"I have arrived. I am home. In the here. In the now. I am solid. I am free. In the ultimate I dwell." --Thich Nhat Hanh

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

First 50K!

May 4th, 2013 finally arrived and with it our "A" race of the year, The North Face Bear Mountain 50K Endurance Challenge. MarathonMom and I picked this race as our anniversary celebration gateway/mini-cation. Pretty romantic.

We arrived at Bear Mountain on Thursday to some R&R prior to the race. Bear Mountain Inn, where we stayed is great. Nice and clean rooms, beautiful surroundings, and best of all, right next to the start line. Thursday and Friday we spend exploring the surrounding area including the local watering holes. You got to fuel up, right?

Start line
Race morning. Beautiful day with temperatures in the 50s. You couldn't have asked for a better day. Strangely enough we were not really that nervous for the start of our first ultra. I was feeling very excited and ready to go.
The race started at exactly 7 am. After a short flat stretch, we started a rocky uphill climb. That would prove to be standard for the day. Rocks, rocks, some trail, more rocks. After the first few aid stations we realized that we would be walking a decent portion of this course. Not because we were not fit, but because we were not mountain goats.
Mountain Goats

Holy smokes Batman, there were some steep climbs and downhills, but worst of all were rocks everywhere. That made it very hard to run. I think we were both getting a little frustrated at some points and saying, "We just want to run!!!" To top it all off, during the shortest and the hardest section there was a 6ft rattle snake in the middle of the trail. That sucker was big, and we definitely made a wide loop to avoid that guy. He seemed pissed off, probably due to hundreds of people running by him all day. Thank god he rattled or I could have stepped on him.

Last section of the course was mostly runnable and we were both able to finish strong with 50K PR of about 8 hours. Not too bad for the first timers.

TNF Bear Mountain is one hard course. However, I had a blast. It was so much fun and I cannot wait to do another. I am already looking at the races in the area. The organization, course markings and the finish line festival were absolutely perfect. Amazing job by the volunteers and the North Face team. Everyone was having such a great time.

As always, we used Tailwind as our main source of fuel and it worked great. My only regret was not taking extra with me to refill 2/3 of a way through. Live and learn.

Oh yeah, I also ripped the upper on both of my shoes. Fun times.
Ripped shoes :)
Our next adventure is the Plitvice Marathon (Plitvicki Maraton) in Croatia on June 2nd!

Extra photos!
Before the race: PEK Power!
All done. Cheers!

During the race. Taking a breath on top of this rock!

Yup. Up up up.
The snake. Look in the middle.

I did it! Still feeling good!


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