JFK 50 Miler

Sept 17th - 18th - Race - Cannon Mtn --> Hampton Beach - 209.06

Days 259 & 260

(RTB 2010 Begins)

Legs 35 & 36 - JB - 7.5 - 57:25 (7:39)

I started to feel the chill of the ocean air as I got closer and closer to Hampton Beach. The temps were down below 60 at this point, and the sun was nowhere in sight. All I had on was my GLRR sweater vest and happy shorts.

A runner in a cow suit passed by me. Was I hallucinating? He was the first runner to pass me since I started my first mile over 21 hours ago. Seriously? An f'n cow/human hybrid?!

I started to feel numbness in my lips and the tingling sensation you get in your fingertips when you know you're in trouble on a cold run. I first slowed to a jog, and then, against everything I had left, I came to a crawl, and then was only moving forward because I felt like falling over.

The giant blister in my right foot was probably bleeding profusely at this point. I didn't want to stop and check since it was the only warmth I could feel on my body. It actually felt nice.

I just had only half-a-mile to go, but damn, this was going to be the longest, and toughest, two laps around a track of my life...


I had been up since 6AM after experiencing six agonizing hours of Snore Wars II between Brian and Double D (not Lauren).

DD gave in and was thinking about ending it all. Fortunately, I stopped DD before he could kill Brian in his sleep. I wanted the pleasure.

(DD with his DD)

As the other team members were waking up, I quickly scurried back to my sleeping bag like the four (now dead) squirrels that ran up inside Brian's and DD's noises the previous night.

The original Masssoles team would be kicking it off at 10:20AM for the start of this year's RTB. Masssoles "We Sand Bag" Too would follow an hour later, and we would start stalking our prey at 1:20PM.

We said our good byes and good lucks to the Masssoles as they headed off to Cannon Mtn, and then we sat around staring at each other for the next hour. It wasn't a pretty sight.

This year's ultra team saw the return of Iron Donkey (JS), Dashing Double D (now Triple D), The Saint (KG), Andy "2 Kool 2 Have a Nickname" Bragg, and newcomer, Fembot v 3.0 (replacing Fembot v 2.0 ((Catherine The Great)) from the prior year, who replaced Fembot v 1.0 (from the year before that year))) OK, this is starting to look like an out-of-control Excel formula))))

(of course, this was before the "shit" hit the van)

We eventually left the condo by 9:30AM and grabbed brunch at DD's (not Lauren or Dave), and headed to the start ourselves.

The rain had stopped (insert Dane reference here), but the fog was rolling in for our 1:20PM start, which would now require Joe Jay to wear the night equipment, sans headlamp, for his first leg.

Jay was lined up, pumped up, and rearing to go, but things got taken to a whole new level once they started playing Lady GaGa for the 1:20PM start group. Iron Donkey turned into......IRON DANCER!!

(Notice the hand gesture on ID, and the WTF looks from those around him)

Hide the women and children!

Leg 1 - JS - 7.97 - 59:18 (7:26)

Jay flattened a piece of Cannon Mtn with his Leg 1 performance, coming in faster than his originally projected time of 59:46. This first leg quickly put ID in the running for the Sand Bagger, Iron Donkey, AND Best Comic Routine during a Dance Performance award!

Jay handed it off to an eagerly awaiting Andy at TA 1, and then proceeded to insist that he give Katy a hand with her stretching (start of running joke #1).

(The Return of the Iron Donkey)

Leg 2 - AB - 8.96 - 1:12:59 (8:08)

Andy had a lot on his mind. He was out to prove that he's not the whiny little girl that he so desperately tried to prove last year. Also, he wanted a cool nickname too, or at least try to steal one, like Iron Donkey.

He flew through Leg 2 with a dazzling performance, coming in a full minute under his projected time!! He was now in full control of the Sand Bagger AND Iron Donkey award! Unfortunately, it would take a miracle for anyone on the team to take the Iron Dancer status away from Jay at this point in the race (thank gawd).

Kevin, the graduate from nearby (eventually) St. Anselm College, was on deck with the first double-up of the race.

Legs 3 & 4 - KG - 6.78 - 45:13 (6:40)

MOOOOSE!!!!!!!!!!! We came across our first wildlife sighting while driving to the next TA.

(Moose on the Loose)

OK. This is just getting re-iron-donculous! I was ready to throw out my projections at this point after The Saint pulled off ANOTHER stunning running that caught us all by surprise. Well, everyone except for Eagle Eyes Andy (nah, too lame). KittyKat was just heading to the starting line for Leg 5, for her own double-up, when Andy screamed like a little girl after spotting Kevin from five miles out. Kevin pulled into his finish (parachute in tow) 5 minutes ahead of HIS projected time! WTF are they feeding these folks in NYC. Must be the water.

