Nov 15, 2011

Race Report: Javalina Jundred

Marshall with Kate preparing gels in ziplocks
Outside of Fountain Hills, Arizona, is  McDowell Mountain Regional Park, the Sonoran Desert local for Javalina 100.  After Bulldog 50km in August I was in this zone of neutrality.  I had no interest in running races as I was perfectly content to run for the sake of running, but I also wanted to capitalize on the big trip in the Alps this past summer to jump into a big race because I still had an ill feeling in my stomach from San Diego 100.  That wasn't a race that I thought accurately portrayed the training and effort I had put in in the beginning of the year.  Without the proper nutrition plan building up to the race and more importantly during the race, miles 60-90 became a disaster.  What I did take away from it was my ability to get through the crappiest of hours and pull through.  It was a character building race but I still felt like I needed a good 100 race, so after many weeks of debating back and forth of what to do I entered Javalina.  Now my training had a purpose and so I strung together 3 weeks of 100 miles hoping it will keep me fit enough complete the run.  My main purpose and goal for this race was to learn how to manage it.  I had no time goals because that wasn't the main concern.  I would have other opportunities for that. What I needed was to understand how to run 100 miles and apply the proper nutrition.  About 2 months earlier I had started to make friends with members of the Coyotes running group who have a group run Thursday mornings at various locations in the Santa Monica mountains.  With that, I asked Marshall, a good friend I met on the Thursday morning runs, if he would be willing to pace me and without hesitation he was more than willing.  So Megan, Marshall, and I drove to Arizona in 'The Bisq', a term Megan affectionately calls her car (Seabisquit anyone?).  Megan's mom lives in Phoenix so we stopped there to have lunch with her and Megan's step-brother and his family.  It was a pleasant lunch and we were soon off to Javalina Jeadquarters in the regional park.  Several Coyotes were running, crewing, and pacing the race so Jimmy, crew-chief of the Coyotes (and founder), had a plush spot right in front of the start/finish of each loop; a perfect spot to grab what was needed for each 15 mile loop (6.5 total=101.4 miles).  After setting up camp and chowing on dinner Megan bid farewell and went to her moms for the night.
4am rolled around and I prepared all that was needed: bottles of water, backpack with gels and salts, pre-race restroom activity (good sign), and clothing for the 6am night start.  The shot (not really) went off and everyone was on their way to their 101.4 mile journey:
Feeling good after first loop and stuffing a gel down throat. I eventually ate 40 of them!
Lap 1: I was feeling good about the lead up to the event and I had a feeling that I was going to perform well.  In all my excitement I felt something was missing.  I looked down at my hands and realized I had no water bottle with me. All the good feelings I had suddenly turned into dread.  However, I realized that under the cool morning air I would probably be fine until I got back to my crew.  I tried to carry a paper cup with water in it so I could take my gels every 30 minutes as I had planned but that was completely scratched when the jostled water wouldn't cooperate.  So I took the gels early and a little late after bumming some water off another runner and all the while making sure I was staying around a 10 min/mile pace, which was very difficult to do as my fresh legs just wanted to speed ahead.  After a calm first loop I arrived at Javalina Jeadquarters seeing Megan flashing her big smile which was unexpected, since I was expecting her later.  I kissed her and fetched my gels and water bottle (woohoo!) for the second loop hoping for a similar split. 2hrs 34 min, 15 miles
Still feeling good after second loop: 31 miles

Lap 2: Leaving the way I came (washing machine loop course) there were runners coming to and from all still excited in the early part of the race.  I approached the loop in relatively the same way but now with water in hand.  The next 15.4 was uneventful except the beautiful sunrise over the desert mountains.  The temperatures were absolutely perfect.  It's typically quite warm and dry for this time of year but everyone was lucky enough to get cooler temps.  I arrived at the 31 mile mark in another good time of ~5hrs 8 min
Heading out on Loop 3

