|Andy and I|
My buddy Andy and I met up at 0400 and headed west for North Dakota and a day of ultramarathon running.
The Extreme North Dakota Sandhills Ultra Run Experience (END-SURE) is a 25k, 50k, 100k, or 100 mile race on the North Country Trail in the Sheyenne National Grasslands in North Dakota. Big skies and flat terrain punctuate the wind blown first half of the 50k course. Rolling "sandhills" and pockets of forest keep the second half interesting.
First Half: Start to the Aid Station
Second Half: Aid Station to the Finish
Another surprise the the second half held for me was the sun. Normally, running in the sun and soaking it in is a great thing. This time however, it was different. I was dressed for cold, cloudy and wind. I heated up FAST and as a result, my water went away FAST. Trudging through the snow for the last 5 miles, without water, I was really feeling drained and, when I finally saw the finish line and the end, I was happy to see it!
END-SURE was definitely more of a challenge than I was expecting. From unpredictable weather, to having only one Aid Station, I definitely got more than I bargained for with the race. The dramatic shift in weather made it difficult to dress appropriately, so I need to keep that in mind for my next races. Also, I need to plan better for the possibility of not having access to aide. Running out of water was no fun, and I know that it contributed to my difficulties in the end.
One good thing I realized though, is that, despite the difficulty, I never thought about the dreaded DNF. I just kept telling myself that I was getting comfortable being uncomfortable. It might have "only" been a 50k, but it was definitely a learning experience and one that will help me be a better runner in future races!
|Happy at the finish|