(KG, making headlines!)

Legs 5 & 6 - KA - 14.1 - 1:29.13 (6:19)

Yeah. We were now about 15 minutes ahead of projected run time thanks in large part to SpeedyKittyKat's
"unassisted" half-marathon + 1 run for the ages! The girl with more nicknames (No, Andy, you can't have one) than you can shake a marathon stick at, re-wrote the record books. The Sand Bagger Award was now being passed around, and used more often, than the handi wipes that Yvette used in the middle of her own runs. If you know what I mean.

Dashing Double D Dave Dorsey (DDDDD) was on deck for his double. How do you like dem apples, Dr. Seuss!?

Legs 7 & 8 - DDDDD - 13.84 - 2:04:18 (8:58)

BEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Another wildlife sighting at this point. DD's going to crap himself when he sees this thing!

(Note: This is not the actual bear that we saw. Our bear was taking a dump)

Things were going too smooth up to this point. It was actually getting a little mundane in the ultra van. It was getting too easy and we didn't have any more running jokes!! I know my formulation for our projected pace was bound to correct itself eventually, "butt" when? "Ahhhhhhhhh, there it is". "That feels better".

*This portion of the write-up has been censored. DDDDD had to make a detour "in between his legs" before his "#2" leg*

We were now back on projected track after Dave's "gut-wrenching" run that "took a lot out of him". You know what I mean.

On a serious note, Dave continued on for as long as he could throughout this RTB. He definitely earned his keep as an ultra runner, and didn't make a peep about how he really felt. Every time I asked him how he felt, he just said, I feel better, and went out and gave it his all. I was just amazed at how long he was able to hang in there. He continued to put in leg after leg while feeling really (end of serious note) crappy.

Legs 9 & 10 - JB - 11.5 - 1:13:30 (6:24)

Not another double-up! Who the hell came up with this leg strategy?! We had a total of four double-ups all of last year, and none of them totalled more than 8 miles! We were now on our 4th double-up with three of them more than 10 miles!! This is madness!

It was 8PM and night time running had already been in full effect for almost 3 hrs by the time Dave reached me for my first run. For perspective, our last runner for the first set of legs last year, started at 1PM....

My back was a little tight after waiting around for almost 7 hrs to run, but it eventually loosened up enough for me to make up ground on a couple dozen teams. By the end of my run, I managed to bag a PR of overtaking 40 teams over the course of my run.

I did, however, finish my legs a little slower than what I had projected, giving back two minutes.

It was once again Jay's turn to take over for the night.

Graveyard Shift

The one thing that everybody remembers from RTB is the night running. It was in the mid 50's throughout the early evening, but without much cloud cover overhead, the temps just kept dropping as we marched into the night.

The crew rolled on through the night with some more amazing runs. A few of us managed to get some winks during our downtime, which is always a good sign.

The one thing that stood out for me early on was the fact that we weren't really stopping during the legs. We either went straight to the next transition, or we quickly drove by to provide assistance on the move. It was a sign that everybody was pretty well prepared for their turn and recovering quickly, even though nearly every run was over 1+ hours in duration.

Iron Donkey was still kicking himself to get started, but he wasn't feeling it quite yet even though he was well ahead of his pace last year, so we decided to give him the first ever TRIPLE-UP!!

(You gotta be careful who's lurking in the BG at night)

Legs 11, 12, 13 - JS - 12.6 - 1:45:44 (8:24)

Jay ate up the miles like it was breakfast at Dean Karnazes' house. It's one thing to run almost a half marathon, but it's another to run almost a half at 9PM, in the middle of NH, in the dark, and after running eight miles seven hours earlier.

I can't remember if Jay snapped out of his funk at this point, but if he wasn't feeling crappy before, he definitely was now!

The momentum continued to swing in our favor as Andy followed up with another fantastic run on Leg 14, finishing with a shit eating grin on his face. Dammit, I'll have what he's having!

KG & KA completed Legs 15 & 16, respectively, right on or faster than projected pace (again). These two legs marked the start of some wicked hard legs that would last for at least another 40 miles, culminating with the back breaking Leg 21.

DDDDD gutted out Leg 17 to eat up 7.4 miles. He was our second fastest runner last year, so it was time for us to carry him for a bit.

