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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Javelina = Jot, Jot, Jot!

What do you get when you put eight CHUGs in a desert for the first time, hot weather, and grilled cheese sammiches? One jeck of a Javelina Jundred!!

Tis' correct my friends, we boarded ship on Friday morning and arrived in sunny Phoenix that afternoon, hopped in the "K Bus" (that's what we named our rental mini-van) and stopped off at Denny's in Fountain Hills for a delicious dinner of burgers and brownie awesomeness (yes, we did this two hours before the pre-race pasta dinner was scheduled to start...). After getting settled in at the Holiday Inn in Fountain Hills, we headed over to Jeadquarters to get the boys checked in and then partake in some carbo-loading. Geof, Brian, Gary, David and Jerret were running (Geof's second 100, everyone else's first 100-miler) and had to pick up their swag from the ever cheery Chris Rios, then get weighed in with the medical peeps. We hung around and caught up with some other familiar faces then found a nice little cacti to do a jumper photo in front of, great job snapping this one, Kelly!

Jerret, Brian, Gary and Geof

Since we had a big dinner, everyone just went and sat down. Geof wanted some grub, so we stood in line for some food (I got a slice of cake, yum!). After dinner, Caballo Blanco (Micah True, the dude featured in Born to Run) gave a speech that about running down south. It got dark fast, and we were all pretty wiped, so we headed home afterwards. Time to sleep! Kelly and I got to relax this time while Brian and Geof busied themselves preparing for the morning.

"Hey buddy, how ya feelin'? What can I get you, some soup, maybe some hot chocolate? You look good! Only 95 more miles to go and you're done!!"

I slept like a baby :) I think everyone else got some pretty good sleep, too. We rallied the troops for a 4 a.m. wake-up and were out the door by 4:45. Kelly and I were volunteering at Javelina Jeadquarters so we needed to be there at 5 a.m. The guys picked their spot under the picnic shelter, out of the hot sun, to keep their bags during the race, and readied themselves for the 6 a.m. start. Jeadquarters was buzzing! So many peeps! I met Robert Andrulis (sp?), Chris Rios (he was our aid station captain from 5a-1p), Dave Combs, Patti Coury (RD's mom, who is a complete sweetheart, to the max!), and a bunch of other folks and readers of my blog, how fun!

Six o' clock came fast and before we knew it, it was time to go. The course is about a 15.5 mile loop, run 6 times, and a 7th shorter (~9 miles) loop added at the end. Runners also run the loops in a washing machine fashion (switch directions each loop). Cool, huh? Here's Geof, all set to go in his Chicago Ultrarunners Atayne shirt!

The morning went fast, with Kelly, Ian and I all helping out at Jeadquarters. Ian was our "CHUG Brew"master (making all the Succeed ULTRA drinks), Kelly and I sliced, peeled, poured and restocked the table to our hearts' content. I met so many folks from the list, and was really enjoying myself. The runners were so appreciative and awesome. Patti was great to work with and really had this whole thing down to a science (the Coury family is one heck of a race directing machine!). It started to get jot, jot, jot around 10 a.m., eventually maxing out at around 81 degrees. The sun was out in full force, not a cloud to speak of, and zero shade anywhere on the course. Ice was a very popular commodity, and so was the pumpkin pie. It was fun to see the front runners come through and observe their antics (come in, drop their bottles, grab two more from their crew, and head out, never breaking stride in that whole exchange). Jorge Paccheco never exchanged anything, he just ran over the mat and then headed back out. No refills, nothing. He ended up DNF'ing later that day, leaving the front to Dave James the rest of the time, and the course record :)

Geof was looking AWESOME. He is a machine, a quiet, swift machine. I prepped a 5-scoop serving of Perpetuem for him so that I could just pour it right into his bottle, fill the other with water or Gatorade, and he's change his shirt or shorts while I did that, and then he'd be out. He was moving well the first few laps, slowing down some as the day grew jotter and jotter (j = h in this post, in case you were wondering, to keep with the Javelina theme :)). I was planning to jump in and pace Geof the last 9 mile loop, or maybe even the last 25 miles tops since my ankles have been giving me some grief since Glacial Trail 50k three weeks prior. Geof mentioned some funky glute and knee pain he'd never felt before, but the usual aches and pains were nowhere to be seen. Funny how that always works out in a race! On the fourth lap, the funky pains disappeared and he was feeling great again. But it was JOT! Here he is, heading out for loop number four...looking back for me :) (FYI, my most favorite picture!):

Back at Jeadquarters, I suited up, just in case Geof needed me to jump in a little earlier than anticipated. Kelly and I chilled out by the guys' bags, enjoyed a nap in the K Bus, and I made multiple pee stops (I was trying to keep up on my water intake since it was so hot). Brian eventually made it in, and we snapped to it, helping out however we could. Beej fights a constant battle with blisters and today was no different. I convinced him to clean his feet up with soap and water after he popped the devil blisters. He put on clean socks and shoes and then enjoyed a slice of pizza. Jerret and Gary came and went and seemed to be in good spirits. David was having a time with the heat, but still in great shape.

