And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint... Romans 5:3-5a
I am sure that the apostle Paul did not have Ultramarathoning in mind when he penned the above passage. But Paul was a big sports fan giving illustrations with boxing and running on more than one occasion, so I thought the passage in Romans was a concise description to what took place on the night of July 19, 2009.
This would be the second time I ran the El Scorcho 50K. Like last year, the course is a 3.1 mile loop that you run 10 times to get in the full 31 mile run. This years temperatures were as mild as they had been and I was looking forward to the race that commences at midnight.
Let me begin by saying that I believe that I was undertrained. The longest run in had done since the Grasslands 50 miler was a 20 mile run about a month previous of El Scorcho. Last year at this point I had completed a half dozen runs of 26 miles or longer....and many of these were back to back long runs as well.
So let me sum it up...what could go wrong did...dehydration, cramping, nausea, intestinal issues, and at one point the total lack of caring. I remember at mile 15.5, I came close to sitting down in my chair, telling the RD that, "I was turning this into a 25K...give me my 25K medal...so I can get the heck out of Dodge." The legs began hurting at mile 6...talk about a bad sign and I really need to get my nutrition dialed in...I can only gag down gel packs so many times. I would be lying to you if I didn't tell you that at the half way point I started calculating minumum splits to meet the deadline. I ran it 20 minutes slower than than last year and nearly as fast as I ran the Bandera 50 which is on of the toughest courses in Texas.
I finished within the time limit. I had many arguements with myself. In the end I knew that if I quit...whatever discomfront I was currently in, would never last as long as the misery of giving it up.
Thanks for all your support. There will be better days, better races...and better times (pun intended.)