Friday, June 7, 2013

Change of Plans

For months, I had been looking forward to The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 miler in DC. I first ran in this weekend extravaganza of running awesomeness back in 2011, participating in their marathon. Last year, I did the 50K. So, it was on to the 50 miler this time around. After my DNF at my last ultra, I was excited to have an opportunity to redeem myself.

Unfortunately, 3 days before the race, I came down with a really bad intestinal bug. I thought I might still be able to run if I could get rid of whatever was in my system quickly, but things didn't pan out that way. I spent the next two days resting and keeping my fluid intake high. I was starting to feel more like myself on the eve of the 50 miler, but I knew there was no way I could race the next day.

Luckily, I was able meet up with a couple friends at The North Face store in Georgetown to pick-up my half marathon bib (I signed up for the half in addition to the 50 miler in what was to be an attempt of my own version of the Goofy Challenge) and listen to Michael Wardian and Dean Karnazes speak at the pre-race panel. I chatted with Michael for a bit before it started and asked him how he felt about his chances the next day. He told me this was gonna be his first 50 miler since coming off his injuries over the winter, so he wasn't exactly too sure how it was going to go. (He won.)
Michael and Dean
After some more resting and hydrating on Saturday, I was ready to go on Sunday. Many friends from my running club were also running in the race, so it was nice to have people to hang and chat with before (and after) the race. I hadn't run in almost a week and was definitely worried about how it was going to go for me. I decided the best thing to do was to go out nice and easy and keep the fluids in me. It was pretty warm when the race started and the humidity was very high, so hydration was paramount.

The course was a point-to-point, which was a change from their traditional out-and-back half course. I thought the change was good and helped ease the congestion on the trails. The trail conditions were perfect and after a few miles, I was able to settle into a nice rhythm. After being cooped up in my house for 3 days, it felt awesome to be outside, doing what I love. The trail was about 50% single track, which made passing a little tricky, but with over 700 runners participating, I expected that.

The last few miles of the race were awesome. I was feeling really good and was able to put in some quicker miles. I crossed the line and met up with my friends. They all ran awesome times and most placed in the top 5 or 10 in their age groups! TNF did an awesome job organizing this race, just like they always do. While I was bummed that I didn't get to run in the 50 miler, I was glad that I was able to do the half. I love this event and I highly recommend anyone that lives near a North Face Endurance Challenge race to sign up! You'll have a blast!

Garmin Upload

Post race on the podium

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