El Scorcho – Third Times A Charm

elscorcho_running_ultramarathon_texasEl Scorcho – 50K run in the middle of July at midnight in Texas……what could be bad about that?

What a night!  This was actually my 3rd attempt at El Scorcho.

My first attempt was in July 2010 – Jason and I actually signed up for the 25k together and I ended up getting a horrid stomach virus and going to the ER.  My last comment to the Doctor in the ER was  “I have a race tonite”..and then passed out and slept until the race was over.  The next year in May of 2011 I ended up in a boot with a stress fracture and told my Dr. I was NOT missing this event. Six weeks later  I ran the 25K event with a friend and loved the whole event.  My friend on the other hand cursed me and told me she HATED running and wasn’t sure why she was there..(although we still run regularly today).   This year I was invited to run with Lesley and Shannon and do the 50K and signed up immediately.  Over the course of the months and as the days got hotter and training runs in the heat got longer – I got scared.  I attempted to back out and both ladies told me we would take it slow and be ok.  I gave in and kept training.  The miles kept getting higher and it was hard to recruit friends to run with you on longer runs, but my faithful running friend Barbara, who ran the Scorcho in 2011 graciously met me on the halfway mark of longer runs and pushed me through the training.  I went into research mode,  and read up on nutrition and fueling for these types of races.  I purchased Hoka’s – ran over 20 miles in them and blistered, and researched more and determined I got the “walking” pair not made for running.  Now I see why they were discounted.  (Rest assured Jeff, Kevin and Emily I will be saving money for a true running pair). I found a checklist of items I needed for the race and spent two days getting a cooler ready and a backpack after several visits to the grocery store. My list included:

  1. Extra set of clothes with socks and shoes (Hoka for after the race)
  2. M&M’s (had handful) , Jelly Beans, PB&J (ate quarter of this) , Pretzels, Chocolate chip cookies (had 1)
  3. NUUN, Coke (flat- BEST THING EVER- Wanted more and Barb found another!), Gatorade (never touched)
  4. Fuels – AccelGel (took 8 used 6) Salt tabs (took 5 used 3)
  5. Medical – Bandaids, Aquaphor (yeah I needed LOTS of this), BodyGlide (used on feet prior to run – worked like a charm), Generic KT tape (because KT tape doesn’t last more than a mile for me), Imodium (yeah I needed one just incase stomach was gurgling.)  Recovery sleeves for after race, and extra TP (the course potties had several rolls outside just incase)

My rest stop was set up by Jason and soon thereafter Barbara showed up to Sherpa for the entire night.  I tried to get in the spirit by putting glow bracelets on and a glow necklace – and Jason soon informed me the glow stick on a necklace would soon my drive me nuts.. I didn’t listen..and headed to get in line for the 12:01am gun time.

Next thing you know – we are off and running… and the DAMN glow necklace was bouncing ALL over and driving me nuts within the first 5 steps – and I yanked it as hard as I could hoping the rubber cord would snap and break but it just stretched out to a longer 3 foot necklace. FAIL. Listen to Jason next time as I pull to the side and get the annoyance off of me and start running.

The course was a 5k loop and at first thought I was thinking there is NO way I can do this.  I had drank so much water, I already had to pee during the first loop so I ran ahead and found the porta-potty.  Once I was out of there, I was back on the course and started to enjoy myself.  The site of wooded area and all the headlamps was an awesome site to see and people were all in good spirits.  Once we had crossed the 5k mark and I saw my crew – I was thrilled and started LOVING the nite.  I could not stop smiling and laughing.  The course was a total of 10 loops and I would NOT look at my Garmin, but count down laps in my head.  I waited until half way thru the course each time and would try to determine what I needed prior to getting to rest stop and once I got to rest stop my sherpa’s were up and ready to fuel me.  I have to say the best fuel seemed to be that flat coke… OMG.. the caffeine and the sugar worked wonders.

As the nite went on – I was not tired or angry but quite delirious and started seeing things.  I saw a dog and just assumed it was a chupacabra and then again I panicked when I thought I saw another stray dog which turned out to be a runner with reflective marking on the back of his shorts.  Later on I did see a cat (In my mind – this was a bobcat) and a large pack of raccoons. One thing that really touched me was someone sitting at a rest area alone in the dark, in a wheelchair, and at that moment I realized how lucky I was to be running and kept running strong..  The oddest moment of the nite was on my last loop when the sun was rising, and I was heading towards the finish line, and I passed a very odd looking man in an orange jumpsuit.. all I could think was wow – I just passed an escaped convict and ran 31 miles. Turns out this guy was in several costumes all nite, and was part of the crowd cheering us on and this was his last outfit he put on and then had one too many jello shots and got lost and passed out in the park. (I am sticking with my own story,  sounds much cooler)

All in all it was GREAT nite and I felt strong all nite and loved the event- cannot wait to do it again.  Did I pack too much?   Nope – you never know what you might need (next time more flat coke) The Hoka’s came in handy after the event was over as did the spare clothes as I was perfectly dry when I sat down to have a red velvet pancake reward.

Jason actually had a race planned for the morning, and decided to be with me for my first Ultra, and I am thankful and beyond blessed to have him in my life  -I love you and please know next year I will get you a cot to sleep on during the event – my sweet Ultra-Sherpa!


Utra-badass Mom



Nice Looking Medals For This Event Too!

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  1. Marlene says:

    Congrats Karen! A 50K in and of itself is tough, but in the middle of the night in the summer! True bad-assery! Thanks for the report. :)
    Marlene recently posted..Muskoka 70.3 Training – Week 1My Profile

  2. Jeff Irvin says:

    Awesome job Karen!

    10 loops would bring out the crazy for sure and maybe even a Bigfoot sighting or two.

    Great race and it sounds like a ton of fun!
    Jeff Irvin recently posted..Buffalo Springs Lake Tri 70.3 …My Profile

  3. Jill says:

    Way to go, Karen! I can’t imagine starting at run at midnight in Texas heat – you are badass for sure!! Love your well-earned medal – wear it with pride (well, now and then around the house at least :)). Congratulations!!
    Jill recently posted..The Leadville Heavy Half MarathonMy Profile

  4. Emily Woodhouse says:

    Beautiful medal. If I had one!
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  5. So, so, SO awesome! I cannot believe you did 10 loops – that sounds crazy! I would be hallucinating too! Congratulations on your race :)
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  6. katie says:

    WOW. what a badass!
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  7. Dr. St Onge says:

    Congrats Karen, I looked for you guys out there but never found you. Jeni and I ran the 25K. I would love to hear about it some time.

  8. lindsay says:

    way to go karen!!! saw the various updates on FB – so proud! what an accomplishment and glad you had a blast!
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  2. […] “The site of wooded area and all the headlamps was an awesome site to see and people were all in good spirits.  Once we had crossed the 5k mark and I saw my crew – I was thrilled and started LOVING the nite.” by Karen @ Cook Train Eat Race […]

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