Summer Racing Season, Part 4a: The North Face Endurance Challenge Series Wisconsin (TNF ECS WI) Trail Marathon, September 13, 2014


The North Face logo.svg

Ten minutes, four seconds.  After a week of dealing with a last minute lower back injury and the subsequent doubts if it could be accomplished, God guided me to a PR at TNF ECS WI trail marathon.  As I turned the last corner to run up to the finish line, I could see the clock counting and knew I had a shot at a 10 minute PR.  Incredible!  At the 17.2 mile mark I was ahead of last year's time by just 2 minutes 59 seconds with 9 miles to go.  That means I ran the final 9 miles 7 minutes 5 seconds faster than 2013 and with a sore back!  Incredible!  Thinking back on it now, wow...just wow...


The entire week before the race I dealt with a bad back, taking ibuprofen, using Bio-freeze, alternating heat and ice as well as going to my chiropractor, Wayson Family Chiropractic on Monday and Thursday, coupled with lots of prayer to God.  This finish is to His glory!  Thanks for all those who prayed and encouraged me as well.

Race-day began as probably the coolest day we have had since late last Spring.  I actually started off in long sleeves, though they were quickly shoved up my arms for most of the run.  I had decided during the week to forego taking two bottles, (handheld and waist-pack) in favor of just the waist-pack along with an additional 5 oz flask I could hook to the front strap.  This gave me 26 oz of fluid as opposed to 42 oz, but I thought I could make it work since the aid stations were only about 5-6 miles apart.  I filled them both with frozen Runner's Tea, adding a bit of water to the larger bottle. The small zippered pocket on my Ultimate Direction water belt allowed me to stuff in gels, salt tabs, a fruit strip, some ginger candy, and a sample pack of Bio-freeze I'd apply about half way through. The Runner's Tea melted during the day, so that as I added water to it, I was slowly downing two cups of tea all during the day for a little extra endurance oomph!  

While I told myself I would need to start out more conservatively than last year, I still began the race a bit quicker than I thought might be good, but it is sometimes hard to restrain yourself!  I still held back some and was much better mentally in dealing with figuring out how to couple my running/walking strategy as well as my potential back issue.  Knowing the course from last year was a great help in planning on when to push and when to ease off.  I knew if I could keep to a particular average pace the first 3-4 hours, this would allow me to go slower towards the finish if I needed to when things might get tough.  In the end, because I was under or held that pace overall for most of the race, I was actually able to come a bit under it overall, accounting for the 10 minute 4 second PR.

26.2?  No problem!
As I passed a final (extra aid station) I was told we had about 1.8 miles to go, which sounded about right.  At that point you slowly ascend uphill for probably 1/2-3/4 mile?  I hiked this whole hill, then ran the flat, descended back down the other side and was almost home free.  I broke through the woods and knew I had a little less than 1 mile to go, which was good, because the muscles in my inner thighs started going into spasms as I ran down the pavement towards the park road and entrance before the finish line.  As I crossed the line, I saw my son, who would next day line up for his first 10K.  My wife was there too and the rest of the kids were milling about in the finish area.  I was spent, but stoked at the results.  Praise God!!!

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, "But the Lord said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Look, I grew elf ears out on the run!!! :)
A little bit after I had something to eat, 3 of my younger kids ran the kid's 1K run.  After which my middle daughter said she was never running another race again in her life, to which my youngest son said, "I'm not running another race again in my life either."  Well, I had another race in the morning, so it was time to get back to the hotel, enjoy the night, and get ready for the next day.  More to come!