John Anderson wrote this report from the Ray Miller 50k, where he finished fourth overall.
After getting pounded with snow for much of the winter, I headed out to southern California for a little sun and racing last weekend at the Ray Miller 50k. I was pretty sure the race was going to be a burner with several fast folks signed up, and I took my interaction at the rental car counter in LA as confirmation. It went something like this:
- Me: “The compact looks good.”
- Rental car guy: “You know it’s the Oscars this weekend… you sure you don’t want to get something fast like the Lamborghini?”
- Me: “I don’t think they let Lamborghinis park in campgrounds.”
- Rental car guy: “Umm, you’re camping? Maybe the Nissan is a better choice.”
The course was fantastic, starting right next to the ocean and climbing into the Santa Monica mountains. The race started with a nice climb and the pace went out quick. I found myself in a pack of around 7-8 runners just behind the leader and let things unfold in front of me. By mile 10 things had thinned out, and I was in around 5th-6th place all alone.
The descents were deceptively fast and the climbs were plenty, with most being around 1000 feet. All told it was around 6000 feet of climbing over the 50k with an equal amount of descent. Midway through the race I had my only real interaction for the race and chatted a bit with Hal (Koerner) whom I hadn’t seen since last spring and told some bad jokes, but he was feeling pretty spry and left me around the 19 mile aid station.
On the climb out of mile 19 I was feeling a little rough; the sun was out and the 70 degree temps were a little more than I was used to after training mostly on snow this winter. I downed espresso GU and some electrolytes and tried to stretch it out. My precise gauge for how many electrolyte pills I should take is pretty simple: the number of people at the aid station that comment on the dried salt on my hat equals to the number of pills I need to take.
Things smoothed out after that and I crested the last climb and came down the 3 mile descent to the finish. I ended up 4th place in 4:28 which is about what I was expecting on tired training legs. One of my training adjustments this year is to only taper for my goal races, i.e Bighorn and Leadville, to ensure more consistent training. I think that racing shorter races on tired legs should help get things in gear for the longer stuff.
All told it was a fun day in the mountains; thanks to all the volunteers and race director for putting on a quality event and getting together a great field for an early season run. Also thanks to Rock/Creek for the continued support and helping to keep making it happen.
On the red carpet I was sporting:
and fueled by:
First Endurance Optygen
and campground spigot water