Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hunting the Infamous El Chupacabra de Houston

Probably the best race day shirt that I've gotten besides my Toughest 10K Kemah shirt.
On Saturday night (8:30 p.m. to be exact), May 12, 2012, I completed one of my 2012 goals by participating in the El Chupacabra de Houston 5K/10K. If you don't know, which I suspect some of you don't (looking right at you mother who keeps thinking it's a zombie), the el chupacabra is basically translated as the goat sucker. It is a creature of legend that drinks the blood of the livestock, especially goats (and people, whatever) in Mexico, Puerto Rico (allegedly the first sighting), and USA. I'm sure it shows up in the other Latin American countries, as well.

I've wanted to do this race ever since I saw it on the Run In Texas website (love this site, because it has a listing of all these unique events like my famous Sand Crab run) last year, but I just never got around to registering. Then, I found out that not only did Kris and Sara run this event before, but they wanted to do it again. SOLD!

So, we headed out on the long drive talking about how we really weren't up for this race. It had been raining all night and most of the day, which meant the ground would be muddy. Sara hurt herself and was downgrading to a 5K, which I was thankful for since I didn't feel comfortable running a 10K in the dark (haven't ran 6 miles since the half). I ended up downgrading myself, but Kris stayed with it. He also mentioned how we were complaining and looking for any excuse to not go, but yet, we will probably have a great time (yes, we did).

After you get in to the park, there was a long drive to the event. In fact, everything was a long ways away; from the parking to the actual start line seemed like a 5K itself.

So, light and cheery and happy.
The light gets dimmer as we go farther in the woods.

Seriously, this is how horror movies start.

We trekked the LONG way to get our packets and then back to the car and then back to the start line with only 7 minutes to spare. It's funny, we were heading to the car, while everyone was heading back to get ready for the start.

Wait? What? How do I get out of this race?
I guess everyone is okay with this sign.

I had my new Shut Up and Run shirt, but Sara gave me this shirt so we can match. Way cooler.

Although, next time, I'm wearing the tank top.

Kris, Sara, and I in our high volume bright before shot. I have a feeling my mother will love these shirts.

People getting ready to start, while we are going to the car. They had the coolest light horns. I'm so wearing those next year.
Finally, we made it back to the start line and just people watched. There were so many cool lights.
Starting to think about what we are hunting. I mean, it sucks the blood of goats. Am I a match to defeat it?

We are so scared that the El Chupacabra will suck our blood before we can kill it.
It's like I'm at a rave.
And then we were off. Kris left us quick weaving in and out of the crowd. Boy, was there a crowd. There were a couple hundred people all trying to vie for a spot on the trail. But it was a pretty sight to see and the one time I wished I had gotten a picture. The line of people with their lights was so much more amazing than the lights on the Sand Crab race. Since there were so many people, I just couldn't stop to get that shot. Oh well.

Like I mentioned before, it was packed. At times, you were forced to walk due to a traffic jam. Although, we missed the crowd later on, because Sara and I realized it was easier to see the ground (and the large roots and holes) with everyone's lights. In fact, I almost ate it. I tripped over a big root, but caught myself just in time. Sara was behind me ready to grab me to safety if I didn't make it. She didn't know I was secretly a ninja.

Throughout the run, you could hear the calls of roots, mud, holes, etc. Sometimes, it helped and sometimes, it didn't. The mud pits always snuck up on us (except once since I saw the puddle of water glistening), which caused some slipping and sliding.

Then, you heard the chants of CHUPA in which we followed with CABRA. The gun shots were blasting in the background giving us and the hunt the extra oomph we needed. Somewhere a long the trail, we saw a guy go down holding his ankle. Sara and I stopped to make sure he was okay and help him, but we never saw him again; I hope he made it.

I just want to mention that lots of people running on a creaky bridge is not how I want to spend my Saturday. I swear that thing was going to fall.

Sara and I kept up a good pace albeit slower than I wanted. I actually hit another root (didn't trip), but my bad ankle twisted a bit and Sara's knee was hurting. Plus, you had to stop to walk everytime you hit the mud pits. Other than that, we pretty much ran the whole way and I felt good about it. In fact, I felt like I could have tackled the 10K, but that's just me being overly confident.

As we approached the finish line, I sped up for a big finish. My time was 43:34.0 and Sara's time was 43:35.4. After that, we got some water and waited for Kris. I missed the shot of him coming in, but we were cheering anyways. He finished in 1:11:19.4. Click here for full results. We didn't stick around for the party, but instead headed to Petrol Station for a post celebratory beer where I was informed that Zane from Three Sheets was just there. Grrrr!

Sara and I just got done with the race and waiting on Kris.

Kris just ran a 10K, didn't get El Chupa, and couldn't find us even though we were right in front of him.

Unfortunately, we didn't catch the El Chupacabra, but I'm so happy that I did this run and I can't wait to do it again...with more lights. Thank you to Sara and Kris for going with me. Now, we look on to other races in the future. It's funny, but Kris mentioned that we would be talking about signing up for our next race over beer (just like how this race happened). At the end of the night, we are doing the Sand Crab together and I'm joining Kris on the MS 150 next year with his team called Liver Strong. Maybe we shouldn't plan races over beer....nah.

All of us after the race. Don't we look sexy?





  1. What's the difference . . . zombie or blood sucking goul? Great job! Love the lime green shirts.

  2. Way to go. But if you look in the photo with all the light-necklaces, you can see the Chimmichunga (did I spell that right) standing behind you to the right - the one with the glowing red halo.

  3. That sounds like the best race ever! We need more night races in Canada, for sure.

    I loved the Hunger Games books! I read them in pdf, so I don't know what the real, in-your-hands book is like, but the stories just flew by and sucked me in. I liked the movie too - although I watched it right after I read the book so I was comparing it closely to the text. I was able to read a behind-the-scenes kind of book at HMV while I was waiting for my friends recently, and got some insight into the casting of the actors, which was neat. I heard that a lot of people were complaining about the lead, as she's white.

  4. This sounds amazing! Congrats on a great finish!

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