Thursday, April 17, 2014

North Face Endurance Series will be my 1st Ultra!

This post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of The North Face Endurance Challenge.

People know I'm not typically a TRAIL runner,
but I'm not a complete novice either.
These are the trails behind my house,
groomed by yours truly.
I just registered for my first Ultra Marathon.

Wow. Digest that.

On September 13, I will be running my first 50K (31 miles) at The North Face Endurance Challenge in Eagle, WI (southeast part of the state between Madison and Milwaukee) in the Kettle Moraine State Park.  The 50K is just one of EIGHT race distances. Seriously, there is something for everyone at this event... 5K, 10K, half-marathon, marathon relay, marathon, 50K, 50 Mile and even a Kids Race.

My hubby is already in for the 5K, and it should be no surprise that my kids also want to run. The weekend race schedule is spread out nicely to accommodate everyone. To put the cherry on top, the start/finish is located right next to a campground. Hands down, our favorite summer activity is camping. My family is so excited for our North Face race/camp weekend!!

The North Face Endurance Challenge worked its way into my schedule so perfectly.  I first considered this event back in 2011. Each year, there have been scheduling conflicts and honestly, I just wasn't ready for an ultra yet. With each passing year, I listen to my friend Rachel and others rave about the event. The North Face Endurance Challenge proves again and again that it is the premiere trail race series.  It has held my interest and deep down in my heart, I knew it would be my first ultra when the time was right.

That time is now. My running mojo has changed this past year.  I was once driven by speed (not that I was ever fast), but I was obsessed with the continuous drop in my race times. I think that's natural for a beginner to continually seek improvement. The chase for a new PR again and again was thrilling, but as we all know, the plateau comes eventually. When I finished the Eugene Marathon last spring, I was tapped out; exhausted. I felt like marathon training had stripped the enjoyment out of my run. Since then, I've honestly struggled to get into any kind of training zone. Sure, I run a lot of miles - but I enjoy every step without really taxing myself. I am rarely trying to hit particular paces or timing track splits, but I do like conquering distance. These days, I'm running for the pure enjoyment of the run. Since I'm not overly concerned with my times, it seems like perfect timing to tackle an ultra in the beauty of my home state.

The North Face Endurance Challenge falls nicely in my schedule, one month before the Milwaukee Marathon (my goal race of the year).  The 50K will essentially be the last long run before my taper into the marathon.  This is either genius or completely stupid, but sometimes you gotta roll the dice and have a little fun. My training won't vary much from the marathon plan already in place; however, I'll probably add more trail running in over the summer miles.

Now, I need some FRIENDS on the trail with me!
This is your official invitation to join me on September 13, 2014 
Register here using my code D30JMWI
to receive 10% off your entry. Score!
(Next price increase is July 19.)

Did I mention Dean Karnazes will be there?!? 
He is pure inspiration bundled up into one handsome package!
I heard him speak years ago at a race expo and it's truly worth your time.

Follow the trail of adventure!
Hook up with The North Face Endurance Challenge on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. mmm Dean. I had something to say before I saw that picture, but then I blanked. :)

    I'm so happy you'll be running the 50k. You'll LOVE it. I think I might be doing the 50k again...and then the Fox Cities Marathon the next weekend. That's not dumb, right? I have a hard time choosing between the two, so I just decided to stop choosing. hahaha

  2. I just have to say thank you for the last picture in this post. Oh, and yay for you!

  3. Awesome!!! I'm doing the Half and my husband is going to do the 10k!

  4. I have always wanted to do this and know that Rachel always has good things to say about it, too...I'm doing Lakefront as well, so hmmmm. I might have to do some clicking!

  5. Awesome on entering the race and making it a family weekend and get to camp. My boys love to camp just don't get to do it as much as I would like. Can't wait to hear about the training leading up to it as well as the race. Ohh and that last picture was quite nice :)

  6. my cousin's husband ran this twice ( i think the 50 mile) not only did he love it, but there were lots of opportunities for her to scout him out and cheer him on as needed so I guess its spectator friendly. Good luck!

  7. Good luck! 50k sounds oh so very far...

  8. If it's trail, then you need to get a lot of time on the trails starting asap. So much difference between trail and road. I ran my first trail 50k last year and next weekend will be my first trail 50 miler. Start running back to back long runs as well. That's the biggest difference from marathon training. Oh, and don't get caught up in your pace. Trail running is much slower, due to the technicality of the trails.

  9. That sounds amazing. How awesome.

  10. Happy you signed up! I've never ran a trail ultramarathon but this one looks interesting. I will be training for the Chicago Marathon so I'll have to see how this fits in my schedule.


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