This was my second go at the JFK 50 Miler after last year and while I felt like I was running last year's edition on tired legs after completing the Pinhoti 100 Miler just 2 weeks earlier, this year panned out much worse. It didn't make this year a bad experience, just a slow experience:-)
I had booked my trip to the DC area fairly early on this time around, even though I knew that I would still not be fully recovered, both mentally and physically, from my UTMB experience earlier this summer. Knowing that I would hang out with Tim Vinson and Andrew Hodges on their first stabs at the 50 mile distance as well as Dink Taylor made the decision to run this event for a second time a no-brainer. I was doubting my ability to really go after my time from last year because my training had just not been what I felt I needed it to be to race. I maintained a fairly decent base, but that was about it.
Once again, I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with some class acts in the sport and business of running, Luke, Thom, Tara, Dave, Vic, Victor and Frank, you know who you are. We managed to check out a local "new" old pizza joint that provided some serious pre-race fueling. Luke's brother took care of our transportation allowing us to arrive at the start line of the JFK 50 Miler in serious style.
The race start went off without a hitch. Temperatures were slightly higher than last year, but still very frigid. I decided to run with Dink as I fully expected Tim and Andrew to be ahead of me from start to finish. As things turned out, Andrew took it easy for the first third of the race and I kept seeing him ahead of me down the road or trail, Dink hung back a little and Tim and I ran the first 2-3 miles together before he took off an I was back on my own.
I maintained a steady pace and actually felt pretty good during the entire Appalachian Trail section all the way to the start of the towpath section about 15 miles into the race. I was actually slightly ahead of last year's pace, but didn't feel like I had pushed at all. Unfortunately, that did not keep me from slowing down significantly starting at about eh halfway point of the race. My lack of serious training began to show or maybe I'm not fully recovered or who knows what. I just did not have it...at all.
I continued to slow and any time goals went out the window. Now I just wanted to finish in one piece. As it happened, I did get to help out a couple of runners, who either never heard of the need for sodium and electrolytes or had just run out. I gladly helped them out. At my pace, I would have no need for any more supplements:-)
I continued to slowly make my way closer to the finish. Very quickly, even an 8 hour of 8:15 finish went out of my reach. Andrew passed me at the halfway point and Dink passed my at mile 28 or 29. Tim, Andrew and Dink would finish 1:40, 1:00 and 45 minutes ahead of me, respectively. I was glad to cross the finish line after 8 hours and 36 minutes earning my second finishers medal at the oldest 50 mile ultramarathon in the US, the JFK 50 Miler.
I fully expect to come back to this one and to improve not only on this year's time, but last year's as well. You gotta set goals, right?