The finale of my Ray Miller 50k adventure!
This being the first 50k, I really wanted to detail what I could remember and document it all with photos. Thank you for reading along!
I survived the Sycamore loop obstacles–climbing over trees, crawling under trees, steps and all! I was on the Fireline Trail and the last 5 miles.
I was climbing again.
I was on a steep hill and I felt like I wasn’t going anywhere. A few of the 50 mile/100k runners passed me. One runner came by and said, “Good job! When you get to the top of the hill, see, where the bench is? It’s chill after that.” I replied, “Okay! Thanks!” I could see the bench. It didn’t seem very far away but it seemed to take forever getting there. I could see the two ladies at the bench, putting on their jackets and getting themselves situated. I thought, boy, I didn’t bring a jacket or anything. I hoped the temperature wouldn’t drop too much.
I got to the bench! Yeah!!!
The sun was starting to set. It was getting a little cooler.
We had a stretch of fire road and then we had to climb another mountain!!! “That’s what he calls chill?!” Omg. I just had to laugh. To him, I supposed that was chill. I knew the toughest part of the race was here. I was in unchartered territory. I would be going farther than I ever had before, farther than 26.2 miles. My feet hurt. My legs hurt. The good news was my sinus headache had gone away somewhere on the Guadalasco loop, about Mile 12.
I was bummed because my Garmin was beeping at me. Low battery. Damn. I just wanted it to get to at least Mile 28 so that it would show that I had gone farther than a marathon. How was I going to #stravaproveit if it died on me? Man. What a bummer. It died at Mile 29.
The sun was setting. I was hoping to get to the finish before the sun set but it wasn’t going to happen. The sunset sure was beautiful.
The most welcome sight!!! The beginning of the Ray Miller trail! I had been on this descent three other times. I had pictured this moment in my head many times as I visualized the race course. I had two more miles to go!
I was still smiling at Mile 29!
As I ran down the Ray Miller trail, the sun was setting. I figured I had my phone’s flash light to use as a light, if I needed it.
The views were amazingly beautiful and I thought, well, I was here before the sunrise and I’m still here at sunset. It seemed fitting.
I ran with this amazing runner, Pat DeVita. I kept running into her and her daughter on the Sycamore loop. She said, “There you are! We were wondering where you were and kept asking other people if they’d seen you!” I was so surprised and thankful and replied, “I couldn’t keep up with you!” I shared that it was my first 50k and asked how many she’d run. She had run 150+ ultras! I asked what distances and she said every distance although she attempted the 100 miler but didn’t finish. I was still amazed. She had been running for 35+ years. Later I learned she was the oldest person in the race. 81 years young and still running ultras! She was truly inspiring.
I ran down the entire Ray Miller descent. I knew it well and I knew I just had to get to the finish. It was dark and I saw someone in the distance with a headlamp on. The silhouette looked familiar…it was my boyfriend, Wayne! I was so surprised! He was with my former Team NutriBullet teammates, Kim and Kent. They were waiting for me, too!
Wayne handed me the headlamp and I continued running! I was so grateful to have a headlamp as it was really dark by now. I thought I was closer to the finish but I still had a little ways to go. Kim and Kent ran behind me.
Wayne ran ahead and snapped photos of me. He had been waiting for hours and I was so happy to see him. As I got closer to the finish, I heard loud cheers and howling. My friends were shouting, “Go Tam!!! Go Tam!!!”
I ran as fast as I my tired legs could run and made it to the finish line! The finish line! My friends were all waiting at the finish. I knew they had to have been waiting for so long. I was so happy to see them all! Corazon put a medal around my neck and handed me a finisher’s mug!
I had to bend over for a bit from the exhaustion. Everyone asked me what I needed. I wasn’t sure what I needed but someone said “Coke?” I said, “Yes!” I couldn’t believe it. I did it! I made it! 50k!
I was so shocked really that I finished. I felt like I was never going to get there. 10 hours, 39 minutes, 50 seconds later, I was there.
It was hard to stand around even though I wanted to hear everyone’s stories. Someone said to eat something but I wasn’t the least bit hungry. I checked out the food table just to see what was there. Wayne fixed me a plate to-go.
I walked for a bit, got my drop bag and we walked to the car. I wished I felt like hanging out but I didn’t. I was shocked. I was tired. I was out of it. I just wanted to get to the car, change and sit. I was grateful for my friends, for waiting for me and cheering me on. I knew I had to finish to make them proud and to prove to myself that I could do it. I had to dig deep many times and push myself more than I ever had before but I did it. It was just 8 months ago that I was scared when we would run trails. I would sweat from being so nervous on downhills. I was afraid many times and slowly but surely, I gained confidence.
The strange thing was that I wasn’t hungry after the race. I forced myself to eat a little but I wasn’t hungry. The next day, I wasn’t hungry either. I thought I would be ravenous but I wasn’t. I think my body was in complete shock! I tried to rehydrate and just rest. I knew the onset of the sinus problem I had going into the race would take full force afterward. I had a sinus infection and chest congestion for three weeks afterward. I was proud of myself for finishing the race even though I wasn’t 100% going into it. I ran it solo and just had find the strength in me to keep going and finish. I did and can finally say I’m an ultrarunner. I’m thankful to my family, friends and coaches for believing in me and supporting me. What an amazing journey it has been. From the training to the finish line, it has been an incredible adventure. I believed, endured and achieved.
Your path, your pace, Tam