Randy Miller's 2011 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Race Report

Goals for race:

1. Finish
2. Try to meet or beat 2009 PR of 10:00
3. Have a good time
4. Don't FALL

For the first time ever TNF 50 Miler started without rain. Yes, it was a little chilly at 4:00 am but they had heaters that you could stand by to keep warm before the 5:00am race start. They sent us off right at 5:00 am It was pretty tricky for the first 30 minutes with everyone crowding on a rocky trail in the dark but as soon as the sky started to lighten up our headlamps were no longer needed.

My game plan was like always...walk all the hills, try to take it easy and don't get caught up in the early excitement. I came into Silvermine (mile 8.6) AS at 6:35 am, right on schedule. Mara, Dave & Elizabeth were there ready and waiting while Joe was in the woods taking photos and video.

I switched to my Nathan 70oz race hydration vest and headed out to Arden Valley Aid Station (mile 13.9), Soon after Arden my stomach started to go south, not good. I don't think my stomach liked my drink Clip 2 and Gu combination. I had been sick the week prior and had been on antibiotics which might had something to do with it as well. I tried to focus on racing and not my stomach. I got a nice surprise as I headed back into the woods off Arden Valley road. Dave, Elizabeth and Mara were hiding in the woods cheering us all on, this offered a nice pick me up. 

On to Lake Skannatati AS (Mile 20.7).
Came into Skannatati at 9:05, I was a little ahead of schedule and told myself to calm down. Mara and Dave were like a Nascar Pit Crew, I was in and out in 2 minutes. I got my iPod and was now ready to rock (not that I haven't been on rocks for the last 4:00 hours). I soon found myself behind Amy Lane and Debbie Livingston, two very strong women. They were talking up a storm so I just stayed there and relaxed. After about 30 minutes I passed them and headed to Camp Lanowa ( mile 28).

I was about 4 miles away from Camp Lanowa aid station and realized I only had about 4 ounces of water left, I was a little concerned and even thought about getting some water from a stream but chose not to take the chance of getting sick. Arrived into Camp Lanowa (mile 28) at 10:30, in and out, I took a 5 hour energy and was ready for it to kick in. I was by myself now for the next hour. It was starting to heat up and the bugs were really getting bad. The course had some tough climbs in this section so it was a slow walk up. The bugs were driving me crazy, I could not wait to get to the top to start running again.

Made it to Tirioti AS (34.5) at around 11:45. The next section was my worst section. I had to walk for a while, my stomach issues from earlier was back and I lacked the energy. I was confident it would pass so I kept running when possible. It was really becoming a tough mental game now. I made it back to Anthony Wayne (40 Mile) AS at 1:00. Mara and Dave walked with me all the way across the parking lot. Probably took 15 minutes but I needed this to reboot myself for the next 10 miles to the finish. It was a nice just to walk and talk for a bit. I drank an entire can of gingerale to see if this would help ease my stomach. I also had to start to really focus on whether or not I wanted to finish before 3:00 p.m to attain my goal of a PR.

I could feel my systems coming back into check. Running started to feel effortless. When I hit the AS I knew I had a little over 5 miles to go. I had one HUGE climb left ....TIMP PASS! I worked my way up there as fast as I could. I hit the base of Timp with one hour to go. I knew once I hit the top of Timp it was about 3 miles to go and mostly all down hill. I powered up the climb and then got to business. I was lucky my quads were not trashed so I could hammer down the hills. I took it all the way in and crossed the finish line in a time of 9:47 which was a PR! I could not have done it without all the support of friends and my great crew, Mara and Dave!

The course was marked perfectly and the volunteers were fantastic, The North Face does a great job. I hit every goal except my last one, I fell once but nothing to serious...