2nd Place Female, 13th Overall
6:17:16, 2nd fastest course time.
First and foremost, the people who got me to the finish line: I owe many thanks to Ian Torrence for preparing me for my first ultra. Ian completed his 18th JFK this year!
My Mom, Dad, and Super Bee for accompanying me on the many miles of canal training (and Bee on the trails too!). Wayne Kretzer and Andrew Dumm for making sure I had enough gels.
Last, but most importantly, my grandparents Pat and Hal Burba for crewing. I know they were nervous and that crewing can be one of the most stressful aspects of the race, but they made the day go very smoothly. I couldn't have done it without them!
Many have asked "Why JFK?" for my ultra debut. There are few reasons. First, it runs in the family. My Mom has completed JFK twice when I was in high school. Second, I've gotten to do many a trail run in Flagstaff with Ian Torrence. Being around several ultra runners in Flagstaff got me to thinking I'd like to give it a go.
JFK seemed the perfect debut (never mind I was skipping 50k and going straight to 50 miles) because although it starts on the Appalachian Trail, the race is made or broken on the C&O Canal. The canal would ideally cater to my road background.
On to race day! Standing on the start line, I was asking myself "what the heck am I doing?" I knew I was physically prepared, but how are you supposed to feel at mile 35? I also knew that if anything held me back, it would be not taking in enough nutrition.
|By far the most relaxed starting line|
I've ever been on.
I had lofty goals going into the race, as well: a win and a new course record. A win this year would be a dogfight though. Probably the best female ultra runner currently, Ellie Greenwood is not a competitor to be taken lightly. This year, she smashed the unbreakable Western States 100 course record.
I made sure to stay behind Ellie on the AT and to stay as relaxed as possible. Most important was to stay on my feet.
|On the Appalachian Trail.|
|Coming off the Appalachian Trail with Josh Brimhall. |
Rocking the adidas gear!
At mile 21 I made my move past Ellie on the canal. Ellie and I would change leads a couple times, but sure enough my lack of nutrition intake caught up to me around 29 miles. I had about 10 rough miles, which allowed Ellie to make up the gap that would stay for the remainder of the race, before I was able to drop my pace back to where it should be.
|Grooving on the C&O Canal.|
I would have rather not had the rough stretch (I can only blame myself), but if I have to take a positive note from my "bonk" it's that I was able to "unbonk." I forced down the nutrition and once I hit the road, I was able to bring my pace back down.
Ellie would go on to win a new course record of 6:12, breaking the old course record of 6:29. I didn't meet my goal of winning, but I did meet my goal of getting under the course record with my 6:17.
|With Ellie Greenwood at the finish.|
|Top Ten women receiving our awards.|
My irunfar post-race interview can be seen here.
The women's race was not the only one to see record-breaking performances. The men's side also saw the top two finishers go under the course record. Max King made his first appearance at JFK this year and came away with a new course record of 5:34:58, but he had a challenger for the title. My former adidas-McMillanElite teammate Trent Briney also made his ultra debut November 17th and had much success. Trent finished a close second to Max in 5:37:56.
A big thank you to Mike Spinnler for putting on an excellent race, and I am glad I chose the 50th Annual for my ultra debut.
With 2013 right around the corner, I have a couple big goal races on tap: Brighton Marathon in April and Western States 100 in June.
Photo Credits: Brightroom Photography and Ray Jackson Jr.