I got back on the road with a double-up of Legs 18 & 19 totalling 9.22 miles. I remember nearly twisting my ankle about 3 times over the first 2 miles of this new portion of the course. There was hardly any shoulder, plenty of potholes, and very scary blind turns. I'm pretty sure Leg 18 will need to be changed for next year since somebody will eventually, if not already, get seriously hurt on this stretch.

I couldn't believe it was already 4AM when I finished up my 2nd of four scheduled sets of legs. We were now 13.5 hrs and 115 miles into this ordeal. For the most part, I think everyone, with the exception of DDDDD, was still feeling pretty good.

Jay took on what was once the hero leg in prior years, Leg 20, without much issue (9.23 - 1:25:34). Leg 20 is without a doubt a doozy. I remember running this leg a couple of years ago. See for yourself.

(Those aren't hockey sticks)

I say Leg 20 was once the hero leg because the race organizers decided to add Leg 21 this year:

(That's a scythe)

In all my infinite wisdom, I decided to double-up Legs 21 and 22 for Andy, since I didn't know how bad Leg 21 was when I originally scheduled the legs. I actually felt guilty when Andy was out on the course running both legs...but only for a second. That's what you get for having the fewest miles!...for now.

Andy and Jay would spend the rest of this edition of RTB arguing the merits of Leg 20 vs Leg 21, in the hopes of impressing Katy. I don't think it worked since Katy thought her legs were the hardest, which is not true, since I had the most difficult legs, right Kevin?

The Morning After

I managed to pass out at some point during the night and got about 15 minutes of sleep. It was 7AM, and the start of day running was back with us for good as Andy finished up Leg 22.

Kevin kicked off his 3rd set of legs (Legs 23 & 24 - 13.1) with the morning sun. Kevin had been dreading this leg since the start. It was his longest leg totalling 13.1 miles. Nothing like the smell of a half-marathon in the morning. Kevin completed his half in 1:41, good for a 7:44 pace overall. He could now rest easy going into his final leg.

Katy followed up with an 8+ miler rated as Hard (Leg 25 - 8.6 - 1:01 - 7:06). Jay managed to point out the fact that he ran this leg last year and that it was ALL uphill. Katy agreed. Apparently, it wasn't too bad as she managed a 7:06 pace over the entire climb. Katy pretty much had the Fastest Ultra Runner award locked in at this point.

(Don't let her cuteness fool you. She will kick your ass.)

DDDDDDDD would get up and down for his next leg (Leg 26 - 5.1 - 58:17 - 11:23), but unbeknownst to us at the time, it would be his final leg of the day. He was still struggling and it wasn't going to get much better. His final set of legs were scheduled for 4 hours from now. Any takers?

I could barely get up for my 3rd leg (Leg 27 - 8.5 - 1:01 - 7:12). My entire abdominal area cramped up the moment I stepped on the road. It was definitely due to poor hydration. I had instructed the Sssoles to just get to the next transition, only throwing me a water bottle as they passed by. Unfortunately, they threw me a bottle with about two sips worth of water, not enough to quench my thirst and cool off my over heating. It was getting really warm with the temps climbing into the upper 50's, and even higher in the sun. It was time to fight in the shade.

I started begging for water from other team vans around the 5 mile mark. I could barely take in any air because of the cramping in my abs, managing only short breathes to help ease the pain. One team van drove by and threw me the coldest bottle of water I had ever had the pleasure of feeling and tasting. I couldn't believe how good it felt, and it cured my cramping instantaneously. I was once again able to over take some more teams and focus on a sub 7 pace. Thanks to whichever team gave me that water!!

Last Legs

Jay got ready at Leg 28 for the start of the final set of legs. The final legs covered the remaining 38 miles of the course and would be relatively short, flat, and easy runs.

Leg 28: JS - 5.5 - 47:44 (8:37)
Leg 29: AB - 4.1 - 33:08 (8:07)
Leg 30 & 31: KG - 5.6 - 41:23 (7:25)
Leg 32: KA - 6.7 - 46:26 (6:56)

(Andy taking his own photo. This isn't MySpace.)

DDDDDDDD was no longer available to run at this point, he was down and out for good. Similar to last year, somebody would have to step up and take over the legs. Technically, it should have either been Katy or myself picking up DD's final 8 miles of Legs 33 & 34, but we were in no shape to take on any more legs.

Andy was still in a cheery mood, so he decided to jump back into the ring for a shot at the title of Iron Donkey. Of course, defending Iron Donkey, Jay, couldn't give up his ID title without a fight. Jay asked for Leg 33, and gave Andy the shorter Leg 34.

With the completion of these two legs, Jay repeated as ID at RTB, and Andy finally felt like the rest of the team, like crap. It only took 37 miles at an impressive 8:29 pace to make him feel human.

