North Face Endurance Challenge

I headed up to Bear Mountain today for my yearly trek on the trails. I enjoy trail running but just don’t get too many opportunities to to do it, so I try to never miss this event. It has always been one of my favorites races for the challenge and the scenery and this year certainly exceeded my expectations.

The festival area at Bear Mountain shortly before the half marathon start. (c) Stacey Cooper

I ran in the 10k on a course where the first 2.7 miles is almost straight uphill. In past years this has always worn me out but this year, I think, is the year that I’m learning how to run up hills. Also, this seems to be the year that I’m feeling much stronger with my running in general. When you combine those you’re almost guaranteed good results. I made it up almost all of the hills without having to walk and when I had to for the really steep ones I was able to keep moving a briskly as I could.

At the half way point I took my gel and started up the last of the big hills and started my rocky descent with some very nice speed and I was able to put some distance between some of the people I had walked up some of the hills with.

There’s this one point where the 10k and half marathon courses meet up and for a while I was keeping pace on the descents with a bunch of the guys. It was a lot of fun not to worry about foot falls and just let speed and gravity take its hold. That had to have been one of the most enjoyable moments I have had in a long time.

I think muddy legs and shoes are good sign that you had a good trail race. Note: Bear mountain mud is really hard to get off in the shower. (c) Stacey Cooper

The course, while always challenging, had some more obstacles in the way due to more fallen trees, including one that we had to run under and that was kind of cool. We’ve also had a lot of rain this past week so the trails/creek beds were very muddy, slick, and wet. I was in heaven.

One of my best moves of the race around the 2.5 mile mark. There’s this one creek area that is always a bit muddy no matter what but was more so today. People, even the ones with trail shoes, were very carefully walking along the rocks on either side causing a bit of slow down. I figured that I’ve got my Asics trail shoes with Goretex on my feet so why waste them and avoid the mud. I stealthy ran right the middle of that thing and passed about 10 folks, most I left in the dust for good. That had to be second favorite moment that I’ve had in a while.

I felt strong for most of the race and felt that this was a good replacement for a long run that I was supposed to do for the Brooklyn Half. I feel pretty good going into that and having a nice course PR today has me in the right frame of mind for Brooklyn.


About scoopsontherun

I'm a SloHoMo.
This entry was posted in Half Marathons, Races, running and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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