On October 24th, 2015 the Whoo's in El Moro 25k and 50k ran in El Moro State Park, near Newport Beach in Southern California. I personally did the 50k which ran along a majority of fire roads and had 5,300 feet of elevation gain. This race was my FIRST ULTRAMARATHON!! It was brutal, long, I suffered, but it was amazing! I have never done a conventional marathon before or any other race of the sort. This was my first race, other than one 5k. Nevertheless, I have been privileged to do some pretty amazing things, as you know if you read this blog. From the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the tops of the Sierras I have trained and adventured. The trails near my home in SoCal are brutal so they prepared me well for this race. This race is no small feat, but the amazing race director Molly Kassouf and the wonderful aid station volunteers made it happen! I would not have been able to do it without them.
Leading up to the race I trained diligently, even though looking back I could have done more. A few weeks before my father and I went and ran half the course so that I could get a feel. I felt ready and when race day came, after the necessary prep, I was set. I awoke at 3:30 that morning to prepare my breakfast, do some yoga, and meditate. After an hour or so drive we arrived and I was nervous for sure. It was freezing, too. I signed in and got my bib and thankfully we brought the yoga mat so I did some of that.
As the start drew closer I drank a bottle of CarboPro and got ready, mentally and physically. At the start line Molly counted down and we were off! The first mile was flat and I took it to fast. Actually the first 5 miles I took to fast at 8-11 minute miles, which for my first race was to fast. The trail climbed and at the mile 3 aid station I met my family. Then along the ridge we went and at the mile 6 aid the volunteer thought I was a girl. I have long hair and for the race I painted my toenails pink to mess with people. And it worked! As we dropped into the valley the temperature dropped and I met some cool people. At mile 9 aid they were impressed with my sandals and one bottle system. Actually the whole race people were impressed with my age, at sixteen, my sandals, nails, and one bottle. Next, the trail climbed some steeps and soon we were at the 15 mile turn around. My family met me there and I refueled with CarboPro, what I used to fuel, and headed off strong.
You do the whole course in reverse for the next 15 miles and so as the race progressed it got darker and darker for me mentally and physically. The climbs got tougher, but I just looked at them as making me tougher. I used the mantras and lessons I had learned to keep me going. Also, I thought about how far I had come. Oct. 24th is what I like to call my Fat-iversary meaning that in 2014, a year ago, I went on my first trail run and now a year later I was able to run 31 miles. I had matured physically, mentally, and emotionally to be more and more who I truly am. Soon I was power hiking quite a bit and questioning why I was there and my answer...to finish my first 50k and better myself! What also got me through the race was the knowledge that at the end I could walk the short distance down to the ocean and soak in the cold water. So I pushed on through the heat and climbs. The second to last aid station really motivated me again and I headed off down the ridge. The heat beat down and those last miles were some of the hardest in my life so far. I met my dad at the mile 28 aid station and he told me that I looked strong and smiling compared to others who were swaying and destroyed in fatigue. I asked my dad to run the last 3 miles with me, because I needed him.
We headed off down into the valley and I just focused and stayed extremely present. I used all the mantras and lessons I've learned to get through it. As the finish line neared I was very ready to finish. The bells clanged and the yells arose and I crossed the line. Finishing my first race! I was overjoyed. I talked to some folks and snapped some pictures, but I didn't really want to do any of that. So I headed to the ocean and it was so great. The cold washed over me and it totally rejuvenated my sore, sore body.
I said goodbye to Molly and thanked her for an amazing time. She also said that I had won my age group! Because I was the only one in it at 16. With the bag for winning the group I got an expensive pair of Oakleys! I decided I wanted to go to a vegan restaurant so we went to Sea Birds in The Lab. A great vegan place where I had sliders. They were so good and a great end to a hard, amazing, inspiring day!
P.S. I didn't really specify but I was most definitely sore afterwards. Specifically my hip flexor which were painful per step and tight as steel. The rest of my body was tired and destroyed, too. I learned a lot and hope to improve even more!