Skip to main content

Mill Stone 50k

Humourous sign by Trish
Photo Credit: Andrew Swistak
The most memorable runs are always the ones you had to suffer the most and fight the hardest. Up till I moved a couple months ago, I had saved most of my race bibs from the last two to three years of running. Moving 20-30 pieces of paper wasn't hard; however, I realized many of them weren't worth saving. While packing and going through the race-related pile, I ended up only saving a self-made trail map with the Looking Glass Look Around route, the West Virginia Trilogy bib, and a bib with my trail name on it from Rabid Squirrel (which technically was not a race). Those races/runs have a special place in my heart for the lessons I learned from them, the people I met/ran with, and the struggles I had to overcome. Adding to the list of memorable races is the Mill Stone 50k.

Photo credit: Andrew Swistak
When I signed up for the race while still recovering from my calf & shin injuries, I wasn't even sure I'd be able to run it. However, I wanted to support my Rock Hill Striders friends for putting on this inaugural ultra race. Yesterday, I was happy that I was able to run it, but it wasn't easy. The course consists of running a 10.5-mile loop three times. I went out at a steady pace, which I still think was the right pace...if I had add in walk breaks earlier. The undulating course encouraged continuous running, which was what I did for the first two loops. The problem was my body wasn't ready for it after being out of the ultra scene for a couple months. At the end of the second loop, I felt the toll of the constant up-and-downs had taken on me. My splits for the third loop was at least a minute slower than the first two, understandably due to the extra walking I had to do.

Some wise people once told me that we run the first one-third of the marathon with our legs, the second third with our mind, and the last third with your heart. My last loop of the race was definitely ran with my heart. Out of nowhere, "keep fighting" came to mind. "Fight" is not in my day-to-day vocabulary. But somehow, at that moment, I was reminded to give this race a fighting chance. Then I remember this scripture:
The LORD your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the LORD your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place. (Deuteronomy 1:30-31 ESV)
Sometimes, be still is to keep fighting the battle which God has put before you and to know that the outcome is in God's hands.

While the aid stations were spaced out perfectly, that 3.5 miles from the last aid station to the finish line felt like miles and miles away. And by now, each little up is a workout (or a hike). Slowly but surely, the aid station at the start/finish after climbing up the gravel road came into sight - a very, very welcomed sight. Once crossed the finish line, a medal in the shape of a mill stone was placed around my neck and I was greeted with many smiling faces, including Lito's!

Thank you, Rock Hill Striders and all the volunteers (Craig, Terri, Don, Trish, Hope, Scott...and many others). It's very special to see so many familiar faces, either running with me, volunteering, or simply being there.
Look, I ran across a creek; I am a trail runner!
Photo Credit: Don Rice


Popular posts from this blog

24 Things about Hinson Lake 24-Hr Ultra

Here are things that went through my mind during the 24-hour run, somewhat chronologically:
"I get a decal, a glass, and a shirt!?" "Where's Peter?" Peter came the night before and set up camps. Sometimes I think he's gifted with 48 hours a day."Wow. People actually do plan to run the whole duration.""Mt. Hinson?" There's a section of the course with a slight incline. I'm sure it's a fitting name at some point approaching 100 miles. I didn't give myself a chance to find out."Haha" - upon hearing someone telling Sharon and I that we are on pace for women's 24-Hour American Record at mile 3."Maybe I should switch to my hybrid shoes." And I did. After the first 13 miles, I switched from my Altra road shoes to the Inov-8 TerraFly for a little more tread."25.84 miles? Eh, so close." 17 laps on the 1.52-mile loop - not quite a marathon."30.4 miles? Eh, another lap to make it a 50k."&q…

WV Trilogy - Part 1

My experience at WV Trilogy is unimaginable. It wasn't just the run or the scenery, though both are spectacular - but more so my journey before and during the run, the emotions, the learning, and the tremendous love and support I get from friends and family. The last three days are not only a running adventure, but an opportunity of personal growth and defining moments which will outlast adrenaline or results.

Each of the journal entry is written after the run on each day. I want to share it chronologically and hopefully could take you through my experience as I have experience it.

(Thurs) Oct 11 at 8:19 pm - 
In my dorm room, in bed. I'm still nervous about my shin splints and calf pain. Both legs were hurting this afternoon. There's nothing much I could at this point but just take everything as it is - pain, race, outcome... My job tomorrow is to simply show up and do what I can. I'm praying to open my heart and mind to whatever God has for me and remember that I'…


Three days after my first 50 miler, the OSS/CIA 50M held at Prince William Forest Park, my legs are feeling great while my body is still catching up in recovery. The funny thing is, even though I ran almost twice the distance of a marathon, I felt much better than how I was after my last two road marathons. The slower pace and the softness of trails is much more forgiving than the hard pounding on asphalt/concrete. I was even able to run a couple easy miles to test my legs yesterday.
The OSS/CIA 50M Night Run by Athletic Equation was held at Prince William Forest Park in Dumries, VA, about 1.5 hour north of Richmond. Two things lured me into signing up for my first miler: One is obviously to get at least one 50-miler in before my attempt at the WV Trilogy this fall. Two is the location of the run. The Park is the birth place of OSS, the predecessor to CIA in the 1930s. On the brink of war, U.S. intelligence operations needed a centralized effort. In response to the need, a team of un…