Northface Endurance Challenge

I signed up to run the Northface Endurance Challenge 50-miler in San Francisco on December 4th.   I signed up partly because it’s held in such a beautiful location and I will get to run with an old friend, and partly because it fell at a good time now that I can train again.  (And, who doesn’t like to spend money on plane tickets?)

I also signed up because it plays to my weaknesses.  I’m good at running after those first 50 miles; I can keep going.  A 50-mile race is less about keeping going and more about running fast.  So it’s unlikely I’ll place (unless about 20 women are abducted by aliens during the race), which is a bummer.  It’s a bummer because there are huge pots of prize money to be won.  Certainly no ultrarunner would list prize money as a primary motivator (that would be belt buckles), but who couldn’t put a pot of money to good use?  It’s also a bummer because it’s just really fun placing in races — and pretty darn validating.  (Son, you don’t have any clean underwear today because mom didn’t get the laundry done, but let me show you my picture in a running magazine.)

The other weakness this race plays to is my tendency to set myself up for failure rather than get an accurate measurement of my abilities.  I’m not really excited to see where I stack up against a pack of speedy women.  (Amazing I can even lift my head in the morning with such an ego, isn’t it?)

So why run it?  I’m looking it as a way to be less lame.  It’d be lame to avoid this race just because I won’t place — since I’m uninjured and looking for a race.  And it’d be lame to run poorly because I’d given myself a way to rationalize a poor performance.  (I could have run better, but I wasn’t getting enough sleep, but I wasn’t eating well, but I hadn’t figured out my race nutrition, but I hadn’t given 100% during training, but I was carrying a few extra pounds, but…)

So, dear reader, I’m going to dot all the “i’s” and cross all the “t’s” during the next 50 days and see what happens on the 4th.  It’ll be the best I can do.  Thank God I’ve already cleared the pantry of those bags of tortilla chips my parents left behind.  (By “cleared,” I mean to say “ate,” of course.)

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2 Responses to Northface Endurance Challenge

  1. Steve Berrones says:

    Great to see you are running TNF 50. I am registered as well and looking forward to it although my training has been minimal since the Capt’n Karl’s series. This will be my first 50. I hope to get in 6 good weeks now and my goal is just to finish with a respectable time. Do you mind me asking what type of mileage you are putting in weekly between now and then and how are you training for the elevation change throughout the course? Good luck to you! I hope to see you there.

    • lizahoward says:

      Hi Steve,
      I hope I see you there too. Sounds like it’ll be just gorgeous. Right now Amanda has me running around 70-80 miles a week. She’s increasing the mileage slowly to see how my foot does. A 20 mile run on Saturday and 15 on Sunday this week. We talked about doing a lot more road running to train for the hills at TNF50. The hilly trails hills are just too rocky to train on for that race. Can’t say I’m looking forward to the pavement, but at least the long runs won’t take quite as long.

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