Before I talk about the actual race, I want to tell everyone that I am very thankful to see everyone at the aid stations and at the finish. I enjoy cheering so I know why people want to be there for me. But I still feel a little strange to be on the receiving end.
I would also love to hang out more at the finish line but I was very cold so I needed to go get warm. Sorry!
|Dying at Boney Mountain Half|
I have been quiet about Ray Miller 50 milers because I am injured since Boney Mountain Trail Race in January. My right calf hurts when I put weight on. I tried foam roller, ice bath, hot water bath, salonpas patch, resting... nothing works except Iburpofen. I thought this injury was something very bad but my doctor told me I have a trigger point (a knot in my muscle). Dr. Zamora told me I just need to get a good massage in and he also gave me an option for a local anesthetics injection to my leg. I hate needle, but I decided to do try the injection because I figured I may need that sooner or later so I wanted to see how my body react to the injection. Yes, the needle is long and big! Dr Zamora asked me if I felt the medication and I told him NO, I only felt the freaking needle. Nope, that didn't work. So I went to my usual massage places and it did not help. Because I did not actually have an injury (just a crazy knot), I decided to continue with my training. While I was trying to figure out how to fix my leg I continue to train but with less speed. I covered all but 2 mi (4 mi round trip) of the course.
A few weeks passed, it gotten a little better but nothing really improved. The Iburpofen works but I know I need to fix it because I don't like to take drugs if I don't have to. But if I don't take it, bad news! I am talking about running for 1/4 mile and I end up with a limp kind of bad news.
I also started acupuncture. I heard very good things about it but it didn't work on me.
Then come Chris Tosh the Active Release Technique guy. Coach Jimmy recommended me to check this guy out so I made an appointment with him. Long story short, he was able to bypass my calf and work on the muscle behind it. I felt way better and I was even able to run without Iburofen for the first time since January. My last therapy session was 2/20 and Chris told me I should be ready to go on Sat. I maybe a little sore but the pain should eventually go away. But then when I ran on Wed it was still bad news. I am running with burpofen. Ray Miller is not going to be a race, Ray Miller is going to be a training run.
I know I need to keep a 16:12 minute per mile to finish before the cut off. Not knowing how my right leg will reaction, my A goal is just to finish the race under the cut off so I can get my AC qualification.
I prepared a lot for this race. I ran most of the course (except 2 mi of it) during my training runs. I did the out and back section of the long climb just to see how I feel to climb up. I mapped the aid stations and see how much nutrition and liquid I need between aid stations and created a time chart just to see how fast I need to go for different finish time. I talked to my pharmacist friend about Iburofen work, how it release to your body, and of course the side effect! I also got a brighter headlamp to allow me to run at my capable pace when I run in the dark, especially on the down hill.
|Marking my own route for Ray Miller training run|
|My estimate pace/time chart|
|My nutrition plan. Nutrition can make or break your race|
|Going over my race plan with Coach Jimmy|
After I finished my homework, I went to Coach Jimmy war room and he went over his race plan with me with added strategies.
I broke down the course by aid stations and assigned some time based on the cut off pace just to see where I need to be at different point of the race. Because the course has 10,000 ft of gain I know my pace is going to be on and off. Eventually I need to be 16:12 with GPS adjustment.
Aid station #1 Hell Hill: Mile 6-full aid
Aid station #2 Hell Hill: Mile 11-full aid
Aid station #3 Water fountain/water only- mile 12.8
Aid station #4 Danielson Ranch: full aid/drop bags mile 19.3
Aid station #5 Yerba buena Road: Mile 28 full aid-drop bags
Aid station #6 Turn around: water only. Aid station name: Island View 31
Aid station #7 Yerba Buena: Full aid- Mile 34.3-drop bags
Aid station #8 Serrano Canyon/Sycamore fire road: Mile 45.4 Full aid
|My friend Amy Volunteering at the starting line|
When I got to Aid Station 2 at mi 11 I am still maintaining a 13 minutes per mile pace. I refilled my reservoir with my own mix (yes, I use my own nutrition for the whole race so I can keep track of my calorie intake) and I was happy with my nutrition because I was drinking on time and I was spot on with Coach Jimmy's nutrition advice. I did what I needed and left the aid station.
