Two weeks ago I ran a Marathon relay race with the best team EVER! The race was the Northface Endurance Challenge at Bear Mountain State Park in Bear Mt. New York. Our team of four (in order of runner Me, Christine Kitt, Greta Sanborn, and Molly Magnuson) each had to run 6.5 miles. Each leg was designed to basically be the same topography. When I say topography please do not underestimate the degree of difficulty. To put it quickly in perspective, the night before, Kevin (fiancé) and I were going over the details of the event … the cool gear we got, GPS trackers, protein and hydration packets, clothing etc. Then I showed him the trail map. (Side note..him and I hiked Bear Mt. in October last year so he has an idea of what is in front of us). His evaluation word for word after his typical few minutes of silent analysis …“oh ok so the hard part is in the beginning where your going straight up for 3 miles but the next three miles are straight down. Well that’s not so …. uhh wait a second, let me get this straight, after 6 miles of running up and down a mountain that has really no trail and your feeling close to the end you then have to go right back up a 45 degree hill for like ¼ mile then down again for ¼ mile? Then pass that same trail off to your mate? That is so cruel. I thought this was a fun run for charity?”
This course was rough. The first mile was a steady incline with rocky terrain. Miles 2 to 3.5 was a STEEP progressive ascent but the terrain was mostly a dirt-covered path with the occasional mud puddle and tree limb. When you finally make it to the “top” and I use the term top loosely, because what was expected to be a straight dissent turned into a never-ending rolling hill. At least we were given roughly a half-mile decline to catch our breath that was lost from making it up there. From mile 4 to 5 you have rolling hills. They are in no way like the hills encountered at the beginning of the race but they are by no means easy! At mile 5 the terrain becomes really rough and even though it is downhill it is near impossible not to slow down and walk/trot/gallop/dodge/hurdle a few times because there are many large rocks and steep cliffs on either sides of the trail. I found myself holding onto nearby trees at many times for fear stability because lets be honest I am not the most nimble person …. The last mile to mile and a half have more rolling short hills and then you are faced with one last climb at mile 6. Making it to the flat terrain at the end of the course never felt so good! My sprint at the end felt more like a sprint through quicksand but I promise I was attempting to sprint.
My intention going into this race was to do the best I can…and make sure I finished it under 65 minutes. Mission complete!!!! I had trained hard but next time I know I can train harder! I want to be stronger all around so I am going to increase my strength training next time and make my hill training more challenging.
By the end of the race my team and I were referring to it as a journey. Because challenges like this one need to be looked at as more of a personal journey if you are going to complete them! My Teammates kicked ASSS! I couldn’t have been more proud of each one of them. They all surprised and encouraged me. The effort they put into this race was amazing and they all did better then they thought they were going to which is a great feeling! If you want to venture on a personal journey with some of your best girlfriends I couldn’t think of better event or a better group of girls to do it with. Aside from my amazing team members it was such an uplifting experience to see hundreds of people come together in the name of fitness and push their bodies mentally and physically!
I will 100% be signing up for this race again next year!
Good luck to one of my Team Members/BFF Greta & her mom this upcoming weekend! She is running her first half marathon and I am so proud of how far she has come with her running career! Keep it up Girl!
Happy Memorial Day Weekend Everyone! Safe Travels! Week 4 of the Challenge is right around the corner!