After running Javelina Jundred last year I immediately knew that I would be running it again. I hoped that I would be able to run it again in 2009. I enjoyed the race so much I really wanted to go back.
I’m so glad I was able to take part in Javelina Jundred 2009! Sometimes when high expectations are placed on an event there can be a let down, but JJ did not disappoint. The whole event was fabulous fun in the sun.
I flew into Phoenix on Friday, visiting the packet pick up at race headquarters, called Javelina Junction. By coincidence I seated myself next to Mary Croft and Wally Goettel of Minnesota. I knew they were going to be at the race but really wasn’t sure if I would recognize them. As I introduced myself to the runners on my left they overheard me on my right and introduced themselves. Small world!
The race start temperature was a balmy 49F. I wore a tank top and skirt with the Moeben sleeves I received from last year’s JJ. They were perfect! As the sunrise took place and I warmed up I was able to roll them down to my wrists. During the night I rolled them back up. What a great idea for Shannon to come up with.
I read the notes I had made from last year’s race, telling me not to bother with a flashlight at the start. I’m glad I took notes! About 5 minutes past the start the sky began to lighten up. It was going to be a beautiful day. I could feel it.
There were many runners dressed in Halloween costumes; Bumble Bees, Butterflies, Batwoman, Militia, Goddesses, Gods, it was pretty cool. I can’t imagine wearing those extra items for 30 hours. My own clothing becomes cumbersome during 100s! There was a girl who took pictures all along the course, throughout the whole race at the runners coming toward her. I carried my cameral for one loop and couldn’t wait to stash it in my drop bag.
Javelina Jundred is a 15.5 mile loop that is run alternating directions, 6 times with an additional 9 mile loop at the end for a total of 101.8 miles. The start/finish is called Javelina Junction where the huge start/finish/aid/camping/results/drop bags are placed. Coyote and Jackass Junction are the two smaller aid stations placed at 5 mile intervals. The course is a constant climb or downhill. You pretty much run up the mountain for 7 miles, run rolling hills for a mile and run down the mountain for 7 miles. There isn’t any flat trail at all. The trail is made up of sandy soils, some compacted, some loose and beachy with lots of rocks in some sections. There aren’t any roots. There isn’t any shade, it is totally exposed with a backdrop of mountains and cactus. It’s really quite pretty and so different to what I am accustomed to.
I went into the race with a few goals. One, as always, to pull out a finish, and two, to really race it, beat last year’s time of 23:15 or so. I’d try. The first loop went very well. I was feeling good, running well and I didn’t feel too warm. I went out faster than I did last year, but was still running within myself. I didn’t feel like I was overdoing it. I was keeping track of my splits and had a pace chart with me. I was sure to drink a full 24 oz of water between each aid station and while at the aid station I would gulp down another 10 oz of ice cold water. It felt refreshing and wonderful.
Nutrition: In July I began to eat an all vegan diet and by August I was eating mostly raw vegan. For Leanhorse 100 I added vegan items (oatmeal, cooked sweet potato) and had difficulty finding good food. Because I had to leave my cooler of food behind, as there wasn’t room for it in Tom and Nancy’s vehicle, I was dependant upon area supermarkets and restaurants which were not vegan/raw friendly. I wasn’t going to let that happen again. Live and learn, right? This time I made room for my Vitamix and researched markets in Scottsdale. I knew that I could find fresh produce. I bought a cheap cooler/ice packs at a Scottsdale Target so was able to mix and store my smoothies/juices before the race. I had pre-race items, race and post race items. Spinach, dates, bananas, nuts, mango, ginger root, lemon, etc. I was all set nutritionally. I decided not to use gels but rely on my raw foods instead. This would be the first time as for Leanhorse I used gels in addition to bananas and raisins. A bit scary but I wanted to test this out.
The aid stations had watermelon, bananas and oranges which I was able to use at Coyote and Jackass. I had my cooler at Javelina Headquarters, drinking smoothies every lap. They didn’t upset my stomach and gave me plenty of energy. I was a bit nervous as I hadn’t put this nutrition into practice at another 100 mile race; only training runs.
As I came into Lap 1 I was on 21 hour pace; a little fast but I felt fine. Lap 2 and 3 and I was still on pace, feeling fine. My feet didn’t hurt, I wasn’t too warm, there was plenty of ice on course. I was impressed with all that was offered as aid. I saw S Caps, crystallized ginger, ginger chews and capsules, tums, pepcid; all that one might need.
During Lap 3 the moonrise took place. It was so awesome! As the moon began to rise the coyotes began to howl. I just stood still, stunned. I heard them much more loudly this year than last. They were only a few feet away. I saw a pack of 12 and stopped dead in my tracks. I looked back and saw two men way in back of me. I waited for them. As they approached I told them I was a chicken and that I would follow them. We talked a bit and then they just trotted on down the hill and the coyotes scattered. I followed on their heels. The howling took place all night long!
At 45 miles I was starting to feel hungry. I came into JH and ate a ton of watermelon. It was so good; cold and wet. I couldn’t believe I was already at 45 miles. It didn’t seem that I had been running for so long. I was almost half way to the finish! I slurped back a spinach/banana smoothie and headed back out on the trail.
