Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Last year's JFK race report

I'm disappointed. Its now 3 days to the big race and I had great aspirations writing up a good ol' JFK preview blog entry.

The JFK course traverses some hallowed Civil War terrain and I wanted to retrace a couple of the battles. The race begins with a run up to South Mountain, continues along the famed Appalachian Trail before arriving on the C&O Towpath, near Harpers Ferry, and passing near the historic Antietam battlegrounds. (The bloodiest one day battle in American History. 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after twelve hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862)

There's just not enough time for me to tell the story. One thing, however, I will do is to remember. As I run along this path, I will remember the bloodshed and remember the men and women that have given their lives in the line of duty.

This Saturday, we will embark on a run that encircles Antietam and somewhat follow the path of the Confederate Army in the the days leading up to the Battle of Sharpsburg. I know that after running here this weekend that I will feel much more connected to our nation's military heritage.

After running this route, I will appreciate that I live in the 21st and not the 19th century. For sure, after running on the rocky AT, I will imagine what the shodily equipped Confederate Army had to endure in its sweeping advance to the north. Reportedly oft-barefoot, I imagine these men as the first ultra-runners in these hills. I imagine back then, distance running was no sport but a job.

Reading about the trials and hardships of these soldiers puts it into perspective. My short 8 hours on this course pales in comparison to what the soldiers of the time had to endure. Remebering this will help me when the running becomes difficult.

A neat thing about writing race reports is getting to go back and relive the day, even if the writing is less than perfect. I finally found a copy of last year's JFK report:

Last year's race report at (Warning: its long)

Not perfect, actually kind of lengthy and over-detailed, but its there. Reading it, I see how I'll do things differently this time. For one, I will start the Towpath with a walk to get my senses about me after coming off the AT. Last year, I came off the Weverton cliffs running. I ran too fast, too soon and had nothing left at the finish. I even skipped an aid station by running right on past--a big no-no.

I'll end this post with some numbers and go ahead and put my goal out there. The course is divided into three distinct sections. The start and through the AT (15.5 miles,) the C&O Towpath (next 26.3 miles,) and the final rolling road section (final 8.6 miles.)

Last year's splits:
2:45 (first 15.5mi - AT)
4:11 (next 26.3mi - Towpath)
1:27 (last 8.6mi - country roads)
8:28 - final time

If the stars align and everything goes my way:
7:45 (my goal, plus or minus 15 min)


Blogger Kim said...

It's always good to be able to look over old race reports, sometimes there is one or two details that you have forgotten about.
Good luck this weekend!!

6:56 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Good luck!!!

10:03 PM  

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