BHS 100K

Here is some video and pictures from the 2013 Bishop Ultramarathon. I completed the 100K in 14 hours 22 minutes.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Javalina Jundred Race Report - Nov. 1, 2014



Mid-afternoon at the end of loop 3 - 48 miles

      It was a sunny warm 90F afternoon when Amy and I arrived with all our camping gear at the start line and campsite of the Javelina Jundred.  I felt well prepared for this race having put in many training miles on trails similar to the ones out here, and I was not hampered by any injuries. There was nothing at all to foreshadow the long grueling night that I had ahead of me. The Javelina Jundred is a 100 mile trail race in McDowell Mountain Regional Park in Fountain Hills, AZ which is just to the northeast of the Phoenix metropolitan region http://aravaiparunning.com/network/javelinajundred/the-course/ .  Our plan was to set up our tent, stow all the camping and race gear inside and then head down to the race headquarters to pick up my number and get something to eat.  It was a bit warm, but fortunately a cooling trend was forecast for the next day when the race was to start with a high in the low 70’s which was a huge relief to all the runners who had been anticipating and preparing for a very hot and dry race.  Last February I ran some of the other regional parks in the desert hills that surround the Phoenix/Mesa/Scottsdale area with my sister Dawn and her husband Marcel.  We had a great time running the gentle slopes though the desert past all the giant saguaros which is what promoted me to sign up for this race.  Marcel was also flying in that afternoon and I was greatly looking forward to seeing him and have him pace me though the second half of the race.
      That afternoon the campsite seemed like a buzzing beehive of activity as all the runners and their crews were setting up and getting ready. As the tents popped up, the site even started to take on the appearance of a honeycombed beehive.   It was almost impossible to drive a stake into the desert floor which felt like concrete but we were able to borrow a hammer from a neighbor and get the job done.  We had a big comfortable tent that we could stand up in and had brought along a lounge chair and umbrella for my crew, Amy, to relax in and get some magazine reading done as I made my loops around the course the following day.  Each loop was 16 miles in length and we would have to complete 6 ½ of them which made 100 miles.  Hal Koerner holds the course record finishing in 13 hours 47 min. and 46 sec in 2011 http://runitfast.com/2011/11/12/hal-koerner-crushes-javelina-jundred-100-miler-course-record-results/ . I would be nowhere near that time but maybe a 24 hour finish was possible and I could get myself one of those under 24 hour finisher buckles.   The start/finish line at 1800 ft. was at the low point of the course which made its way gently up 8 miles of sand and rock desert trails with little to no shade to 2,480 ft.  At the top of the course was an aid station with a medical tent that I would be spending part of the night in. In addition, there was one more aid station on each side of the loop.  Those three aid stations along with the main one at the start/finish line where Amy was waiting to help crew me, refilling my bottles and getting me everything I needed for each loop were plenty for the 16 mile loop. Each aid station was extremely well organized and I am very thankful to the all volunteers whose energy and enthusiasm never diminished though the following day and night and gave us all a huge boast each time we ran though.
Posing with one of the Talamahara runners who would be competing the next day.
         We got the campsite setup, number picked up, ate at Subway, picked up a few last minute supplies from the grocery store for the next day and night and were back at camp by 8 PM and ready to settle in for the night.  The night air was calm and comfortable and I was able to get some good sleep before the race 6:00am race start the next morning.  That evening I heated up some premade whole wheat noodles I had brought along and in the morning I made myself some breakfast cereal from a 7 grain mix I buy in bulk from our grocery store.  It was still dark when the starting gun set us off and I said good-bye to Amy as she cheered me on; 290 of us would finish the 100 mile challenge while 221 would not. http://ultrasignup.com/results_event.aspx?did=27560
6:00AM - 0 miles
 
