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Sunday, June 2, 2013

2013 North Face Endurance Challenge DC: Half Marathon

Have you ever questioned your reasoning behind signing up for a race? You know it's going to be a tough race when that happens. When I signed up for the North Face Endurance Challenge, I know it was going to be hard, especially since it was a trail run. But did I really know what I was signing myself up for? I don't think so. First, we had to part in some random business park to be bused to the park where we would run (right by Great Falls) and then from there we had to walk about a mile to the start. Once the race started, we ran through the woods - all trails, which was really nice because we were out of the sun. There were only two aid stations the entire run - which left quite a few runners in a pickle that were running this as their first half marathon. Luckily, I stopped by REI the night before and picked up a water bottle belt that had two huge water bottles and a pouch for treats. Those margarita flavored shot bloks really were great when I was quite parched out there on the trail. There was a girl that was breathing really heavily and couldn't catch her breath, so I stopped and gave her one of my water bottles and some shot bloks. Hope she was okay!

The uphills were so intense that you had to walk up most of them, and by the time you got to the top, you had no option but to walk the downhills to catch your breath! There were course markers, but no mile markers (which was fine with me) so I felt like I was in the woods literally forEVER. At one point I even felt like Forrest Gump! Ha!

I loved my Brooks Cascadia 8's that I ran in, too. This was my first long run in them. Loved them! They came in handy on the trails and when we had to run across streams. There was one point in the run when a lady had a brand new pair of Saucony Ride's on and kept slipping on her way up the riverbank, so I had to literally pull her up the hill. PHEW
Me at the finish
finished: 486/773

finishing time: 3:00:23

" There is a God!"
The finish line was great - until it started to rain :(. After getting some pretzels and my free beer, I hopped on the bus to go back to the random business park we were parked in. I think they could have done a little better of a job with the tech tees we got and also our medals were kinda junky. Oh well, there's always next race :). ALSO! Turns out the race was 14.5 miles... there was apparently trail maintenance that none of us knew about but they emailed us the Thursday after the race to tell us...thanks?

Overall rating? B. It was a trail run so it was kind of hard to base it off of anything else
Main complaints? The course was long, the premium & medal could have been better
Favorite parts? The views and it was a branded North Face run
Communication before the race? A
Expo? C . It was a pain in the badonk to drive into Georgetown on a Thursday or a Friday to pick up my packet at the North Face store. 
Premium? C. Okay, they did give us a free pair of Smartwool socks, but don't make me drive way out of my way and then tell me if I want my shirt screen printed I could pick it up after the race...
Water Stops/Aid Stations? D. If you didn't have your own hydration/nutrition, you were basically screwed. They had one water stop at mile 2 and one at mile 11.
Finisher's Medal? C. Paid an awful lot of money for a boring medal
Finisher's Festival? A.Thanks for the beer!
Would I run this race again/recommend it to anyone? Not to newbies, but definitely for someone who is looking for a challenge.

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