Thursday, November 1, 2012

Javelina Jundred

I hardly know where to begin.  This is going to be a pretty long post so you might just want to scroll down for the pictures.  This run was started as a Jalloween party and fundraiser for McDowell Mountain Regional Park, a gorgeous relatively pristine example of the diverse Sonoran Desert.  The race was created by Geri Kilgariff, who passed it on to Rodger and Jimmy Wrublik, who in turn passed it on to Jamil and Nick Coury.  It has grown (nearly 400 entrants!) and this year, my first at JJ, it was not only a great party but a perfectly executed 100 mile race.  The aid, the course, the volunteers, and the feel were absolutely wonderful.  The weather cooperated for the most part with only the third loop really getting warm for me.  The course is a 15.4 mile loop done 6 times with a 9+ mile loop to finish the distance.

This run was a bit of a landmark for both Liz and myself.  This would be the race where Liz reached the magic 30 races and for me it would be #21 which would put me past Hans-Dieter Weisshaar's record of 20 100 milers in one year.  Hans has a list of all his 100 milers (record year was 2000) here.  To put things in perspective Hans turned 60 in 2000 while I turned 50 this year.  Another thing that made reaching 20 in a year more difficult for him was the number of available races in 2000.  There are now somewhere around 100 races at the 100 mile distance in the US and Canada.  In 2000 Hans had far fewer races to choose from.  Now there are races to choose from on many weekends and many more flatter loop courses.  In 2000 a much higher percentage were point to point and mountain runs.  The only advantage I can think of that Hans had over me was that he was retired while I have had to squeeze in some work.  On balance though his 20 seems to me a more impressive feat than my own 20 and I wanted to acknowledge what he did.

I went into this race having had a week off from running so I could attend my sister's wedding.  While I didn't run, I definitely had a very physical weekend helping to get things set up and taken down.  It was a beautiful, perfect wedding by the way.  So while my legs had had some time to heal, Liz had flown to Utah to do the Pony Express 100.  (I'll post her report when she gets it written.)  We flew from Atlanta on a redeye flight arriving in Phoenix just about midnight and after gathering the rental car and getting to a room we had booked it was close to 2am.  We slept in fairly well but travel is tiring.  We spent the early afternoon driving around Scottsdale where I used to live in the 90's and hadn't been back but once since.  We found a great Middle Eastern restaurant in Tempe called Haji Baba where we each had a great falafel plate.

Earlier in the week Jamil Coury had emailed us asking us if we wanted to use an extra comped room they had at the Radisson.  We thought about it for 3.2 microseconds and said YES!  We've been in a lot of motels this year but not like the Radisson.  I guess Jamil was having pity for our poor tired broke selves.  : )  That room was much appreciated and we slept like babies after a soak in the jacuzzi pool and the pasta dinner served on site for the runners.  The checkin was well organized and we got to see lots of familiar faces.  Part of the goodies was a nice small duffel with the JJ logo on it and the pile of these bags they had was impressive!  Some of the fine folks we saw were Lynette McDougal, Dennis Drey, Wade Jarvis, Michael and Kimberley Miller, the Courys, Mark Tanaka, Trey Barnes and others I'm sure I'm forgetting.  I also want to mention Michael Lebowitz, the excellent photographer who we had met at Salt Flats in April.  His work is fantastic.  I bought a couple of full res pics (7-9MB) and they are amazing in their quality.  You can see individual grains of sand for heaven's sake!  His pics from this event are linked from the Javelina Jundred FB page or use this one.

This run is done on the full moon closest to Halloween and costumes are encouraged.  For the first time in I don't know how many years I decided to do a costume and decided to be a zombie doctor.  Here's one of Michael's pics of me late on Saturday afternoon:

Photo by Michael Lebowitz (Long Run Picture Company)
  With 400 or so entrants and all the volunteers and family and crew and pacers you can imagine the excitement and energy before the start.  There were a bunch of great costumes.  It was a bit cool in desert but I knew that 15 minutes of running would get us plenty warm and that a thermal shirt wasn't needed.  Plus it would cover up the costume!  We started on time and headed into the dark desert.  It wasn't long before the sky was lighting up and the headlamp wasn't needed anymore.  With all the other lights I really didn't need one at all.  My plan was to carry the light to the Jackass Junction aid station half way around the loop and stash it in my drop bag there.  Below are some pictures that I took while running the first loop.  The morning light was fantastic and I got a few decent pics.  I dropped the camera after the first 15 mile loop and meant to take it with me on the loop where the sun went down but forgot it until I was 1/4 mile past the aid station.  So all these pics are from the first loop.