      The beginning of any ultra is a festive affair as everyone is pacing themselves at a relaxed, very comfortable and conservative pace that they hope they will be able to sustain until the end.  It is a good time to talk to other runners and joke around a bit.  One runner from Penticton, B.C., Canada who was running draped in a Canadian flag commented on the gloves I was wearing.  I told him that I wear those fingerless cycling gloves to protect my hands during falls that I was so susceptible too on these trails.  He replied that he seldom fell and could probably count the number of times he tripped during a run on three fingers.  Just 5 minutes later he did actually take a tumbler over a smooth patch of trail after the sun had already come up for no apparent reason.  He looked very shocked as he got up right away and continued on and we all had a good laugh over the timing of this spill.
      The first three loops sailed by uneventfully and I hoped that I hadn’t started out too fast as I was making very good time.  However, I didn’t feel that I working too hard and although I wasn’t wearing a heart rate monitor I felt that I was keeping everything in check.  I was fueling primarily with dehydrated bananas and figs and hydrating with water and EFS electrolyte.  I chose EFS because of the calcium in its ingredients which helps me prevent cramping for which I also carry Tums.  Amy didn’t expect to see me so soon on the first loop which I completed in 2 hr. 45 min.  I wasn’t wasting any time in the aid stations either enjoying  thinking about what I needed before I came in and preparing for it so I could fly in and out as fast as possible.  Amy already had 2 bottles of EFS prepared for me so I grabbed those and a couple more bags of bananas and figs dropped off my headlamp that I wouldn’t be needing until the evening and just kept rolling.  I ran right past several aid stations that day when I didn’t need anything.
     The next two loops were repeats of the first although I was gradually slowing down as is to be expected.  I finished the second loop in 3 hr. 15 min and the third in 3 hr. and 35 min.  By the end of the third loop it was 3:30 PM and I had already completed 48 miles most of it under the daytime sun with no shade except my cap and I was looking forward to nightfall.  I was still moving along smoothly, enjoying the race and wasn’t suffering any substantial aches or pains yet.  I did notice that I wasn’t consuming all of my food that I had divided out for each loop.  I was trying to take in about 300 calories per hour and I was probably doing about half of that.  I just couldn’t seem to put down anymore and although I wasn’t having and stomach distress yet, in retrospect this should have alerted me that it would have been good to slow down a bit. Slowing down would have allowed more blood to go to my digestive system and would have helped me out later in the run.
     As I made my way towards my drop bag on loop three I first saw Amy but no Marcel so I asked her where he was.  She pointed behind her to the right and I saw him coming towards me all dressed and ready to go.  I checked with a race official and he informed me that Marcel could join me at this point as it would be dark before we finished the next loop.  We took off together and Marcel told me of a very unfortunate incident that occurred.  Just minutes before I came in a dog belonging to one of the spectators had attacked and knocked down a runner.  Marcel helped to get the dog off but the runner could not continue and was taken to the hospital.  How anyone could be so ignorant to bring a dog like this to such an event is beyond us. 
     With this sad news behind us the next loop went by pretty much as the first three except I had someone to talk to this time.  It was fun running with Marcel and we quickly finished the third loop in about 4 hours as day turned into night.  Things were still looking good for an under 24 hour finish; I had finished 62 miles or 100k in 12 hours and 50 minutes which was a personal record for me.  However, this was all to change before too long.
Coming in on loop 6 with Marcel
We were a little over two miles away from the aid station at the top of the course and not talking much anymore, heading uphill at a conservative run/walk pace when I called out to Marcel that I needed to stop for a bit.  I felt that I needed to throw up and I did.  I hoped that this would only be a short set back and that I would start feeling better now so we continued on.  However, four minutes later I needed to stop again and this time I also throw up a full stomach load of liquid.  Apparently my stomach wasn’t even absorbing water anymore.  Marcel indicated that if I needed to I could lay down a bit to rest which I did for about 10 minutes.  I got up and we started moving again but this pattern of stop, throw-up, lie down and rest continued all the way up the hill until we reached the aid station.  It took me a little over 2 hours to cover this section of the course and if it hadn’t been for Marcel staying with me I would have been surely pulled out.  Runners passing by asked if I was OK and Marcel explained what was happening as he waited shivering in his shorts in the cold night air.  He had not expected that we would be stopping so much didn’t dress for the cold.  I felt bad and grateful for what he was doing for me especially when I had to stop the last time.  We could see the lights of the aid station and here the noise of the music they were playing just over a hill less than 200 yards away but I couldn’t even make that without stopping one more time.
