Thursday, July 29, 2010

El Scorcho Quatro: 50k Race; July 24th, 2010

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El Scorcho was one of those races that I had been wanting to run for several years, but always had some sort of conflict in my schedule. Two years ago, I was in Africa and missed it, and last year, I had signed up for it and was training hard and injured my knee and missed it. So, this year, I was determined to do more than give my entry fee to charity. Although, my training was not without its conflicts. I spent time at the Navajo Reservation with students, but managed to hike some major mountain trails, as well as doing some running in the mountains and the altitude that was over 5,000 ft. Then, I went to China, and didn't know if I would be able to continue my training while there, either. However, I trained a lot while there, just not a lot of long distance runs. But, I more than made up for it with all the hiking through the mountains, all the walking, and twice-a-day training runs when I could. I also had the luxury of some of the students who wanted to run. So, I had some company on most mornings.

Otherwise, I trained hard for this event, knowing that a 50k (31.2 miles) race in the middle of Texas in July was not going to be a comfortable run. Most of my races are on trails in the middle of the woods, or on rocky trails and slopes. This race course was flat, but the obstacle was going to be the heat. At midday on raceday, the temperature had soared to over 95 degrees. I was hoping that by the midnight start, we would be looking at the low 80's but it was not to be. It was still hovering right around the 90 degree mark at racetime, but it soon began to cool into the 80's.

I also had my goals for this race. I wanted to set a new personal record. Having run a 6:14 in Fort Worth for my very first 50k, I was ready to dip under the 6 hour mark for the first time. My training was good, and I felt like I had the endurance to do it, but it was not to be. I had the endurance, but not enough to maintain my early pace.

I started out fine, but by the time I had completed the first two laps (roughly 3 miles each), I was hot, and sweating. I didn't know if I was going to make it or not, and those remaining 8 laps loomed large in my mind. At the end of the 6 mile mark, I began pouring cold water on my head, and it revived me, and my pace felt strong again. I kept doing that at each aid station and I continued running strong. Rather than concentrate on the mileage, it was more convenient mentally to concentrate on the number of laps, which was ten to complete the 50k distance.

Some parts of the trail were pretty dark, and I needed my headlamp, but in other places, it was lit fairly well. There was a full moon, so that helped. There were times when I just wanted to look up at that glorious moon. It was beautiful. I did see some wildlife...I saw the largest Raccoon I had ever seen. That thing was huge. Otherwise, it was lap after lap, after lap, after lap......!

I enjoyed this run more than most I have done. I was not too disappointed with my time, as I ran my second fastest time for a 50k in 6 hours and 42 minutes. The heat was just too much to run that hard...but I ran steady and with a nice rhythm. It was nice to run with so many Abilene runners. It's always nice to have such support.

One of the best races I have run. Oh, and I experimented with a new Gel, called Roctane. It was great. Although more expensive than others, I found it to be quite helpful in keeping me going.

I must say that after all this time, El Scorcho was worth the wait.

Jerry Hollingsworth


bcIII said...

congratulations on your el Scorcho finish. This was my first el Scorcho and first Ultra and I thought the event was very enjoyable. See you around!

Jerry Hollingsworth said...

Thanks, congrats to you, as well. It was a great event.