Sunday, July 20, 2008

El Scorcho Is A First Class Event

Congratulations to Ryan for organizing and running a top notch event last night. The volunteers, the course, water stops, food, timing, parking, all worked flawlessly literally in the middle of the night. Ryan, dude - I'll be back next year for sure!

It was 9:00 pm Saturday night, t-minus 3 hours to race time, and I was at home wondering if I should shower, eat another pre-race snack, or take a nap. I ended up doing all of the above, got up at 10:15 pm and headed out to Ft Worth.

I arrived about 11:15 pm, easily found parking, and ran into fellow DFW runner Kevin while walking to packet pickup. We also found Ryan who had been out there all day setting up, and was looking at an all-nighter on top of that.

At midnight, Ryan sent off the 50K runners. That's some serious mileage. About 10 minutes later, he set us 25K runners off. El Scorcho was underway. 5 loops of a 5K course in Trinity Park just off downtown Ft Worth. Beautiful course lit by an occasional streetlamp but mostly by a full moon. One section ran alongside the Trinity River with the Ft Worth skyline standing silently along the other bank. Long stretches of crushed limestone paths weaved their way under a canopy of tress spread throughout the park. There was even a slight, gently breeze at times!

Under strict orders to maintain my LHR training by running under 144 HR, I wasn't sure if I could keep my HR low enough long enough - it usually climbs the longer I run as the body weakens, and I haven't run longer than an hour fifteen or so without this happening. Well imagine my surprise:

1st 5K - avg HR 143
2nd 5K - avg HR 144
3rd 5K - avg HR 144
4th 5K - avg HR 144
5th 5K - avg HR 146

I've gone from obsessing over pace to obsessing over HR! For the entire 25K, avg HR 144, avg pace 12:16/mile, total time 3:10:34. I think that's one of my slowest, if not the slowest, races I've ever run, but I'm thrilled with the base building at 64% - sorry for the HR mumbo jumbo, but it's a big deal for me to finally maintain some decent mileage burning FAT instead of glycogen! I carried 3 and only ate 1 GU all night, and I finished the race almost as fresh as I started.

After the run, I had some pasta with marinara sauce (yum!), watched some more runners, probably 50K-ers, and then headed home. I pulled into my garage at 4:40 am, showered, and got in bed by 5:00 am. Perfect!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Austin Hill Country

We just got back from a week in Austin. Even though I had to work, it was nice to get away and the kids always enjoy a hotel stay. This was an impromptu trip - I was looking for a place to stay and stumbled upon an incredible price on Expedia - $105/night for the Barton Creek Resort which is a a fantastic place. So my client gets a great deal on my expense report, the family gets a free hotel stay, and everyone had a great time.

We drove down Sunday morning, arriving in time for lunch poolside. It was HOT, but perfect for hanging out by the pool all afternoon. Barton Creek is set in the hills of West Austin, and the area is just gorgeous. While you can't stop all development, Austin has done a pretty good job keeping the hills from being overrun. Some areas are kept off limits altogether, and others are used sparingly, which means the few homes that do get built are just magnificent. And expensive.

Being the sucker that I am, I just had to try running the hills. I had a 45 min run on Monday and a 60 min run on Wednesday to keep up with my LHR training. See those 2 white water towers dead center in the picture? Looks far away but it's only about 2.5 miles one-way. 5 tortuous hilly miles round-trip. With inclines that busted my heart rate. With declines that could wipe you out if you didn't run with your brakes on. But it was all good. I ended both runs with a solitary dip in the pool (yes, I did shower off first, duh). And it was still only 7:30am :-)

I'm glad I ran, because I sure as hell ate. After work each day, I was so ready to meet up with the family again. I don't know Austin well enough anymore to know all the good places, but there are a few reliable local favorites. We hit Magnolia Cafe, Chuy's Tex-Mex, County Line BBQ, and tried a new place Gumbo's. Along the way, there might have been a Shiner or two.

The pièce de résistance? Our new discovery - the kids only saved half of one for me, but it was absolutely the best I've ever had. I'm not kidding. I take my cupcakes very seriously.