     I finally made it into the medical tent at that aid station and crawled up into a cot and pulled a blanket over myself.  The only thing I could do now was get some rest and hope that my body would recover enough to finish the race.  We were 70 miles into it with a little more than marathon to go.  I was still way under the cut-off times but things were not looking very good as I still could not eat or drink anything.  I was just lying there feeling miserable as I heard other runners speak about their stories as they moved in and out of the tent.  Most of the stories were about blisters or exhaustion like mine.  We were there almost 2 hours and we were informed that there would be another shuttle to take runners who dropped out leaving in 5 minutes and I had resigned myself to get on that one.  It just didn’t look like it was going to happen.  Then I overheard Marcel talking to a runner about my plight and he suggested that I try some Coke-cola.   He explained that I needed to first get some glucose into my stomach and brain and then the rest of my digestive system would respond.  I asked Marcel to get me some and immediately after taking it I started to feel better.  I asked for some chicken soup that they had and I was able to eat that too.   At this point I felt that I was back in this thing and I told Marcel that I was going to try to run back down to the start.  After hydrating a bit more we headed out and I felt like a brand new man with almost as much energy as I started with in the morning; I was excited now. 
     We bounded down that hill passing runner after run though the midnight hours averaging a very brisk 10 min/mi pace -  fast for me anyways at that point.  When we finally finished the fifth loop, I knew that I would be able to finish the entire run.  I was still incredulously holding on to the belief that I could finish in less than 24 hours but I obviously wasn’t thinking very clearly yet.  Luckily I had Marcel with me who cautioned me to slow down and pace myself as we still had 20 plus miles to run.  I followed Marcel’s lead as we ran/walked into the morning.
     Morning came as we made our way down the backside of the sixth loop.  This section was downhill with quite a few rocky sections and although these rocks posed no difficulty in the early parts of the race they were really starting to take the joy out of things right now.  And so began what Marcel and I would call the “Death March.”  I couldn’t easily pick my feet up over these rocks anymore and I had resorted to walking through this section rather than risking a fall.  The sun had just risen on the horizon and we were filled with hope as we could see the next aid station in the distance.  We kept plodding toward it, both of our feet seriously hurting with each footfall, but somehow that aid station did not appear to get any closer.  Have you heard the expression that “a watch pot never boils?”  This was like that except our feet were boiling and our spirits were dropping.  Marcel remarked that it actually hurt more to walk then to run.  I gave him a very strange look but decided to try it and indeed my feet did hurt less.  I kept on running risking tripping over some rocks which did not happen.  When we got to that aid station we lingered a bit and then finished the last two miles of loop 6 slowly, ever so slowly jogging or should I say hobbling along at a 13 to 15 min per mile pace. 
      Amy was there at the end of the sixth loop and she thought that we might be finished.  She had slept (or at least tried to as there was a lot of noise throughout the night coming from the start/finish area) though the night and missed all the news of our misfortune.  It was sure good to see her there again. Marcel and I rested a few minutes this time, I changed my shoes and he changed some socks before we took off for the last half loop.  The last eight miles went by about the same as the previous eight.  I tried to run as much as I could and walked when I needed to and endured the pain all the way.  Two miles from the finish I told Marcel that I didn’t think I would experience any of that finisher’s euphoria this time and would probably just limp across the line.  Then we were only one mile away and I saw a couple of runners ahead.  I told Marcel that we were going to catch those guys and I took off again.  I did pass both of them and kept on running at that point to the finish line.  I saw Amy waiting and I grabbed her hand as we crossed the line and rejoiced.
9:30 am the next morning - rounding the final bend to the finish
I finished in 27:17:27 so I didn’t break the 24 hour mark.  Yet I am still very satisfied with finishing this run and overcoming the urge to quite during that rough spell in the middle of the night.  The aid workers at the medical tent were phenomenal and very encouraging.  They didn’t want me to quite either and I could hear it in their voices.  I also need to thank Marcel one more time for pacing me through the night – it wouldn’t have happened without him and he says that we are blood brothers now by the “Death March.”  And thanks again to Amy for not only supporting me as my crew at the aid station but also supporting me and keeping an eye on me as I headed out for all those long training runs.
Celebrating the finish with Amy and Marcel

1 comment: