Friday, August 19, 2011

Let's Get This Over With: 2011 El Scorcho 25K Race Report

El Scorcho 2010 was a fantastic experience - a triumph of showing what a pregnant runner's body could do. Now contrast that to 2011 where I had a horrible experience. Hence, the title. "Let's Get This Over With". It only took me a month to finally write this race report.

I could have also gone with the title "I *HAD* never puked on a run before". Ugh.

All smiles BEFORE the race
What's El Scorcho? It's a 25K and a 50K at midnight in the July Texas summer heat in Fort Worth. Oh, and it's run on 5K loops. That's a lot of loops! It was July 17, 2011, for the 5th year - El Scorcho Cin5o!

Race day was a long day with a 7 am wakeup with the girls. Steve was in South Carolina visiting family so I would watch our 3 year old and 8 month old all day, while trying to hydrate and eat healthy, and then pick him up at the airport at 7:30 pm, trade cars, and head to Fort Worth for the race.

After the car trade, I hurried to packet pickup, just a mile from the hotel where I had gotten a room. Yes, there's no way I'm driving back to Allen an hour away at 4 am after running in the dark for 4 hours. I checked into the room but was just TOO excited to sleep. I dressed, packed up, and headed to the race site at 10 pm-ish.
I've arrived!
I found our big crew of runners and supporters already setting up. Corina, Julie, MarciCassie, Megan, and Fiona were the big cheerleaders of the group, having made cheer signs, brought water guns, and had a multitude of glow stick accessories.
Cassie accessorized with glowing items
"Camp" set-up before the race
Our whole crew. That's a lot of people. Forgive me for not naming everyone!
Andy and me

Marcie and me
Waiting for the 25Kers to start. David, Corina, Megan, and me
I had my first marathon in San Francisco still to come two weeks later, so this was supposed to be my approximately 13 mile taper run. I figured I could always just run 13 and walk the last 2.5 miles.

It was time for the race to start, and I didn't really think through my pacing. I thought I'd go with my practiced long run pace, a 12:45 and a walk break at the end of each mile. I didn't account for the fact that it was middle of the night, in the dark with a headlamp, on varied terrain (you jump between decomposed crushed granite trail, sidewalk, packed dirt, grass, and even traverse a basketball court). So stupid pacing plan plus I went out too fast with the excited crowd.

Loop 1: Way Too Fast, even if it had been light out and on regular road. Pace splits for 3.1 miles:
Mile 1 - 11:49
Mile 2 - 12:40
Mile 3 - 12:31
Last 0.17 - 11:31

Loop 2: Still Too Fast, But Finding Groove. Pace splits for 3.1 miles:
Mile 1 - 12:29
Mile 2 - 12:14
Mile 3 - 13:11
Last 0.14 - 10:51

Loop 3: In the Groove. Look at that consistency! Pace splits for 3.1 miles:
Mile 1 - 13:16
Mile 2 - 13:23
Mile 3 - 13:16
Last 0.10 - 10:54

Loop 4: Tired and Hot. I start putting in walk breaks every 1/2 mile instead of every mile. I'm just feeling HOT.
Half-mile pace splits: 12:47, 13:28, 13:16, 13:34, 12:29, 11:34

Loop 5: It All Fell Apart. At this point, I'm feeling tired and so hot. About halfway through this last loop, I start feeling really nauseous. Then disoriented. I've stopped running now, and I'm slow walking. I'm so dizzy and disoriented that I turn off my headlamp (not good when you're kinda night blind so tells you how woozy I was) and hang it around my neck. I feel like I'm staggering. My belly feels sloshy. I know I only have about a mile to a mile and a half left. Finally out of nowhere I feel super sick, pull off a little to the side, and throw up. I start moving again and 20 seconds later, pull off again to throw up again. With that out of my system, I actually feel a little better and walk along the rest of the way. When I start approaching the crowds at the start/finish, I manage a decent little kick to run it in at the tail end. Finish strong? Heh.
Half-mile pace splits: 12:50, 13:56, 15:01, 16:38, 19:19, 19:52

Was I overhydrated (sloshy belly)? Was I hyponatremic (diluted or low electrolyte levels in the blood)? I don't know, but it was the most scared I'd ever been in a race. Could it have just been that I had been up since 7 am, chasing two kids all day, and now it was 3 am.

Later I thought about the reaction from everyone in camp when I told them. I was angry when I left to go to the hotel post-race because I felt like the help I needed wasn't there. When I finished, said I had thrown up twice and sat down, someone asked if I needed anything. I said, "A few Oreos might help." And they said, "Oh, they're over there" and gestured. I said, "Can someone get them for me?" And someone did jump up. This kinda hurt my feelings, especially when going into that last loop I was looking stronger than Erin so Marci ran the last loop with her, and they shot by me mid-loop.  But the initial anger I felt in the half day post-race disappeared when I realized that to some point, I think I still acted pretty closed off and stoic about what had happened. I don't think I did a good job communicating how I was feeling and had felt out there those last 1.5 miles. It's my fault because I don't think anyone, until they may be reading it now, knows how absolutely terrified I was.

It was the scariest 1.5 miles ever because I didn't know what would happen if I had collapsed out there, I didn't know how quickly emergency vehicles would get to me since we were on a completely dirt trail area at that section, I was scared about what all this would mean for the marathon I had trained so hard for.

Now I know I need to be more open and honest with that stuff. I think people think I'm generally a strong person, and I think the weakness looks like it's just dripping off me. I need to recognize that difference in perception.

Final time was 3:41:39. I had run a 3:56 and 3:57 at my last two 25Ks, so I was happy with the 15 minute new Personal Record improvement. Of course with proper pacing, I hope in the future to shave off more time.

Official chip timing results below:


  1. You did great Libby! I can't imagine doing that race! I'm glad it didn't affect your marathon!

  2. Dude!! I didn't realize you were feeling so bad!!! I'm so sorry! You looked strong coming in and I don't think we did sense how awful it was!! I was a bad frunner! =( yes, next time say something and make sure we jump to it!! No medals for being tough!!

  3. I'm a new follower to your blog... I'm so sorry you felt so terrible! And God, we ALL have those races where we just feel like crap! And I'm so like you- I self-loathe until about the next day when I pull myself out of it. You did it, in the zillion degree heat, at midnight. Enough said. You totally rock!