Javelina Jundred Mile Endurance Run
October 23, 2010
McDowell Park, Pemberton Trail
Fountain Hills, AZ
My time: 25:15:46
64th overall/137 finishers (52%)/263 starters
17th female/48 finishers (53%)/91 starters (men had 52% finishers or 89 of 172 starters)
5th F30-39/10 finishers (48%)/21 starters
First Male Guillermo Medina (36) from CA with a time of 16:37:53 (CR 14:20:54 in 2009)
First Female Jamie Donaldson (36) from CO with a time of 17:11:32, new CR by 27 minutes
Okay, so this was my 19th 100 mile race. Well, to be a butt about it, 5 of those race were actually more than 100 miles:
McNaughton 150 mile in 2009
Pac Rim 24hr with 108 miles in 2009
Pac Rim 24hr with 103 miles in 2010
Pine to Palm 106 miles in 2010
Javelina Jundred 101.5 miles this past weekend
I did six 100 or plus races last year and figured I could match my accomplishment with 6 more this year, which is what I did, finishing with Javelina. Now let's get one thing straight. Monica Scholz I heard is trying to get the Guiness record with 24 100 mile races this year and I think she is somewhere around her 20th race and she ran Javelina over 3 hours faster than I did, so don't go thinking I'm all that.
I decided to sign up for Javelina when my husband and I were getting constant reminders from his parents that we had not visited them for 10 years while his two younger brothers have almost annually. They have a place in Apache Junction near Phoenix, where they live for most of the year. They summer in WA from about late May to September when the AZ heat becomes unbearable and return when we have more than five days straight of rain in WA (or something like that). I would run the race over the weekend, then we would make the trip fun for Ken too with rock climbing the next three days. Our good friends Karen and George Wiggins would come down for the climbing. Karen had done Javelina a few years ago when the temps hit the mid-90s. We were lucky this year with temps topping out in the mid-80s with a couple of days of rain before the race to pack the trail down. I didn't feel the dust was an issue at all and had little trouble with my asthma.
We flew in Friday morning, had a late breakfast at a cafe, got groceries, and settled in at their place. They live in a gated park home community and we stayed in their plush 5th wheel. After a short rest, we headed to packet pick up, but not until stopping to get me an In-and-Out burger. His parents had scouted out a location for me. It was a staple during my Western States trip earlier in the year and I was delighted to find out that they had set up shop in the Phoenix area. Packet pick up was quick with no medical check required, although, with the infamous heat at this race, I was surprised. I got a nice tech shirt, duffle bag, and an ankle transponder to track my progress by webcast during the race. I said hi to many of the WA runners who made the trek as well as many other familiar faces. I bought some more Gu and dropped off my one drop bag but then we headed out. The race had PF Chang's food for the pre-race dinner and Caballo Blanco was coming for the talk. But I had already seen him in a Seattle event before, and my pre-race dinner of choice is sushi. Ken's parents had also scouted out a restaurant, which was very good.
After laying out all my pre-race clothing, Ken and I retired at about 8:30. My sleep before leaving for AZ was fitful because we had to catch a 7:30am flight. My sleep the night before the race was also choppy, as expected in an unfamiliar place. So I was kinda tired going into the race. Because the race had grown to about 300 runners, parking was off-site at the start and racers that had crew had to be dropped off. After the race started, crew could come to park on a first-come-first-serve basis. If crew wanted to see their runner start, they needed to park off-site and take a shuttle in just for the start. Ken and I decided that he didn't really need to see me head off onto the trail, so he waited for 6am and headed for the start/finish area and had no trouble finding a parking spot. I kissed him goodbye when he dropped me off and milled around nervously for about 45 minutes. I saw Jill Hudson, Linda Walter, and Marilou Russell, all gunning for their first 100 miler. Gunhild Swanson was back, after having set a female 60-69 CR in 2004 with an amazing time of 22:37:46. All these ladies are from WA. My first goal as always is to finish. My next goal was sub-24. Sub-24 would also mean not having to run in the heat again on the second day. Lord knows I don't get any heat training in the Pacific NW. In fact, the weekend before the race, we had temps in the low 30s. That combined with virtually no running during the week because of my job and having done five 100 milers already this year (3 in the summer) made me feel less than optimal for this race. That's a scary prospect for any 100 miler. Experience was my only comfort.
