JFK 50 Miler

Black Friday - Having Fun - Tewksbury ---> Chelmsford - 9

Day 329 - It was indeed Reno. Before we caught up to him we saw him attempt to start running again, but it quickly turned into a walking pace. The death march had begun and it was only Mile 25.

Katy and I weren't feeling that great either. Katy with her lack of salt, and me with my leg cramps.

My quads were beginning to tighten up, which was most likely a by-product of going out too fast and too hard over the first 16 miles of trails.

Katy was still 2nd place female overall at this point, but we knew it would only be a matter of time before the other ladies would pounce.

We greeted a pained Reno and discussed what was going with him and our own race. Reno's legs were cramping up on him too, with most of his pain centered around the rear of his leg, behind his knee. We all agreed that we went out too fast on the trails and our bodies were finally catching up to us.

The three of us decided to give the run/walk strategy a shot to see if our bodies could recover from our issues and hopefully salvage our races. We agreed on walking half-a-mile and running half-a-mile until we reached the next aid station about 2 miles away.

The weather was still perfect if you were running, but at a walking pace, we quickly grew cold, especially in the shaded spots. I started to get the tingling sensation in my lips and fingers from the lack of salt, Reno had a slight headache, and Katy felt lightheaded. Things were not getting better and the aid station could not come fast enough.

Katy and I still had on all of our compression gear, and Reno only had on his singlet and very light running gear. With less than 6% body fat, Reno was feeling the full effects of cool temps and the lack of body heat generation.

Reno smartly decided that if our support crew was at the next aid station that he would pack it in and call it a day. The aid station came and went and our crew was nowhere to be seen. This happened again at the next aid station, and the one after that. It was getting a little disheartening.

I wanted to change out of my sneakers just to have a different feeling under my feet. Katy would have appreciated her salt tablets. Reno just wanted to get off of the towpath and get warm.

We crossed the marathon mark in about 3 hrs 50 minutes. Not bad considering we still had 24 miles to go!

The three of us continued on with our death march, but this time we extended our run to 3/4th's of a mile and walking only 1/4th.

We were now averaging about a 10 minute pace and my overall pace was almost over 9 minutes per mile. Amazingly, we were still a few seconds under our goal pace of 9:06 for the entire race.

We took our time going through the aid stations, drinking flat coke, Gatorade, water, eating potato chips (only source of salt), oranges, bananas, and cookies. We had already burnt off 3k+ calories at this point, but we hadn't taken in anything close to 1k calories during the run. We had stopped taking "GU" way back when, and didn't even want to think or talk about racing anymore.

We were now fully enveloped in the doldrums of the 30's, the part of a 50 mile ultra where your mind begins to wander and feelings of despair washes over you. There was still so much ground to cover and we all felt like shit.

It didn't help our morale given that, without fail, another female runner would pass Katy at every aid station after Mile 30, and they all looked fresh. Damn.

Katy was quickly dropping out of the top 10 female overall, but Katy didn't give a crap at this point. Like myself, Katy just wanted to finish and get it over with.

We tried to talk about other things to get our minds off of running, like, never running another ultra again or what we wanted to accomplish next year...running-wise. Well, that didn't work.

Reno was done with the race around the Mile 38 aid station. Even though our crew was still nowhere to be seen, he had had enough and would somehow get a ride back to the finish. Katy and I wished him well and we parted ways.

It was also around this point that Katy and I felt a little bit better. We knew that the towpath would end in about 4 miles, so that gave us a huge boost of energy. We joked about what the feeling would be like and what we would see at the end of the towpath. I didn't care if we were greeted by St. Peter and the Pearly Gates, it just meant that there would be no more towpath and leaves! I was actually getting physically ill seeing all of the fallen leaves on the ground. Katy and I couldn't wait to get back to the concrete jungle of Boston after this ordeal.

And then there it was. 8 Miles To Go.

(They weren't yellow bricked roads, but I'll take it!)

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