Previously on “Lost”…I mean, Tam’s Ray Miller 50k adventures… 🙂
I started on the last but biggest loop of the Ray Miller 50k course. I had 1.5 hours to make the cut-off. 3 miles or so to run. I think it ended up being more like 4 miles. I was a bit worried but I figured I could make it. I had to make it.
We had run this trail on our third training run here but didn’t run the entire loop, as it covers Miles 16-31 of the course.
I knew I liked some of the flats that the Sycamore loop had to offer. Course, it was hilly, too.
I had 2 miles from this point to get to the Mile 19, Danielson Ranch aid station and the cut-off. I was really tired by this point. I remembered what my friend, INKnBURN elite ultrarunner, Michelle Barton, told me before the race: “Pain will come and go. Stay positive.” She also told me to rock this sh–, look gorgeous and take lots of pictures. 🙂 So I knew I had to work through the pain and just keep going.
I made it to the aid station with 30 minutes to spare! The kind volunteers helped me get stuff out of my drop bag and refill my bottles. I had a mental note of what I needed, checked things quickly, went to the porta potty and was off again.
I smiled when I saw the letters my students had written for me. It gave me a little boost and I was glad I had them in my drop bag.
My students gave me their cards the day before the race and I knew they were rooting for me to finish. I had shared my doubts with them and they said, “You can do it, Ms. Premsrirath! We believe in you!” I knew I had to finish for them.
I had run about 1/2 a mile on this part of the trail in training so after that, it was all new. I saw two ladies ahead of me but couldn’t quite keep up. When they would stop, I would catch up for a bit but then couldn’t catch up again. It was nice to know others were on the trail, too.
I had to really force some calories in by this point. Nothing really tasted that great. I wasn’t craving anything. I wasn’t hungry but I knew I had to take in fuel. I had ginger candy sometimes just to keep myself occupied.
The Sycamore loop had some sections that were like an obstacle course! I ducked under this tree.
There was climbing, of course.
I figured I’d have to climb to the top of that! I hadn’t seen anyone for miles when a runner came by. He was actually working the race, putting out glow sticks on the course. That worried me a little. I hadn’t thought I might be out on the course still, in the dark, but with the way things were going, I might be. I was walking and he asked if I was okay. I said, I was. He asked if I had enough fuel and water. I said, “Yes, I’m good.” I asked him if I was the last 50ker on the course. He said there were three behind me but one may drop at Danielson Ranch. He told me when I got to the split, to not take the 50 mile/100k loop. “No problem!” I shouted.
I saw the turn-off for the 50 mile/100k course and saw a runner coming off the loop.
Here and there, 50 mile/100k runners would run by me and it was great to just see another person. They all looked so strong as they ran by and I was in awe.
I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. Something in my foot was bugging me but I couldn’t tell what. (It turned out to be a blister between my big toe and second toe–how does a blister form there?)
My next mini goal was to get to the last aid station at Mile 26. It was so far away. It was about 5 miles away at this point and it seemed as if it would be an eternity. I had to really dig deep and celebrate the fact that I’d made the cut-off. I celebrated the fact that I hadn’t hurt myself. I was messaging my friends that I was okay and just to have a bit of company. I learned that my friend, Holly, had dropped to the 30k. The friend she was running with fell and hit her head hard on a rock so Holly decided to run back with her to the finish. She’s such a good friend. Holly asked me to get her drop bag if someone else hadn’t. I was thankful that Holly and her friend were okay.
I saw one or two runners on this open stretch. It was mind boggling to think that I had come so far and yet still had so far to go. It was hard to run but I tried running here and there because Coach Kate advised me to run when I didn’t want to. I knew I had to try otherwise I would never get to the finish.
I came to a section that was forest-like with lots of trees and of course, more climbing.
The obstacle course continued. Stairs? Why were there steps in the middle of the trail?!?! And going down the steps at Mile 20 something was not very fun.
I launched myself over the fallen tree.
I climbed some steps, too.
It doesn’t seem like it but the space to go under this fallen tree was very low. I checked and there was no way around the tree and I certainly couldn’t climb over it. I crawled underneath it and was just shaking my head the whole time. I looked back to just see what I had done when another runner came upon the tree. I cracked up as he put his hands on his hips, stared at it with a look that told all. He must have been saying “What the hell?” I just knew he was shaking his head, too. I watched him crawl under and then run past me.
I made it to the Mile 26 aid station and was so relieved. They had Coca Cola with ice and I was in heaven! I was so thankful and it gave me a little pick-me-up.
5 miles to go!
Read the finale here!
Your path, your pace, Tam