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A hot halloween!

Hot and Fun! My Javelina Jundred 2007 report …

Javelina, on paper, is one of the fast and easy courses. 5200 ft of climb, ostly easy footing, lots of aid (every 5 miles), easy to navigate. Yet … less than 50% finished this year. Was it the 100k option alone? I don’t think so. Too many newbies? Possibly, but even some experienced 100 mile finishers had to drop this …

Last year, I quit this race because my legs hurt – my only total cop-out so far. This year I didn’t even want to start it – I had a rough time in the first 50 miles of SD100 just the weekend before, and then went pretty fast in the latter half – not exactly taking it easy.  I had already decided not to start: “Chuck, I had a good SD100 run, but I think it’s crazy to go for Javelina. I won’t even start. Do you want me to pace you?” “Well, you have one DNF already, and got the yellow bib, who cares about another one? Just try it” “Hmmm I guess I’ll go then.”

On race morning, it was pretty warm – surprisingly so for 5am. Hmmm. This year, a LOT of my bay area buddies were there, Sarah & Wendell, Chuck, Flora (doing her first 100), Mtn Man Steve, Harry Walter, Craig (who had just done 106 miles at San Francisco one day the weekend before) … Since we would see each other all the time, it was promising to be a blast. Just the weather forecast was a bit disconcerting – 90s. Hmmm.

The race pre-meeting was fun, meeting everyone. The race organizers gave out a whole bunch of small but useful prizes donated by the sponsors. To enter, you would just put your race number in a bucket with a size (for clothing prizes) – I put mine in the L bucket. There was tons of stuff, but of course I didn’t get anything … until a pair of pink arm warmers came up. Rodger: “Let’s hope this goes to a girl”. Me (thinking): “Wouldn’t it be just my luck if my number came up?”. My number came up – pink XS arm warmers, complimenting my pink (red) face. I did give them to Flora, no I don’t wear them in secret. Really.

The first lap went well – I started out with Sarah, putting in lots of walk breaks, not pushing it too hard. I was worried of course about my achilles which had hurt in SD100, and generally about runing too much. Later on I moved ahead, hooked up with some other tunners and finished Lap 1 in about 2:45. Not too bad. Wendell and Harry had pulled solidly ahead, Steven a bit (maybe 10 minutes), Sarah was just a bit behind, with Craig, Flora and Chuck taking it more easy further back. I figured the next lap would show what was really going on, as it was going to be HOT, without any shade at all. My right achilles bothered me a bit, but not too badly.
During the second lap, I figured out what would really bother me during this race – I had sprained the top of my left anke late in SD100, and it acted up. Not so bad I couldn’t run, but painful nonetheless. Otherwise I still felt very strong, and moved quickly through lap 2. About halfways I caught up to Steve, to my great surprise. It had warmed up by then. That really gave me a boost, since I thought I had to be doing pretty well so far. I figured he would pull away later. We ran a while together, finishing the second lap (I might have been close ahead). To my delight the other people ahead of me didn’t seem to pull away much more. The second lap was still strong, about 2:50.
Third lap proved to be HOT. HOT HOT HOT. Even the wind was hot. We saw about a dozen wild horses, drank and sweated like crazy. Still – I was moving pretty well. 3:?? for this lap. I was going strong! And oddly, I felt like I could go strong for a while. I also saw about a half dozen wild horses (tempting!!!!). My ankle hurt, but stayed at a bearable level. Notably Sarah had some popsicles and offered me one – she could have charged a hundred bucks and I’d have bought one! OH YES! I walked out of the aid station enjoying my popsicle and earning envious looks from my fellow runners. I was a little scared, actually …
Fourth was still hot up to about midpoint, when the sun started to go down. Steven was now about 1.5 miles behind, but Craig was pulling up strong! I thought he’d catch me. Harry was about the same distance ahead. I was able to keep my pace pretty fast, especially on the downhill, and did this lap in a strong 3:25.
After changing socks, putting some Biofreeze on my ankles/heels and refueling I went on to the last two full laps. My ascent out of the aid station was FAST – and somehow I paid for this pretty soon. After the next aid station I started to feel quite queasy, the cola nuun that I had used as a drink for the previous hours somehow didn’t go down well any longer, and I slowed down a lot. At this point I figured I was done. Finshed. Dreams of sub 24 started to diminish. When Wendell came towards me he asked “Are you feeling SD now?”. “Yeah, I’m hurting”. “Go on, I’m proud of you.” – That right there gave me some wind, not a minute too late. I dragged myself into the aid station. Soup, bit of food, different drink, salt tabs. Still didn’t feel great. Then … Mark Gilligan offered me some ice cold V8. I must have looked like a vampire feasting on bottled blood, or so I felt. It hit the spot just right. Tomato based juices just made it on my list of drop bag items!!
The sixth lap went better … and I started to think sub 24 might still be in the game. Even although it was now basically night, it didn’t really get cold at all, instead I still felt hot most of the time. Occasionally I would hit a cool breeze, but most of the course was still what felt like 70s … the moon was just beautiful, many people ran without lights at all, which is perfectly possible for most of the course. I kept my light on. About halfway into the loop I felt like I was back, and moved pretty reasonably. The last downhill section went by quickly (but painfully) and I started out my last lap. About a mile before the aid station Harry came towards me. “You’ll catch me, I am finished”. “What the hell are you talking about?”. “I can’t run, I can barely move”. “If I catch you I’ll kick your ass.” I was 2 miles + one aid station refill behind … how could I catch him?
20:40 so far – sub 24 looked pretty reasonable. I figured the last 8.8 or so miles would take at most 3 hours, maybe even a little less. I took off, running as much as I could, now wearing a glow-stick necklace-hoop thingy (oh yeah that felt great!). I power-hiked a lot of the uphill (which in the first lap seemed like it was flat …) and even overtook someone. I made good time to the aid station – it was now around 22 hours. I only had a little coke at the last aid station and off I went. If I hurried I might make sub-23!!!! Oh YEAH. I went fast, and the trail was easy, no rocks. There were very few trail markings, and occasionally I thought I might be off course, but didn’t dare to check. Oh yes, the next ribbon! At the bottom my foot and legs hurt like hell, and the trail flattened out – I was now seriously worried about being off course (it just looked like desert, sort of) –  until I hit the return trail! Turns out Craig would later go the wrong way here, which is beyond me. The trail goes somewhat like this:

                     |                     |
                 ^   |                     | |
                 |   |                     | V
                     |                     |
                     |                     |

He turns RIGHT at the X on his way back. Go figure.

Okay, so I am moving nicely, and it turns out walking hurts even more than running, so I run the last mile (X to the aid station) and finish in 22:38! the last loop took me less than 2 hours … I was only three minutes behind Harry! That is crazy!

Ok so what can one say about this race?

  • Prepare for heat!!!!!! Do not underestimate it. It was up to 95 during the day it turned out. Dry heat is not as bad? Sure, as long as you don’t run!
  • Most people who haven’t run it, think it’s a boring race (so did I), but when I ran it, I thought it was fun. You keep seeing the same people, can track the progress of everyone for most of the race.
  • The course is very easy, with only a somewhat technical section (which is mostly bad because you can run it fast, which then hurts the feet). There is only about 5500 ft of climbing altogether. You can be very fast on this course.
  • Although the course is easy, I don’t think the race is. Due to the heat many people feel very bad at some point, and it’s very easy to drop out – it is a different kind of challenge. Less than 50% of the starters finished this race. There were many rookies, but even some old-timers had troubles with the heat.

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