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Saturday, November 20, 2010

JFK Race Report

Because I was in the 5am start, I had to get up at 2:30 am to leave by 3am. The pre-race meeting was at 4:20am. I was all set until I got turned around on the highway and added 15mins to my travel! The GPS was telling me I was going to be late, so I got behind a trucker and hauled ass. I made it by 4:25, heard the tail end of the meeting and had enough time to change and get to the race start(we had to walk a mile out to the start)

Off we went at exactly 5am, in the DARK. The first 2 miles or so were up about a 5% grade, then we turned in to the Appalacian Trail parking lot. We spent a bit of time on the trail and then came out on another road to continue up the mountain. Lots of walking and chit-chatting at this point. I was happy to be going uphill on the pavement but had I known what I was in for, I would have MUCH preferred it on the down hill. This was the worst of the hills, and we were getting them out of the way in the beginning which was nice. We headed back on to the trails and were assaulted by rocks for the next 8ish miles, oy. It was tough. Between the dark and the rocks, I was having a heck of a time. I was keeping up with the crowd the best I could as I wanted to have the bonus of other people's headlamps to find my way through the dark :) Once the sun came up I could really SEE what I was trying to get over. Talk about ankle turners! There was not a smooth runnable space in site. I moved along at a safe pace, as I did not want to get hurt at this point in the race as i knew it would be much easier terrain once I hit the towpath. The first handler station I did not expect to see my *crew* so I wasn't looking for them. Apparently, they showed up 5 mins after I came through.

A picture of the aid station to prove they had been there... ;)

The last section of the AT was CRAZY! The last mile out to the second crew station was down the side of a cliff with switchbacks that made my head spin. I kept focused on the trail in front of me so I wouldn't look down. Yikes! I was really feeling the downhills and rocks on my quads and was looking forward to NO rocks and flat :) I got to see my crew at the exit of the AT :)

Coming down the last section into the aid station...
Now we were headed on to the C&O towpath, which was essentially flat for the next 20-something miles. I fetl great at this point, about 15 miles in and was ahead of my planned time, but still within the range I wanted to be in. I wanted to finish, and get in at 12 hours. I was on target for that, and I was happy. I ended up finding 2 women to run with for probably 20 miles, on and off. We did the run/walk for a while, but it hurt me too much to stop running :) so I kept running. It was absolutely a perfect day. The weather was great, the canal was nice along side the trail and every aid station had super happy upbeat station workers :) I was happy for the flat, and there were so many runners, you were never alone. Some time along here the 7am 'elite' runners started coming through. They were AMAZING! The winning male came in SUB 6HRS! I cannot even fathom...I had finished the marathon at 6 hours!
I usually smile throughout races...I am so happy to be out running!

I was supposed to meet my brother at the Mile 38 crew station as he was going to run the last 12 miles with me. I got to the station and couldn't find him or my SIL. Turned out, they were sitting further down the trail! Well, I finally found my SIL after waiting around for 5-10 some smoothie and told her I had to go, and once she found him to just have him catch up to me as I wans't moving that fast :) Within the next mile, he caught up and we were on our way. At that point, I was headed for an 11 hour finish, possibly less. I wasn't concerning myself with it as I was just happy to be there, having fun and feeling good. I was starting to feel a twinge in my left ankle, but I really started to feel it once we hit the road...with 8.5 miles to go. The road section was 'supposed' to be, no. It was rolling...VERY rolling. It was a nice country road through farms and nice houses. We were moving along at a decent clip- 12 minute miles according to my OCD brother ;)
Us, coming into the last crew station...
We hit the final crew station and my SIL with her neon pink *Go Julie* sign :) So we got our last fuel (I was on ginger at that point as the quease had finally set in) We had about 4ish miles to go. I was definitely feeling my ankle, so it was tough going down any hills, and I did take a few walk-up-the-hill breaks. My brother started to pick up the pace a little to bring me home, and I was able to keep up...barely, lol ;) We were in town at this point and the end was in sight. The last mile was flat so I could just give whatever I had left to get to the finish...and I did! Somebody 'smoked' me in the shoot but I didn't care. It was great, I had finished ahead of schedule and did the second half faster than the first. I have never done that before, and am happy I did...that is definitely the way to go!

*that time is the 7am starter time, you have to add 2 hrs for us 5am starters :)

A very nice gal at the end took my chip off my sneaker, which was great as I couldn't have untied my shoes if I tried, lol. I got my finisher's medal and got to see my SIL again. They went to feed my brother and I went inside to get warm. We stayed to watch the awards, and I called Dave and the kids to let them know I finished. We headed home after that and I took a MUCH needed shower, had more green smoothie and iced my ankle.
I feel great about this race. I know I could have broken 11 hours had I not waited for my brother, but it doesn't matter. I am so happy I got to run with him, had a good race and felt good throughout. That means more to me than my time. :)

Now, I am dealing with the Ultra-pneumonia and walkin' like a grandma as my ankles no longer flex, lol. But, I need to mend quick as I am running a Turkey Day 5 miler with Jeffrey on thursday! Or, maybe Dave will need to do that one... ;)


  1. !Thrilled! for you Julie!! Congratulations,'enjoy' the recooperation and have a great Thanksgiving holiday with the family. See you soon you ultra-maven you...


  2. Julie, I am so happy you found your Brother and ran with him--so well--wow! woot woot wowowowowow! I hope your ankle is feeling better. I am a dorfus; thought the JFK was next weekend. meant to call and send you happy cell hugs. Also, Love the photos you are glowing. You are terrific and much more than your legs and feet brought you to the JFK.

  3. Julie, so happy to hear you ran a great race. Rest up!


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