We started at 6am sharp before sunrise on a full moon weekend. The website said not to forget a light, but I didn't need it at all and wished I had not brought it. I didn't want to wear it on my head because it made me feel even hotter in addition to my cap so I wrapped the band around my wrist. A few miles later, I noticed that all the batteries had fallen out. I tried to look for them on the return trip, but someone must have picked them up or they rolled under a bush. I started with arm warmers from Western, gloves, and a tank top that good friend Gwen Scott had given me-a playful bright red and orange Go-Go girl energy drink top. The sunrise was spectacular and the trail too runnable. It was wide enough for two people to run side by side, few areas single file, and many areas 4-wide. I ran in the beginning with Melissa Williams, a gal I met at her first ultra at the Doppler 50K in Bremerton. She had just moved to Portland from Phoenix back then and was freezing cold. It had snowed the night before, so her clothing was understandable. But quickly, most of us PNW runners were shedding layers and she kept all her clothes on. She did finally get acclimated to the cooler weather but had just spent 2 weeks in Vietnam. This acclimated her well for Javelina, but she was experiencing a bit of travel fatigue and jet lag. Being 28 probably allowed her to overcome this short period of fatigue, as she went on to finish in an excellent time of 22:36:32, the only 20-29 female finisher of 8 starters. This was Melissa's 3rd 100, with her first one at Hundred in the Hood last year and her 2nd just 5 weeks ago at Pine to Palm.
I also had the chance to meet up with another gal whom I met a the 2006 Tahoe Triple, Deborah Hamberlin. That year, she won the female overall Tahoe Triple and I came in second in the first year I ran 51 races or more. She won the first 2 races and I won the 3rd race of the triplers. She lives in Phoenix and trains on this Pemberton trail a lot. She had recently won the 12 hour run here in February but this was to be her first 100. She looked very fit. My goal for the first loop (each loop is 15.4 miles and reversed each time) was 3:10ish. I came in around 2:47. Uh-oh. Waaaaay too fast. I got caught up talking to Melissa and Deborah and failed to pace myself. But in truth, I didn't think we were running all that fast. I was hydrating with Nuun and taking salt tablets, but again, as in my last three 100 milers, my legs felt tight and crampy after the first 10 miles. I had tried taking magnesium supplements on a daily basis, but they gave me diarrhea and I stopped that. The best thing I could figure is that I need more salt than the average runner and that I tend to overhydrate too early. Still, I figured that I was in heat country and my body was going to suffer if I didn't stay on top of drinking.
Each loop is 15.4 miles and alternates directions with the first one clockwise. They can be broken up in 3 sections, with about 5 miles in between the aid stations. The first 5 miles starts with a short section of rolling before crossing a road. It continues to be rolling for the first 2 miles with a few "washes," which apparently is usually a pain to run across because they get sandy, but the rain had packed them down and were easier to get through. Then there is about 1.5 miles of up climbing on more technical trail, at some spots with large rocks that are energy sapping if you try to run them. The trail after this rocky section is more runnable but continuously slightly uphill and became harder to run in the later loops in the heat. There were a few more washes before the first aid station at Coyote Camp (about 5.2 miles). The aid stations were great, well stocked, had very helpful volunteers who were mostly ultrarunners and some having run this race before, and liberal with the ice! The next section dipped in and out of sandy washes at a steeper pitch for about 3 miles before leveling out through more gentle washes for another 2 miles. The next aid station at Jackass Junction was about 10.4 miles and had a port-a-potty (very important later!). Finally, the last 5 miles of the loop were generally downhill. The first part of this section was a wider trail/forest road for 3 miles before becoming trail through more washes. There was a road crossing 1.5 miles until the end of the loop, important mental checks.
