Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Life's a Blur at The North Face Endurance Challenge Championship in San Francisco

Given that I began thinking about the race two weeks beforehand, signed up one week beforehand, and specified my training four days beforehand (I took three of them off and biked on the other one, figuring that 50 miles in one day would be pretty much enough, which it was), I probably should have expected a total blur on race day.
The fast and furious burst onto a mile or so of flat pavement--I have successfully avoided flat pavement for most of the last decade--was still more than I anticipated, however, and the top men and women at The North Face Endurance Challenge finally in San Francisco this weekend really put the hammer down from the start. Amy and I enjoyed a nice journey to the Bay Area, and it was good to catch up with friends Dave Mackey and Brandy Erholtz, who's offhand comments had notified me of the race's existence a couple of weeks ago. Based on their solid performances, I think they had both been planning longer than I did. To make a long story short, I enjoyed the crazy rain and wind, and was glad to be running and not crewing (thanks again, Amy, Laura, and Julian!). The uphills went well, and so did nutrition and energy. I learned that I need to get faster on downhills, and I hope a running-focused training program will do that. Hoka One Ones are even better for racing than they are for training, and I can't imagine how sore my legs would be right now if I had not worn them! The top women were amazing, and I wished at many points for a camera to film the way their race unfolded since I was there for most of it--until they crushed me on the final descents, that is! Although 30th place does not exactly sound impressive to me, I'm encouraged by running 6:46 in my first (almost) 50-miler. In anticipation of a move towards ultra running next year, I'm stoked to get back on the trails! As soon as I can walk down the stairs again, that is.

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