Thursday, July 11, 2013

North Face Endurance Challenge 50 mile race

On June 1st I took on my first 50 mile race.  It was...AWESOME!!!  The whole weekend was incredible.  Here's a recap, as quick as I can make it.

1. The race was on a Saturday, so on Friday I left right from work with Kristina to get to DC to pick up my race packet at the North Face store in Georgetown.  Got my packet, bought a sweet pair of North Face flip flops and then they had a question and answer with none other than one of my heroes Dean Karnazes!  It was incredible, I sat in the front row and he answered questions and gave advice.  It was great to be 4 feet from someone like him that I admire.

2. Kristina and I went out to a pub for dinner in Georgetown, below is my pre-race dinner of homemade soft pretzels, burger, fries and tasty beverage:

3. The race started Saturday morning at 5am so needless to say we were up early.  Kristina was planning on running with me later in the race, so she dropped me off, and then went back to the hotel to get some sleep.  It was cool being there so early in the morning, in the dark, everyone walking around with their headlamps on.  I didn't take any pictures because it was dark and nothing really would have come out.  I wish I had taken some video but I was nervous and excited for the race to start, and I only got there about 20 minutes before the race start.

4. I wasn't sure what to expect from the race.  I hadn't really trained for a 50 miler.  I had been marathon training, and doing a lot of double training runs (one in the morning before work and one in the afternoon after work) but my mileage was still low (35-45 per week).  But throughout the race I took it pretty easy and just let my body dictate how fast to run.  My conservative goal was under 12 hours, and then I read that to qualify for a legit ultra like Western States you need to be under 11 hours, so that was my "feeling good" goal.

5. Here I am on the course:

6. Kristina met up with me at mile 28 and ran about 7.5 miles with me which was great.  It was great to run with my wife and for her to not only be there but to participate on some level with me.  And it was great motivation as something to look forward to while running the beginning of the race. 

 7.  The course was a beast!  It was all hills and rough footing, some so rough we were climbing over huge boulders on the side of a cliff, as you can see from the below video.

8.  I really felt great throughout the race...until mile 45!  At mile 45 I felt like I could not go on.  The aid stations were great, but they ran out of ice from mile 30-47 and the temperature that day was over 90 degrees!  I was dying, and at mile 45 I got to an aid station hoping they had ice and there wasn't any and I struggled to keep going.  After yelling at myself (probably out loud without knowing it!) I kicked it up and made it to the last aid station at mile 47.5.  They had ice!  And Mountain Dew!  Yes, Mountain Dew the soda, with tons of caffeine and sugar, and it was GLORIOUS!!!!!   

9. I finished in 10 hours and 29 minutes, which I was very happy with.  Here are a few videos of the finish and post race.

10.  After the race, Dean was signing posters for the participants and I had a chance to spend a couple minutes talking to him while he signed a poster for me.  AWESOME!

11.  And a post-race ice bath.  Brrrrrrrr

Even with the ice bath, my legs were pretty beat up after that race!  Next up, the Back on My Feet 24 hour race on July 20th and 21st!

It is a fundraiser for a great organization, so if anyone reading agrees and wants to donate, here is a link to my page.  All donations need to be in by this weekend, before the 15th.

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