This has been kind of a crazy year for me because of my 94 year old mother’s health situation. In April she was admitted to the hospital and then to hospice. I returned to MN to help with facilitating aspects of the transfer, returned to AZ and the next day ran the Mt Lemmon Marathon here in Tucson, a beautiful continuous uphill course from 2700 ft. elevation to approximately 8500 ft. It’s an excellent, unusual event which I would highly recommend.
My goal for this summer was the Sunrise to Sunset 42K and 100K run in Mongolia which I wrote about in an earlier post. When I returned from that trip our family had decided that it was time for my parents to move to an assisted living apartment. This decision occurred right about the time that I ran the North Face 50K in WI. During this run I fell and landed on my left hand and discovered 4 days later that I had broken a bone. I’m happy to report that I was able to finish that event and it was a great motivator for how I could possibly perform at the Javelina event in October.
After running the Twin Cities Marathon for the 31st time, we returned to Tucson. Plans were in place for my parents move and we were just waiting for an apartment to open up. I was able to do one good desert hike two weeks before Javelina. In the meantime I was trying to determine if I should give up my race and return to MN to help with the move. The gods were with me and my youngest sister was able to work it out to go to MN from Denver.
Four days before the race my parents' move went very smoothly and I felt a load lifted and I was ready to run the Javelina Jundred.
|Pam Reed and Mary|
A week prior to the race I was all set to go. I left early and picked Pam Reed up at the airport in Phoenix. She was planning to pace me and had informed the RD that she would be pacing me an extra loop, because in some 100 milers runners over 60 are allowed a pacer for the entire run. This was hardly necessary in this run. I have run the loop as the Pemberton 50K in Feb. a number of times. But it was great to have a pacer from the time it was dark.
We arrived at the race headquarters without a tent reservation and were prepared to set up a tent if necessary. Luck was with us and there were a couple tents quite near to the start/finish available. So we paid our fee and were set to go.
In the past it has been possible to park at the start of this event. But since it has become so popular, the RD decided to institute a shuttle system, which according to my pacers really worked quite well.
The host hotel was a very nice Radisson which is associated with a very large and busy casino. Lots of smoke in there, so probably not too many runners. But there are also two hot tubs and a beautiful pool. Great for soaking in after the race.
The race started at 6:00 AM and most people were arriving around 5:00. A number of runners had camped at the race site so there was lots of activity when we arrived.
The Javelina Jundred is a 15.4 mile loop which is run 6 times, reversing course after completing a loop. Then to complete the 100 miles there is a final 11 mile loop, thus giving you a final run of 101.4 miles. The Pemberton 50K always runs two loops clockwise, so this is the route I am most familiar with. During the race I came to realize why I like this direction. Somehow the rocky sections just don’t seem as bad, which is purely psychological, but it sure played with my head in the dark.
There was an extra aid station added to the race this year which I neglected to pay attention to prior to the race. This only became a problem in the first loop, since I didn’t fill my water bottle at the 2 mile aid station and then discovered it was 6 or 7 miles to the main aid station. Since it was early in the moring this didn’t really pose a problem, other than I was planning on an aid station in 3 miles. This change is an excellent one and was clearly explained in the course description. I just was going on my past experience.
Before the race I had filled out a race log provided on the website with my predictions for each lap. I had done my predictions based on my time from my previous race and added a bit of a cushion, since I felt a bit undertrained. I was pleasantly surprised to find that by the last two laps I was over an hour ahead of my predicted time, and was ahead for each lap by at least 10 minutes. Ironically, I was 10 minutes slower in the first loop, but that was partly due to a very slow start, since I started quite far back in the pack and we walked for about half a mile on the single track trail.
In the past few years I have become a big proponent of eating real food in ultras and try to stay away from anything “sugary”. Thus I am limited to peanut butter sandwiches, potatoes dipped in salt, potato chips, pretzels, soup, mashed potatoes, etc. The exceptions I made in this race were to eat the cantolope and water melon, which were very refreshing in the heat of the afternoon and during the night I had some dates because the other food did not appear appetizing. I carried gel packs only as a back-up in case I was stranded with low energy between aid stations. I took only two gels the entire race.
The aid stations were amazing and the volunteers were always very eager to help fill our water bottles and help us eat as much as we could. Many of the volunteers worked more than one shift and it was fun to see familiar faces as we kept looping around the course. Each aid station also had a small ”mash unit” and it was obvious that the runners in their care were being well taken care of.
|Mary (center) with her pacers|
It definitely helped to have a pacer in this event. There is never really a concern about going off course, but when one has tired legs, it is even possible to lose your balance, especially in the rocky sections, and we saw this happen a couple times. As I indicated, I broke bones in my hand in Sept. and had not had a recent X-ray to determine how healed the break was. So I ran with a splint in place and was more cautious, as I was constantly aware of preventing a fall. I only fell once in a very rocky section in the middle of the night, and landed right on my splint. The pain was immediate, but I took an Advil and continued running, hoping I didn’t do any more damage. (I’m happy to report that I got rid of the splint this past Thursday-no apparent re-injury.)
This was only my 4th completion of a 100 mile run, and my most successful as far as avoiding stomach issues and feeling fatigued. I never felt hallucinatory, or over-tired. I had chocolate milk after the 4th and 5th loops. And during the 6th loop I had a half cup of coffee at the midpoint aid station. For some reason I was able to hydrate myself adequately during the heat of the day and I believe this contributed to my success during the later hours of the race. This race has a fairly high DNF rate for one only moderately challenging. It seems the mistake that many make is either going out too fast or becoming dehydrated in the midafternoon when the temperature is usually in the high 80s. The other challenge is a mental one and that is to believe that the 100K will do if you are not feeling so well.
It’s been 9 days since I finished the race. I think I can safely say that I feel almost completely recovered. I will find out if that is true in 2 days when I do a difficult hike in the Catalina mountains near my home. It will be a continuous downhill hike for 16 miles and will be a good test of the recovery of my quads. I’m more worried about the residual effects of some nasty blisters I got during the run.
Like Dave said in his report of Murph the Surf, now it’s time to take a bit of a hiatus from training and concentrate on healing mentally and looking forward to runs for next year. I am very excited to say that I will be running the CalballoBlanco Ultra in the Copper Canyon of Mexico. This is the event that was featured in the book Born to Run. Since the death of Caballo Blanco (aka Micah True) last spring, there is more interest in this event. And this year there will be a special tribute to him, so I am very excited to be part of that celebration.
I would like to thank those who show an interest in my crazy running adventures and encourage all of you to explore what might challenge you to go beyond the limits that you may have set for yourself. If you are still only running road races, you would be surprised what joy can be found in running on trails.