Part 1 Here
Part 2 Here
I was looking forward to the road. Not only did it mean a change in terrain, but it meant I had less than 9 miles to go. An hour and a half if things went well. Funny how you can feel relieved that you only have 90 minutes left to run.
I chowed down on the jelly beans as I walked up the first and only significant hill on the roads. Bad idea. There were a lot of weird flavors in there! Thankfully I had some water to wash them down with. No company this year so I just wound my way to the top. The sun went behind the clouds again and I threw on my orange shades so I could pretend the sun was still shining on me. They also helped as it was a bit windy and my contacts were getting irritated.
I looked forward to the first countdown mile marker and was a little dismayed to see it had taken me a bit longer to get to 8 down than I anticipated. I had thought I actually had 90 minutes to finish 8.4 but when I got to 8 I had 80 minutes to get in at 8:40. I definitely didn't have much breathing room. Last year I ran something like 10:20 pace on the roads. I just kept trucking running many of the hills I had walked last year.
LW past me as I chose to walk one. She looked great and went on to finish her first 50 in 8:33. Not too shabby. One gentleman who had been going back and forth with me on the towpath finally made his last pass. He commented that it kept getting harder and harder to catch me.
I looked forward to the aid at 6 to go. Some girls were standing ahead of the aid station to refill water and I asked them if there was soup. They said yep so I was happy. I asked for the soup as I jogged into the aid station and then noticed the hot chocolate and went for that instead. It was so good. Grabbed another cup of cola and moved on. Less than an hour now. I had gained about a minute so I had 60 seconds to play with.
Between 6 and 4 to go I passed two more women. One was struggling. It was her first 50, she said she had hoped to finish sub 8. She said she ran a 3:16 marathon and she thought 8 would be doable. I told her that might have been ambitious but if she could hold onto 10 minute pace she would finish under 8:40. I pulled ahead on a roller but I saw her finish shortly after me.
Somewhere in here I saw a guy and his son holding up signs. I thought oh how nice of them to come out and support. Then I read the first sign "Go home JFK Runners and stop clogging up our roads. You Jerks" I said Thanks for coming out, glad you are having a good day. Some people are just ridiculous. What a waste of their time. I secretly hoped some crazed runner would sucker punch the guy. What a lesson he was teaching his son. Just so readers are aware the race travels on 10.4 miles of road total. 8.4 at the end which are open to traffic. So these people were really just wasting their time, the race does their best to accommodate the town and if they have a problem they should take it up with their city or their town not with runners who paid money to come and race. Not to mention that all those people will be bringing money to the hotels and restaurants in their city. Okay enough of a rant.
Just before 4 to go a younger guy went flying by me. I commented that he looked great. He said his shins were killing him. I told him it didn't look like it but he ended up pulling over at 4 to go to talk with his crew and I didn't see him again. At 4 to go I took a cola and some broth and moved along. I was ready to be done. My head was drooping again and I head to focus to keep my posture good.
I passed one more lady going up the only other big hill which I believe ended at 3 to go. At this point I didn't want to walk any more but I didn't want to push pace. I had 2-3 minutes to play with and I didn't want to hammer and end up with a stitch or cramp and not achieve my goal. My quads and calves were definitely worn out by now and were getting that painful close to seizing feeling in them.
I made myself a bargain that I could walk through the aid station at 1.5 to go if I didn't walk any hills up until then. So at 1.5 I took a cola and walked a few seconds then I made my way down hill toward the 1 mile to go marker. A nice spectator took my cup for me as I didn't want to litter. It felt good to be closing in on the finish and I got my final boost of energy. I was very careful here as you cross some highway ramps and I didn't want my day to end by getting hit while not paying attention.
With about .5 miles to go I spotted SG and he ran with me to the finish. This pumped me up as we chatted about how DM did (8:14!). The volunteers at 0.5 to go shouted hey we keep seeing you all over to SG and I told them he was out picking up hot ladies. He laughed and said he still had one ugly mug (SH) to go back for. I let SG know I might get loud at the finish so he pulled up and let me hammer in. I knew I had my goal now it was time to try and finish under 8:35. I sneaked in just under at 8:34:58 pumping my fist in the air.
I was glad to be done. The day was long and that towpath just really takes it out of you. On a trail the hills let you walk a bit and you get to change up your footing, but on that towpath you just grind it out. Very tough, much more so the second time around. I'll have a special place for JFK because it was my first, but I don't think I will be joining the "500" mile club anytime soon. 50 might not be my distance. Only time will tell I guess.
Thanks for all the well wishes. I definitely think I had some outside support helping me to chug along later in the day when I would have much rather walked. I am really happy that I exceeded my super secret goal, mostly because I think that means that I have a sub 3:25 marathon in me for sure. Originally I had thought I might go run a marathon in December depending on recovery, but I think I am going to take it easy. My body has earned a break. Took two days off and tonight I will do yoga. Tomorrow I will probably swim. I'm just going to play it by ear. Everything is feeling fine other than my toe. My right knee hurt pretty bad when I got done but has since been fine. I'm already walking down the stairs semi normal again. I'm glad as I really hoped the higher mileage training would result in a quick recovery this time around.
15.5 AT 2:58 (11:29 PACE)
26.3 Towpath 4:15 (9:44 Pace)
8.4 Road 1:21 (9:40 pace)
Final Time 8:34:58 (10:16 pace)
Place 159 out of 1079, 25 out of ~250 women, 5 out of 36 Age group