|refilling my reservoir at mi 11 (Race Day Photo)|
|On the Coyote Trail looking at Boney Mountain (Yes, I am going down to the valley and climb over that mountain you are looking at)|
|Mi 19 Aid Station - Chanchan (She got #1 female at a 50km just last week!) posting next to me while I was refilling, reapplying sunscreen, etc.|
|VitaPanda Kevin checking on me to make sure I am good to go|
|Group picture with the Coyotes - Panthea, Sonya, Sarah, Chandrasekar, Kevin, and Jack|
|The split between 50km and 50mi. 10 mi of out, and 10 mi of back!|
After I ascent for about 1 1/2 hour after the last aid station I got to the flat part of the trail. I kept up with my pace because I am cutting a little close to the cut off. Around mile 25 I saw Marshall and the first thing he asked me is if I needed water. Thanks for the Coyotes love Marshall. After more ascent I am at the 1.5 miles downhill section before the mile 28 aid station. As I am making my way I seen two return runners sitting on the side on the trails. They overheated =( Then the runner in front of me fell (Illwoo Suh) and cramped. There were hikers attending him so I told them to take care of Illwoo and continue (otherwise I would of drag his ass to the aid station)
Made it to mile 28 aid station at 1:20pm. 20 minutes before the cut off. I saw Coach Kiley, Matthew Seng, and Jeff Biddle all at the aid station. Matt and Jeff were just chilling at the aid station before heading to the finishing line while Coach Kiley and I were heading to the turn around. I was kind of toasted so I pour water over my head and started to refill my nutrition from my checked bag. A piece of paper was inside my pack. It was a good luck note from my friend Jeff Sperber! Initially I was going pick up the extra bottle in my gear bag to go for a 2 bottles configuration to lose some weight, but because of how hot it is I refilled my part of my reservoir and go out with a bottle of water. My Ironman Coach Paul Ruggiero tell us that if we over heated we are done so I rather carried extra weight than not have enough water to cool myself down.
|Mi 28 Aid Station - Toasted Louis... trying to cool down|
|at mi 34 aid station (it's the same aid station at mi 28). Still eating and drinking. Trying to keep myself cool.|
On the big downhill section I caught up to the Runner Circle girl. Her name is Shangrila and she did Ironman Arizona in 2011. I told her I did Ironman Arizona in 2010 and we chatted a little bit. Around mile 42 I saw Kiley down on the valley and I passed this older lady Susan Kang on the downhill. After I got to the flat Shangrila took off and I passed her during the more technical section of the trail before the mile 45 aid station. By then I did not think that I will have time to finish because I only have around 1hr 15-20 mins to cover 5 miles... with a hill! I put on the headlamp that I started to carry at mi 34, I also put on a jacket from the drop bag and left the aid station. At this point I thought I will not make the cut off but I wanted to give it my best. I divided the last 5 miles in 3 different sections so I can re-evaluate my time after each section.
|descending on the backbone trail. around mi 38 looking at the valley at mi 43. Refer to the picture below|
|around mi 43. This area is very pretty|
|around mi 44.5. Lot of tree, some stream crossing, uneven terrain.|
As soon as I get to the top of the trail I saw Simren and we started to run down. Then VitaPanda Kevin and Coach Kate joined me shortly after. Love the new headlamp because I was able to see the trail and not lose time! I kept a good pace and be careful at the same time because I did not want to fall and hurt myself. That would suck! As I got closed to the finish line I saw a lot of people cheering. I am assuming it was for me because there wasn't anyone around. At 13:22:56 I crossed the finish line. Official Result is 13:25.
