This post is a summary of my supplies and ideas for the JFK 50 miler that is coming up in three weeks. A summary of my training is not nearly as exciting, which consists of way too much treadmill time and not enough mileage.
About the Race
The JFK 50 miler is in western part of Maryland on the border of West Virginia and is scheduled for November 17, 2018. It is America's oldest ultra marathon that originated as a physical challenge from President JFK in 1963.
The course starts with 15 miles of hills with some of it running along the Appalachian Trail. To get comfortable with sketchy descents I need to get out and run down technical leaf covered trails. The remaining 35 miles is a horrible flat tow path. I prefer climbing and descending trail to the long slow grind on a tow path. There is no preparation for this except running long and to pretend to like running road marathons. Bleh!
So with this attitude about the flat grinding miles, why am I doing this race? Peer pressure, one friend in particular keeps talking me into these challenges and I keep saying yes. Run Pikes Peak for a donut, okay. Run Jemez 50 miler, sure. Do the Icy Bike challenge, hell ya! I never learn but I'm glad he quit running 100 milers, I don't need that in my life.
Drop bags and Supplies
This race does not have drop bags, though crew can meet runners at certain points with supplies. Since I don't think I will have a crew, I'll rely on the aid stations for water and nutrition. There are aid stations every 2-6 miles (14 stations total) so I only plan to carry a small amount of water/nutrition between aid stations. I may only take my running vest to carry gear if it is cold and rainy. In my last two races I carried way too much water in my running vest bladder, so it will be nice to drop a few pounds.
Since there are no drop bags and no crew I plan to run in one pair of shoes for the entire race. Ideally I'd like to run the first 15 miles in trail shoes so I can get the extra grip on the technical stuff, but I don't want to run the tow path in trail shoes. So road shoes it is. I've run other long trail races in my road shoes so I think they will hold up. Hopefully I won't regret this choice as I slip and slide along the Appalachian Trail section.
Over the next three weeks I need to go run some leaf covered trails on cold rainy days and I should be set!