Lap 3: While Marshall gave me a full bottle of water, gels and salts, Jimmy asked me what my goal time was.  And after I bumbled 22hrs (which I was pulling out of my ass because I really didn't have a goal time) he proceeded to gently tell me to "Slow the fuck down."  Off I went and this time I was feeling a little discomfort in my legs but nothing bothersome.  I started to hit my first low point seven miles into the loop and lasted all the way to the Jeadquarters.  I understood that these moments happen and it certainly wasn't the first time I experienced them but when you feel that way it's very difficult to convince yourself that you're going to get out of it.  You just have to trust that it will.  I have never listened to music during a race believing that one is missing the natural sounds of the surrounding and I even questioned why people would use it in a past blog post.  However, at that moment I was willing to do anything to get out of this mental funk.  Grabbing more gels and salts I demanded for my ipod. 8hrs 4 min, 47 miles
Off with Marshall on the fourth loop: Miles 62-77
Lap 4: I placed the ear buds in and turned on tunes I knew I would get pumped to: Seis Cuerdas.  At first it didn't seem to make much difference but something happened.  I just started to get a high like nothing I've experienced during a run.  It was a runners high on speed.  I started to feel a lot better and got super pumped blaring the music, which now was Ozzy Osborne's "Mr. Crowley."  I was strumming and just so psyched out of my mind.  I gave eventual winner Hal Koerner a big high five as I knew he was crushing that race.  I was pumped the entire loop and arrived the aid station blasting Bon Jovi (that's right!), surprising some people, and shouting out for Marshall to be ready to roll. Katie helped put headlamps, arm skins, a wind breaker, and a Red Bull energy shot (just in case) in my pack and off we went into the sunset. 11:03 hrs, 62 miles 

Lap 5: I was so stoked to have Marshall join me and I was still pumped from the music.  We talked and laughed and I blared out the five words I knew from the Bon Jovi songs.  We were cruising until about half way through the loop where the effect of the music started to wear off and I started to experience my second low of the race, which I suspected was going to be longer than the first.  When we arrived at aid stations he would grab my bottle to fill it up while I went to the aid station food and devoured a few pieces of watermelon.  I told Marshall about a run/hike technique I had been employing in my crappy moments: 1 min run/ 30 sec hike, even on the gentle downhills.  We finally arrived at the Jeadquarters at mile 77 I devoured more watermelon and off we went. 14hrs 26 min 

Lap 6: We started off but I was still in a rut and we continued the run-hike strategy, mainly because continuous running was very unappealing to me.  At the first aid-station I needed to sit for a moment: the first of the day.  Marshall brought over chicken noodle soup and we soon moved on.  We arrived about half-way through the loop and I bummed one ibuprofen pill of another runner at an aid station.  I continued on and started to feel better so we started putting some good consistent running until we were back at the Jeadquarters.  92.4 miles, 18hrs 5 min

Final 9 miles:  After seeing that it would be possible to get under 20 hrs we hurried to get all our supplies together so we could go.  Maybe I should say Marshall hurried because at that point he was more enthusiastic than me to push the pace and get under 20 hrs.  After some more encouragement from Jimmy we went off with the goal of going under 20.  At this point in the race "pushing" the pace meant 9 minute miles and from the get-go it felt like 7:30.  Then the rain started.  At first it was a few sprinkles but then it started to pour like hell.  I was desperately looking for the turn-off to complete the final several miles back to the finish.  Finally arriving we started to head back for the final four miles soaked but ready to finish.  It looked like if we continued at our current pace we would finish under 20 hrs.  We finally saw the glow of the finish line and I came in howling so excited that this journey went the way it did.  I stopped Marshall about 50 meters short and gave him a big hug.  I continued on, high-fiving George, Kevin, Jimmy, and whoever else had their hand out there! I was on top of the world.  I had done it, a well managed 100 mile run where just about everything went as well as it could have. 101.4 miles in 19hrs 49 min,  14th overall 
Hells yes! 101.4 miles 19hrs 49 min...1:49am, 14th overall
Ecstatic with silver sub-24 belt buckle

Sitting here two days since the finish it all seems like a blur.  I'm trying to recapture every moment of the run because I'm frankly proud of this performance and what it holds for future 100 mile events.  It's quite amazing how nutrition can effect a race and maintaining that turned out to be a huge part of why I was successful.  I'm going to recover for the week and do some hiking, light jogging, and give back to the trail community by volunteering to help for a PCTR event at Pt. Magu.  Well, I'll get a free entry so maybe it's not entirely for selfless reasons.  Speaking of selfless, I was inspired and impressed on how selfless the Coyotes were for one another.  They came out crewed, paced, supported, donated their energy and time for all their runners, including myself. Simply, a good group of people.
I want to give special thanks to Marshall who took another shift off work, although I don't think he's upset about that, gave his time and his energy to pace me and made sure I had water, was eating and taking salts.  I'll be paying him the same favor next summer. And of course to my girl and love, Megan.  She devoted her time to drive to and from Arizona, gave me confidence with her support and love.  I was always excited to hit the aid station ready to hug and kiss her.
I also want to give a shout out to all the runners that toed the line, especially Erin Chavin, Adam Bowman, and Gabi Schenkel.  Congrats to all!
So what is next?  My plan is to start working on some speed, power, and climbing skills in the next few months in time to be ready for the Ray Miller 50 miler in February.  But for now, reflection and recovery.  Happy Trails.

Lap Numbers

Me & Marshall post-race

I must be tired.
My love 
Yeah, I'll be wearing that buckle for a week

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