Spencer, Wade and I just ran The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 miler in the Marin Headlands, California this past weekend. Spence and Wade had great runs! I finished in 12:32. (Yup. Twelve hours and 32 minutes.)
This was my first 50 miler.
It won’t be my last.
It’s been a three year journey to get to this distance.
I am still letting it all settle in that I finally, actually DID IT!
I’m overwhelmed with the encouragement and support that has been pouring in from friends. Literally. My phone alone showed 38 text messages at the end of the day and I was too tired to text anyone back until later the next day.
I have logged a lot of miles. I have learned so, so many life lessons. I’ve made new friends and found new trails. I’ve gone through my fair share of running shoes, toenails, body glide, fueling, tripping/falling and all the glamour that trail running entails. 🙂
And I am even more in love with anything and everything related to the trail running community.
We’ll just get the basics out of the way really quick…
Here are some of the answers to the most common questions I’ve been getting from friends and family:
Yes. I was sore for a few days after the run. Legs, feet, back were the worst of it. It’s getting better every day. But stairs the day after the race were downright treacherous and I’m sure it was just comical to watch as we tried to navigate them…
Yes. I continue to be ravenously hungry. Stay out of my way. 🙂
No. I did not run every single step of the race – some of the hills are too steep to run or the terrain is too uneven. You train to run, walk fast, hike with purpose – hell you might even be crawling at points in time – but you just KEEP MOVING FORWARD.
Yes. I did keep moving the entire time, there is no break in the action. This is a race, with cutoffs. You have to keep moving as fast as you can for the entire time.
Yes. I might be crazy to be running 50 miles, but I love it and will do it again. You can make comments about my ovaries falling out, or trails being unsafe or my knees wearing out or a cougar making me their dinner… I’m not going to be listening. Just fair warning. 🙂
Yes. My feet are freaking ugly and I’m going to lose half of my toenails.
I LOVED the entire experience.
I don’t have the exact right words, but I will say that this experience reminds me yet again that running really has changed my life.
My whole, entire life.
No one can ever do anything like this on their own. There were many friends along the way who ran with me, encouraged me and have kept careful watch over the process.
Meet some of the folks who were very much with me on this entire epic journey every step of the way…
Josh. Gave me the original idea of running an ultra. He has logged hundreds of miles running with me and sharing his wisdom with me. And being endlessly patient with my learning. It is a fact that I would NOT have even tried to run this race if it weren’t for my friendship with the Gums. Those two individually and together encourage and inspire like none other….
Wendie. Pacer. 🙂 She paced me so damned well, totally ignoring my whimpering and whining at the 45 mile mark and forcing me to really push through all the way to the end. Typical for Wendie, she was also being a light and encouragement to all of the other bedraggled and exhausted runners around us at the end of what was a very long day. She selflessly put some of her recovery time from running the Seattle Marathon less than a WEEK before to the side to make sure I had help getting to the finish for my race. Friend. Pacer. Runner. Strong, brave woman. We now sport celebratory matching trucker hats. 🙂
Wade. Wade knew me at 400 pounds 10 years ago. And this weekend we just ran the same 50 mile race. Wade, perhaps more than anyone in my life, has the real-time, day-to-day view of what this journey has all been about. ALL of it — good, bad, ugly. He volunteered to help hold me accountable – and I took him up on it. It was really important for me that he was at this race to see what all the work I had done was leading to…
Erica. Erica ran weekly with me in training for this event starting back in September. I would let her know my long run, least favorite run or the one that made me nervous. She would rearrange her life to help me tackle the ‘problem’ of the week. I very, very much felt like she was at my side on this run.
Spencer, literally has worked to teach me how to run. From the very start almost 3 years ago when I trusted him enough to tell him about this crazy, secret goal I had to run an ultra to this past weekend when I crossed the actual freaking finish line. He’s been with me every step of the way on my crazy journey to be a runner. He continues to help me learn to love the sport and embrace running as a lifestyle. It’s been a painful process at times as we learned to work together as coach and athlete. I have tested his patience beyond reasonable limits at least once. Maybe twice. Maybe even more than just a few times. Recently. 🙂
I do have an official race report and would be more than happy to share it with anyone who wants to read it. I will warn you that it contains some raw and uncensored language. Ask me. I’ll share. 🙂
In the books. 🙂