The North Face 100 Endurance Challenge (50km Race Report)

The good news is… I didn’t die! The not so good news is… I didn’t win my mother the car she keeps thinking is the prize for all the races I participate in, so not a great Mother’s Day for Mama Ducky (as she affectionately likes to be called)!

The awesome thing about this race is that it was run in true EarthToTrish fashion. I have to say that from start to finish, every moment was a ‘random, but necessary note to self’. Case in point:

  1. KEEP CALM: I couldn’t really get my nerves under control the morning of, so Harriet Houdini (the bestest furry friend any girl could ask for) got her claws clipped… at 4AM! WTF was I thinking???
  2. ALWAYS PLACE YOUR PRE-RACE SNACKS IN A SECURE LOCATION: Since I couldn’t manage to eat any food before I left home, I packed myself a little bag of goodies and promised to force myself to fuel up before the race. I stuffed the goodie bag in my nifty back pocket (made especially for super cool running peeps like myself)… and it fell out while I was running to the bag drop-off location. =/
  3. DO NOT RUN UP A MOUNTAIN BEHIND PEOPLE WITH HIKING STICKS: Or in front of them for that matter. The race course included a 50km companion trek which contained a lot more elevation than the regular course, but we started together. I can understand bringing the sticks along, but those people are wild. The flail those death wands all around and poke at ya. Hooligans, I tell ya!
  4. ALWAYS STOP TO APPRECIATE YOUR SURROUNDINGS: Heaven Lake was serene and beautiful. Just see for yourself…
  5. WHEN RUNNING IN TIGHT MOUNTAIN PASSAGES, NEVER EVER TAKE YOUR EYES OFF THE PATH: So it rained pretty hard the night before the race. The mountains absorbed a lot of the moisture and made the uphill trek ever more arduous. However, I found out that it made running (and even falling on your butt and sliding) downhill very easy and quite entertaining. UNTIL… a rescue team volunteer decided to get by attention. He said ‘hallowwwww‘ and I said ‘huh,’ turned my head to see what the fuss was about and ran head/temple-first into a tree branch. I like that tree branch, because when I fell over the side of the mountain as a result of the collision, it was all I had to hang on to.
  6. RESCUE TEAM VOLUNTEERS MEAN WELL: After the unfortunate forest altercation, I was politely escorted to the medical van where a team of two very nice ladies took a look at my head to make sure I had not suffered a race ending injury. The only problem was that they were slowing me down. I needed to pass the next check point before the cut-off time and the minutes were just ticking away while they checked me out. I was very sad…
  7. SWEEPER BUSES MUST BE OPERATED BY THREE-TOED SLOTHS: So the medical team cleared me to continue and I made it past the next check point. I was cooking. Then it happened… another kind rescue team volunteer approached me and says ‘hello madam, are you 五三六六 [5366 – my bib number]? I’m sorry, but you did not make the check point in time.’ He then proceeded to explain that I needed to go with him to the next water station to wait for the sweeper bus. I’d been disqualified and I was crushed, but understood that I needed to follow race rules. Together, we made it out of that mountain pass and had some nice conversations about this year’s NBA playoffs and my KT tape. I decided to ask when the sweeper bus would be by to get me. When he told me the pick-up time, I almost cursed at him. I’m pretty sure though, that he may not have understood it when I said “oh HELLLL NAWWW, HOMIE.” I had no intention of waiting three hours in the heat for a bus. So I decided to buck the system and finish the race.
  8. RESCUE TEAM VOLUNTEERS LIKE TO TAKE PICTURES AND DRINK CHINESE RED BULL: The stipulation for me continuing on was that the rescue team volunteers had to agree to follow me through all the mountain passes. I felt bad, but they were all willing and it was the least they could do, right? I was running again!!! Of the three volunteers that escorted me they all took pictures with me and one that didn’t speak much at all reached into his backpack and pulled out a tiny gesture of kindness. He handed me a can of Chinese Red Bull and says, ‘here… drink… better than water!’ I never drink energy drinks. I’m a water and gel kinda gal, but his tone and facial expression didn’t really give me a choice. It was like drink this or I’ll beat you about the legs with my walking stick and I needed my legs to go on.
  9. RED BULL REALLY GIVES YOU WINGS: Or at least it gave ETT wings. I took two sips of that potent little demon juice and started to fly. At one point I realized that my escort was having a hard time keeping up. When he finally caught up with me, he was trying to point out that I’d run probably 5 or 6 kilometers with the empty can in my hand. HAHAHAHAHAHA I’m such a weirdo. Here buddy! Throw that can away for me while I tear up the rest of this course.
  10. *TIME IS SECONDARY TO COMPLETION: Eight hours and twenty minutes is the unofficial race time for number 5366. However, after being disqualified, the race officials didn’t recognize my accomplishment. I did!!! I finished it.

This was my longest distance… EVER! I can’t believe I thought I could do this and now I can’t believe I’ve actually done it. It’s an amazing feeling! Don’t let anyone tell you different. I wouldn’t have traded this experience for anything, but maybe next time I’ll try not to run into any trees!

Signing off… ETT =)


P.S. Happy Belated Mother’s Day to all those wonderful mommies out there! You are loved and appreciated.

P.P.S. I beat the sweeper bus back around to the finish line. =)


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