Bearly Functional

A pretty punny title if I do say so myself.  Saturday was the Endurance Challenge in New York (Bear Mountain Park) and after having felt major FOMO last year – even though I was out in Philly visiting my friend Mia and taking on the Philly’s Broad Street Run – I wanted in this year. So, team was assembled, outfits were created, and all of a sudden it was time to run up a mountain.  My friend Sam lives outside the city and so she spent the night Friday so we could get up early and get to midtown where the bus was going to meet everyone.


^^ Outfit credit to $7 flame pants from China, white Nike drift tank, and tagging talents to myself and Annelise, and a mix of sweatshirts by The North Face, Patagonia, and JCrew.

We arrived to 57th street around 7am and found ourselves with two mega school buses – a complete throwback to those cross country invitational days where you would get on the bus in the early morning – complete with oatmeal and gatorade and healthy snacks – bus over to your destination and just wait, wait, wait for your heat to go.  This was a tad bit different since no one was too focused on food – or rather worried about what they were eating.  We had bags of snacks ready for post-race and even broke into the Rice Krispie treats and some Whole Foods doughnuts on the way out.  Sorry Coach Myles, it was a complete #cleaneats fail.


The bus was supposed to arrive at 8:30 but with a mini-detour in Harlem, we didn’t make it until 9:15.  From there, we dropped our bags, got our tanks tagged with a unique #ECSNY bear tag.  At 10am sharp, the first wave was off on their way!


^^ Our lovely team ready…or not

For those that weren’t running, you had time to snack (yes cue endless options), browse the booths that were giving away free goodies – everything from beef jerky to oatmeal on-the-go packets to coconut water.



Annelise, Callie, and I had a blast going back and forth to all the tents, playing corn hole for free North Face swag, and picking up as many coconut waters as we could carry.


^^ Free drink ticket and pin? Ok!  I did happen to have a hilarious conversation with the two people behind the booth.  They pointed out that I was wearing Patagonia aka their competitor.  I then told them I am an owner of both North Face and Patagonia and why can’t we all get along?  I even plan to wear a NF fleece with a Patagonia jacket and then a Patagonia fleece with my NF rain jacket.  It’s all based on colors and patterns and what matches. Gosh.


After running leg #4 in Park City, I requested running earlier in the race.  I never really enjoy the downtime before a race and especially hate when the race starts so late in the day (cough cough Sweden half).  Not that we were going to break any records, but we set up our legs in strategic manner – put the two fastest girls at the start and finish.  Annelise kicked it off, I took up 2nd leg, Sam followed suit, and Callie brought us home.

My thoughts on the race?  Amazing except when I rolled my ankle.  But jump back a second.  I knew this race would be harder than Utah, at least terrain wise, and was so not ready for that.  Rocks on rocks on rocks.  This was my second official trail race and let’s just say that the resavoir around Central Park isn’t adequate practice for trail running.  That’s 100% my fault.  The trails did remind me of the trails we used to run in high school, so that was a fun throwback.

I decided to run sans watch, music, or pretty much any technology.  I considered it a jaunt in the woods and had no focus on pace, which was new and different, and felt so darn good.  I actually was cruising along, taking note of all the rocks and was reminded how it feels to get out into nature.  Took mental note many a time to get out of the concrete jungle much more often.  Anyways, with 1.4 mi to go, cue rolled ankle (my sister and I seem to have weaker ankles, especially the right one…not impressed) and a few curse words ensued before finishing up the race.  Once back to the start, Sam was off and I was focused on getting ice and even more free swag.


So you may be wondering why the title was “bearly functional”.  Well, we had a blast but in more ways than one, we were struggle city.  Even with two reminders, I forgot our 4th runner’s jersey at home (right by the door…fail), our pants were struggling to hold it together (hello $7 pants probably not meant for running), and the finish was a little less than stellar.  Oh Callie crushed it with a speedy time, but one runner was in the bathroom, I was throwing my shoes on and still eating plantain chips and pretzel sticks as we ran through the arch.  So there folks.  Life isn’t always what you see in the pictures 😉  But we had one hell of a time and that’s all that counts.

Our bus brigade left around 4 or 4:30, arriving back in the city around 5:30, putting us at my apartment around 6.  We were trying to see some friends run at the Red Hook Crit 5K.  I have been meaning to check out Red Hook but who knew this event even existed?  It started with a bike race where none of the riders have bikes with breaks!  They added in 5k running races and of course my friends that ran had already crushed a half marathon (two legs of the marathon relay) and another had run the 30k.  No big deal at all.

We didn’t actually make it to the running portion but arrived just in time for the women’s bike race. I was hangry at that point and bee-lined it for the grilled cheese truck.  The cheddar + pulled pork had potential but definitely fell short.  Oh well, the snack bag from earlier in the day made a reappearance and we were satisfied by Teddy Grahams and Oreos – dinner of champions indeed.

Why would anyone bike around in a 1k circle 22 times with the potential to totally eat pavement?  Well, why would people run up a mountain?  Just because.  It was beyond crazy to see in person and is very popular in Europe as well!

After seeing the women’s race, we were curious to see how the men’s race would turn out.  The pack grew from 40 to 100 and it was bound to be a sight.  Around 9:30/9:45, the men started lining up, warming up, and then were off.  Unfortunately right out of the gate, the lead motorcycle stalled and caused a HUGE build-up and crash.  << You can check out the video there and I’m talking bent bikes, 4 ambulances left the premises, and no guarantee of when the race would re-start.  At that point we (and pretty much the rest of the audience) started to make ways to the exit.  I can’t imagine making that a hobby but was glad that I stuck around to experience something new.

“It’s supposed to be hard…it’s the hard that makes it great” – Jimmy Dugan