My excitement was sky high for The North Face 50 miler in Park City, Utah. And the race did not disappoint with its beautiful scenery, 25,000 ft of elevation change, fun trails and fast racing.
Several of us in the front pack started the initial ascent at a comfortable pace. We were able to chat and run on the trails in the dark for about 2 hours. We reached the top of Guardsman Pass at almost 10,000 feet as the sun was rising which was gorgeous and an adrenaline rush. At this point, there were about 4 or 5 of us starting to push the pace and leap frogging positions. Somewhere after a couple hours I started having some pretty severe stomach cramping and even stopped alongside the trail to go to the bathroom. The cramping really slowed me down especially on the uphills. For about 10 miles I had to walk the uphills even though my muscles wanted to go faster. After consuming some water and several Endurolytes Extreme which contain ginger to sooth stomach issues., the stomach cramps went away and I could really start to pick up the pace.
After mile 30 or so, I was in 3rd place with 4th and 5th close behind. I picked up the pace and finally was able to start cruising the uphills. The trail was rocky with tight switchbacks in some places which made it really fun and challenging running. With a long climb around mile 40, I was hoping to catch the 1st and 2nd place guys and really pushed myself physically to go faster. At the 45 mile aid station I heard they were over 7 minutes ahead which was a lot but I decided to try to catch them. The last 5 miles was a fast downhill that I went all out on. It’s amazing how fast the body can go when you relax, trust and go for it. I didn’t end up catching them but finished just 40 seconds behind 2nd place. Overall, I was happy with my race and finished in 7:45:46 for 3rd place.
I highly recommend this race for all runners. It’s gorgeous, fun and the volunteers and coordination were perfect. A big thanks to everyone who made this race possible for all of us runners. I planned on this being the last race of the season but just decided to race the US Trail Marathon Championships in Moab, UT this November. Running these spectacular courses is just too much fun.
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