Ken was there at the end of the first loop and he helped me transition into the 2nd loop. I ditched my cap because it was making me claustrophobic and hotter. I like the wind blowing over my forehead. I put on sunglasses and kept them on until the sun went down. I noticed that many other runners did the same and stuck with just sunglasses. There is absolutely no shade on the course except for the aid stations. I dropped my arm warmers, gloves, and my tank top and now was down to just shorts and sports bra. I was running in compression calf sleeves, but they were white and didn't make me feel too hot. My non-mesh Montrail Vitesse and Dirty Girl Gaiters kept out the sand and dirt. I carried one water bottle and stuffed Gu into it's pockets and into my Race Ready shorts along with TP and salt tabs. I had my music also. I had applied sunscreen before the start. I fiiled my bottle with more Nuun and was good to go. I thanked Ken and gave him a peck on the cheek and used the bathroom before taking off.
I am a huge hydration pack runner because I feel more secure carrying a lot of stuff, but for this race, I didn't want anything on my back making me hotter. It was very liberating. Because I was thinking that I was a little hyponatremic, I backed off on gulping down even the Nuun (I still took sips) and kept taking salt capsules. I did start to feel better, but it was getting hotter and hotter for my comfort. I backed off on my pace and my second loop was over 3 1/2 hrs. The climb back up the 5 miles we had just run down at the end of the first loop was painful and seemed to take forever. It was nice, however, to use different muscles throughout the loop, but let me tell you, it's been a long time since I've run a 100 miler where my legs hurt the entire time. Okay, maybe they felt fine for the first 10 miles before the sun started shining above us, but the rest of the time, my muscles just hurt. It was that lactic acid feeling of heaviness, burning, and on the edge of cramping. Each pounding step I took whether it was running, power hiking, or walking felt like rhabdo was occuring in my legs. I could almost feel at the microscopic level my muscles cells tearing and breaking down and muscle enzymes leaking out into the interspaces of my soft tissues. I've had a similar feeling before, but it is intensified by the direct suntlight and heat. Although Western was hotter, at least most of the trail was in the shade and that made a world of difference for me.
And so the terrain kept repeating itself. It was reassuring that it is a beautiful course. Very enjoyable I'm sure to run in for 2 loops. Multi-loop courses are tough. I'm not talking about running around a track. That's a totally different animal. I'm talking about longer loops, where it will be a while before you get back to your crew. Like at McNaughton 10 mile loops, Lumberjack 12.5 mile loops, this race, Umstead (which I have never run) 12.5 mile loops, etc. It's hard not to quit. It's hard heading back out knowing what is in store for you, how long it took you that last time, and knowing that you have 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 more loops to go. When you think in those terms, it is very overwhelming. So I just tried to focus on one aid station at a time, which is still hard because you start focuisng on other things. Like, oh, this section has that 5 mile uphill, or this section has that really rocky section. No wonder we're all headcases. Ken had called his parents after the 2nd loop and told them about how long it was taking me and they showed up to see me come in at the end of my 3rd loop. I waved to them as I was heading out, and to them I probably was looking good but I felt like crap. I gave them a nice show by running up and down the little hills but as soon as they were out of site, I walked.
Before I forget, there was a costume contest going on. Last year, the race actually was held on Jalloween. There were still plenty of people dressed up this year. There was full on Spiderman suit, of course Elvis, Pippi Longstocking (2), devils, angels, Bavarian costumes, cowboys, a guy wearing an all black body suit with his face painted white, and so much more! I can't imagine wearing a costume for 100 miles in the heat! Also, there was a lot of prickly things next to the trail. One of them, the choya, apparently requires pliers to remove since the thorns have barbs on them. That sounds painful! Luckily, I didn't impale myself onto anything.