The next loop wasn’t so great. I began to feel tired and my skin was hot and chapped. I cold feel sunburn on my neck and my lips were raw. I began to talk negatively to myself and forgot that I should be celebrating the fact that I was out in beautiful Arizona, running the Javelina Jundred. Funny how things can change so quickly!
As I came into mile 60 I grabbed my iPod, hoping that the diversion would get me out of my funk. I was now on pace for 22 hours. Fine by me! I looked around to see if I could find another runner that I could hook up with but there was nobody going back out. Lots of runners dropped out at 60 miles. There were tons of them dropping. It was depressing. I had to get out of there. I walked over to my drop bag and took my headlamp and another smoothie. Before I knew it I was back out on the trails thinking about mile 75.
My music helped me, before I knew it I was having positive thoughts and ready to run hard again. I began to pass quite a few people and with each person I passed I felt a bit more motivation to go and catch the next one. It was something to engage my mind for a while. As I approached two guys running side by side they laughed at one another and told me that I was kicking their asses. I had to pass them and make sure I beat them to the finish!
I thought I could feel a vibration under my feet, upon the ground. I turned off my iPod and heard and felt this thundering noise. I just stood there, wondering what in the world was coming toward me. Pretty soon a group of 15 horses came into view! I had seen droppings from them all day long but had never had a view of them until now. They were on the trail, blocking my path. Again, I just stood there, waiting for someone else to scare them off the trail or waiting for them to leave. I wasn’t sure what to do so I began to talk with them, hoping they would soon leave. I looked back and nobody was in sight. I began to walk slowly toward them, talking to them in a sing-song voice like I do to Topaz. The just stood there looking at me, twitching their ears back and forth. I could tell they weren’t going to charge me or anything. I made sure that my light wasn’t in their eyes and slowly walked through the herd. They just twitched their ears back and forth and didn’t even pay any attention to me. I was being foolish for feeling fear.
For some reason the landscape made me feel very spiritual. I think it was the landscape that made me feel this way. I don’t know if it was the vegetation that was minimal, the mountains, the sun, the cactus, the full bright moon in the sky; or if it was the silence of the course, rarely was I running with anyone, I guess I don’t know what it was for sure, or what it was for sure. But many times I felt in awe of my surroundings and so thankful that I was able to be there, thanking whoever it was for creating such a lovely place and putting me there to enjoy it. I felt peaceful and full of joy. It was a wonderful feeling.
Mile 75 and I was tired, like sleepy tired. I normally consume Hammergel Espresso gels during 100s, and one every 30 minutes for the first 12 hours, but since I was running this one raw I was relying on whole foods only. My eyelids had become heavy and I felt like I could take a nap! There wasn’t any place to lay upon the trail as the cactus grew right to the trail-I would have to lay in pickers. No thanks. At mile 75 I decided I had to lay down for a bit. I knew that I would no longer be on pace for a PR but didn’t want to fall asleep on the trail either or while I was running. I filled up my bottle, grabbed a smoothie, a change of clothes and headed for my car. My lovely red down blanket was in my car. I set the timer on my iPhone and covered myself up. I fell asleep instantly. Before I knew it my timer was sounding and it was time to get a move on.
I wasn’t stiff at all from my rest, I felt refreshed and ready to move on out and finish up the last long lap. Oh thank god, I was ready to be done! I felt like I had new life in my legs as I ran my last long loop. I again was able to pass many people on the trail but I noticed that there were even less runners than during my last lap. So many runners go out too fast early, then burn up in the heat and have to drop. I’m just amazed at the drop rate. There was only a 40% finishing rate. Crazy.
As I came into mile 90 I was so excited. Oh, Jamil, place that necklace around my neck and let me get this party started! Jamil clasped the glow in the dark necklace upon me signifying I was on the last loop, the short loop, only 9 miles left! Amen.
I ran out of JH, passing a runner upon the trail. He began to talk in a quiet voice “Your running strong, I’m not. Your going to beat me. Oh man. Yup, your going to beat me” I just smiled and said I’d see him at the finish. I didn’t really see anyone else going out on this last loop, I saw many that were coming in to get their necklace.
As I was climbing up to Coyote I came upon Stephanie from AZ. I had seen her upon the course earlier and learned that she read my race report from last year and that this was her first 100. She asked how was it that I was passing her? I told her I had wheels upon my shoes! It was all that I could think of for a response. Congratulations, Stephanie on your first 100 mile finish! Way to go!!
I arrived Coyote for the final time, filling up my bottle with water and then headed down Tonto Tank trail for the finish. Tonto is an all downhill, sandy trail that I was able to bomb down last year. My sides were now killing me and I was lucky I could jog down the trail. Down down down I ran, the sun rising in the sky. I had hoped to finish before the sun rise but alas, I didn’t make it. I was fine with this. I ran hard, raced well and gave it what I could on this day.
My finish time was 24:38; 3rd in my age group, 7th girl of 41. What a blast! Thank you to all of the volunteers and of course Jamil, for making this race a fantastic one.
I don’t have any pain, stiffness or swelling. I was able to take Topaz for a little run this morning; I can’t believe how minimal recovery has become. I think this is due in large part to the nutrition I am currently eating. My body loves live plants!
Congratulations to all of the runners at Javelina Jundred. I feel honored to have shared the race with you!