North Face Endurance Challenge AKA SUMMIT

Warning: This post is packed to the brim with November Project fitness pictures from the recent North Face Endurance Race in Park City.  If you just so happen to be friends with people who attended, I’m sure you are sick and tired of seeing pictures and throwbacks and flashbacks pop up on your feed.  Well, if you are over it, I suggest you click out now.  If not and you are oh so interested in the hoopla that went on, read on my friends, read on.


About 10 of us NYC gals flew together out on Thursday night, narrowly missing the Papal chaos, and two girls just nearly missing the plane (story for another time), and then 5 of us crashing at a friends house in Salt Lake City.  Early Friday morning, we reconvened with about 400 other November Project tribe members for a morning workout on the stairs of the city capitol.  No really, there were TONS of people all.weekend.long.  For pure evidence, check out NP Canada’s album here.


^^ This is Lily.  She is one of my old/new friends from Los Angeles.  She also blogs at “Lily Runs the World“.  Boom.

IMG_2572Sam and I. Sam and me.  I am confused on the grammar of that sentence and have been battling my mother (the English teacher) about it.  Anyways, Sam is my accountabilibuddy and we are two cool kids…as you can see.

The best part about these events is that many of us have “met” through Instagram, Facebook, or some other strange way that our generation meets.  Point of the story is many of us know one another through social media but haven’t met or haven’t seen one another in a long time.  Summit = glorified summer camp.  For three days.  It’s amazing.


^^ Utah’s state symbol, the beehive.  Main reason being Brigham Young & the Latter-day Saints arrived in Salt Lake Valley, named it Deserret, which according to the Book of Mormon means “honeybee”.   You can now see this symbol across Utah on signs and pretty much everywhere.


^^ THESE WERE $1 EACH. I REPEAT ONLY ONE DOLLAR!  I swear, you would have thought we had won the jackpot.  When I asked how much a homemade cinnamon roll cost, my jaw dropped and I proceeded to tell every single soul in the store.  I may have walked outside with cinnamon roll in hand to spread the good news.  I mean, this would have easily been $5 in New York.  We all had decided to eat at this one store, which only happened to have one person working.  I’m sure he was quite overwhelmed and while we ultimately all came waltzing into this poor store, purchased a treat, and walked out, it was worth it.

After breakfast, it was back to SLC where we were staying, a quick shower, and then party bus to Park City!  Just kidding.  We were oh so chill and our friend Taylor drove us through the interstate and I laughed as my entire car was in awe of the mountains.  Don’t get me wrong, it was gorgeous, but I had also been to Utah (and SLC/Park City) a fair number of times AND have practically grown up in the mountains, so it’s nothing new. Some of my friends had never been in altitude before!  I couldn’t give them too much of a hard time because I must say things about the east coast that they think are no big deal.  Point of the story is, listening to them oo and aw all weekend did remind me to stop and “smell the roses”.


^^ This is the Blue Haus crew.  An AirBNB selection (best option ever) right off the main street and rolling deep with NP_NYC girls and Jonathan from NP_Boston (aka the Mother Tribe).  Absolutely no fun was had during this trip.  No pillow fights, no girl talk, no hot tub.  😉 We gave him a hard time.


Friday was spent exploring the town, picking up race bibs, checking out the course (or avoiding looking at the mountain we were going to be climbing the next day…I prefer to go in and just “wing it” and hope for the best – a Kaitlin classic mentality, something that didn’t really help me on my SATs…)


^^ I don’t normally partake in the pre-race alcoholic festivities, but this sounded too good to pass up. The Rose of Cimarron (American Prairie Double Rye w/ strawberry rhubarb & rosemary preserve, lemon juice, gingerade kombucha)


We opted to stay in for dinner and prep a little salmon + sweet potato + grilled veggie medley.  Actually, the famous Burke from Burkes Bites was residing with us (yay Team Manhattan Mountain Goats!) and pretty much had this meal whipped up in no time at all.  Not to mention the price per person was just around $12 (waaaaaay less than what we would have found in town)


Saturday we were up bright and early (7:15? better than NP alarm clocks, which can be 4:50am or 5:30am), had breakfast on the porch, and maybe a little too much Keurig coffee.  May not have been the best idea since I hadn’t drank coffee for two weeks.  Between the caffeine and my nerves for running (always get nervous no matter what), my heart was literally pounding


TAGGING TIME!  Because when you join November Project, you will learn that it’s completely normal to take all your workout clothes (and even purchase brand new items) to then spray paint them with various stencils.  Technically we should only have the November Project tag and our respective tribes, but there was the Summit tag and we Mountain Goats need our own representation.

