I can not possibly put into words the exact feelings I had about crossing the finish line of the NorthFace Endurance Challenge in DC over the weekend. I trained long and hard for this event. I doubted myself over and over again during the weeks leading up to 4/28/18 but knew I had to give it a go.
Driving down to DC the night before the race with my husband and friends I started to feel excited but my nerves were still high. I was thrilled that my husband and Kelly came down to support Miki and I as we attempted another 50 miler.
Lets back track for a moment. In 2016 I trained for a 50 mile event that had a 14 hour cut off. The race was a total wash. It rained the entire week before the race and then the whole duration of the event. The trail conditions were so poor that it made running extremely difficult for me. I spent hours and hours walking a sliding in the mud. My attitude was terrible. I had such high hopes for that event and they were crushed by poor weather. I crossed the finish line after 14 hours and 10 minutes. Since the cutoff was 14 hours my time was not recorded, I did not get a medal and they gave me a DNF. I was devastated! (GRT did end up sending me a medal in the mail a week after the event)
The following year my buddy Miki went back for redemption at Glacier Ridge Trail. I did not go. Once Miki completed the race the second year under the cut off I knew I wanted to try again for another 50 miler but I still was not ready for Glacier Ridge again. I did some shopping around for other 50 milers and found the NorthFace Endurance Challenges. DC ended up being the winner because the date worked well for us and the scenery was said to be amazing.
I reached out to other running friends that had done the DC event before. My one buddy reported terrible weather in years past and even snow. I was nervous. Im not a fair weather runner but I certainly do enjoy a long run in ideal conditions. The weather reports for the days leading up to this race were looking amazing. I was so grateful. I love nothing more than to being able to run in shorts and not have cold legs for the first few miles. Everything about this race day was exactly what I wanted it to be. I could not help but smile the entire time I ran. We did a few loops along the course and many of the people who I ran into along the way even pointed out how I was always smiling. I felt great, the weather was awesome and I just knew I was going to finish this race under the cut off.
I slowed down towards the last stretch of the race but came across another runner who informed me that even if we walked the remaining 13 miles we would still finish under the the cut off time. This was a huge relief but may have got to my head a bit because I did find myself doing a large combination of walking/running towards the end. My watch died at mile 40 and that was a bit tough. When running alone I often use my watch for company. I know that probably sounds lame and kind of sad but I felt pretty lonely once it died. I did thankfully pass a few other runners along the trail and we exchanged words here and there but I was mostly alone out there by then. Towards the last two miles of the race I was really just ready to be done but knew I still had movement left in me. A guy I exchanged words with while running the three 7 mile loops near Great Falls came trucking past me. I was so inspired by his pace so late in the race. I called out to him and mentioned how moved I was. His response was something like if I don't keep moving I will fall down. So I took that as a sign and ran right behind him. We ran the last two miles rather quickly. I was so grateful to cross that finish line! If you ever have the opportunity to follow through with something until the very end go for it! Don't let self doubt and negative self talk hold you back. I remember telling myself to shut up during the race. I remember telling myself to get out of my own way. The only person who has ever told me I wasn't good enough or strong enough was me and I was not going out like that this time. I finished and I am ready to keep moving forward. Life is truly amazing.