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Race Result

Racer: Jesse Leitner
Race: JFK 50
Date: Saturday, November 18, 2006
Location: Hagerstown, MD
Race Type: Run - Ultramarathon (Other)
Age Group: Male 35 - 39
Time: 8:14:40
Overall Place: 92 / 1014
Age Group Place: 28 / 191
Comment: it was a good day!

Race Report:

After the pounding I took two weeks ago at Mountain Masochist 50+,
I wasn't sure what to expect. The memories of pain were fresh in my
head. But, I took 4 days off of running after the MMTR which was
totally refreshing. In fact, this week, the only taper I did was to cut
my normal one hour treadmill run on Friday to a half hour. Everything
felt good. My number one goal in any race is to finish strong with
something left in the tank (not met at Mountain Masochist). My
secondary goal today was to beat my last year's time of 8:28:52
(would be tough since I already cut over 2 hours off of my previous
time, so how much could be left?) My ultimate goal was to finish with
faster than a 10 min/mile overall average pace (requiring about an
8:20). I kept my same strategy as last time - to try to run everything
but walk through the aid stations. Today I added two other elements-
less time at aid stations and shooting for a slightly higher target
heart rate. Can I tolerate holding 12-15 beats below my anaerobic
threshold (i.e., 162-165)? I was going to try. The first 15.5 miles consists
of the Appalachian trail and some very steep stints on roads, neither
of which are conducive to a fast pace. I knew that I probably wouldn't
finish this section at faster the a 10 min/mile pace, lucky to hit about
10:30/mile or so. I felt great on the trails, even comfortable to pass
people on the nasty single-track parts. After the mess I dealt with at
MMTR 2 weeks ago, the AT portion of JFK, even the nasty, jagged rocks
were not bad to just barrel down (carefully of course). For some reason
the pack I was running with was very clustered and it was virtually impossible
in the first 15.5 miles to run your own race. When I hit the switchbacks
at Weaverton Cliffs, which are very tight single track with some steep
dropoffs, it was just a traffic jam that you just have to live with. I lost about
5 minutes, maybe 10 in the traffic jam and came to the aid station at
about 2:45. If I wanted to meet my 10 min/mile target, I would have to
make up more than 10 minutes, which I felt reasonable. There's a lot of
time left for making, but there's also a lot of time for things to go wrong.
At 15.5 miles I ate half a PB&J and stuck the other half in my shirt pocket
(it was in a ziplock bag!). I shoveled down some potato chips, pretzels,
drank a couple of gatorades and couple of cokes and onward I pressed.
I decided I would go for the 2nd half of sandwich at mile 19 (sort of
arbitrary). Things were going nicely on the towpath and I was keeping
steady pace with consistent heart rate. About a dozen "flatlander" fast
marathoners passed me in the first 5 miles or so after they came off
the Appalachian Trail (AT) cautiously. Most of them I ended up passing
in miles 25-50, when they hit their respective walls. I passed several
hundred people throughout the race and after mile 30, no one passed
me (except for one person who I caught up with at mile 48.5, talked to
for a minute, then he kicked it into turbo when I kicked it into high). Other
than the PB&J, my food was mostly potato chips and pretzels, two cups
of chicken noodle soup, one accel gel at mile 36, and lots of gatorade
and coke. I passed the halfway point at 4:20, so I knew I had my work
cut out for me to beat even my last year's time of 8:28 - would need some
really negative splits. But, I was keeping pace of around 9-9:15/mile so
I was trimming down my deficit consistently. Marathon point was just
under 4:30 and 50k was just under 5:10, where I finally eliminated my
deficit from 10 minute miles. Now I just had to sustain sub-10s the
rest of the way. At around 36 miles, my heart rate generally starts to
drop and with my fatigue I just let it go. Not this time - I was motivated.
I did not want this race to take any longer than necessary. The thoughts
were fresh in my mind of the brutal race from 2 weeks ago, with nothing
but pain. None of my pain today even came close, so it was no problem
pushing a bit. I had a few minutes in the bank when I left the tow path
at mile 41.5 onto the big climb onto the country roads. Every one was
walking the climb, but my motivation pushed me up at a pretty good pace.
I was able to sustain 9-9:30/mile without much difficulty and picked it
up more the last few miles, passing a lot of people. At about 2.5 miles
out, I noticed that I had so much time in the bank that I might be able to
make 8:15, something I would not have even thought of. The motivation
was there and still with the comparison to my other recent race, nothing
hurt too much to slow me down. I kicked it in gear and came across at
8:14:40, very satisfied. It was nice to have a good race today.