Prologue - you can skip this if you have read my crap before... or are bored easily.
I was thinking about it, and I really am not going about this the right way. Most people start running, maybe do some 5 or 10Ks, then after a couple years try a half marathon or a marathon, and once they've mastered all of that, they might dabble into ultra marathons. They start with a 50K, get good at that, then try a 50 miler, then maybe a 100K and a 100 miler... Instead, I started running, within a about 10 months ran a marathon as a training run, and about a year into running ran my first 50 miler and now, at about 17 months in, I ran my first 50K. I seem to do okay at 5Ks, winning my age group some of the time and usually staying toward the front of the pack, but have definitely not mastered the longer distance races. I suck at them, just to be honest. I'm hoping some day the ability to finish longer runs and the ability to run shorter races faster kind of come together... Anyhow, despite the slow time I finished in, this was my first longer race I'd say I ran. I always say I jogged the White Rock Marathon as a training run. At Rocky Raccoon Ultra Marathon I was hit with ITBS on mile 2 and really shuffled through the rest. Now, El Scorcho did not come without its problems, but I still feel like I ran. The main problems have been outlined here:
which basically meant I hardly trained at all for this race, but tried to make up for it with...
So... off we went.
Chapter 1: Getting to Town and
Getting Some Rest Staying Up All Day Stressing(1)
On Friday my wife picked me up from work at 11 AM and off we went. I got my Succeed! tabs on the way out, and we had a pretty quick and easy drive. I bored her to death with details from the "ultra list" and she asked why @TheBoringRunner talks so much about his poop. You think she'd be used to that being married to me. I think I just gave her some sort of line about how 3 non joggers have freed us all to talk more about our poop and that is just what runners talk about. My parents offered to take me out for a birthday dinner since this was the last weekend of my 20s, and I chose La Hacienda Ranch in Colleyville. That is seriously good Mexican food. If you are in the DFW are, I highly recommend it. I only had two beers though! Unheard of for me eating Mexican!!!
The plan was to stay up just a little late, sleep in, rest, and nap throughout the day. Instead, I stayed up late, slept in, and stressed a lot. Normally before a marathon you sleep in the hours before, but with El Scorcho, you are up all day. Every time I shut my eyes I thought about everything that could happen during the race, what time I would get there, parking, pooping, and Jessica Alba. I tried going to the pool to relax with my son and float on our "boats" but he decided to be Peter Pan to my Captain Hook and repeatedly wanted to turn my boat over.
So on I went. No real rest. But hey, that is perfect training before I do my first race that goes into the night, right?
We got there and my two Imodiums taken after dinner had not helped. Well... they really just made me feel like I had to poop and fart a lot instead. And I forgot my Garmin!!! What??!?! NO!!!!! I survive on pace!!! I am a numbers guy and this really was terrible news. After that, Rob, who I was running with (who camped and ran some of RR50 with Chaser and I) decided we would go for a sub 5 (spoiler we failed).
Chapter 2: The Race Begins and The First 25
I took one more Imodium, a red bull, a honey gel, and off I went. Just BTW, those honey stinger gels are the best thing ever. Ever.
12:01 Start. About 75 degrees, 90% humidity, 100% stupidity.
I figure this guy got confused and thought it must be a bike race at such distances.
My proud Crew Chief/Wife/Boss @Ebugg134 to you folks on Twitter.
The first lap was definitely a warm up and getting around people. I think we both felt great and ready to speed up. I had to pee like hell though, so I peed after that lap and caught up. I also began my strategy of taking a gel per lap. I think Rob did one every other lap or so. The next lap we got closer to on pace and stayed pretty close to on pace through 25K. We both felt like we were not having many issues and might be able to really turn it up the last two laps.
Rob and I ripping into gels.
I would get much more excited as we approached and speed up...
On laps 5 and 6 Rob started having trouble, which I'm sure he might discuss on his own blog at The Obligatory Ultra Running Blog. Basically he had to walk some cramps out every now and then. Other than that we were both pretty good. I could feel my toes getting crammed in the Brooks Pure Connects, and thought I may need to change to Trail Gloves at some point, but other than that, life was good. Rob salted up with some Succeed! and Pickle Power and was better. I really started
feeling some gas at this point (ibid).
