Yes, that’s right, I DNF at Bear Mt.
I finally make it through the end of the semester. I knew I was pretty tired from all the school work, running, and work so I had decided to tone down my race schedule… but I figured I could run one 50 mile race. The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 mile race in New York has an amazing beautiful course with plenty of running over watermelon size rocks, scrambling up cliffs, route finding, and amazing views. With over 14,000 feet of elevation gain it is one of the hardest 50 milers in the country. I was looking forward to it. I flew out Thursday afternoon and arrived in the evening. First thing I found out was my rental car was canceled. This was a little perturbing, disconcerting, and aggravating but I figured I’d just have to wing it. It was already midnight and I only wanted to sleep so I found a nice little grassy park near the airport, pulled out my sleeping bag and pad, and went to sleep.
I woke up at 7. It was Friday morning and I needed to make it 60 miles so I could race the next day. Normally I might hitchhike but in a metropolitan area with 15 million people that would prove most difficult. I decided the best thing for me to do was take public transportation. So… I hopped on a bus that took me from LaGuardia Airport to Manhattan. From there I jumped on a subway to Penn Station. Penn Station is similar to Grand Central… it is huge. From there I asked the train station ticket office if they had any trains that went up north to Bear Mt. They did not and sent me to Amtrak. Amtrak was on the other side of Penn Station. Amtrak sent me to NJ Transit which was also elsewhere in the station. NJ Transit said I should check with the Port Authority (the main transportation authority in the area) and gave me a phone number to call. I called the number and they gave me another number to call. I then called that number and they affirmed that they had a bus going to Bear Mt. and gave me directions to get to the Port Authority bus station which was a mile away.
I rode the bus up to Bear Mt State Park. Upon arriving I realized my grave mistake of not bringing any food with me as there were no restraints or grocery stores nearby. I walked 2 ½ mile to the nearest gas station, got some food, and walked back. I camped out that night and got plenty of sleep.
Saturday morning 3:30 am wake up. I felt ready for the day and had no problem getting up. I was feeling rested and ready. The race started 15 minutes late at 5:15. Within 5 miles there was a lead group of 8 of us. Geoff Roes, Leigh Schmitt, and a few others. Max King had opted not to come out and race. For the most part we just ran along content not to push the pace.
Even so I felt lethargic and slow… I did not feel how I normally do during a 50 mile race… that is strong and ready to compete. The reason: I think it has to deal with a lack of solid training leading up the race and a stressful semester. Anyways… I got to mile 20 and I felt like I had been running for days… mentally I was not ready for the race. My pace got slower and slower and I had no energy. I managed to jog to mile 28 where I opted to pull out simply because I did not want to beat up my body anymore… mentally I was not in the race at all. I was ready to be done. This is never a good place to be in a race but it did confirm to me that I need some solid base under me. Summer is almost here. I could use the time. I need to rest up and get my racing legs back under me. It'll happen.