Tag Archive | 50K

North Face Endurance Challenge Bear Mountain 50K – Race Report

After the trail 50k disaster I had last year, I was not looking forward to another trail ultra. No. But, for some reason, I signed up for this one, though I waited until a month before… I just wasn’t sure I wanted to go through such a painful experience again… You see, I just don’t believe there should be this much pain in a hobby! Hobbies should be fun, no? 

Crazy me and my high (fun) expectations!And the Elevation chart, all straight from the website.

Friday I ate triple the amount I should have, and then I managed to sleep 4 hours, which is a lot for a night before a race, right? Saturday I was up at 3:10, and we all met up by our zip car at 4:30. The 50K was starting at 7 am and Bear Mountain is around 50 miles away, and you have to park and take a shuttle to the start.  The shuttle… sleepy faces!

We got there as the sun was starting to shine. Bear (rar!) Mountain is a gorgeous place, so much green, the air smells a lot different!

We settled, got ready, took some pictures, and had some time to chat: the prerace hangout is always so much fun!!


Soon, it’s 6:58 am and we’re all ready to go: Pure Excitement! Temperature was 59, perfect!

The Course————————Was a mix of amazing and brutal. Half the course was what I would call “unrunnable”. Even if you run the crazy uphills, or the crazy downhills, which I’ve seen just a few people do, it’s really not really all running; it’s more like rock climbing!!!!There were parts where we were on our fours climbing up, or leaning back and/or holding onto trees so not to slide down!! Most of it was rocky; there were even huge rocks the size of my apartment, that you had to climb over. There were trees in the course, mud and rivers to cross through little hanging briges, mossy rocks, or whatever. There were lots of snakes, even a rattle snake in the middle of the trail (I freaked out a bit). There were trees with white flowers, lakes, and mountains all around us. Sometimes the mountains were in front of us, and sometimes they were under our feet. We crested a few of them. Going up was really hard. Going downhill was even harder.  Enjoy the view!


The Race————————

So well organized, I should have loved it!!!! I picked up my stuff Thursday at the North Face store, and they were all super nice and helpful (I wanted to buy everything!!!). When we got to the race, everything was set up. The same at the finish. The people taking care of the race were all really fantastic, super helpful and upbeat. The course was RIDICULOUSLY well marked, I never ever got lost, not even for a second.

The Aid Stations & The Volunteers————————

OMG, the AID STATIONS!!! I wanted to stay in every single one of them and have a picnic!!! 

I needed all kinds of help and they were all SO nice: band aids, blister assistance, moleskins, cheering… All I couldn’t get (at least from the First Aid people!!) was anti-inflammatories!!! They’d offer to refill your bottles… they’d tell you you looked great, they’d lie… and they had lots of food!! Peanut buttes sandwiches, gus, roctane gus, jelly beans, potato chips, potatoes, crackers, chicken broth, coke, etc. I am going to admit to just 6 Gus, some potato chips and three brownies!

My race————————

Too tired for now, but I’ll post it up super soon. So far it looks like fun, right? No worries, lots of drama ahead, I promise!l EDITED, MY RACE is here.
North Face Endurance Challenge Bear Mountain 50K – Race Report

Mountain Madness 50K Race Report: Want to see FUNNY (plus a bit of blood)?

