JFK 50 Miler

Nov 22nd, 2010 - Having Fun - Tewksbury, MA - 3.1

Day 325 - I think a majority of my JFK 50 experience has finally sunk in after having a couple of days to digest it all without puking. I'll be regurgitating my JFK experience in bits and pieces over the remainder of the 365 Days since there's just so much to write in order to do it justice.

Speaking of regurgitating, the constant soreness in my quads are a quick reminder of what I went through at JFK. I don't even dare to stand up for fear of never being able to sit down again. I haven't felt this sore since after my first Boston, but thankfully, the feeling of accomplishment is just about the same which helps negates the pain.

In respect to the JFK race itself, there were a ton of mistakes made, but also a ton of experience gained. Katy, Reno, and I definitely went through the rookie's school of hard-knocks at our first ultra.

I can't speak for Katy and Reno, but I know that what I experienced is what behavioral economists would call an illusion of knowledge. I thought I knew everything there was about preparing and running an ultra based on all of my running experience and everything that I've read on competing in ultras.

Boy, was I being ignorant.

I have come to the conclusion that the only way to prepare yourself for an ultra is to try one, don't die, and learn from the experience. If you're still walking and not hating every single minute hour of it, then go ahead and give it another shot.

Fortunately, that is the case with me and the JFK 50.

The Masssoles team arrived at the starting line by 6:45AM with the aid of experienced JFK'ers, Ranger Dave and Super Dane. This was going to be their fourth go at it at JFK, and they have more stories between the two of them than you can shake a broken foot/toe at.

(Massachusetts Regiment)

The only issue we had before the start was a wardrobe malfunction. Reno had left his arm sleeves back at the hotel, but luckily I had an extra pair on me for him to use. Any type of compression gear was definitely required on this chilly morning (upper 30's). Other than that, we were in good spirits, pumped, and ready to go at exactly 7AM.

Our plan (Katy and mine) has already been discussed in a previous post, so there's no need to digress. We knew what we wanted to accomplish, and I felt more than ready to tackle the task. I had been training for this moment for the previous 322 days. I had never put so much focus on one single race like I did for JFK.

Reno took off with the lead pack from the start and we wouldn't see him again for at least another two hours. Katy and I tucked in behind the pack and worked our way up the gradual climb to the start of the AT.

Katy is a climbing machine and I had trouble staying on pace with her early on. I'm not a big fan of hills, but I did manage to stay on her heels to let her think that I was actually pacing her (this will be a common theme throughout this race as Katy teaches me how to run). Only one other female runner was in our vicinity at this point, and we even managed to pass her before entering the AT.

We got through the first section of the course, a 5K road jaunt with a 500 foot climb, in 24 minutes, exactly what we had projected before the race. For comparative purposes, this part of the run is very similar to the start of the Mt Wachusett race which uses Mountain Rd as the warm up.

I was feeling pretty good and my legs had a nice bounce to them at the top of the climb. We were now on the AT section for the next 16 miles.

Then the mistakes started to come fast and furious...

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