I conquered my biggest goal to date on November 7, 2015…running a 50k! It has taken almost 3 weeks to write this post between recovering, reflecting, teaching, reflecting, running and more reflecting. Writing about the Ray Miller 50k is as daunting a task as running it. Well, not really but I’m still overwhelmed by it all. I’m glad to have this space as a place to capture my thoughts about the race, in words and photos.
My first photo of these mountains that I have come to really love. It was a cool, windy morning on race day. My Coyote group and I had run here 3 other times and these views never get old. (Read about our last Ray Miller training run here!) My teammate, Fernie and I had gotten there super early, 4:40 am, and rested in the car as we couldn’t pick up our bib until 6 am. The week leading up to the race was the most stressful I had ever been. My students were sick and I kindly asked them to not get me sick, too. 😉 I was so stressed that they even commented, “Ms. Premsrirath, you’re really stressed out.” Yep, I was. “I know,” I said, “I’m sorry. I just need to relax.” My head hurt. My sinuses hurt. My stomach hurt. I had never felt this nervous. I was thankful for the pep talk my coach, Coach Kate, gave me.
I reread her message to me as we waited in the car: “Your mantra is: I’m stronger than I’ve ever been, both physically and mentally. I’m doing something crazy hard and awesome. I will give it my best and then some all the way to the finish line. I can and will do this!”
On the way to bib pick-up, we saw the 50 mile and 100k people start the race! So cool! They were all a blur, zooming past me.
Hooray, porta potties!
In line for bib pick-up, we chatted with another first timer and a girl who had run many 50ks. We all shared our excited for this beautiful course.
I loved the intimacy of the start area. I could see all of the runners and the start line all in one view. I got to hug race director, Keira Henninger, and was happy to meet her in person finally!
We were allowed a drop bag that we’d have access to at Mile 19.
My teammates and I found one another and I just soaked up their energy and encouragement. We’d been training together for this race for about 4 months and now the big day was here. I was still super nervous. My sinuses hurt and I didn’t feel 100% but I knew I’d give it my all.
The before photo! I knew my after photo would look very different! Haha. What do people look like after running 31 miles?
I had my mantras handy, for when I needed a reminder and a pick-me-up. I knew I’d need them to accomplish my goal. I had three goals for the race. My first goal was to not hurt myself. My second goal was to finish within the time limit of 12 hours. My third goal was to finish no matter what! I didn’t know what kind of time I could finish in, this being my first 50k and first big trail race. I just really started running trails at the end of March. I’ve had the goal of running an ultra for a couple of years now but I was scared to run trails and I knew my footing wasn’t so great. I kept running trails with the Coyotes and we started talking about Ray Miller. I got talked into running the 50k and somehow convinced myself this was a good idea. We trained all summer and I knew I was the strongest I had ever been. We’d run each section of the course except for one so I knew what the course and the terrain was like but of course, I was still anxious, scared and a somewhat doubtful but I had to think positively.
We had a few announcements before the race. Keira said it had been extremely windy the night before, 75 mph winds like she’d never experienced. The winds knocked trees down onto the course and she told us to be careful. (Gulp!) But the wind was going to settle down in a couple of hours. We’d run here in heat and a bit of drizzle but never wind! This was going to be an adventure!
A selfie before we got going! I love my running friends! I felt so lucky to share this race with them and was excited that we started this journey together! I knew I would think about them while on the course and remember the times we’d run here before. I knew they believed in me and I would keep their love and support with me throughout the race. Let the 50k journey begin!
Your path, your pace, Tam