Friday, November 5, 2010

Javelina Jundred 100 Mile Endurance Run

Javelina Jundred 100 Mile Endurance Run

Team Midget Pornstar, We Go All Night Long

2009 ended with Ironman Arizona and as I started to plan my 2010 race schedule I thought with a little hard work I could do a 50k. Maybe even make a push at a 50 miler if all went well. I knew I was going to take the year off from triathlons and just focus on running. I wasn’t sure if I should just roll right into training for a fifty mile run and keep my Ironman fitness or take a few months off and build back up for a late year Ultramarthon. nine marathons, a 50k, three 50 milers, and a R2R2R trek later I was packing for my first attempt at the 100 mile distance. It was simple; I had 30 hours to cover 101.4 miles on the Pemberton trail in McDowell Mountain Park. Just like every adventure as a kid, I would pack some supplies and head out with a predetermined time I would need to be at point B by. And so my epic journey began.

I took Friday off to rest and make sure I had everything I would need for my two day adventure. I made sure to fill up on some good food and hydrate well. I watched movies and tried to nap to no avail. Around 8 I headed to bed and spent the next few hours tossing and turning just waiting for the 3am alarm to sound. It wasn’t that I was scared more that I just wanted to get started.

With about 4 hours of sleep I woke up and started my prerace routine. I like to get some food and water in me to get the body going. I tend to have many bathroom breaks prerace so the more I can do in the comfort of my own home the better. I rechecked my supplies, made a final bathroom stop, wrote my motivational phase on my hand, and lubed up. Julie picked me up at 4 and I could tell by her smile that my Jalloween costume was going to be a hit. We loaded up my supplies and headed out on the 40 min drive to McDowell Mountain Park only needing to stop one time for a bathroom break.

Yep thats a pink TUTU

As we pulled into the park I was full of excitement and fear. I knew it was going to be a long day but Julie kept it positive and we just chatted away. I really never had any concerns about whether I was going to make it. Just about how much pain would be involved? I had long ago made up my mind that as long as the course was open I was going to keep moving forward. This meant if I decided to drop 12 hours in, I would sit in a chair at the finish line until the 30 hr cutoff. At that point you might as well just keep moving. We pulled into the Pemberton parking lot where Julie dropped me off and I went to look for my crew. It was freezing so I quickly put on a few layers of clothing as headed to check in. I recognized the Team Midget Porntstar shirts I had made for my crew and was greeted by Andy and Tiff who had volunteered at check in. They helped me move my stuff to camp where I met up with the rest of the team getting ready to start the day.

Nick and I rounding up my stuff

 As a group we all walked back to check in as the race venue started to come alive. If you have never witnessed an ultra start, it is quite different from marathons or triathlons. People of all ages and body types, smiling and hugging each other. You see old faces that you instantly reunite with. With it being so close to Halloween there were lots of costumes. I even overheard one of my crew say that I fit right in with this group of people. The nerves were now gone as I pranced around in my Tutu loving all the attention TMP was getting.

Carlos Party Monkey the freeloader

As we made last minute preparations to start the race we were continually asked for group pictures of our shirts, my costume, and Carlos the Party Monkey whom would be strapped to my back for the entire adventure. A small countdown and then GO!!

Team MTP minus Andy and Tiff

I was in no hurry to take off so I let a good portion of the 270 or so starters go before I followed suit and started my race. The first 15.4 mile lap was run clockwise which I think is the easier direction. I chatted with some new friends and we all just fell into a rhythm. The aid stations were every 5 miles and with my run four miles walk one plan, it worked out that I would hit one every hour to an hour ten. One of the biggest differences you will find at ultra marathons is the aid stations. All kinds of different foods primarily being highly processed sugars. Not what you would expect but your body can turn them into energy a lot faster but unfortunately they just don’t last very long so you need to continually refuel. I have always gone with the "if it looks good then eat it" rule but I tend to eat way too much sugar and have had a few tummy problems. So I made an effort over the first few laps to stick to my safe choice. A Pb&J square with a stack of nice salty chips on top all washed down with sports drink. I sip water throughout the course so I try and get as many calories as I can in at each aid stop. Graze early and often is an important rule.

got to get my grub on

If you eat a little at every stop then you aren’t forced to try and play catch-up latter. I continued the walk run plan and finished my first lap in around 3:08. I came into Javelina Jeadquarters feeling fresh and loose and a little overwhelmed by my pit crew waiting on me hand and foot. It’s hard for me to let others do things for me when I know I’m capable but I knew I would need to bank any energy I could so I took a seat and let them fill my pack and grab me food. In less than four minutes I was back out on the trail for my second loop which would be ran the tougher counterclockwise direction.

No the wings didnt help

I was feeling amazing and started back up the five mile gradual climb to Jackass Junction or Aid station two. I had finished the first lap about fifteen minutes faster than planned so I told myself I would have to walk four miles instead of the planned three on this lap. It’s very hard to stick to a walk plan when all you want to do is run but I’ve seen how well this plan works for me so I stuck to my guns. In the ultra world, Javelina is considered one of the flatter courses but has one of the largest dropout rates. This is caused by few things: the entire course is completely runnable so many go out too fast, there is no shade at all and temps are over 100 degrees typically, and its 7 laps so you get plenty of chances to drop out.