I switched to ice-water so that I could douse myself and wrapped a bandana around my neck with ice in it. I continued to sip the water to wet my mouth and also because it tasted to good! I increased my salt intake, which was about 6 Succeeds an hour. Is that too much??? I don't know. I didn't die, so I think it was okay. I was urinating and it was not bloody. In fact, it was clear and about every 1/2 hour, telling me, I think, that I was still overhyrated and hyponatremic. At the aid stations I was asking for Coke with ice in it and was it yummy! I don't think I have ever drank so much Coke! I must have drank over two liters! But it was the one thing that I didn't get sick of. In fact, I would have put it in my water bottle, but I wanted water instead to pour on me. And I didn't want to carry another bottle. I ate gels, and found I really liked the Grape-Pomegranate flavored Carb Boom. I ate bananas at some aid stations, when I thought about it. When sub sandwiches became available, I wound just eat some of the meat and gave Ken the rest. Watermelons and oranges were tasting good. I had hot cocoa and chicken ramen at night in addition to my ice cold Coke. I had a hard time eating solid foods, probably due to the heat and feeling totally baked. I never was able to cool down. While everyone was putting all their clothes on at night, I was still running with just my sports bra or tank top, although I did bring along my shell, gloves, and a headband in case I really slowed down and would freeze. But I never used them and they were heavy to carry. Somehow I lost one of my Western arm sleeves. I did put on a waist pack at night so thatI could carry all this stuff and have my hands free for eating and carrying my flashlight, which I prefer to a headlamp.
My loop splits were getting longer and longer. I had completed almost four loops before I needed to use a flashlight. It was getting hard to tell who was who. I had seen Jill, Linda, and Marilou in the first 3 loops together, but couldn't see them again until it got light. For all I knew, they had decided to drop down to the 100K. Plus they split up, and I was looking for a group of three ladies. But Linda and Marilou did go the distance, and I think Jill finished the 100K. I was a little worried about them all since I was surprised to see them not long after I completed a loop. I was moving a little slower than I would have like, but I was worried that we still had over 50 miles to go after the 3rd loop and this was their first 100 miler. Just goes to show you how tough they are. Maybe they tolerated the heat better than me. I should have gone out conservatively with Gunhild because she caught me by the end of the 3rd loop. Not surprising. Impressive. I just can't tell you how phenomenal she is to be able to do this at the age of 66 and not looking like she is suffering at all. I tried to keep up with her but I couldn't and decided I needed to run my own pace.
So I finished 100K in the dark. I had hoped my pace would quicken as I cooled down, but darkness kept that at bay. Many runners picked up their pacers. I didn't have one and didn't want one. After treating my last pacer at Pine to Palm like crap, I decided I didn't want to be that person and didn't even bother looking for one. It was pretty scary though in certain sections of the loop where packs of coyotes were howling and I found myself totally alone on one occasion, which is crazy considering the number of runners who started and the back and forth format of the course. It could have been that many had dropped out by then. The next few times there were runners around and I felt safer. But I did pick up my pace that one time, and that always comes to bite you later.
Gunhild's son joined her. I ran with her a little in the 5th loop but I think she was getting cold and I passed her. I kept going back and forth with the same people. My fifth loop was one of my faster loops for that far into the race and running at night. Apparently, I had moved up 35 spots at the end of that loop. However, the wheels started coming off during that loop. I was running along pretty strong after passing Gunhild and not hurting anymore than what I had become accustomed to. I was approaching Jackass aid station and could hear music. So I thought I was getting closer but in reality still had almost almost 2 miles to go. It gets harder and harder to judge your pace as the race goes on and you are always moving slower than what you think is slow. So sometimes as I am approaching an aid station, I pick up my pace. I did this and the aid station was not coming. I kept pushing it until my left quad started to scream and I had to slow to a walk coming into the aid station. The music was coming from a house, which in this section of the trail gets near a residential area. So this pick me up and the one I did when I heard the coyotes probably set me back quite a bit. And the next section was downhill, which only added to injury my sore left quad. I ran on this for the next 30 miles, at times hobbling and having to adjust my gait, taxing my other quad. As bad as I felt, I saw some sorrier faces at the aid stations all bundled up and glued to a chair. I knew I was just traumtizing my quad, not permanently injuring it, so I kept going. I actually came into the aid station at the end of loop 5 telling Ken that I needed to get moving if I had any chance of breaking 24 hours. It would be skin tight if I did. I had 5 hours and 50 minutes. If I could somehow manage to match my 6th loop time to my 5th loop, I would have a chance. It became very clear after starting the 6th loop that it wasn't going to happen. I felt bad for telling Ken about this lofty goal, since I knew he would worry about me when I didn't show up long after expected.
