2007 Javelina Jundred Race Report

Javelina Jundred 100 mile race report
October 26, 2007
Fountain Hills, Arizona

“I’m sorry sir but I’m going to have to confiscate your pork and beans.” OK, guess I can buy beans in Arizona. Apparently my two 8-ounce cans of pork and beans are dangerous weapons in the eyes of TSA. I’m at the Eugene airport headed to Phoenix for the Javelina Jundred 100 mile race. It is supposed to be an “easy” 100 with very little elevation gain on each of the six and a half loops of the 15.3 mile Pemberton Trail. It is flat, but it was anything but easy with a finishing rate of only 49%.

At the pre-race meeting, Dave Combs, who works the timing, said this is one race where it might actually make sense to put some time in the bank on the first two loops. The reason is simple. It is supposed to be in the mid-90s during the day and there is absolutely no shade on the course. This is the 5th year of the race and he said that people have generally run faster in the beginning, slower in the heat of the day, and sometimes faster when the sun goes down. I ran almost that exact race, with the exception of running faster at the end.

First two laps were cruisers and I enjoy talking and running with friends AJW (for only 5 miles) and Connie Gardner, from Ohio, who I first met in 2003 when I paced her at Western States for the final 38 miles. We met in Squaw the afternoon before the 2003 race and she was desperately looking for a pacer. Since I was already set to pace somebody else I told her sorry. But on race day, my runner dropped and I waited for Connie in Foresthill with her pacer number pinned to my shirt. She was surprised, we were compatible, and she ended up finishing in the top ten. So here we are running together for the first 30 miles reminiscing about 2003 and talking about how we’ll both run in the 17’s today and that everybody is running too fast.

We separate at the end of lap 2, where I eat some Arizona pork and beans. They taste the same as they do in Oregon. Oh, but lap 3 is where temps start to heat up. The only personal record I set for the day is the number of S-caps consumed in a 100: the final count is 27. That’s more than I’ve ever taken in an entire season. But on this third lap I start getting muscle cramps and end up having to take several very close together to make them stop. 7 in 15.3 miles. That’s almost 2.5 grams of sodium. Towards the finish of my 3rd lap, I see AJW at the start of his 4th lap and ask him how many he took that lap. “Nine!” he says. We’re both woefully ill-prepared for this kind of heat. But AJW is able to push and I’m just surviving.

On the 4th loop the temps have reached the mid 90s and I’m walking even the smallest of inclines to keep from over-heating. My shorts are caked in salt, but my stomach and energy levels are great. However, despite emptying both bottles between aid stations, I did not pee for about 6 hours. Runners are already starting to drop like flies and I see one guy walking back towards the start/finish. I ask him what is wrong and try to encourage him to just walk in the right direction, but he says 50 miles is enough for him.

The 5th loop is finally where the sun begins to set and I am motivated to finish this 4th lap and begin the 5th if for no other reason than it should finally cool off. At the end of my 4th, I see the leader Jorge Pacheco, running strong up the only rocky “hill” on the course on his 5th. He looks great but sheepishly says that Andy is right behind. Sure enough, a minute later here is Andy, smiling and looking like he is catching Jorge. I yell encouragement to both of them, wishing I was in the race with them. I get to the start/finish and sit down while Laurie, Chris, and Katie take care of me.

The 5th and 6th laps are cooler as the sun goes away. I manage to move up to 6th place. The desert is beautiful at night and I hear coyotes singing to each other. Very cool. But my legs have been done for many hours and I’m unable to speed up despite the temps. I finish the 6th lap at 11:50pm – 17:50 into the race which is where I wanted to be at the finish. But I still have 9.4 miles to go and 2:10 to get it done to break 20. On the rocky climb where I saw Jorge I notice somebody coming up fast from behind. Am I really getting caught by somebody in the last 9 miles? I must be going slow. I try to speed up but it is obvious that I can’t hold whoever this is off. When he catches me I ask him who he is and he tells me he is a pacer trying to catch up to his runner. Not that it really would have mattered but it is not fun to get passed late in these things no matter how the day has gone.

I’m all over the watch the last miles and calculate that it is going to be close to 20. I finish uneventfully in 6th place in 19:56 – the same time I ran at Western States this year. The finish area is void of finishers as they probably are already in bed. But there are volunteers, and runners who still have many miles to run. It’s interesting how late in these races all I want to do is finish and stop running, but when I finally stop I’m more uncomfortable. My whole body aches and generally feels terrible as it cools down and the muscles try to adapt to not firing anymore. It is a strange feeling. Mentally, though, it is great to be done.

While this wasn’t the PR I was looking for I’m glad I ran it. It was my ninth 100 miler, the second time I’ve run without a pacer, and the first time I’ve done two 100s in a year. The desert is beautiful and the trail is good. The multiple lap format was not a problem as each lap felt different. And since we alternate directions they were different. Getting heat trained this late in the year is a problem so if you go bring a bottle of S-caps. The atmosphere is fun and many people wear costumes. My only other advice is don’t carry pork and beans in your carry-on baggage. They are dangerous.

Craig Thornley
Eugene, Oregon
November 2007

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