STRAVA Summary

Friday, December 28, 2012

JFK 50 Mile - 2012

After a weekend at home, next up was the JFK 50 Mile race in Boonsboro Maryland. I had done this race back in 2008 and it was my first 50 miler. I didn’t particularly care for it at all, it was boring at times (The tow path), the trail was good, but the temperatures were rather cold. I think they said it had been one of the coldest on record.
So why go back. Kevin asked and that was all it took, and the fact that it was the 50th running of it. Eventually RickyMac signed up too and both he and KevO had the goal to make it their 50th marathon or ultra, in the 50th running for their 50th birthdays and of course it was a 50 miler.
Rick and I drove separately which after Missouri was a good choice, as I didn’t want to be crammed with 3 others in a car, unless it was a limo!! We drove part way down on Thursday night, and although we had planned on meeting up with Kev and Chris we took a wrong turn and ended up going another way.
We arrived in Hagerstown, Maryland midafternoon and as it was too early for the expo we went shopping. Then it was off to the expo, which wasn’t much more exciting than last time, but I did pick up a jacket and a sweatshirt for good prices.
Back to the hotel, met up with Kev and Chris and went to the Olive Garden for dinner.
Then back to the hotel and get ready for the next day and then bed for the night.
The morning came early, as they usually do, and took off to Boonsboro for the start. This year we had the luxury of having Chris with us to drop us off at the start and pick us up at the finish, only a few miles from our hotel.
It was barely light when we headed to the start area from the warmth of the school and we were still walking up to the start when the gun went off to signal the start. I think it caught a few by surprise, but we weren’t worried about setting any course records or anything.
So off we went and started the long climb up to the top of the Appalachian trail. From the start you more or less climb 2 to 3 miles up the road to the trail head and it is a fairly steep climb near the end. Once on the trail the climbing continues. The idea is to get to the trail head before the larger crowds of runners or you will be stuck behind and not able to run your own race. We all seemed to manage that. Kevin left me behind and I left Rick behind at the beginning of the trail.
Once on the trail I remembered parts of it, but had forgotten about large chunks of it. The climbing seemed relentless, but the views were spectacular. Luckily it was a nice sunny day, cool, but sunny. For some reason a lot of runners, me included seemed to have trouble tripping on roots and rocks. I had never experienced this before and have no explanation for it, but I was catching my toes on things regularly, almost going down a couple of times. The last few miles of the trail were very gnarly, to the point where it was hard to run and in some cases very dangerous. Getting off the trail was actually a relief, I was actually looking forward to the tow path. That didn’t last long.
It seemed that once I was on the tow path I couldn’t get into a rhythm. I was trying to run and it felt awkward. I would check my watch and find I was running to fast and try to slow down, but it didn’t seem to work. Eventually I came up with a plan to run 1.5 kilometres then walk half a k. this seemed to work well and kept me spirits up. Unfortunately it is a long stretch along the tow path and even the new strategy started to fall apart, but I would fall back to it and force myself to keep it up. Although I was being passed by others early on the path, I would find myself passing those same people later. Finally after 26 miles I got off the tow path and started the climb up to the rolling hills that would take us back to Williamsport and the finish. It would 8 miles to the end. At this point I was trying to calculate what finish time I could get, but I was realizing that it would take some monumental effort to beat my previous time here. Although I had a burst of energy on the road, it wasn’t enough and I would still need numerous walk breaks. Meeting up with a few other runners and chatting about this and that (running), I came in to finish at 9 hours and 12 minutes. Kev O was already dressed and had actually been back to the hotel for a shower too. He had finished in 7:53, 83rd overall. We weren’t quite so hopeful for Rick as Chris hadn’t even seen him on the course at all. So Kev took me back to the hotel so that I could shower and change.
We got back and found Rick already done!!! He had had a great race finishing in 9:48.

A good effort by all, although I wasn’t quite happy with my time, I was happy to be done. I’m sure that will be my last JFK though. I would support someone on it but not run it again. Like most races, there so many more out there to do, why do the same ones over many times.

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