STRAVA Summary

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Javelina Hundred etc.

So I DNF’d Javelina Jundred a 13 days ago and I’m still trying to get my head around it. Similar to the Bear last year I’m thinking that I should have been able to continue on, but something in my head caused me to say “that’s all folks”.
I had some tough times indeed at Javelina, but my last lap was a breeze. Well, maybe not that good, but once the sun went down I was feeling much better.

Anyway, so what happened?

My run up to Javelina had not been the best. I knew I was undertrained, but thought that my knowledge would get me through this as much as anything. Ever since my knee issues popped up earlier this year mileage was down. I got through Bighorn without any knee problems, until the last downhill. Long runs were tough to get in and I struggled with most of them, probably mentally as much as anything. In between Bighorn and Javelina I had an MRI done on my knee and discovered that it wasn’t a meniscus problem, but osteoarthritis of the knee cap. Something that is treatable and with work on strengthening some of the weaker muscles around my leg I could get back to “normal”! I also had two cortisone shots in this time period , the last one two weeks before race time.

We left for Phoenix on Thursday October 29th and met up with Dave and Sandra at our hotel. Relaxed the next morning we headed to the race site at McDowell Mountain Park to unload some of our gear in our rented tents. The first thing I noticed was that although it wasn’t hot, the sun was very intense. The cool weather felt good though and there were some clouds around too. It would be nice if this was the weather for race day. We can’t rely on or blame the weather though. We headed for lunch did some shopping for supplies etc. and then searched for the race kit pick up and expo. We got our kits quickly and looked around the few venders and picked up a few things and checked out the Altra shoe booth. They were selling demo’s for $60!!! Barely used shoes for less than half price in some cases. Joan picked up a pair quickly, but I couldn’t find an 11. I usually wear a 10 1/2, but they were a little snug. Eventually the sales guy offered me a missed match pair, a 10 ½ and an 11. I tried them on and initially wasn’t convinced, but when he offered them to me for $40 I thought, what the hey!! We left the expo went to Fountain Hills for dinner and then back to the tent city to try and get some sleep. I had set the alarm for 4:30, but was awake ahead of that, took my time to get ready and wandered around a bit before the start. Lots of the runners were in costume for this race as it was Halloween, some good, so not so good.

At 6 am we were off and into the dark desert wilderness. The idea was to run easy for the first loop, but you couldn’t help but try to get around other runners as it was rather congested for the first few miles. Dave was pushing the pace a bit quicker than I liked, but I kept up with him. I figured I would let him go later. The stretch to the first aid station was fairly flat and by the time we got there the sun was starting to rise. The scenery in the desert is absolutely beautiful in its own way. The next aid station (Jackass) would be over 6 miles away and was basically uphill all the way, although only a slight grade. We were warned to make sure you had enough water to run this stretch in the heat of the day. From Jackass it was more or less downhill to the start finish area to complete 15.3 miles for the loop. Near the end of the first loop I let Dave go, but caught up to him as we came into the aid station. After a quick fill up and a bite to eat and were headed back out in the opposite direction. Did I eat enough in the aid station? I’m not sure I did, but if I had a complaint about this race it would be about the food at the aid stations. Typical Ultra crap food. It might have got better later, but that is when I have a hard time eating anything.

The second loop reversed our trek and was a neat idea on a multi-loop course. The sun was higher now and I let Dave run on, he was running strong and I was not confident I could keep that up. The app on Suunto that predicts your 100 mile finish time based on your pace and distance so far was predicting a sub 17 hour finish time! Yikes!
I started walking more to conserve and settle my mind. The legs felt fine, but there were concerns about fatigue. I finished the second leg and the predicted time had dropped to 18+ hours. Still probably too quick, but I was sure that would drop dramatically. After two loops I was still feeling fairly good, but the sun was feeling very strong. It was warmer than the previous day, but still not hot. There was also a nice breeze blowing, nice when it was in your face, but unnoticeable when behind you.
I headed out on my third loop and quickly my mind became rather negative. I hooked up with Nathan from Texas, a US Marshall and we chatted and walked for a long way before he started running again. I couldn’t motivate myself at this point to move faster than a walk. I wasn’t feeling good and I couldn’t recognize what the problem was. I sat down at Jackass for 15 minutes to regroup. Took in some drinks and tried to eat. I headed out and proceeded to death march back to the start/finish. I was finished the 3 loop in about 10 hours, still well ahead of schedule, but unsure whether or not I could go back out. I told Joan that I Had never felt this bad in a race ever. I was nauseous, but didn’t feel like throwing up. I lay down for a bit, tried some broth and then after about 40 minutes, Joan got me some fresh running gear and new shoes to try. I got changed still not sure I would continue. I eventually got up and headed to the trail, expecting to turn around quickly, but I kept going and started running. I ran to the first aid station and felt great. The sun was going down and what a difference it made. As the daylight faded, I seemed to get stronger. My thoughts came around to finishing the race once again. I came and went into Jackass very briefly. From this point on I was looking for Dave coming the other way. I was passing many runners on this loop which was adding to my confidence, but in the few miles towards the next aid station I started to tire again. I started catching my left big toe on rocks on the trails and it was getting sore as I just didn’t seem able to prevent it. Usually a sign of fatigue catching up on me is when I start dragging my feet. AS I approached the last aid station (2 miles out) on the loop my mind had turned to just finishing the 4th loop and getting my 100 k buckle. I came into the aid station and Karl Meltzer was there going the opposite direction on his last half loop. He was complaining how it had been a bad race for him and he was feeling terrible. That made me feel much better about dropping at 100k, knowing that an elite athlete like Karl was struggling too. With 2 miles to go I still hadn’t seen Dave pass me and was getting concerned. Or maybe he had passed me and I didn’t notice. Anyway about another ½ mile towards the end I came across Dave. He had, had a rough time and spent about 4 minutes in the tent before heading out on lap 5. He looked good now and I wished him luck. I was still running (barn door open syndrome) and feeling not too bad, but I had made my decision. I caught up to and walked with Catra Corbett for a bit. She tried to talk me out of dropping, but to no avail. I finished and confirmed that I would still get the 100k buckle and officially dropped. I was officially not a finisher.

I then walked over to our tent to see Joan and Sandra, but couldn’t find them. Sandra’s tent was closed and she was obviously in there, but there was no one in our tent and one of the cots was in front of the tent with sleeping bags piled high on top. Where was Joan? I sat down on the cot and felt the sleeping bags, oops, Joan was underneath. We discussed my dropping and how Dave was doing and then went to bed. It was only just past 10 pm.

Later I started to think about things and we agreed that maybe I should have turned around gone back out. I had 15 hours to finish the last 2 ½ loops. Should have been easy. Joan could have paced me. I could have caught up to Dave (who dropped at the end of lap 5) and we could have helped each other get through it. Many of the runners I had passed on the 4th loop I saw finish later that day or saw them going out on their last half loop.

Overall it was bittersweet to get the buckle and not finish the goal of 100 miles. Mental weakness again reared its ugly head. Yes the sun was a factor, but I should have taken that into account and continued on when the sun went down.

The next day we (Dave and I) had said we would not come back and do this race again, but by the end of the day we had changed our mind and Joan was discussing doing the 100k as well. How soon we forget.

Next up? The Western States 100 lottery on Dec 6th.

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