After flying home from two weeks in Nepal on Wednesday I was hungry to be back in the so cal mountains. I claimed my free entry to Twin Peaks 50 and two days later discovered how tough 50k can be on almost no training. My lungs were burning 1 mile into the climb up Indian Truck Trail out of Corona, following a pack of 5 leaders who were moving effortlessly away. I was already sweating profusely despite it still being dark. Already in survival mode at mile 10 dropping down into Trabuco Canyon getting passed by one then another runner I was forced to let go of what feeble attempts at competition I may have been dreaming of. Climbing the 8 miles (4000+ gain) out of Trabuco canyon towards Santiago peak my legs cramping and powerless. It's a fresh and raw feeling like my first 50k a couple years ago. Gritting my teeth, quads-a-blazing with pain, wondering how I would ever get my failing body to the finish. Then open my eyes and see an amazing view that I would've missed if not for the race. Low clouds rush into a canyon below, the deep orange sun streaking through the pines. After summiting and beginning a rocky descent I grapple with how far I have fallen from the seemingly invincible 100 mile training days a year ago when I was beginning to think 50k shouldn't really be considered an ultra. But ultimately I'm happy to be alive and in the mountains. I'm grateful my house didn't get destroyed in an earthquake. Starting to see that it's not all about being your fittest or racing to win. Sometimes you just step back and enjoy being out there even if you're not in shape. It's great to be a part of the community again, sitting at the finish with fellow sufferers cussing about how difficult the race was, listening to race director Jessica laughing on the radio than proudly announcing the mounting number of people who have succumbed and dropped from her race.