Tuesday, May 10, 2011

the north face endurance challenge - bear mountain 50 miler

"so we loaded up the truck and we moved to beverly . . . hills that is . . ."

oops - wrong song! we loaded up andrea's truck and we headed to new york - with 'the girl' in tow !

can't imagine why an intelligent, adorable, second year university student (i'm not sure her age, so i'm fluffing it here) would want to travel with a couple of old farts like me and andrea, but alex turned out to be a really good sport about almost everything!!

along the way we came across a few interesting sightings. first off was a white hearse - kinda hard to get a good pic when we were blowing by it. if you look real close you can see the driver giving me a really strange look . . .

then we met up with these characters at a gas station - and no digger - i didn't show them!

here's a pic of me taking a pic of andrea taking a pic of 'the girl' taking a pic of some fishermen down in the creek . . .

and in honor of our little buddy who couldn't make the trip - although we never did get a really good excuse out of her - PYLONS - lots of pylons !!!

we even got one of a PYLON TRUCK !!! (andrea made me disinfect my hand after touching it)

there was a bit of a kerfuffle trying to find the hotel, as andrea's gps thingy was a little outdated (flashbacks of a past road trip with the boys come to mind) but luckily 'the girl' still has good eyes, and she spotted the sign to the hampton inn!

once we got checked in, we headed over to tgi fridays for dinner. i took a picture of my burger for digger . . .

and LOOK ! ahahaha! an M&M machine! whoda thought ????

the next day we paid a visit to the 'tar-get' store. in true pylon tradition, i stocked up on super-sized candy bars! captain - keep an eye on your mail over the next week or so. (pls note, the flip-flops are not mine, although i did have to put on the green ones post-race due to nasty abrasions on my feet)

we then drove over to the race area so we would know where the hell to go the next day! this was a kool little river/creek along the way.

RACE DAY! this was what i was up against.

Runners can expect technical terrain and rocky footing that cuts to the chase, with some trails heading steeply uphill rather than zig-zagging at a gentler grade. Descents end in wooded hollows before the next rapid climb ending with a breathtaking view. Make no mistake: this will be a tough test of off-road endurance.

Elevation Change: 4 stars out of 5

Technical Terrain: 5 stars out of 5

Overall Difficulty: 5 stars out of 5

ahahaha - what could go wrong???

start time was 5am, meaning i had to get up just after 3am. i had made contact with chris mcpeake from toronto, and he and his sweet wife kim picked me up at the hotel at 4am. good gawd that was early !!

so, true to the above description - the course was everything they said and then some! the first 13 miles took me 3:36 - yikes! i was so stressed the entire run that i only stopped once to take pictures! this is at about 1200' somewhere on leg 4.

at the end of this leg was the first 'hard cut-off' - i hate cut-offs! anyways, as i was picking my way down through the rock, some guy tells me i have 12 minutes to make it. FUCK! i totally ignored the trail and headed straight down. i don't know how i didn't fall! i got there with 6 minutes to spare. oh for gawd sakes! i quickly refilled my pack and started back out. the second 'hard cut-off' was at 34 miles and i made it with 10 minutes extra this time! wahoo! i refilled my pack again and grabbed some jelly beans. as i was starting back out, this guy warns me to keep my pace and i will get to the finish line with only 4 minutes to spare. oh for fuck sakes! now for whatever reason, my legs decided that they were going to try and cramp on me. STOP IT! and whenever i started walking, the black flies were brutal. i was picking them out of my ears! argh!! just imagine how cranky i was getting - good thing i was by myself! i made it to the 44.7 mile mark at 12:27 - giving me 90 minutes to cover just over 5 miles. and the mileage to the next aid station was a meager 2.5 - that shouldn't be too bad - i might just make this . . . ARGH! (should have read the description better - 'this difficult section features several climbs, including the hardest up to the timp pass. the timp pass road descending from the pass turns very rocky.') SO, exactly 60 minutes later i roll into the last aid station. i had 33 minutes to go 2.8 miles. now those who know me, know i'm pretty much screwed. there is NO way i can run that fast, on a good day, on fresh legs, on road, and now i had to do it on crampy, sore legs after 47 miles and 13 and a half hours. i had pretty much resigned myself to the fact i wasn't going to make it. as i trudged out of the station, a volunteer must have seen my face. he yelled, 'get going - you can do this - it's not technical!' well, what the fuck! like i once said to a friend trying to qualify for boston - 'it's going to hurt whether i run fast or slow, so i may as well try.' the first mile was downhill on a gravelly path - yeehaw! 'oh no, another bloody hill - wait, it's not too bad.' 'woohoo, another downhill!' 'fuck - another uphill!' 'WHERE IS THE FUCKING FINISH LINE?????' 'oh, oh my gawd, what time is it - i still have 6 minutes!' 'my feet are KILLING me!' 'ACK!! there's the finish line!!!'

