9:30 pm and we were setting up camp at the Start/Finish line about 4 hours after I left my house.  

Union Station - Are You Sure Y'all Are Open?
We milled around, talked to a few people, used the port-o-john, and just tried to kill 2 hours until the race started.  It was also discovered during this time that Doom forgot his Garmin and that his master pacing plan to get us to the finish line in under 5:00 hours was now out the window!  This didn’t faze me but I could tell that Doom was bit unnerved by this.

Later There Were People Here
Then at midnight we were off and racing.  I was a bit worried that running a 5k loop 10 times would get old but the course was pretty interesting and they had aid stations setup frequently enough that something was always going on.  We made it through the 1st loop and saw that we were just slightly behind sub-5:00 hr pace and picked things up on the next few loops.  We cruised through 20k pretty effortlessly and were right on the pace – without a Garmin!  

Then we started the 5th loop and things started to come undone.  It was now 2:00 am, which is really late for me, and my hamstring started to tighten up pretty quickly.  This was really aggravating because I had kind of let my guard down and decided around the 3rd loop that the hamstring wasn’t going to be an issue and that taking a week off from lifting was all that I needed.  Things went downhill pretty fast and I finally had to tell Doom that I needed to walk for a bit.  This was pretty deflating and I felt bad b/c Doom was running a really strong race and was right on pace for his goal time.  He stopped and walked with me for a bit and then we picked up the pace and started running.  We continued this routine for the remainder of the 5th loop and most of the 6th until my hamstring finally loosened up. 

However, Doom started having his own issues by the time my hamstring loosened up and he needed to walk a bit and his paced was slowed to a shuffle.  I was really starting to feel good about halfway through the 7th loop but I wasn’t about to leave Doom when he could have easily left me earlier in the race.  We came up with the mantra that the 8th loop would be easy because the 9th loop was the final loop of the race and the 10th loop would be our victory lap.  Doom soured on this after a bit (even though it was his brain child!) and I could tell that he was really starting to suffer on the 9th loop. 

We cruised into our make shift aid station and Doom took a seat and had the look on his face of a runner that wasn’t getting back up.  I was a bit concerned but knew he was really tough and wouldn’t take a DNF.  I went ahead and started the 10th loop without him and told him to just catch up with me.  I walked for a bit expecting him to catch up with me but decided to go ahead and run it on in after about 5 minutes of walking.  I was constantly passing people on this last lap and I was in rather high spirits but no one else seemed to be much for talking (go figure!).  

King of DNF Confused by Finisher Award Process
I made it back around to the Start/Finish line and received some fancy hardware - this was all rather confusing to the King of the DNF.  I waited with Doom’s dad and wife for him to finish and then shot off a quick text to my wife and she informed me they were still about an hour away.  I didn’t mind the wait and enjoyed hanging out and cheering on the 80ish runners that finished after me.
This was a great very well run race and I will for sure be back next year.  This is a very fast course and I plan to really focus on training for this race.  I think something in the area of 4:30 – 4:45 should be attainable for someone with my limited running skills.  

And a huge thanks to Doom, his wife, and his dad for all their hospitality!

Oh Noz Doom!

My Phone Tells Me Funny Stuff
I Got Up Early for This?!
It Is Pointy!


  1. Thanks for being out there to get me through the tough times! Right after you left when I was sitting there, I told my wife, eh I have an hour and fourty minutes to finish,I can sit a minute. Next year we kill that race!

    1. I really don't expect to be able to keep up with you next year!

  2. Great report Rob!

    Wish I could have been there with y'all! Next year is a must.

    1. You would have a great time at this race. Next year will be a blast!