North Face Endurance Challenge Championship Half-Marathon, Marin Headlands, California

Up and Down
I sure felt like a flatlander as my legs tried to make sense of the steep climbs and plunging descents at The North Face Endurance Challenge Championship Half-Marathon in California. In the past three months running in New York, my total elevation gain and loss is still probably less than the one day in the Marin Headlands. 
But who cares! The beauty of the course distracted me from the pain. When the going was too tough, I slowed, inhaled the fresh, ocean air and absorbed the views. 
Homestretch at The North Face Endurance Challenge, Marin Headlands, CA. Photo By Myke Hermsmeyer. ©2014

Homestretch at The North Face Endurance Challenge, Marin Headlands, CA. Photo By Myke Hermsmeyer. ©2014

As I had no idea how I would react to trails and hills, so I started slowly and gradually picked up my pace. I tried to take make up time lost in the uphill struggle by running faster on downhills. I was pleased to finish 15th overall and 2nd in my age group, and above all simply grateful to be there, doing something I love.
I am looking forward to next year and running something longer than the half-marathon. Why not stay out there as long as possible?

Racing The Planet, Antarctica, 250KM.

Dear Antarctica, 
 
Thank you for hosting myself (race photographer) and a slew of runners and crew for the 250km stage race put on by Racing The Planet this November. Even though your future is in peril thanks to warming temperatures and greedy nations, who would like to drill to your core and extract your fossil fuel and mineral deposits, you welcomed us and stayed true to your icy form. You treated us to your strongest winds and roughest seas, epic vistas, friendliest wildlife, and even some sun, in order to gaze upon your awesome shelf – as in ice-shelf.
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Racers start in single file in order to break through the snow. ©Zandy Mangold

 
I’m at a loss when describing you to my friends to the north, except to say that you are utterly predictable in your unpredictability. Remember that day when you lulled us into a sense of well being with your sun and spring skiing conditions, but then whipped up a nasty storm, and then – perhaps feeling guilty – you painted the skies with clouds and colors we didn’t even know existed? By the way, thanks for requiring me to use every single one of my extreme weather garments, as it justified the pricey investments.
 
Oh, also thanks again for the penguins. The penguins always made everything ok. 
 
Until next time. 
Stay cool,
Zandy
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Genteel Penguins head to the sea to feed. ©Zandy Mangold

 

Animals do not fear humans thanks to conscious environmental policy.

Animals do not fear humans thanks to conscious environmental policy. ©Zandy Mangold

 

Weather changes fast and unpredictably.

Storm closes in. Weather changes fast and unpredictably. ©Zandy Mangold