My last full loop, #6, was very slow. Something like 4 1/2 hrs. The climb up that 5 mile hill was demoralizing and endless. Although I passed some people, it wasn't because I was moving great, it was because they were done too. I decided that I needed to just keep moving and not push myself. My 24-hr goal was out the window, so I told myself to get over it. At the same time, I was not about to walk the rest of the race (20 miles) or else I would be out there forever and at risk for running/waddling in the sun. So I ran the downhills and some of the flats and walked the ups. I finally made it back to Ken and headed out for the final 9 miles. We were given a glow necklace to signify that we were on that last 9 mile section so that the aid station volunteers at Coyote Camp knew which way to direct the runners. Clever idea. It was not uncomfortable and I liked being lit up. Plus everyone knew that you were on the homestretch. I grabbed Gu for food but nothing else and soon learned this was a mistake. I had not been able to tolerate solid food all day and this was catching up with me. But for the first time ever, I could not tolerate the Gu. I gagged on it and almost threw up. I immediately took two Tums. I had no Ginger candy with me. I had to slow down. I had run into Amy Lynes earlier and she had 3 miles to go for her 100K finish. But she was vomiting and trying to run and I told her she needed to slow down. She had plenty of time to finish so there was no reason for her to push it and make her nausea worse. Now it was happening to me. So I took my own advice and walked when I thought I should be running. The hills were coming anyway and I was planning on walking those. I tried putting Gu into my water and shaking it up. I drank a little but was not enjyoing it and certainly didn't drink it all. I did ask everyone that I ran into if they had any food besides Gu. I got a no answer from 5 people until one of the pacers of a runner that was passing me gave me his peanut M & Ms. That saved me until I got to the aid station.
I got to experience another beautiful sunrise, the only good thing about not making the 24-hr cut off. I saw lots of little lizards during the race and saw a coyote run across the trail on the second sunrise. Apparently, Marilou saw tarantulas, rattlesnakes, coyotes, mice, and even a Javelina. I can't believe that! Were we in the same race? Finally I got to the aid station, the last one before the finish and less than 5 miles to go. I decided I wanted Coke in my water bottle. Unfortunately, it had not been de-fizzed yet and when I went to drink it the first time, it blew up in my mouth and I choked on it. Still, it helped to sip on it and keep my nausea at bay. I had an oreo cookie, but that was all I had before finishing. Although my quads were trashed and the bottoms of my feet felt severely bruised, I ran that last 4+ miles. It was a gentle down hill for 3+ miles before meeting up with the same trail we had been running all day to the end of the loop for 1.1 miles. This last bit was rolling and I knew what to expect. I passed that last guy that passed me. He had blisters on his feet. As I made the turn onto the last 1.1 miles, I passed two girls with their pacers-walking. I knew that they would not challenge me, but it didn't matter, I was going to run anyway. I ran all the hills, only briefly walking since I was not able to see if the hill I was on kept going around the corner. People said I looked strong and to keep going. I said that I was probably going to puke when I finished. I didn't care. One should always finish strong unless something is seriously wrong. Finally, I crossed the road and ran the last of the undulating trail to the sounds of the finsh. I saw Ken and his parents and handed him my waist pack. I pulled my pigtails to the front and sprinted across the finish line with a roar. I was so, so happy to be done! And then I completely stopped. A volunteer took off my transponder. I sat for the first time in 25+ hours.
