Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The North Face Endurance Challenge 50K Trail Race

What an incredible experience! The North Face Endurance Challenge 50K race in Madison, Wisconsin was amazing. I ran it last Saturday (October 25th) along with Andy and Brett. After a 9 hour car ride, I was ready to run. The course was in the Kettle Moraine Forrest about an hour east of Madison. It was one of the most beautiful settings for a trail run that I have ever seen. It seemed that around every turn or up every hill, the course changed and it was even better than the miles we had just covered. It had rained the night before so there were spots on the course where there was standing water. We also ran through and over some mud, deep sand, rocks, small chunks of wood, small bridges, meadows, and along single track paths. The course ratings that were provided by the race website were very accurate in terms of elevation change, technical terrain, overall difficulty, and scenery. The race organizers did a very good job preparing us for what was to come. The course markings were excellent, the aid stations were very well organized with friendly people and plenty of food. The race organizers were ready to make the 31 miles as good as it could get.

Race day started off with my wake-up call about three hours before race time. I had granola with soy milk and added some Hammer Whey Protein. I then mixed my first hand-held bottle for the race with Hammer Heed. I was very happy with the way my Hammer Nutrition Products fueled me for the race. I had already pre-packed small one serving plastic bottles of Hammer Heed and Hammer Perpetuem to refill my hand-held bottle along the way along with my Hammer Endurolytes and Anti-Fatigue Caps. I had a small waist pouch to carry them in. I was ready to go! I also packed my drop bag which I would have placed at mile 22 so I could restock what I needed in terms of supplements and race gear. The plan that I had worked out for all of this took a lot of time but worked very well and was a key factor in my success of the race. I was happy with my running strategy for the race as well. I had good strength and energy all the way through to the finish of the race. I actually almost took out a volunteer trying to put my medal on due to my surging finish with Andy. We finished the race with a negative split which is always a goal for me to try to get.

It was great to run with Andy and Brett others form the North Face stores. It was a great group. We all worked together to make it a team effort and many times as we encountered other runners along the way and talked to them, we realized just how awesome it was to be out on this fantastic course and with such great weather and surroundings. North Face provide great items in the packet for the runners. Each runner got a technical shirt, stocking cap, and a pair of socks. Very nice!

Post race time was spent trying to keep warm, enjoying a fantastic hot food buffet, and telling stories about the race to anyone that would listen. I followed up the meal with a Hammer Recoverite shake and then a late dinner with Andy and Brett. It was a great day! Andy and I had run a marathon the week before in Texas and here we were having just finished an ultra-marathon in Wisconsin a week later. It was time to celebrate our accomplishments.

It's recovery week now. Time to run a few miles and let the body gain strength and repair. Up next for Andy and me is the second part of the Texas Quad marathons on December 14th. The Wellstone Dallas White Rock Marathon .

Forward we go! May your roads and trails be happy and safe!

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