That's Lynette McDougall's wings and one of the majestic saguaro cacti.

Much of the tread was like this which made great running.

But there were some rocky sections too......

What a beautiful place.  I really love the Sonoran Desert.

Silly zombie.

Dennis Drey, 100 mile ironman.

Susan Donnelly as Raquel Welsh's character in "10,000 Years BC"

Jackass Junction with drop bags.
Wade Jarvis leaving Jackass Junction.  I love this guy and got to run with him a fair bit.

Zombie doctor trying to eat Liz's brain.  Of course he couldn't catch her......

Back at Javelnina Jeadquarters (start/finish) where we turned around reversing the loop washing machine style.
 I found the loops to go pretty fast with the aid stations well spaced and the hills varied enough that it didn't seem you were going up or down for too long.  In general from the start/finish it was uphill about half the distance of a loop and then downhill back to the start/finish.  In places there were fairly long gradual inclines that were sweet to run down and gradual enough to allow a shuffle/walk on the way up.  The first two loop were pretty comfortable but going out on the third loop was going to be warm.  Finishing the second loop it was quite nice while up on a kind of ridge where there was a nice breeze but after the last aid station on that ccw loop we were in a wash with the wind blocked and the sun was intense.  I slowed a bit on the third loop but not too much.  My splits were roughly 3:03, 3:22, 3:40, 3:36, 3:57, 3:38 and a final short loop at 2:22.  I was dissapointed with the 3:57 loop because I thought I was moving well enough to be close to 3:30.  (I almost never wear a watch in my races.)  At that point I figured that a sub 24 would be tough and so I pushed it some on the sixth loop but still thought at the end of that sixth loop that sub 24 was not going to happen.  Still I turned it around at the aid station quick to give it a shot.

Here's a photo of me at the end of the fifth loop.  Come to think of it a sub 4 hour loop ain't so bad for a dead guy.....

Looking but trying not to move like a zombie.  (Photo by Michael Lebowitz)
During this run I got to chat with lots of people and didn't spend much time alone.  I got to meet Lisa from Atlanta, Sue from Alberta, and Elizabeth from Colorado.  I very gradually caught up with and passed Elizabeth on the sixth loop and I'm sure she finished close to when I did.  As I was running the final short loop she and her pacer Samantha caught up to me.  Elizabeth asks me "So are you going to go sub 24?"  I replied that it didn't look like it was going to happen.  I felt ok for having 90+ miles on my legs but didn't know what the short loop was going to be like other than the rocky uphill to get to the unmanned water station where we would turn off the regular loop.  I was okay with missing the sub 24 but probably not really going after it at that point.

Elizabeth's response kind of lit a fire in me though.  She said "Well, we're going to get it."  And they ran ahead of me.  I passed them at the aid station and started the rocky climb still climbing strong and steady passing several people.  You could tell who was on their final loop because they put chem light necklaces on us as we started that final short loop.  Somewhere right around the place where we turned off the normal loop Elizabeth and Samantha passed me.  It turns out that the new section of trail is called the Tonto trail and it is the sweetest gentle nice tread trail you could ask for.  I lagged a bit and then pushed ahead to tag onto the E/S train.  And what a ride it was!

Samantha dialed in the perfect doable yet hard pace.  Exactly what we needed to get that sub 24 buckle.  I stayed right behind Samantha all the way down that hill but there were a dozen times when I nearly stopped to get a walk break.  If Samantha had been pushing the slightest bit harder I would have had to fall off the pace but I somehow managed to throttle the wimp in me and push on.  I thought back to my pr on the Hardrock course where Matt Kirk was pacing me and he did the same from the top of the final 13,000 ft pass all the way into Silverton.  That was even harder but having sucked it up and gotten it done there helped me last weekend in the AZ desert.  After about 4 miles the trail dumps back onto the regular loop again and it was a painful cruise into the finish for the sub 24 hour finish.  Thank you Samantha and Elizabeth!  I would never have pushed myself that hard on that downhill and probably would not have made the cut.

