The first year I joined Nanowrimo, I found out about it November 23rd. Prior to this I had written short stories but they ran about five pages in length at the most. That seemed to be my limit. I thought of a story idea but by the end of five pages I'd told the whole thing. The thought of going longer seemed out of reach. That first year with Nano, I managed one chapter which ran 18 pages. Not exactly the 50,000 word limit you want to reach for Nano, but definitely more than I'd written before.
I've done Nano 8 times since then, reaching the word limit all but once and have participated in 5 Camp Nano's which run the months of July and April, meeting my goal again all but once. I had a complete novel come out of one of these (but have yet to edit it) and several published short stories.
This is a great experienced even if you don't reach the goal as generally whatever you do write is more than you would have otherwise. You can join local groups which usually get together frequently during the month, take part in online word wars and other games and activities, and participate in numerous forums some of which are just for fun while others can provide help if you are stuck. There are also sponsor offers for participants for free or discounted opportunities (like publishing packages) and programs. It's a great opportunity with lots of benefits and support. Check links below for more info and check back here for updates and to learn about other participants. Please introduce yourself and say hi in the comments or on the chat for the forum if you are considering participating.