Jack Bristol 50M: Joe McConaughy (Stringbean)

Jack Bristol 50M: Joe McConaughy (Stringbean)

Joe McConaughy, stringbean on the trails, is going the distance, is going for speed (Cake anyone?). But he was and did. Nailing his fitness test at the Jack Bristol 50 miler, Joe tell us about this historical and picturesque race in Connecticut.

What was your last race? My last race was CCC at UTMB last Fall, so it has been a while!

How far was the current race? Was it a new distance? The Jack Bristol Lake Waramaug Ultra consist of 3 races, a 50k, 50 mile and 100k race. I did the 50 mile race because it was a great fitness test, and while I have run 50 milers, I had never done a 50 miler on road before. It was so flat! I felt great about being able to crank out a 6:23 pace on it.

How long have you been running consistently? I have been running consistently for quite a while now. I joined a club team when I was in 5th grade, joined cross country and track through high school, and then ran in college! So, if my math adds up, I've been running for about 17 years. I have been doing ultras for about 5.

What made you sign up for this race? Terrain, location, recommendation? I actually signed up the Thursday before race day! I had put in two good training blocks over winter, and I was looking for a good race that could test me. I'm hoping to run a fast 100 miler on a flat course to see how I stack up with the US 100m record, so this race made a ton of sense! A road race, mostly flat and a great distance to test yourself at.

What did you eat the most at the aid stations? I had a good thing going with ProBar Bolt Chews and Maurten. I had about 250 calories an hour, but I started to get a little nauseous when I bonked toward the end of the race. 

High moment? Eating food at the race tent was awesome. I met a few great individuals, including Torpedo and Tobi, and ate a really nice post race hot dog. Torpedo is a 54 year old runner who has ran Lake Waramaug countless times with a very eccentric personality. We talked about our respective races and horse betting. Also, I met Tobi aka The Future. He is tall for his age and wears braces, but I was shocked to find out that a 14 year old had completed the 50k race, and came in second! That is why he is called The Future. I don't think it is his actual nickname, but after this race, it might be.

Low moment? At mile 45, I hit a wall. I had to walk, I slowed my pace, I started to get dizzy. I pushed through and finished the last 5 with a 7:20 mile pace, but it did not feel good :)

Do you listen to music? If yes, what's your song of the moment? No music! I never run with any kind of music or headphones. I'm just a little crazy that way.

Would you do this race again? Yes, it is a great race to run a fast 50m or 100k: low key, picturesque and fast. It is a little too hilly to be ideal for running a blazing fast time, but it is really solid.

What race is next? Next up is the Vermont 100!! It is one of the oldest 100 milers in the country, and the most prestigious 100 near where I live. It is always fun to go and rock a local course! There is 16,000ft (4800m) of elevation gain, and it is on a lot of jeep roads, so it is very runnable. 

What shoes did you wear? I wore Columbia Alpine FTGs, which I love. They are trail crossover racing shoes, which work well for trail races and still perform on road. 

What race vest did you use? I didn't use a race vest, but rather hand held water bottles.

Favorite local running store/brand/community? The Heartbreakers and Trail Animals Running Club, all the way!! The Heartbreakers is my road running family, and TARC is my trail running family.

Dream running destination? Race or holiday. Oof, that question is tough. I am running CCC in France and VT100 later this year, both of which I am very excited about. VT100 is an epic race so close to home, and you can't beat the vibe and culture surrounding UTMB. I love running out in the White Mountains in the NH as well, because they are rugged and relentless, which is just fun to train on.

Thanks so much Joe! Definitely take a look at his blog, http://thestringbean.co/ with lots of great content on ultra running and FKT attempts. You can also find him on fb & instagram @thestring.bean.

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