Friday, November 28, 2008

JFK 50 Race Report

3 years ago, I ran the JFK 50 on a team (Montrail Monsters) with Ian Torrence, Eric Clifton, and Mark Godale. We won with a team time of 19:51 that year. The first 3 score and that year it was Ian, myself, and Eric. This year we had a team with similar members (Ian, Eric, me, and Serge Arbana) but a better name (Boo Jum Snarks). I was in nowhere near the same shape as 2005 however (6:31 / 8th place) so was just hoping to not lose the race for us this time. I ran the Palo Duro 50 last month in 7:42 and figured I could probably run about the same time here so that was the goal. It was cold (19 degrees) at the start, and quickly got down even colder once we were up on the ridges of the Appalachian Trail. At the 16 mile mark, you come off the AT and then run on the C&O canal for the next 26 miles, which this year was into a nice cold wind. I started with Ian and we talked for the first half mile till the road starts going up, at which point I said bye and hoped I wouldn't see him again till the finish. Meanwhile, Eric was out front. He was shooting for the Age 50 record, which is a stiff 6:28.

I just focused on running a comfortable pace and came off the AT in 2:15 (compared to 2:01 the previous time). I just barely crossed the train tracks before a train came and then headed on down the canal. The miles are marked along the canal, which is great if you are running well but can be depressing if not. For the first 8 miles I ran right at 8:00 pace but the cold really got to me and by mile 34, I had to stop and get some warm soup to stop shivering. I think I just wasn't able to run fast enough to stay warm. At 38 I saw my crew and got more clothes on and immediately started feeling better. My sister's boyfriend Matt ran with me for the rest of the way which was nice; he is also hoping to run his first ultra next year so he got to see some of the carnage of the last 10 miles of a 50 miler. I ran the whole way from there on in and to finish feeling OK in 7:46 for 38th place. Eric was waiting for me at the line, having finished about 10 minutes earlier and told me Ian ran about 6:30. Serge had a cold and was suffering when I passed him on the AT (that is him behind me in the photo above) but did finish just in time for the awards.

JFK has a nice HS gym at the finish and I got a shower and then some pizza and enjoyed the chance to catch up with quite a few runners who I hadn't seen in awhile, such as Ian, Eric, and Dink Taylor.

Oh, the team race; we did win it again, though with a slower combined time than before of 21:59 but hey, today that was enough. Congratulations to all the many (1000!) runners who braved the cold this year at one of the country's classic races.

Quiz for beer: Without using Google, tell me where our team name comes from. Hint; it is from Literature.


Footfeathers said...

I have no clue. How about a beer for honesty? Nice job on the run.

Rogue Valley Runners said...

Nice to see you Paul. Nice work! I'd like to add, that it was easy for me to make the decision for carrying a water bottle or not. I picked one up at the 1st aid station and by the Canal it had frozen shut. My choice was clear! I'm still thawing out from that race!

Take care and keep me the loop on your GC plans.

Paul DeWitt said...

Quiz Answer:
Eric came up with it as he likes to name stuff from literature. It refers to “The Hunting of the Snark” which was one of Lewis Carroll’s so called nonsense poems. There was also a similar, shorter one in Alice in Wonderland called Jabberwocky.

Half credit to Footfeathers and Wynn who resisted using the web!

Bedrock said...

Good job Paul. Talk to you soon.