Race Recaps, Running

The North Face Endurance Challenge Marathon Relay: Race Recap

Nate and I have really been wanting to get into the trail scene more.  We both have always loved to run trails & have wanted to transition to race them as well.

It’s hard to find a race these days that works for us – Nate is in the middle of his XC season and traveling a lot. This leaves very few free weekends to even pick a race.  And then living in Pocatello, there aren’t many options around.  When I saw that The North Face Endurance Challenge series was in Park City the same weekend Nate had an appointment at the Huntsman Cancer hospital (just a routine check-up. Everything looks great!), I knew we had to do it! We weren’t in great shape but saw that they had a marathon relay – each person runs 6 miles – it was perfect! We grabbed Nate’s sister, Heidi & her husband, Parker, and signed up!

At Nate’s appointment we met up with his parents and Heidi and Parker. Nate’s parents are rock stars and they took the combined 5 kids for us so we could make a quick weekend trip of it.  So after shipping our kids off with them, we headed up to Park City!

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If you haven’t ever been to Park City, you should definitely make that a priority sometime soon. It’s so beautiful! Especially right now, the fall leaves are perfect! As we drove into Park City just the beauty of it made me so excited to race!  We went to packet pick-up, went to dinner, and then went to our hotel. We stayed at Shadow Ridge Hotel which wasn’t super spectacular or anything, but it was it was RIGHT next to the start line which was great. That night we just hung out, watched a movie with some ice cream then hit the hay. Not super exciting, but a night without kids is always so relaxing.

I had a dream that night that we were late for the start of the race, kept forgetting all of our stuff, one of those races that everything is anxiety. I woke up panicked but then laughed. It took me back to the good ol college days of racing where having those kinds of dreams were like a weekly occurrence. Nowadays even if I have those dreams I just wake up and laugh. Being older and a mom has made me chill a ton with racing. Don’t get me wrong, I still get competitive and love to run fast, but I’ve learned that when everything boils down, it just doesn’t matter. Which has made racing just…fun.

So if you haven’t already put the pieces together, it is a 4 person relay and we each ran the same 6 mile loop. It was actually pretty fun running the same loop because we could compare times and stuff and all hang out at the finish area when we weren’t racing. Though ‘hanging out’ meant cuddling up to keep warm! It was COLD. But the foggy, coldness of it all just made it feel that much more epic ha.

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After a quick 1 mile warm up I stripped down and headed to the start line. I was first leg, followed by Parker, Heidi, then Nate bringing it in.  We had no idea what kind of competition we were up against.  We started and after a short initial down hill, we started climbing right away. Being the start of the race I couldn’t walk even though in the first 800 m was the hardest hill ha. I burned my lungs up pretty good getting up that thing.  But luckily after we turned onto the single track trails I was able to settle into a groove.

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The race was mostly tree-lined single track which was so, so pretty. After about a mile I had worked my way into 2nd place overall. But because the trails were so enclosed and had a lot of switch backs, it was hard to tell how far ahead of 3rd or behind of 1st I was so I had a really hard time pushing it.  I definitely was climbing at a pretty good clip, but not all out. Honestly, I kept expecting the climb to get worse so I wanted to have a little be of energy in reserve for it.  But the trail never got too intense…well at least compared to the other trail races I have done! I didn’t have to stop and walk in this one and the other ones I definitely did ha.

Once at the top of the climb (about 3.3 miles in) you descend pretty quick.  I really tried to fly down, but there were so many switch backs it was hard to get into a groove. I kept glimpsing first place ahead and hearing 3rd place behind so I finally had a little more motivation to push it.

I ended up holding 2nd place which I felt pretty good about. Especially since the guy who came in 1st in my leg was a guy…so I was first girl in.

I handed off to Parker who ran great! He caught first and handed off to Heidi in the lead! Heidi went up against some of the fastest guys in the whole race so she ended up getting past by a few guys but still ran great and handed off to Nate in 4th.  And although Nate was still a little sick and he fell, he was able to catch a guy to bring us in for third place!

So we ended up taking 3rd place overall, and 2nd place out of the coed teams. Although, the coed team that beat us had 3 guys & 1 girl on it…a little unfair. But oh well. We still held strong and had a great time.

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Come to find out after as we were peering over some results, we raced against one of the fastest male and female trail racers in the world! They both were did the marathon relay! The guy was actually on the winning coed team too…so not a huge surprise they beat us ha.

All-in-all it was a beautiful, really awesome race.  A big, big thanks to Kim & Kirk (Nate’s parents) for taking all the kids.  That’s what made it most enjoyable of all! Some time off as a Mom doing something I love 🙂

I really am loving trails lately and hope to get into them more. I even bought my first pair of trail running shoes, so now I have to run them more ha. Nate is CONVINCED that I could be real good on the trails…so who knows? Maybe this will be my new direction of running?

Time will only tell. But for now, I’m just soaking up any and all types of running and can and really just trying to love it in all it’s forms and stages!

I don’t have another race planned, but I’m looking heavy at a late fall half, or even a winter one…we shall see!

-till next time-

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