Saturday, November 23, 2013

JFK 50 Miler

1. Never buy an inflatable camping air mattress. If I've advised you to do so in the past (Ashley), I apologize, because I was wrong. Leaks are inevitable. If your trip is long, you'll get used to the cold hard ground and sleep well on just the Gossamer Gear Night Light, torso length. If it's a short trip, you're probably not hiking that far. So suck it up and just carry a bunch of foam pads. I've got two Night Lights, a Ridgerest and a Z-Lite: put them all together, and you're much more comfortable than when you bring your stupid EMS Air Channel, which will leak. From the seams, not because you punctured it.

2. Here's my hotel for the night before the race. An easy half mile from the road, had it all to myself, and it's only 5 miles or so from the race start. Just north of the AT's crossing of I-70.

Free awesome stuff in the shelter. (Sorry about the glare--it's flavored pipe tobacco, which I can only assume is awful.)

3. I ran the JFK 50 Miler. This year was the 51st running--it was started by JFK the spring before his assassination, but changed to a memorial after. (See more history in the link.) Mostly, it's the largest field of any ultra in North America, 11 miles of it are on the AT, 12 are on pavement and the rest are on the C&O Canal towpath. I liked the AT section, and the rest was actually fairly scenic, but all in all, quite flat and boring. I'd much rather run the hilly AT section three times.

I was a little worried about the race because I have had no time to train--before last weekend's Philly Marathon, I've run ~100 miles total since the end of August. I felt recovered from the marathon by Thursday, but I woke up Friday with a sharp nagging hamstring, so I was limping all day. But after I warmed up in the race, it was mostly fine. In fact, it was a little easier to run, which I could do without limping, while I had a hitch in my step when I slowed to a walk. Since the course is pretty easy, if I were in shape I would hope for low 8 hours on the course (if I could somehow manage to overcome the boredom of the flats), but I finished in 10:30:50, which is fine by me.

The Hokas worked out fine. They did not grip very well on the dry leaves covering the AT rocks, but I didn't eat it, and I bombed down switchbacks passing people picking their steps, as usual. Then I was glad to have the extra cushion on the C&O section (crushed gravel/dirt) and very glad for them on the paved finish. They definitely will not become my main trail shoe, but for pavement they're OK. If you're curious, they run fairly narrow, so you might want to go a half-size up, and watch out, because a lot of people seem to have problems with chafing from the uppers.

Here's my Garmin track:

Lastly, runners of the world, this neon clothing revival must stop. I'd share a photo of the race shirt, but my camera is not doing the hideous neon yellow justice.

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