IMG_2619^^ Love love love this.  We here are the Manhattan Mountain Goats, reporting for duty.  As Burke put it, what happens when you put a Californian, a Lawyer, a Fashion Designer, and a Consultant together?  One epic team.


(LEFT)  Here’s Laura, heading off at 9am for her FIRST marathon.  That girl is crazy.  She decided to make a marathon – a trail marathon in altitude – her first marathon.  She killed it.  So proud. (RIGHT)  Around 10am, we had the first legs of the marathon relay head out.  Nice NYC representation above by Coach John and the awesome Matt Powers.

IMG_2604Some of the leaders were handing out these nifty passes to people they didn’t know.  It was like a little tribal stick where you had to then go find someone YOU didn’t know and hand the pass off.  One guy made fun of me for holding onto it for too long, but really I had forgotten it was there.  Also, I sometimes get nervous going up to random people. Sometimes.  Strange, I know.


We took pictures, we modeled, we cheered each other on.

I waited around from 8:30 until 1:30ish when I ran the 4th and final leg of our relay.  Times ranged around an hour (1:04:52 ~ 1:09:12 ~ 1:18:03 ~ 58:49) as the course went 3 miles uphill and 3 miles downhill.  Not going to lie, I was so nervous all day.

summit race photo

I’m not sure why since racing is all done for fun and there’s never any pressure on the line (except the pressure I put on myself of course).


Aren’t we attractive?  This was taken seconds after I finished and practically collapsed into Sam.  The rest of my team had been chilling (in the Sierra Nevada beer garden?) and I was struggling to stay standing.  I had completely underestimated the hills and the altitude and was banking on my sea level Central Park training to get me through.

Once I stretched out a bit, it was off to post-race festivities, which included chilling in the Sierra Nevada beer tent (yay for shade), cheering on other runners, stretching, showering, dinner, and celebrating at the No Fun bar with all of NP.  We may have stuffed a good 100+ people in the 40 person capacity patio.  What happens in Park City, stays in Park City (on social media like this little blog).

PSA: Drinking in the altitude is different than drinking at sea level.  Just saying.


^^ Blue Haus crew making some joke that will stay in the orb of Instagram and not be repeated on the blog. 


Sunday morning spent with coffee on the porch, snacking on an energy bar, getting ready to do a little mountain shake out.  I debated whether or not to run again, but I honestly couldn’t pass up spending some more time outdoors sans city grime.  The crew above logged in about 5 or so miles, climbing and descending hills, wishing we had booked a few more days in Utah.


As they jogged back to the NP_San Fran house for breakfast (homemade waffles because one dude packed his waffle iron…BRILLIANT), I got cleaned up, helped tidy the AirBnB and set off to find breakfast.

IMG_2637 It sure wasn’t a homemade waffle, but french toast croque monsieur, was quite divine.  From there, it was time to finish cleaning the AirBnb, pack our bags, say goodbye to old and new friends (jealous of those who continued exploring the great Utah outdoors), and Uber our way to In N Out – $90 ride later and worth it.

IMG_2651^^ A trip to the west coast apparently isn’t complete without a trip to In ‘N Out.  Can you believe that two people in my car had never tasted In ‘N Out?  Mind blown.  I actually wasn’t entirely in the mood to eat but I have FOMO (fear of missing out) and thus, purchasing a burger, fries, shake, and lemonade was the next logical move.  But hey, points for the protein wrap, right?

From there, we took an uber to the SLC airport, boarded a plane to Chicago, transferred and landed in Newark, caught a ride with Sam’s mom (mega thanks for picking us up at midnight) and crashed into bed.  The next few days were not nearly as fun (think waking up and feeling hungover but actually having the flu…yeah no fun) but the memories remain, even if it’s all on social media.


^^ cred to Kati from November Project Canada

“Life begets life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich.” – Sarah Bernhardt

12 thoughts on “North Face Endurance Challenge AKA SUMMIT

  1. Just want to say this is the best post you’ve ever written! Great times with some great people, I literally CANNOT wait to do it again…..I’m thinking #NPgoesskiing must happen this winter…I’ll keep the whiskey and fire company while everyone skis.

  2. I WISH I HAD GONE!!!! So glad you had such an amazing trip. I still can’t get over those views, but that’s because I’ve never been out there. One day I’ll make it to Utah. And to Summit. Maybe next year…

  3. Pingback: Looking Back at 2015 | California Endless Summer

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