Trail Envy

by Carilyn on February 28, 2012

I love to run races – marathons, 50 milers, 100 milers, 24 Hours – and everything in between.  But believe it or not, I also love to work at races.  There is something so satisfying about watching other people push themselves to the limit, experience the pure joy and freedom of running a tough race, and come out smiling at the finish.

So, when I fell a few weeks ago, aggravating a chronic adductor/hamstring problem, I knew my hopes for racing the Ray Miller 50 Miler were done.  But I still needed to fulfill my 8 hour service requirement for Western States 100 this summer, so I decided it would be a great chance to get my hours and work a trail race – love it!

Western States Buckle
Western States 100 Buckle

Keira Henninger is the awesome Race Director for the Ray Miller 50/50.  She did a phenomenal job, and it was fun to get an up-close look at how much work goes into putting on a great race.  Every runner who came through the finish line said that the course was fantastic and really well marked.

Carilyn Johnson - Ray Miller 50

Helping Keira Hand Out Medals


That is my kind of race.  50 mile trail runs are hard enough, but when they are poorly marked and you have to spend time and energy trying to follow the course (so as not to get lost and eaten by a mountain lion), you know it’s a race you don’t want to run again.  So, when all the runners tell you they loved the course, you know the RD did a good job creating and marking it.  The icing on the cake were cool finisher medals and sweet swag bags.  Kudos to Keira for really making it a great experience for the runners!

Finish Line - Ray Miller 50

I'd Rather Be Racing, But Helping is Fun!

Sunday, I went out for some hard running, inspired by the performances from the day before.  While I’m not healthy enough to tackle a 50 miler just yet, I pretended like my neighborhood was a wild trail run.

Imaginary Adventure

Trail Dreaming

But soon, I hope to really get back out on the true trails.  It’s time to start seriously training.  As much as I enjoy watching Dance Moms while I put miles in on my treadmill,


This is NOT a Trail.

For now, though, I will have to settle for some “baby” trails – but that works too! 🙂


Happy Running!



Michele Walter February 28, 2012 at 10:46 am

I should really go out & volunteer. I like to go to races just to cheer people on, but volunteering would be a good way to see behind the scenes & really appreciate what the volunteers do. Thanks!

olga February 28, 2012 at 2:05 pm

I am with you – I rather be racing, but volunteering is awesome and second best. I’ll be doing just that this coming Saturday!

Carilyn February 28, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Hey Michelle! I totally agree. I usually end up crewing for a specific runner (which is my favorite), but working the race or an aid station is fun too.

Carilyn February 28, 2012 at 5:23 pm

You are so great about volunteering, Olga. I am going to try to do more now that I am somewhere with a lot of ultras.

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