Feeling great

 I was well aware of all of these so I made a plan and was going to stick with it. If I felt good after four laps and wanted to start pushing it then I would but my only true goal was to complete the 101.4 miles in under the 30 hour cutoff. So as I finished my second loop I was still fresh and excited that the day had been going so smoothly. I finished the loop in around 3:35 and went thought the same routine with my crew who had me back on the road in minutes. If you sit down and start to get comfortable it makes it that much harder to get going again so I made an effort to just get in and back out.

Getting back on the trail

We were blessed with cool temps as I later found that our high was just over 80 degrees. A little breeze and with my Mobens on I was cozy all day. By this time everyone had fallen into their own pace and there was an excitement as you passed the people going the other way. People really seemed to get a kick out of my costume. I was called an angel, butterfly, princess, and fairy. More importantly it brought a smile to their face and for those few moments let their mind wander to something other than the pain or even worse the “boredom” of ultrarunning. I had run across Joyce the first lap who is the Race Director for Calico racing which is by far my favorite set of marathons. We got a chance to run together and chat a little. I was also able to apologize for calling her the Calico lady as she ran past me at the end of the first lap. I knew her name, but my brain wasn’t working fast enough to process it. She made sure to point out that it had been on the first lap so being tired wasn’t a viable excuse. It really makes me smile when people can take shots at me and we can all smile 45 miles into a race. That went on as we ran the third lap in and once again TMP took over. This was the first time I went to my camp and actually sat down to regroup.

Only my second blister ever

We fixed a blister, got me a warm top, some new socks and shoes, and my headlamp. A few stretches and I was off for my final solo loop. I was actually getting kind of worried because up until this point the day seemed pretty easy. I felt fresh and really had no pains so other than the small blister and a little chafing, which I jumped on quickly, the day was perfect. Lap three was 3:50

Ed had a different costume for each lap

The fourth lap was once again the harder counterclockwise lap and as I started back up the climb I felt some stiffness in my knee. It’s been a pretty normal thing so I just kept trying to stretch it out and keep moving forward. By this time my stomach was starting to go south too. Nothing crazy but it just seemed time to start taking in the chicken broth and soda and move a little away from the solid foods. I had stayed away from the sugars so my plan was working on all levels. I started grabbing ginger ale which helps to settle your stomach, coke which will give you a sugar and caffeine boost, broth which is full of salt to help with cramping, and some fruit or chips at each station just to keep the calorie intake up. The sun had gone down so I turned on the headlamp and just kept plugging away. About halfway through the lap I could tell my small knee problem was defiantly an IT band issue and it got to where I was lucky to be able to run more than 30 sec without pain. So I power walked when I had to with little running spurts every few minutes. The last few miles of this direction are pretty rocky so I just took it slow. I knew I was going to pick up Mary for my 5th lap and just conceded that I was going to have to walk the last 40 miles. As I made it back to JJ headquarters I let them know what was going on and assigned each of them a task. I needed to get my feet looked at as the small blister had grown a bigger juicer twin brother on the other foot. With a 4:15 lap my pace was slowing but all in all I was still happy.

Our sunset

There wasn’t much they could do for IT band so after fixing up my feet I decided to try the foam roller. We packed up and Mary and I headed out for my fifth lap. I tried to run a little and I could tell it was getting worse. I knew I had a long way to go so I didn’t want to push it making it any worse. We walked most of the first nine miles or so until we made the last turn which leads you to a 6.25 mile slight downhill back into camp. I really felt bad about not being able to run, but Mary insisted that it wasn’t a big deal. I decided to see if I could run again since it was a slight downhill and found that the knee didn’t seem to hurt. I was able to move pretty well busting out a few sections at a 7:40 pace. When we reached the crew I was pretty excited to see that the 5th lap was 4:20 and with the amount of walking I was impressed. It gave me a big boost as I had even contemplated not taking the finisher buckle had I needed to walk the last 40 miles. I’m not sure why but I just kept telling myself that if I walked that much of it I didn’t deserve it. I came to suffer and in my eyes I was taking the easy road. I know this will sound weird to most but I wanted to look at that buckle and know it was the hardest thing I had ever done. At this point it just seemed to be just like every other long run but well supported and with great friends. Mary ran and got me some Tylenol and Kata and I set off for my 6th and final full lap.

