Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Whole New World

Well today I finally did my first ever trail run.  Before today I didn't understand what all the hype could be about wanting to run on an uneven nonuniform surface with the risk of falling on my head, getting bitten by a snake or stung by a hornet vs running on a  nice smooth street and just having to watch out for traffic and the occasional crack in the concrete.  I had been always wanting to trail run, but waiting around and hinting for someone to invite me along on one as I didn't want to intrude on anyone's private party.  Found out that the regular peeps I run with at the DRC do trails regularly, inquired on it and they sucked me right in.  I didn't realize there were so many nature resorts with natural trails in the metro area, thought I would have to drive to the country.  In fact, there is one less than 15 minutes away from my home.  Today we ran at the LB Houston Nature resort which is about 20 minutes away from me.  Here are some observations I made.

1.  Gotta get me some trail shoes.  For now I'll use my beat up runners until I find what I like.  I fell once and stumbled twice.  Once when trying to take a drink from my bottle and the other two times I'm not sure what I was looking at.  What's funny is the shoes I went in with were white, but after I was done they were grey. Trail shoes I"m told will help with balance.

2.  Be attentive to what you are doing.  That was a challenge to me especially since I am ADHD.  This trail running I think, will help me and could end up being a good source of treatment for that ailment.

3.  I was told that this was an 'easy' trail.  I can see how because there were no hills and the only obstacles were tree roots which were raised higher out of the ground than others.  I can see how other trail locations can be more difficult.  I am going to bet that the crazier ones have more uneven terrain, hills and places where you would have to walk rather than run.  Not to mention muddy or wet trails.

4. This is the best for summer runs.  It was so cool in there.  And I mean 'cool' as in temperature.  There was one point where the trail took us out of the woods and into an open field.  We were quickly reminded that this is summer and this is Texas.  

5.  Workin' those muscles.  I've always known all along that you will work muscles that you don't normally use on trail runs.  I didn't feel that today, but I think only because I had been running on all kinds of surfaces like rock, gravel and grass when I prepared for El Scorcho.  I do feel my toe that I stubbed on a tree root though :/ 

6.  I"m not going to set any pace records here.  That forces me to slow my roll which is my philosophy in the first place.  Most of the run was between a 10:45 and 11:15 min/mile pace.  I never looked at my Garmin anyway, only once or twice to see how much time we had been running.  I could not have cared less.  And maybe that was it too.  Away from everything almost like an escape from the world.

Overall a very pleasant experience.  I will be incorporating bi-weekly if not weekly trail running into my training or just do it to 'get away'.  I'm a little hesitant to do a solo trail run though, for fear of getting lost or hurt and no one finding me lol.  I have to familiarize myself with these trails first.  For now, i'm like a kid in a candy store.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

La Scorchita

El Scorcho 25K run .A.K.A "La Scorchita"
Official Time 2:14:59       
Official Pace 8:38/min mile

     Hands down, the most enjoyable race I have had up to this point.  For those of you who aren't familiar, El Scorcho is held during the start of the usually hottest part of the summer for North Texas in Ft. Worth and starts at midnight in mid July.  There is an option of 25K (la Scorchita) and 50K (El Scorcho).
     The day before was murder for me having to wait all day for a race.  I woke up that morning at 6am as my body usually does since that's what time I usually get up for work.  Carb loaded all day long and actually I had been carb loading two and three days before.  I think I may have eaten 5-6 six small meals the whole day, with my last one being around 7pm.  I was paranoid of having an upset stomach as during my late night training runs I had been having an issue there.  I figured it was due to the Powerade or Gatorade I was drinking.  So I decided to get my electrolytes in all day long and stop around 6 or 7 then only drink water thereafter.  Turned out to be a good idea I think.  I only drank water during the race, never drank the other stuff and my belly was fine.  Race anxiety started to set in late afternoon.  Midnight couldn't have gotten there soon enough.
     This year the weather was favorable.  Just two or three hours before, there was a weak cold front that blew through the area, dropping the temps down 10 degrees.  Usually the temps would be in the upper 80s or low 90s at race start.  We got a break this year.  Humidity wasn't all that bad.  Not really any breeze at all.  
     It didn't feel like a race when I got there, more like a big ol party.  I went there just with the intention on completing it, drinking a beer or two and then and getting the heck out of there.  I was already sleepy as it was past my bedtime.  I had been carb loading for 3 days as if I was running a 50k instead of the 25k.  Found my friend Blanca who was so nice to pick up my race packet for me, spoke to a few other dailymile folks and then hooked up with my "family" the Dallas Running Club.
     I had no race strategy going in.  The race started, I just went out, not sure what pace to even commence with.  I figured my body would tell me what pace to settle in to and I was right.  The course was well lit in some places, but a few places was really dark.  Thankfully I brought my headlamp and turned it on in those dark places to keep from falling on my ass since I'm blind as a bat.
    I was able to keep it steady for 3 laps.  Felt really good.  Then I remembered and said to myself "This is a RACE".  Which means you are supposed to be exhausted and give it your everything.  Right about then my Garmin told me it was full and stupid me didn't delete my previous data, so it was stuck and wouldn't go further.  So I would have to rely on my body to tell me what to do.  The best thing to ever happen.
     I decided I WOULD have negative splits, even if I passed out doing it and I was determined to not let anyone pass me (but they did anyway but I kept it at a minimal LOL).  I just listened to my heart rate and ran at the edge of it blowing up, but knowing just about how much take without letting it get to that point.  The support on the course was superb with there being water/refueling every 1.5 miles so that really helped out as well.
     It was a great atmosphere all around.  Once I was done, I stuck around to support and cheer the other runners completing their laps.  Was like one big party.  I plan on participating in this every year in the future, even if I'm not running I'll be there for some type of support.  Great race, great support, well organized.  Post race food could have been a little better but hey I'm not complaining.  Most folks brought ice chests full of stuff and snacks.  I'll make sure to do that next year.  Job well done El Scorcho.  I will be looking forward to you next year.  50k?  We shall see.