There is no better training than training on the exact course of your race. Ray Miller is November 7, 2015 and my first look at the course was this training run, September 12th.
I hadn’t realized how far away Ray Miller is. The trailhead is at Point Mugu State Park in the Santa Monica Mountains, about 40 miles from where I live. My teammates and I met and carpooled. There was free parking on PCH and paid parking inside the park.
When we arrived, we were attacked by mosquitos! A week later, I still had bites–about a dozen! Not fun. Next time, bug repellant beforehand!
The Ray Miller trail is still healing from the fire in May 2013. You can still see the devastation it suffered.
To avoid more mosquitos bites, we ran up about 1.2 miles so that we could start the run officially and have our pre-run talk.
It was exciting to start with many Coyotes! I was surrounded by ultra runner greatness!
We had just climbed and now we were climbing some more!
There were gorgeous views of the ocean. I just wasn’t too sure about these very narrow trails! They made me a bit nervous. I rate this a 6-7 on my scare factor rating. 😉
I took so many photos because it was so beautiful. I figured I’d take lots of photos now and not worry as much about photos on race day.
We exited the Ray Miller trail and headed to the next one. There were so many trails in that area. At some point, I’ll get good at the names of them all.
I took photos of the trail signs, just in case we needed references to get back.
The terrain was rugged and technical. It was quite difficult for me and I felt super slow. I’m glad my friends waited for me. Thank you, Holly and Fernie! All I kept thinking was, “How will I ever do this for a 50k?”
It was warm that day and I ran out of water. I have to plan better for next time. I did have plenty of fuel like my Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews, Fruit Smoothie flavor! Next time I want to bring chips and candy to try out on the trails.
This part of the trail was a little creepy. It was beautiful in an eerie sort of way.
After the creepy section, we headed up this enormous hill. Later on, I learned it is called Hell Hill.
After Hell Hill, we started making our way back.
We snapped a photos just before the last 2 miles back on the Ray Miller trail.
I felt a little more confident on the narrow trail going back to where we started.
The view is so breathtaking. It rejuvenated me and I got a kick at the end. My pace got a little faster and I felt strong. We ran 14.13 miles. It took me 4:10:12. It was hot and I was tired and thirsty but I felt good that we got out there.
Just across the street from the trailhead, is the beach! We had a little potluck, dipped our legs in the ocean, rested and enjoyed each other’s company. We told stories, laughed and laughed some more. The best part of this all, is sharing the experience with friends. I hope to be stronger when we run this again in 2 weeks!
Your path, your pace, Tam