The desert is beautiful this time of the year. The weather cool and crisp. And race day for the Calico Ghost town 30/50K was perfect. As we huddled around the starting gate I started peeling off extra clothing. I didn't need my jacket, warm-up pants and gloves. The temp. was about 35 degrees with no wind. I'd met up with Lauren (a fellow OCTR), this was her first 30K also, we had a few minutes to compare gear, take some pictures and then we were one our way. The first mile and a half was road and downhill. I kept an eye on my Garmin to make sure I didn't start off too fast...Rick sent me at least 2 emails before I left home reminding me to watch my pace. 11min/miles. We rounded a turn and started up on a sandy trail. For the next 9 miles it was going to be mostly gentle uphills with sand. The first aid station (6.8mi) arrived surprisingly fast. We dropped off extra clothing, I didn't eat or drink there and we moved on. We'd run the entire way so far and it felt easy because the incline was so low, but none the less, it was an incline and I was worried if I kept running the entire way I'd burn out by the end. So I started running for 10 min and walking for 2. This worked well for me. A few steep hills I walked up and made good time on the downhill. Then there was this slot canyon that was filled with rock...It was so hard to run it. I almost twisted my ankle twice. At one point after almost falling and pulling my hamstring I had to stop and regroup. It was not worth the injury to try and make up time, so I walked thru the canyon. I think it was the 3rd aid station, there was a little goat! It kept wanting to run off after the runners, I wish I'd taken a picture! The time and miles were passing quickly. No pain in my foot, quad or hamstrings. Just a little bit of soreness from my shoes. I'd decided to go with all Hammer products for this race. Gel, Heed, endurolytes and Perpetuum in an attempt to alleviate stomach issues. It was working. I wasn't tired or feeling bloated, a big improvement over previous long runs. At mile 17 we reached a turnoff, with 2 men directing the runners, as I passed them they yelled out "2 miles to go". The trail went along the top of a ridge, and I could see the finish. But then the trail led away from the town up and down some rolling hills. I could see a handful of runners in the distance. Down thru the campground, thru the parking lot and finally up a REALLY steep service road before we entered the town. It was a nice downhill run to the finish line. 4 hours and 20 min. from start to finish. And I felt great! My goal was to finish. Finishing under 4 1/2 hours was even nicer.