JFK 50 Miler

Nov 24th, 2010 - Having Fun - Tewksbury, MA - 3.1

Day 327 -The trail on the second portion of the AT is a lot more technical with sharp rocks shooting out of the ground at every step. There's hardly any span of running where you can ease up on your focus. Every time we did though, something bad would happen. I had at least three bad ankle rolls over the next 7 miles, and at one point, after handing Katy the water bottle, she took a bad fall. Katy would take another bad fall before we were finally out of the woods.

Katy powered every up hill while I fell back a few yards, only to catch up with her again on the flats and downhills. I'm usually an OK hill runner, but Katy was just that much stronger. She devoured every hill on the course, but unfortunately, we wouldn't see that many more hills for about another 26 miles after the AT section.

At this point on the AT we were running among a group of other male runners who gave us plenty of tips, and wanted to see Katy do well. That's the great thing about this race and running in general. Although it's a solo endeavor for the most part, the majority of the competitors care about one another and help out whenever they can. They'll give you a hand if you take a spill, give you a GU if you need a boost.

We were making very good time, perhaps too good. We were still cruising at 8:30's and way ahead of projected pace. I didn't mind this at all as long as we felt great. I can't speak for Katy, but I was feeling really good. This would come back to haunt me later on.

It didn't help that Katy got a boost every time we ran past a 5AM'er who would tell her that she was the first female. These sporadic moments acted as a natural energy boost for her and I could see her step have more of a bounce to it each time it happened. I don't blame her. It's a pretty cool high to be leading in a race.

We took our first "GU" around mile 12, which led to the water bottle, which led to the spills. We were running low on water, but like I said, it was cool out so we were hardly sweating enough to worry about dehydration this early. Another few miles and we would be out of the woods for good, reach another aid station, and begin the world's most boring marathon.

Standing before us, or should I say below us, before the 26 mile towpath was the Weverton Cliff. It's about a 1000 ft drop over 3 miles with switchbacks that would make a roller coaster enthusiasts squeamish. One slip here and you would take a very nice shortcut straight to the bottom. I'm pretty certain that someone over the 48 years of this race has taken that shortcut.

(Cliff Hanger)

Katy and I took it easy on the drop knowing that we were close to the end and didn't want to risk an injury now. We had come too far.

And then it happened.

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