It was still dark when I finished shortly before 6 and I got to see Liz come in for her final short loop.  She didn't need any help and did her signature quick turnaround to get out there and get #30 done.  She had Robert Andrulis with her for loops 5 and 6 which helped here a lot through the dark and lonely night.  Liz doesn't like being alone during the night.  Robert also helped me a lot on the early laps having my drop bag ready and gathering it all together after I had gotten what I needed.  So Robert and I were sitting there chatting and the sun was up and I was just about to head to Robert's tent to try to get a bit of sleep (that never happened as usual due to sore legs and hips) when Nick Coury made an announcement about the winner of male "Best Costume" award.  It was me!  How cool!  With a big smile I accepted this most excellent handmade trophy:

The plaque reads: Javelina Jundred Best Male Costume October 27-28 2012
Liz came in at 27:25 for her 30th 100 mile race of the year!  The goal for the whole year and she gets it with a full 2 months yet to run!  Amazing.  I'm almost glad that I fell off the pace and came to realize that I was not going to make it to 30.  I still should get 27 or maybe 28 but not 30.  If I had still had the chance Liz would have honored our agreement to not compete and we would have finished 30 together.  But if that had happened it would only have held her back from getting the 35+ that it looks like she'll get.  That is going to be one hard record to beat, man or woman, young or old.  Shortly after Liz finished, Nick again made an announcement about the Geri Kilgariff Award for Most Memorable Performance.  I guess it doesn't get a whole lot more memorable than to watch someone finish that many 100 mile races in one year.  So Liz got this prize:

So it turned out to be a great weekend for us.  Liz got her 30th, I got the male world record and a sub 24 buckle and we both got special awards!  It was a great weekend and I couldn't conjure the hyperbole that could match the reality of the excellence of this race.  I love this desert and thought the course beautiful.  The aid stations and all the volunteers were as good as any I've seen and the organization was flawless from the checkin to the timing, the webcast, the decorations, the awards.  All of it came together perfectly.  A million thanks to the Coury family, all the volunteers, Robert Andrulis, and Samantha who dragged my sorry butt to a big buckle.

Race count:  Liz (30)  Scott (21)


  1. great run and awesome report! thanks for the nutrition and blood flow tips you shared with me mid race!

    1. You're welcome but who are you? Who is yroc?

  2. I got goosebumps reading your race report! This is the kind of report I had hoped to write for the race but didn't make it past 77.

    Congrats to you and Liz. I can't fathom the amazing accomplishment you guys have had. Way to go!

    1. Thanks Cory! I'm glad you liked it. I've read two of you reports and they didn't give me goosebumps but I did get side stitches from laughing. Love your sense of humor!

  3. What a report! What an achievement! 30 and 21 100-mile finishes in a year? I'm just trying to get my first one done.

    Would you please pass on some thanks to Liz for me?:
    I will long remember the encouragement Liz gave me in passing last weekend: "You are so strong; you keep moving." I was one of the few other women running shirtless. Thank you for your inspiration and kindness, Liz.
    --Laura Kantor

  4. Both of you totally blow my mind! Congratulations to the two toughest folks I know!

  5. Awesome work you two! Enjoyed this write-up and the photos. You guys have had an inspiring year to say the least!

    But Scott... that costume hits a little too close to home. I believe I've seen the zombie in you before and I'm not sure I'll run with you during a full moon again!

  6. I feel very fortunate to have met the both you and Liz this year. You are simply amazing. Look forward to coming up with some adventures next year :)

  7. I saw you several times on the course. Elizabeth is a good friend of mine, as is Samantha. Actually, Samantha was gracious enough to pace me for my last 9 miles after running you and Elizabeth to the finish. I'd gone the entire night without a pacer, and it was a joy to have her. Congrats on your sub-24!

  8. Thanks, Lisa!

    Lynette, it has been such a pleasure to meet and hang out some with you this year. Always smiling, even when you're hurting, you have a true ultrarunner's spirit. Folks like you are the better part of what draws me to this sport and has made this year bearable! : )

  9. congrats on that awesome finish and amazing acomplishment! I saw you out there a bunch, you were hard to miss with the zombie outfit, it totally deserved the best male costume! It was actually a little creepy at night.