never mind that i only had two hours of sleep. never mind that during those two hours my sleep was intermittent and my dreams bizarre and fragmented. never mind the cold at the start, or the ruthless heat that made the second half of the race so miserable. never mind the painful toenails. it was a beautiful, sunny day (as opposed to last year’s rain, wind and hail, as i was told), the scenery was gorgeous, and we had a race attendance record of 15 runners from our running club, the octr (orange county trail runners).
a few of us met at a gas station at 5am to carpool, and we noticed the food mart’s name: “the extra mile”… charlie wondered if it was bad omen: maybe one of us would get lost?
the course consisted of two out-and-backs, the first one of 16 miles. skip, a dear friend from the octr, ran the first out-and-back with me, plus one mile of the second one, for 17 miles together, and a run of 18 miles for him, his longest run to that date.
the second out-and-back had what we thought was the turn around aid station at 7.5 miles out. happy to have found shade, cold drinks, food, and a bench (yes, i sat down) i took my time sipping coke and resting my legs, only to be brought to reality from my semi-trance by the words “most runners are doing this on the way back”… “what do you mean ‘way back’?” i asked. reality struck ruthlessly as i found out i still had another .5 mile to go to the REAL turn around, making the race a total of 32 miles… “so this is the extra mile after all”, i thought, remembering the gas station food mart omen at the start of the day… no one in our group got lost, but we all ran an extra mile, for a 50k of “32” miles.finishing this race was bliss, after the extreme heat and exhaustion. the ice cubes i put under my hat at the “real turn around” and at the last aid station (3 miles from the finish) helped beat the heat. they sure did the trick, as i was able to pass people in the last 8 miles. i finished in 7:09:41, ahead of 31 finishers and 21 dnfs. i might be turning into a stronger runner, as i’d normally be either dead last or pretty damn close (or dnf). i shall return next year.