Ray Miller 50k: Inwardly I'm Smiling

Inwardly I'm smiling. Photo courtesy of Louis Kwan. Don't hold it against him.

After yesterday's Ray Miller 50k, I've only got two stiff legs. I've achieved a certain level of accomplishment when I heard shouts of "show us your balls!" seconds from the finish. But that was after I’d hurt the vert, run my own race, and had a great day; well in the future after the rosy-finger dawn rose over the whine-dork sea.

The race is one of a cluster run that day at Pt Mugu State Park: 30k, 50k, 50 miles and 100k. Something for everybody, and if getting like worked hard, RD Keira Henninger will deliver, in spades. The 50k course is a lopsided 3-leaf clover and stem, in an approximate clockwise direction. If it was run counter clockwise, it would easily add 2 hours to the average finish. Keira has other things to do besides wait on your sorry ass, so be grateful. I was very glad I didn’t strap on the 50-miler. This will have to wait for a later date. Meanwhile, here's a diagram and chart—weird science.
Ray Miller 50k course. Pretend to understand it.
I’ll spare you, gentle reader, the usual broccoli and ball-bearings of the typical race report. Suffice to say I felt I was a 60-watt light bulb in the harsh-light of day. The race course has vistas broad and intimate, and you'll have plenty of time to ponder Life's Mysteries.

Instead I got to meet guys like Jim; who is one of the fiercest uphill power-walkers I’ve yet met. A waterskiing accident 30yrs prior tore the fuck out of one his legs, and left him with no downhill running to speak of. I passed him twice, yet at 28 miles he roared past me on the uphill Fire Line Trail, and was never seen again. Fucker aced me out of the top podium spot in my age group. Not that I’m resentful. Nope.

Or another guy named Luke, who told me that he discovered this very blog, and had lost the previous two weeks of his life reading every post. This was early in the race, and he promptly disappeared into the La Jolla Canyon loop to well-deserved early finish. 

You fight like you train, and this was painfully obvious. I was having many dark thoughts about my upcoming Red Rocks 50mi, end of November. I’ve made decent progress in the short training season of this year; that’s the game I brought to the race. That, and the inexorable hand of time.

So, after making all the checkpoints in reasonable time, and looting as necessary, I put my shortening stride to work getting this fucker done. The volunteers were happy to see me, and happier to see me depart without unleashing impromptu vision-tests. The finish line came into sight, and I was greeted by more worthy finishers heckling me by name, and it was good.

Well after I finished, I discovered that I’d gotten 2nd in my age-group. This hasn’t happened since 1991. Fucking-A! 

More weird science:

Garmin & Strava ruthlessly remind you how slowly you're really traveling. Pretend to be impressed.


Bruce Hoff said…
Good job, Mr. Trail Safety! I was talked into signing up for a 50K myself (next February, first for me in a few years) so I'll be channeling your boundless energy to help me finish!
Anonymous said…
That's a good look (in the first pic) but I think I have you beat - I'm the guy to the right with the white cap :-) or should I say :-(

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