We started back up the slight climb as we chatted. I wasn’t really in a talkative mood and my feet were starting to hurt. I had some run spurts but the knee was starting to go south again. It was a pretty uneventful climb to the aid station. By this point in the race it’s far too hard to think about the 26 mile you have left so I have found it best to break it up into aid station spurts. Just a few more five mile jaunts. As we pulled into the first aid station on this loop I planned to sit for a few minutes. It looked like a hospital there. I was by far in better shape than most. Many had not planned for the cool nighttime desert temps. Forced to bum a garbage bag to run in. One runner was hunched over refusing to move while her pacer just did what he could to warm her up and get some calories in her. There was no way she was going to finish. I knew if I sat long I would tighten up so we were back on the road in minutes. Out of the corner of my eye I caught the black marker on my hand that said “you hate to fail”. I try to write a small phrase on my hand for big races that will spark a memory and mostly just remind me that I get to choose to suffer. So many people in this world don’t have that choice, and it just is a little reminder that no matter how bad I feel it could be much worse and I don’t quit. Before I knew it we pulled into the second aid station. I saw Honey who is a stellar ultrarunner and has helped over the past year with all types of advice as I got into the sport. I dumped the dirt out of my shoes and refueled. Kata was very supportive and after a few minutes I could tell they were both about to kick me out of the aid station. I was up and moving again knowing that I had five more miles than a final nine mile lap and I would be done. That five miles was probably the lowest point of my race. It was mostly downhill in the dark on loose rock. The perfect storm for a runner with now two bad IT bands 88 miles into a run. You also see runners coming at you with a glow necklace on showing that they were on their final lap and would make the turn back to camp at the first aid station. As we ran into camp I was so excited that I didn’t even sit down. I grabbed some water, DMB and Tiff, and we headed out for the final nine short miles.

Why is she looking at me all crazy

At just under five hours for the 6th lap I was starting to really slow down. I’m not sure if it was knowing I was so close or the sun coming up but I seemed to get my second wind. I was able to run again for the first mile or two. I was smiling and had a good 10 minute runners high. Once it past I just put my head down and did what I could to cover the final few miles. This time I was wearing the necklace and I could see the look in the face of those on their 6th lap. Knowing that you are that close to the finish adds a boost. I didn’t want to talk much but inside I was smiling. We made the turn and headed back to camp. With less than a mile DMB started telling me how proud she was of me. By this point I really didn’t care about much. I never know what will affect me but out of nowhere she said “you just ran 100 fucking miles” and I almost lost it. I held it in as we crested the final hill and put my head down as I ran past my team. All 7 of them ran me in and I crossed the finish line in just under twenty seven hours to cheers and hugs.


 People cried, pictures were taken, and I tried to thank everyone who had taken time out to help me finish the race. My entire crew had also volunteered for most of the day on Saturday helping others to achieve their goal too. After receiving my buckle I hobbled over to have my blisters drained one last time. More pictures were taken and we made our way back to camp. Once I stopped my body just shut down and I was forced to shuffle. I had 12 people keeping an eye on me and making sure there was nothing I needed. I tried not to complain as these people had already given so much. I was truly proud to have such a group of friends.

Thank you all again

We headed off to grab some breakfast and then I passed out in the back of Andy’s van for the ride home. They stopped and got me some ice and then helped me up the two flights of stairs to my townhome. I was a mess and in pain. I plopped down on the couch with a remote in one hand and my buckle in the other. I was now comfortable calling myself an ultrarunner and more proud that I heard some comments about my friends being more interested in ultras. I don’t think there is anything cooler than to motivate others to experience life.

The shuffle

As I started to recover over the next few days and hear everyone’s account of the race my memories were strengthened. With each Facebook post or races report I was reminded of the true reason this race will always be close to my heart. First, much like my Grand Canyon adventure this experience was more about the time I spent with my friends. I know they may not think they played a big role but a large portion of the people I know that didn’t finish tried to do it without a crew. Only 137 people finished the race and knowing that you have people depending on you goes along way. I can honestly say that at no point during the race did the thought of quitting ever cross my mind. When failure is no longer an option you will really be amazed at what you can accomplish. I was also told by lots of people on the course that every time they saw me I was full of smiles and looked very strong. Funny I thought the same about them. In ultra running there is a comradery that I haven’t really found anywhere other than the military. Sometimes you chatted, sometimes you even handed out a fist bump or hug, but every time you passed someone you made eye contact. Nothing needed to be said but at that very moment you knew that you felt like shit, but so did he or she. Misery does love company and when you know everyone is suffering it makes you feel a little better. The ultra community is small enough that you will start to see many of the same people. Facebook friends that you have never personally met now become family. Experiences like these build a friendship that will last forever. My favorite moment was the 25 min conversation on what car we all drove. It was a brag fest, just not in your typical fashion. It wasn’t how extravagant of a ride you had; it was how long you could drive the crappiest car as to save a payment each month to be applied to another travel or race. These were my type of people. I am an ultrarunner. BTW the girl from the aid station that I swore wouldnt make it went on to finish. Sometimes you have to dig deep.

100 miles for just a buckle

For all my friends getting ready to run their first race I am also working on a list of the more specific things you will need to know. I wanted to keep the report shorter for those who don’t need all the behind the scene mumbo-jumbo.

Catra a FB friend
Needed more lube
Look at those feet.