|My First Marathon Coach Kiley, My AC 100 Medical Crew Kim (she finished her first 50km at Ray Miller), and me... ok and little Emmy|
|4 Coaches 1 student (from our left to right) - Coach Kate, Coach Jimmy, Coach Kiley, and Coach Juan. My friend Janna and Emmy next to Kiley|
Everything was kind of a blur for me. But Coach Kiley was there. We both did it. We both now have our 50 miles qualification for AC 100. My SGV family was there. Coach Jimmy and Coach Kate were there. VitaPanda Kevin was there. My AC 100 pacer Erin C was there. K Robot was there. The rest of the Coyotes was there. There was just a lot of people =) And then there was Kim, my AC 100 medical support. Kim did the 50km in under 7 hours. She had been working a lot so I did not expect her to be there for Kiley and I. She told me she waited because she is one of my crew. That was the sweetest thing I heard! I know I picked the perfect crew for Angeles Crest 100: Kevin, the two Erins, Coach Paul, Sarah, Saveria, Stephen, and Kim. Kim just reinforced the idea that I have a wonderful crew =)
By this time I gotten very cold so I said bye to everyone, and went to my car to get warm. Panda Kevin was carpooling with Chandra so I asked Kevin to see if he can drive my car to Santa Monica to have dinner with the Coyotes. After dinner I drove home and slept.
|Coyotes at dinner|
|Honored Teammate Virgina and I at LA Marathon 2011 - She taught me courage.|
|Ray Miller Preview Run: Me and my AC 100 pacers - Kevin, Erin C, Erin M|
Again, I like to thank all the people that help me get to where I am at. My Wilderness Travel Course Instructors, my first marathon Coach Kiley, my first Ironman Coach Paul and Rad, my ultra marathon coaches Coach Jimmy, Coach Kate, and Coach Bev. My hiking friends, my SGV friends, the Coyotes, VitaPanda Kevin, My circle of friends that helped me get back on my feet when I was (still) lost. There are just too many people that I want to say thank to. Ultimately I did everything on my own. But my interaction with different people help shape me into who I am today.
In turn of the actual race I am happy with my performance. I run the course without having that leg pain so I cannot ask for more. I felt like I did a great job with my nutrition. I carried most of my nutrition for the first 28 miles and that paid off big time. This is not a race, this is a training run. The purpose of this race is to try different things and see what work and what doesn't work. I want to see how my body react when I run for 13 hours. I played it smart and I played it safe, perhaps too safe. I maintain an all day pace and that allow me to keep my energy level though out the whole race. I felt so good at the end I felt like I can run for another 10-15 miles. That also means that I need to run harder next time. Now that I know how it feel to run a 50 miles, I can push more next time.
I also learned a lot about what I want and what I want my crew to help me with at each crew access point. But I'll save that for my crew digest that I send to my crew.
With Ray Miller out of the way, I can really focus on my healing. I need a healthy mind and a healthy body to train. This recovery period will allow me to get ready for my Angeles Crest 100 training.. Ray Miller is a warm up before I start really getting into Angeles Crest training. I am getting ready to ph commit start my AC 100 training.
Ray Miller is a business trip, and I got it done.
What's Harder? Ironman or a 50 miles run?
They are both very hard if you do them fast. With a slow poke like me, they are both very durable. I had some major issues at each of my last 3 Ironman and I was able to build a cushion and finish the race. With this ultra marathon I did not really have much issues. The only hard thing was that I needed to keep up with my pace to make the cut off. I stayed focus, my nutrition went well, and I did not burn myself up. I did a few training run on the course and I studied the course so I have a very good race plan. And honestly, I gotten a lot stronger since I started running with the Coyotes. More importantly, I follow Coach Jimmy nutrition advices. Otherwise I will probably stop at mi 28. My NCAL Ironteam buddy Anna told me ultra is tougher on your mind because you don't see a lot of people the whole day. Fortunately I am used to being by myself on the mountain so that does not bother me one bit.
So what's harder? Ironman or 50 mi run? In turn of suffering, doing the mountaineering trip up to Mt Shasta is still the toughest thing I ever done. That will change when I do AC 100, that's why I am training the hell for it. I think I need to do Mt Shasta again so I can have a better comparison. But then again, the most challenging in life is often not measurable by any physical mean.
|Mt Shasta - 2007|