Ken and his parents came over and congratulated me. I asked Ken who are these people. They were very supportive and finally had a chance to experience a 100 mile race. We enjoyed my belt buckle. I devoured some watermelon and took salt. We slowly removed my shoes and except for swelling, they looked marvelous. I had some whiteness on the bottom of my big left toe but no blisters. What was really bothering me was my left quad. It tightened up immediately and I had trouble putting weight on it. I couldn't bend that knee without aggravating it. It was clearly swollen and very tender to the touch. His parents left and I changed into some clean clothes and flip flops somehow. I congratulated others and saw Gunhild finish. I was ready to go. I didn't bother to stick around and wait for my drop bag. They could donate my stuff. I grabbed some more watermelon and a burger. It was hard to believe it was only 7:30am. It felt like 5pm. Ken was able to get some sleep in the back of his parent's truck in between my loops, so he was doing okay. We headed home, which was only about 40 minutes to his parent's place. We stopped at Starbucks for coffee and sandwiches and lo and behold, there were his parents. When we got back, I iced my quad and took some ibuprofen. I dont' like to take it during a race. I showered and rested Ken got me 2 In-and-Out burgers and fries for lunch. My quad was slowly getting better with more icing. Karen and George arrived in Phoenix and came over for margaritas before we went out for Mexican food. I was fading fast and my nausea was preventing me from finishing my dinner. We came back and I finally went to sleep.
Ken got up early to go fly model airplanes with his dad. I slept in. He met up with Karen and George at 10am to go climbing and invited me along. I was still feeling nauseated and tired so I passed. This apparently was a smart choice because the approach to the climbing area was difficult. I slept some more and ate little meals throughout the morning. I did go with Ken, Karen, George, and Ken's dad for the trip on Tuesday. We hiked in 3+ miles to get to the climbing area and scrambled to the bases of the climbs. My feet were still swollen and I was still having a difficult time controlling my body temperature, so I did not climb. Ken's dad took lots of pictures of them climbing and of the surroundings. Photography is one of his hobbies. They were able to get in 4 solid and long climbs and had a great time. That night, Ken's mom fixed us a feast with spaghetti, salad, bread, fruit, and desert. Ken and I really appreciated their hospitality, taking us to and from the airport, driving us all around, and letting us use their trailer and truck.
Ken, Karen, and George climb one more day on Wednesday before we headed back to Maple Valley Wed night. They headed to Sedona that night and were planning on three days of running at the Grand Canyon. Sounds like fun!
Here are some more notable results:
Jamie Donaldson, in addition to setting a new female CR, finished 2nd overall and only 34 minutes behind 1st male. Second female was 2 hrs 45 minutes later.
F20-29, 8 starters, 1 finisher, the gal I ran with in the first loop Melissa Williams in 22:36:32. She finished as I was finishing my 6th loop.
F30-39, 21 starters, 10 finishers.
F40-49, 41 starters, 24 finishers. Friends:
Ronda Sundermeier, 43, 20:07:14, 3rd female, 1st AG
Stephanie Astell, 47, 24:32:16, 5th AG
Deborah Hamberlin, 42, 24:47:17, 8th AG, 1st 100
Catra Corbett, 45, 25:39:07, 12th AG, winner of costume contest (Was she Pippi Longstocking? I don't know, I was distracted by all her tattoos.)
Marilou Russell, 49, 28:46:43, 18th AG, 1st 100
F50-59, 15 starters, 11 finishers (in my opinion, the toughest group). Friends:
Linda Walter, 59, 27:50:42, 4th AG, 1st 100
F60-69, 6 starters, 2 finishers. Friends:
Gunhild Swanson, 66, 25:44:53, 1st AG
There might have been more 1st 100 milers above. I just knew of those ones. I'm so proud of everyone. I never felt competitive at this race. It was just great seeing all these tough gals. I didn't worry about, oh, I don't want so and so to finish before me because they are older or this is their first 100. We all suffered together and celebrated together.
No more 100 milers for me for a while. I do have a quad Thanksgiving weekend. That should be okay since I can run in the morning and rest in the afternoon, sleep in my own bed. What really wears me out these days is staying up all night running and most likely not being able to fuel enough. I know that I was running on fumes for a long time at Javelina.
Thanks for reading!