Hilly Wisconsin NFEC

Jason and I headed up to Wisconsin Friday afternoon. The North Face Endurance Challenge was Saturday morning. We had the choice of picking up our packets the day before or after the race. We decided to go ahead and get our packet which was at Laacke & Joys in Bloomfield. It turns out this was a good hour and half away from Madison, where we were staying. It also turned out that Kettle Moraine State Park was just as far. So why was the race advertised as located in Madison???  A little frustrated at the location, I decided I need to do a little more research next time, instead of just signing up and bumming a bed.

So we picked up our packet which contained some pretty cool North Face swag. A North Face wicking shirt, socks, stocking cap and bag.  The swag was easily paid for by the registration.  I think this was the real reason Jason wanted to do the race. 

After the packet pick up we headed back to the Tober residence.  Our five star accommodations were well worth the drive.  Plus the concierge was most hospitable.

The race started at 10:00 am and we had a hour and a half drive to the location.  We ended up leaving just before 7:00.    We showed up to a somewhat busy area.  The 50 milers and the 50k groups went off earlier in the morning. 

We walked up to get our timing chips.  It was cool and overcast.  North Face had a pretty cool setup.  Lot of tents, food, heat, and a cool finish line.  Heading back to the car we got a real taste of what the wind would be like.  It was a good breeze. We hung out in the car and talked about what we would wear.


Come race time, we ended up in shorts and long sleeves.  A crowd of a couple hundred or so gathered around the start line.  The gun when off and we headed out of the parking lot, down and road and onto the trails.

Immediately when we entered the forest, we started climbing a hill.  I would call this the never ending hill/mountain.  We were going up, and there was no end.  I think this had to of been the longest climb I have ever done.  Once at the top  we weaved in and out, avoiding the wet and muddy conditions.

Jason and I ran together the first loop, we were 6.2 miles into it.  He was on fire.  I was having trouble keeping up.  I am not sure of the time but we easily did 7:30s the fist half of the race.  This was way too fast.

Coming into this, I really looked at it, more as a “run” not a “race.”  But something happened when the gun went off.

I trailed behind Jason most of the second lap.  I told him if he felt good enough to go ahead and get some time.  He eventually dropped me towards the end of the second loop.

I complained how hard the climbs were, but the toughest part was the descents.  These were punishing enough and towards the end of the race, I wasn’t sure if my legs could keep up with my body going down these hills.  Not only did you have to keep your legs moving, but you had to look out for rocks everywhere.


 When I made it through the second loop, I came up to the road with .7 to go.  I really thought that I might have something left to give to the road, but I was mistaken.  The pavement was hard and the wind, well was windy.

I crossed the finish line with relief.  This was the longest run I have done since the St. louis Marathon back in April.  13.1 miles off road was brutal.  And not training for this event didn’t help either.  My final time was 1:51 with a pace of 8:31’s. It was respectable, and I was just glad to finish 61st overall.

I immediately when back to the truck and changed into some warm and dry clothes. They felt sooo good.  We headed back to the finish line to get some food and watch some people come in.

As we stood there we saw the first few 50k guys come in.   Wow, they looked pretty cool, and not overly spent.  It kind of made the measly half marathon, look like 5k.

We spent the next hour and a half in the car headed back to the Tobers in Madison.  I was wrecked. 

We have a podcast coming out soon of our trip.  Look for it later this week.

Results and photo should be posted soon on the North Face site.