Chapter 2: F it All
In the 30K and 35K laps, I'd say Rob and I took turns slowing each other down. I'd drag ass with my feet hurting and stomach issues the first half of the lap, feel better, and he'd cramp toward the end of the lap. By lap 4 he started taking Red Bulls every other lap to avoid the caffeine low from his pre-race Red Bull. So I think he drank Red Bull at laps 4,6, and 8, and I took Red Bulls at 5,7, and 9. In hindsight, he may have been right about the Caffeine lows and on a better schedule. I do wonder if kept going fast during his low times, would it have allowed me to make up some time for later in the race? Probably not... I probably would have just bonked faster. If he had not waited for me when I bonked later in the race, would he have gone faster? Or ended up feeling like crap? Who knows... I think overall, just like staying with Chaser at RRUM, staying together was mutually beneficial. I actually think it works out to have someone who has highs and lows at different points than you. It allows you to have someone who is positive when you are negative, and it slows you down when you might get over zealous and decide to take off during your strong times. I guess a good metric is if you feel like you both apologized for holding the other back in the race. I think we both did so multiple times in this race, so that is probably a good thing.
Trying to keep the toes lubed... the Brooks Pure Connects cram those piggies in.
To no avail.
After lap 5, my wife convinced me to switch to the Trail Gloves. I love them for trail running, but this was too flat and they are floppy on this kind of terrain. In this humidity, they gave me their worst performance. Worse than Rocky Raccoon. We were submerged there. We were muddy and wet. In this race it was dry, but that humidity made me sound like I was wearing... I don't know... some sort of shoe that splashes and flops every step. Rob commented on the sound a few times.
Some time during lap 8 (miles 21-24) I BONKED. Now, this was the first time I have BONKED in race. I think the ITBS kept me from ever bonking at RRUM and I never ran hard enough to bonk at the marathon... even though my marathon was faster than my pace at that point here... but humidity and staying up all day can have that effect. Plus it was getting warmer as the night went on as the rain system that almost hit moved away. I had never really felt this. Basically, my quads were trashed, my stomach hurt, my legs did not want to move, and my fingers were swelling.I decided to lay off the salt and that really helped. My feet were hurting pretty badly in the Trail Gloves. I think the mud at Rocky Raccoon gave me a false sense of my minimalist running abilities. This hard ground, along with the flopping HURT. But the foot pain was not slowing my down. Neither was my stomach. My brain just could not tell my legs to move faster. Even if I wanted to move through the pain, that's how fast I was going to go.
After lap 9, I felt good again. I got the sodium to water balance back in check and was feeling good. My feet hurt, my stomach hurt, and my legs were only going to go a certain speed, but I felt good. Rob took off for lap 10 while I sat and drank my last Red Bull. I then took off, and trotted through. I felt pretty good, said hi to the random people I saw in the dark, and kept moving. I noticed a guy in an orange jump suit which has been the subject of some conversation on Facebook, but thought nothing of it...
I tried to make sure to stop and thank all of the volunteers, especially the ones from the Cowtown Marathon with the blue cold towels. They tried to convince me to come to Cowtown this year, and to be honest, the 50K is much more appealing after being treated by such wonderful volunteers. And then, at the top of the 1 little hill in the run, I saw it... a port-o-potty... and I could no longer hold it in... but what if it had no toilet paper? That would be hell!!! Luckily it did. And 7 minutes in heaven ensued. For real. Ultra running makes you really appreciate some odd things.
After that, I felt so good. I wish I had done that earlier!!! Another lesson learned!!!
I finished in 6:11, way off pace, but I finished. Like I said I could say I jogged WRM, and I had ITBS at RRUM, but this time I gave it my effort. I ran hard enough to bonk. Now granted, I had hardly trained since The Ranch due to my sprained ankle, so I was under trained, but I still feel good about my effort. I am proud of my race. Now I am going to take a few weeks easy to get the ankle fully better before training, leave the country, drink a lot of beer, and get ready to start really training again.