In case you didn’t see my previous post about how horrible this trail 50k was, appropriately called Mountain Madness. It was Madness in the Mountain. Literally. But enough with the spoilers.
Getting ready… the place is gorgeous, and leaves are changing…
Mountain Madness 50K nj trail ultra before (3)
Mountain Madness 50K nj trail ultra before (4)
Want to know how to make your own disposable handheld?????
Mountain Madness 50K nj trail ultra before (4)
Did I tell you how I am the reincarnation of McGyver?? No, not McGruber!!! My grandpa would fix anything in the world with a hammer and nail. My dad will weld anything. Me, I am duct tape specialist, just like McGyver.
Mountain Madness 50K nj trail ultra before (10)
My shorts looked bulky because I had like 7 gels in there.. and they were totally necessary as we got so lost we couldn’t find any of the Aid Stations for 5 hours… I also packed my camera in that arm band.
The Start…
Mountain Madness 50K nj trail ultra start (4) Mountain Madness 50K nj trail ultra start (1)
The Course…
Mountain Madness 50K nj trail ultra start (4) Mountain Madness 50K nj trail ultra after (21) Mountain Madness 50K nj trail ultra after (24) Mountain Madness 50K nj trail ultra before (1) Mountain Madness 50K nj trail ultra course (2) Mountain Madness 50K nj trail ultra course (3) Mountain Madness 50K nj trail ultra course (4)
The Falls…
First fall at Mile 4
Mountain Madness 50K nj trail ultra course (1) Mountain Madness 50K nj trail ultra course (8) Mountain Madness 50K nj trail ultra course (11)
I fell on some rocks and hit my knee and my forehead, and scratched my hand and legs… I couldn’t move (or speak English) for a bit and Blaise had to pick me up. I felt SO stupid!
Fall #2, a bit after Mile 8. Feel free to laugh, I totally look like a clown! Or an elf!
Funny either way!
Mountain Madness 50K nj trail ultra course (12) Mountain Madness 50K nj trail ultra course (14)
I fell right on my face this time, arms up, and hit my lungs and ribcage pretty badly. I also bruised my left shoulder that has been hurting from the past weeks. My thighs got bruised and scratched again. It was scratch on top of scratch, with dirt and crap on it. Sexy.
Glad I had the camera though! Hahahaha!
After my second fall, my whole left side was really hurting, ribs, lungs, and the same shoulder that got squashed in my fall earlier this month. When I run, and had to breathe harder, it was really painful. I just wanted to reach an Aid Station, but we were completely lost…. and had to keep going for 5 hours until we made it out of that maze… It was really really frustrating, because I wasn’t sure I was ever going to make it out of there, I could barely breathe, and we really had no clue where we were or what to do. I was in too much pain to even think straight. I started getting nervous that I would not be able to keep running for long, even with the lung/rib pain. Also, I just had 1 bottle of water for those 5 hours… Blaise was pretty upset too at how badly the trail was marked, but we were traying to do our best to stay calm and get out of there. I do remember screaming things like “I hate Nature” and/or/even “I hate running” at some point. And I was prettified of running there. I was on the edge of a meltdown for 12 very slow miles.
I did entertain myself with PhillyRunatic’s thought that every other race would be a disaster. So, Staten Island last weekend was great, this was the most horrendous mess ever, and NYCM would be OSOM. Right? The other thing that kept me happy was that I hand’t rolled my ankles (yet) or that I really hadn’t put on much mileage on. It’d be easier to start the taper.
I have to admit, I felt very stupid. This race was definitely not for me. It was too technical and I didn’t have enough balance with one crippled arm, hence all the falling. Also, it was really bad organized and I would never sign up again for a race with this kind of support. The tape we were supposed to follow was either non existing or confusing! We would get to a place where the trail would have three branches and there would be tape in two of them or in none of them… What do you do?? In most bifurcations we would see not one indication of which way to go!! And I am usually amazing with directions!!! Apparently, the race organizer was running around marking the course right when we were out there, he knew it was not marked and still let us go in there! That was a bit too late to try to fix the problem.
At some point, I hit the “Back to Start” button on the Garmin, but I think it was basically re tracing my run, which was the really long way back. Still, thank Pre for technology in the middle of the woods!!!!
After we finished, I had a few hours to kill before my team mates were finished so I talked to everyone there. Everyone. I wanted to find out if all trail races were like this, so technical and so badly organized, before I swore them all off forever. Everybody said the same thing: No, and NO. This course was really hard for most people, not the best idea to start with this one. Also, everyone got lost. Everyone. We had started all the way at the back of the pack, so we had no one to follow on top of it all. Most people fell, but everyone there had been lost. That’s the part I am upset about. Fine, I couldn’t go on because I was all banged up, but Blaise should have been able to finish this. It was really not cool. I would not sign up for anything like this again. You are warned if you do.
Having a functioning arm to balance would help, yes, but not knowing where to go and where you are for 5 hours is just something I wouldn’t want to do again.
The last of the pictures, back at the finish, trying to cross my legs, not easy!
Mountain Madness 50K nj trail ultra after injured (1)
When we were all ready to go
Mountain Madness 50K nj trail ultra after (1) Mountain Madness 50K nj trail ultra after (3) Mountain Madness 50K nj trail ultra after (4) Mountain Madness 50K nj trail ultra after (5) Mountain Madness 50K nj trail ultra after injured (9)
Illustrating how I fall, not sure about the tongue tough!
Mountain Madness 50K nj trail ultra after (2)
Sunday I woke up with overall chest pain, a very sore neck (??), and very swollen knees and thighs. This is what my legs looked like the day after.
DSCN9814 DSCN9812
I might re-attempt the last long run tomorrow, though my lung/ribs still hurt. We ended up with 20 miles on Saturday but half of it was walking. Blaise is now looking for a 50k for redemption. I have no pride so I am indifferent. I mostly feel totally stoopid for falling like that. It’s quite ridiculous. I was really embarrassed. But oh well, it can’t always end well, right?  Oh yeah, I had an amazing Sunday to compensate!
Late EDIT: The doctor would confirm 3 days later:
– 3 broken ribs
– broken clavicle
– torn rotator cuff.
GREAT. NYC Marathon in TWO weeks…