Earlier this year, my wife told me she wanted a beach vacation. She absolutely loves the beach. She loves long summer days, the warm sun, the sand, the ocean.
While it is technically a beach, I don’t think a marathon weekend in Outer Banks, North Carolina in the chilly and short days of November is exactly what she had in mind. I also don’t think that another marathon weekend in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware in the cold and dark December is what she envisioned either.
But these will have to do for now.
A few months ago, I wrote about my planned and potential upcoming races for the end of 2015 and early 2016. The first of those races is this coming weekend.
My race schedule for the next month is as follows:
- Week 0: Outer Banks Marathon – November 8, 2015
- Week 2: JFK 50 Mile – November 21, 2015
- Week 4: Rehoboth Beach Marathon – December 6, 2015
The next four week stretch will be a challenge.
Since my weekends will be busy for the next month, I thought I would write a preview of these upcoming races and briefly discuss my race strategy (other than not getting injured).
Check back after the races for race reports.
Week 0: The Outer Banks Marathon – November 8, 2015
As I mentioned in a previous post, this will be our second time running the Outer Banks Marathon. We’ve also been to Outer Banks two other times for the Flying Pirate Half Marathon in April.
The Outer Banks, NC is a great running community. Even though it is not quite the beach vacation my wife was looking for, we do enjoy visiting there. The area is nice and the people are great. They do seem to appreciate runners. These races are in the off-peak season so I imagine that anything to bring people into the area is good for local businesses.
The Outer Banks races have also been well organized the previous times we ran. There is great support along the course and even the locals come out and cheer from their houses. The Outer Banks Sporting Events (OBSE) does a great job in putting on these races.
For this first race of this four weeks stretch, my race strategy is to simply treat it as a long easy run. This will be my last long run before the JFK 50 and I don’t want to push it too hard before that race.
In addition, my wife has been having some recent leg and neck pain, so it would help her to have additional support during the race. So for this race, I will be saving my strength and legs and encouraging my wife as we run together.
I estimate our time will be roughly 4.5 hours.
Week 2: The JFK 50 Mile – November 21, 2015
This will be my first JFK 50 and my second 50 mile race. My first was the North Face Endurance Challenge (TNFEC) GORE-TEX 50 in April this year. Overall, my training for the JFK 50 has been going well and I feel better prepared for this race than the TNFEC 50.
Even though I only live about 1.5 hours from the start and finish, I did book a room in Hagerstown, Maryland for two nights. This will allow me to get a good night sleep the night before. In addition, it will give my wife and dog a nearby home base while they wait for me to finish.
The first portion of the JFK 50 is on the Appalachian Trail. According to the course description on the JFK 50 website, the first 5.5 miles gains approximately 1172 feet in elevation. Then at mile 14.5, the course drops about 1000 feet until it reaches the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal towpath at about mile 15.5.
My race strategy for the first 15 miles until I reach the C&O towpath is to take it nice and slow. My plan here is to average roughly 12 minutes per mile. To get familiar with this part of the course, I did a trial run on a section of the Appalachian Trail part of the course a few months ago. Some portions are runable. Other portions are rocky inclines that will have to be walked. But overall, I think 12 minutes per mile is doable.
Once on the C&O Canal towpath, the course follows the towpath for roughly 26.3 miles. This portion of the course is hard packed dirt (with some rocks) and is fairly flat. I run most of my long runs on the towpath so I am pretty comfortable with this section. My plan is to keep a consistent 9.5 minutes per mile pace on this portion of the course.
The last 8.4 miles are on asphalt country roads. I’m not quite sure what to expect here, but looking at the elevation profile, this portion of the course also appears relatively flat. My plan is to keep the 9.5 minutes per mile pace to the finish.
If I am able to follow this plan, my time should be a little over 8.5 hours if my calculations are correct. This will be about 40 minutes faster than my TNFEC 50 race, but I think the last 35 miles of fairly flat terrain makes this achievable.
For fuel, I plan to consume roughly 250 calories per hour. That seemed to serve me well on the TNFEC 50. However, I do plan to use less gels this time and instead add in more variety from the 14 fully stocked aid stations. Two to three gels an hour is just too much for that many hours straight.
Week 4: Rehoboth Beach Marathon – December 5, 2015
We’ve been to Rehoboth Beach a few times, but this will be our first time running the Rehoboth Beach marathon. Again, I am pretty sure this isn’t the type of beach vacation my wife had in mind, but it should still be a good time. From what I’ve read, it is a great marathon with a great after-party.
My race strategy for this race will be dependent on how I feel after the JFK 50. If my legs are feeling fresh, I may try to push myself a little. I would love to get around 3:15. However, I have several other big races planned for early next year, so staying injury-free is most important. If my legs are still feeling tight, I will take it easy and run with my wife again.
As mentioned earlier, this will be a busy and challenging four weeks. However, my training has been going well so far and I feel prepared.
Check back after the races for the race reports.
As always, comments are appreciated. Let me know of any thoughts or questions below. Thanks for reading.