North Face Endurance Half Marathon Recap

Time for another race recap. Get excited. Check out my other recaps on my 21 before 21 goal here πŸ™‚Β #5 on my list was the North Face Endurance Challenge.

I set my alarm for 4:30am. Super duper early. I got up right away and it was cold, in the dorm. That meant it was going to be even more cold outside. Perfect. While getting ready, I fixed up breakfast.

udi's cinnamon raisin bagel with pumpkin butter + 2 hardboiled egg whites + an orange + green tea

I was out the door by 4:50 and when I got to the car, it said it was 38 degrees. 38! Whenever it’s below 40, my car has a little snowflake next to the number. So yeah, there was a snowlake. Snowflake=cold. Lovely.

The buses were picking us up at a middle school in San Francisco and then shuttling us to the course in Sausalito. I got to the school around 5:45 and the busses didn’t start leaving until 6:30. I spent that time playing on my phone and getting over the nerves. I’m not sure why, but I was more nervous than usual for this race.

We loaded the buses and were at the start line at 6:45. The race didn’t start till 8 so I had a lot of time to spare. Luckily, the wonderful race coordinators thought ahead and had some heat lamps set up. We huddled around those for an hour. There, I learned a lot about the course. Such as, there are hills. Lots and lots of hills. Hills aren’t exactly my strong point so my nerves came up again. I also learned that the race is most all on trails. I was excited for this part because it would be something different.

Before the start, Dean Karnazes was there to get us pumped up. Dean is an ultramarathoner who has run from 3,000, from California to New York. He has also run 50 marathons in the 50 states. Yeah. He’s (ultra)intense.

At 8am, on the dot, we were off. I really liked how there were only 500 people there. It kept it a lot less crowded. I learned this was extra helpful later on when the pathways got narrow.

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. My times were seriously all over the place. Gotta love those hills.

Mile 1 – 8:08 – This first mile was good. Since there weren’t many people, it kind of felt like a running group. The scenery was already beautiful.

Mile 2 – 10:08 -This is the start to a 2 mile long hill. I keep my legs pumping.

Mile 3 – 10:59 – Still pumping. I got this.Β 

Mile 4 – 7:20 – All downhill. It was seriously the best feeling mile ever. Going down hill on trails is so cool. Dodging holes, surrounded by wild life. I loved every minute of this mile.

Mile 5 – 8:04 – There was a water station at the beginning of this mile so I grabbed some. It was already starting to get a bit warm. About half way through this mile, I see a big hill up ahead, so I take some Gu. It’s coffee flavor. Wasn’t too bad. I would buy it again. Plus there was 2x the caffeine which was helpful for this race. I think. Caffeine doesn’t actually affect me.

Mile 6 – 13:01 -This hill was a toughie. I took some walking breaks because my legs were already getting tired.

Mile 7 –10:57 – I kept on chugging along the hill, knowing that every step led me one step closer to a downhill. One step closer to the end. I know that sounds dramatic but this race was a serious mental battle.

Mile 8 – 8:15 – More water. They’re handing out Gu chomps so I grab one and stuff it in my sports bra. Not too much longer later, I see a HUGE hill. I thought the ones before were bad. Well those had nothing on this one. I knew that if I wanted to survive to see the end (kiddinggg) then I would need some more energy. I took out the Gu chomps and had those. They were good but I still prefer the gel.

Mile 9 – 13:37 – More hill.

Mile 10 – 11:26 – Even more hill.

Mile 11 – 11:11 – You guessed it. More hill.

Mile 12 – 8:11 – Finally, there is a downhill. I basically want to cry because I am so happy.

Mile 13 – 8:12 – I feel like I can hear the end coming so I get really excited. But when I round the corner, I realize that it’s just a car playing really loud music. Gahhhh!

Mile .82 – 7:20 – My Garmin said the course was longer than the typical 13.1 and my watch doesn’t lie. I was really mad that there was the little bit of extra because I gave my all when I thought the end was near.

Total: 13.82 mi, 2:16:55, 9:54 pace

I finished. That’s all I care about. I didn’t PR, which was one of my goals for this month. But that’s okay.

awkward race finish pose? check.

I didn’t stick around the booths afterwards because I needed to get back to school for a school project. But before getting on the bus, I grabbed a banana and chocolate coconut water.Β 

So would I do this race again? Yes I would! I would need to prepare better mentally and physically but it was still tons of fun. Super well organized and different.

But as for today, my legs are super sore. I was supposed to do a legs workout on Jamie Eason’s 12 Week Trainer but when my alarm clock went off this morning, I sat up, cringed at how sore my legs were, and went back to bed.

Next up: Walnut Creek Half Marathon this Saturday πŸ˜€


16 thoughts on “North Face Endurance Half Marathon Recap

  1. CONGRATS on the race!! Trail races are definitely a whole different animal than road races, so you’re defs not supposed to PR from a road half on a trail – in which case, your time was pretty fantastic! and OMG so jealous you saw Dean!!

  2. Great job girl! That race looks awesome and I’m so jealous you got to see Dean Karnazes. I absolutely love him and his books!

  3. Ahhh love race recaps. Trail races remind me of cross country, so I’d love to try a half marathon one! Those hills must have been brutal – I mean 2 miles up?! That’s crazy! But the down hills must have been pretty sweet. Congrats on another race!

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