and i maintain this picture is blurry because i was running SO FAST! ahahaha! i got across the line with a time of 13:55:35. 4 stoopid minutes to spare! i was the last official finisher! sweet! i say official, because of the 197 who started, only 146 made it under 14 hours. AND, i was first in my age group! hahaha!

i got this email from digger . . .

" Congrats again on your amazing finish. I was tracking you, and it sure looked like you dropped, I was excited when you came back (and passed the other 50 year old chick, did you see her?). Captain was asking if the time of your first stage was right (3:36 for the 1st 13 miles?). Long day?"


anyways, i was pretty happy to be done. i was exhausted and just wanted to lay down. andrea and alex herded me over to the shuttle and we made our way back to the car. here's a pic of me and chris after the finish. GREAT JOB !! that was evil for sure!!!

oh, and this is brian -AND - this is why i run ultras . . . (bad dora)

on our way back to the hampton, we stopped at a restaurant and i had a large vanilla milkshake and a bottle of tomato juice! that was about all i could handle. when i went to pull my sock off, i discovered that little bone that sticks out of the top of my foot had poked through, and as a result, the whole mess was stuck to my foot. andrea almost passed out when i ripped it off.

all i could do for awhile was just lay on the bed - i was fucked!

andrea and alex - thanks for a fantastic trip! i had a great weekend and it was a lot of fun! (even when andrea had a meltdown on the way home after drinking a super-sized-extra-large coffee from timmies and ate a box of milk duds!!) coach spaff - thanks for making me a runner again! that was a true test of mental and physical strength! and to the trainers at crossfit bolton - thanks for making me strong like shit! i truly believe that's what got me across the line in the end!

and so, like giving birth (or at least i'm told) you soon forget the pain. i'm seeing maybe another trip out west in my future . . . maybe another race with a really kool name . . .



  1. Way to funck'n go girl - keep pushing the limits!!

  2. That is a GREAT report. Way keep beating those cutoffs. Love the part 'it's going to hurt whether i run fast or slow, so i may as well try.' I say that to myself often also and it works. I would love to run in a race where one can take a picture. I may try it this Saturday at the Kingston 5 Peaks race; )

  3. Again, fantastic job and great race report Dora.
    a)That Burger looks good.
    b)How close were you to whipping the girls out at that gas station?I bet you thought about it.
    c)That does look like the Escarpment 30K run,except 50 miles.
    d)That foot looks really painful.
    e)What race are you talking about?
    Maybe we have a late summer 50 miler lining up.......

  4. thanks EJ! and have fun this weekend! wish i lived closer! oh, wait, still not sure i'll feel like running yet . . .

  5. digger!
    a. i would rate it a heavy 9
    b. i must admit, i did think about it!
    c. stoopid digger
    d. actually, it went numb after awhile, so i really didn't feel anything.
    e. little further than 50 i'm thinking . . .

  6. Fun report, and way to go on getting it done!! A serious bear of a mountain it sounds like! Rest up!

    p.s. How come every time you go to the States I start craving chocolate?

  7. you must be a pylon . . .

    thanks sara!

  8. I also love Chocolate:-p I could eat all of those bars in one night and then go out seeking for more! Can I be a pylon too. What is a pylon BTW?

  9. digger - would you like to define the pylons?!

  10. Congrats again on an awesome race. You dug deep and done good! Loved the report.

  11. Captain would be the one to ask, but I think he once called us a loosely based "Traveling Horror Show" that goes to trail races all over the place.
    Picture two car fulls of adults throwing sandwiches at each other's windshields going 70MPH on the QEW while driving to Michigan for a trail race.

  12. thanks again for everything D!!!

    and great job on recruiting new members digger!

  13. Congrats.
    great report.
    was really nice to me you.
    man that ankle looks rough
    cya on the trails again soon!

  14. You're my hero Kendra!!!!!!