WhereTF is the Beach?!

It was exactly 4PM when we started our final assault on Hampton Beach, me vs the road, and the van vs traffic.

I was projected to finish a little before 5PM.

My plan for the final two legs (7.5 miles) of RTB was to go out as hard as I could, since I knew the first leg (Leg 35 - 3.4) was pretty fast to begin with. The weather was near perfect with little hints of sunshine mixed in with a cool breeze.

My cramping had subsided, but I was still sore in the abs, which continued to hamper my breathing. I was hoping that it would just ease up as I ran.

I've ran Leg 35 on at least two occasions, last year being one of them. It's an up and down leg, but at this point in the race, everything felt like up. My legs were dead, and I was about 2 miles away from completely bonking. I completely forgot to bring my only packet of GU for this final stretch!

Instead of getting better, things got worse as I approached the final 4 miles of Leg 36.

Once I reached the storm walls of Hampton at mile 207, the weather turned for the worse with a nasty headwind coming off of the water.

I started to feel the chill of the ocean air as I got closer and closer to Hampton Beach. The temps were down below 60 at this point, and the sun was nowhere in sight. All I had on was my GLRR sweater vest and happy shorts.

A runner in a cow suit passed by me. Was I hallucinating? He was the first runner to pass me since I started my first mile over 21 hours ago. Seriously? An f'n cow/human hybrid?!

I started to feel numbness in my lips and the tingling sensation you get in your fingertips when you know you're in trouble on a cold run.

I first slowed to a jog, and then, against everything I had left, I came to a crawl, and then was only moving forward because I felt like falling over.

The giant blister in my right foot was probably bleeding profusely at this point. I didn't want to stop and check since it was the only warmth I could feel on my body. It actually felt nice.

I just had only half-a-mile to go, but damn, this was going to be the longest, and toughest, two laps around a track of my life...

(running on empty)

I was continuously looking for the final turn before the run on the beach, with my team, to the finish line.

Another two runners passed me at this point. That's 2.5 human runners over the past 22 hrs. Not bad.

The turn finally arrived. The beach was in sight. But where the heck was my team?!

I looked around at the crowds, but couldn't pick out any familiar faces. I continued on the sand towards the finish. The sand finish was grueling, but I was less than a tenth of a mile from the finish line.

Crossing that finish line was the most satisfying feeling that I've had in awhile at a race. I was basically a van completely out of gas, and had to be pushed downhill to the finish.

A friend (Kelly) not connected with the Masssoles was the first to greet me after I finished. I could barely mutter anything meaningful other than, "I'm cold" and "where's my team"?

Katy eventually found me in the crowd and explained to me that they were all stuck in traffic getting to the finish area. We both ran back through the finish area and found the rest of the team in order to run across the finish line together.

It felt just as good the second time.

Iron Donkey (Most Mileage): Jay
Fastest Ultra: Katy
Least Whiny: Dave
Most Improved Over Last Year Because He Trained and Didn't Drink Any Myoplex: Andy
Most Consistent: Kevin
Sleep Deprived: Jason

Notable Notes:
We managed to see a moose, a bear, a pig with really huge balls, and a human/cow hybrid.

Quotable Quotes:
"I LOVE MY PENIS!!" - All the guys in the van (end of running joke #2)

Official Results
- 95th out of 431 teams
- 9th out of 19 Ultra teams
- Finished about 40 minutes ahead of last year's time

Some ideas for the next Masssoles RTB:

- Skip the fall RTB in 2011, and try the new course at the new spring RTB in 2012
- All Masssoless teams enter in the same projected pace so that we can all start together. At least we'll be able to see each other at least once on the course...
- Get another Masssoles Ultra team going. We would like to share in the pain.

Personally, I didn't hit my main goal of going sub 7's over my entire run, but this year's course was definitely more grueling than what I've experienced in the past. I definitely feel like we earned the finish this year.

This run was perfect training for JFK. Experienced a little of everything, and definitely learned a thing or two about ultra racing to the point of exhaustion.

Time to recover and rebuild towards JFK in November. On tap is Hartford, Portland, and Baystate Marathon in October for the final tune up.

Katy's version of what really happened

Brian's version of what DIDN'T happen to the Masssoles

Andy's B-I-L for lending us the condo once again!
The Soroko's in Old Salem for being an awesome post-race host!!
The LGO's for the awesome organization and baked goods!!!
All of the great volunteers at RTB that made it possible for us to kill ourselves in an orderly fashion for 26+ hrs!!!!
The bear for not eating our runner!!!!!

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