Helping Brian with his feet

After sending Brian off, Kelly and I got back to chilling out. Geof was going to be in soon, hopefully. Steve Hanes (whom I met a year ago, while hiking/running the Black Forest Trail and is an all around great dude, and I met his son, Mike Hanes, while running the Pineland Farms 50M this past May, in Maine) and Ian Stevens came over and we chatted for a bit, always great to catch up, dudes! It was starting to get dark, earlier than anticipated, around 6:00. Geof didn' have a light on him so I was a little worried. It was taking longer than we expected for him to get back, so I walked up to the trailhead where he would be emerging from. No sign of him after about 15 minutes, so I walked back down to the Jeadquarters. Eventually, G came running in. He sat down and he was smiling! He was now 100k into the race, alright! I asked him if he wanted me to jump in and run with him and we decided on a 'yes'. Okey dokey smokey! I put on two long-sleeve shirts and has on my Moebens in addition to my short sleeve CHUG Atayne top. Geof was still drinking Perpetuem so I filled up my bottle with Gatorade...something I do NOT do for long runs. I figured I'd be okay this time around. All suited up and 40 miles to go(!):

For as hot as it had been earlier in the day, it was cold as a mutha at night. We headed out on loop number 5, clockwise direction, and started walking on the undulating and very sandy/rocky trail. By the middle of each loop I ran, I had about half of the desert in each shoe. The moon was high overhead by now, and we ended up running without our headlamps for awhile once we passed the super rocky section. This was fun! The desert is gorgeous, especially in moonlight. We chatted most of the way to Coyote Camp AS, and I was digging deep for my rhythm. Where was it? You should know that Geof is one hell of a late-race runner. He moves, fast. He was pacing me! Obviously, as the pacer, you don't want to complain about feeling crappy, when your runner is almost 70 miles into the race already. But I'm bad at covering discomfort up. We were in and out of Coyote Camp and headed the next 5 miles to Jackass Junction AS. After we hit JJAS, it was mostly easy downhill back into Jeadquarters. We didn't need out headlamps and we just soaked in the scenery as we ran quietly. I was starting to feel like complete ass. My stomach was screaming, "where the hell is my damn Perpetuem?!" My ankles were saying, "you shmuck, you think you can push us another 40 miles, after standing around for 12 hour straight?!" And everything else was saying, "sit down, stop." Ugh, I felt awful. Clearly, my stomach was used to a liquid diet on the run, and today I was not giving it that. I was considering sitting out the 6th loop, and then jumping back in on the final loop.

Once we reached Jeadquarters, I dropped one of my long sleeve shirts, and then mixed some Perpetuem for myself when Geof decided he was done drinking it. We dilly dallied a bit, but then headed right back out. Things settled a bit while we were at the AS so I was feeling better. We headed back for number 6, counter clockwise. This time the trail is slightly uphill. Not enough that you can't run most of it, but enough that you feel it and kinda just want to walk. However, now I was cold (when you crested a hill it was warm air, but when you got to the bottom of one, it was chilly. This was weird because the hills were nothing major.) so I thought we should push it some. I started to jog, hoping Geof would follow suit. He did. So, we ran. And ran, and ran, and ran! No headlamps, just moonlight, and we were running, almost 80 miles in now. We were quiet for most of those 5.5 miles into Jackass Junction, but we ran every inch of it. I sort of regretted initiating that (!), and soon Geof pulled in front of me and was pulling his pacer along! I thought I was going to expire! We were pulling off sub-9:30 miles and I was gassed! It's amazing what the body can do. After Jackass, we decided to walk for a little. The rest of the loop went similar to this. Good strong running for awhile, following by strong walking. This was a really nice stretch. Just us, moving along, getting it done.

After coming into Jeadquarters, and before heading out on your final loop, runners are given a glowstick necklace so that AS folks know the runner is on their final loop. This was a fun idea, and motivating whenever we saw a runner with the necklace on already. Geof got his, and then we were off once more, heading clockwise up the trail. Geof was tired, and after letting go of the idea of finishing sub-24, he was pretty quiet again. We walked, a lot. And I was chiiiiillllly. Every so often, I would start a slow jog, Geof would follow suit, and then we'd slow back to a walk after a bit. I was getting tired finally, and the long day was starting to take its toll on me. Eventually we reached Coyote Camp, enjoyed some soup, said hi to Jerret who was chillin' on a chair, wrapped up in a blanket. Despite that, he looked good still, I had no doubt he would finish. He still had another 5 miles into Jeadquarters before he could get his necklace. Dawn was approaching and we had just 4 more miles of smooth downhill trail before we were home free. So, off we went. Geof grew chattier and we moseyed along the awesome Tonto Tank Trail, off and on shuffling and walking. The sun was starting to break free of the mountains and share its warmth with us. Sunrises are so pretty out west:

The sun came up fast and soon the Pemberton Trail was in sight once more. Once you were back on Pemberton, you had one more mile to go. We were running once again! Oh, glorious locomotion! Geof was almost done! Up and down, and up and down the last stretch, we crossed paths with Gary, who was heading out on his final 9 miles, past Karsten (the dude I went back and forth with at Vermont) and Dorn Peddy, who had dropped from the race and was cheering runners on at the trailhead. We rounded the corner by the tiki torches, and BAM! Finish line!!! Geof crossed the line in a highly respectable 25h:08m! Done and done! What's that? Two-time hundred mile runner, comin' in!

We hugged at the finish line, relief washing over us. Rest! Food! Oooo, belt buckle! Jamil handed Geof his buckle and someone grabbed his timing chip, then we went and...sat the eff down! Geof's finish was made even more impressive by the fact that exactly 50% of those who started the race DNF'd. FIFTY PERCENT! Wow! I have to say, I completely understand why the drop rate is consistently so high. That course is downright deceptively tough. You go into it thinking it's easy because there is no major climbing, and it's a loop course. You come out of it thinking it's effing TOUGH because there is no major climbing and it's a loop course! Mentally, that course will chew you up and spit you out if you're not trained for it in your mind. Then, add in all that extra running you're doing because there aren't any hills that force you to walk, and you're one tired SOB before too long. Oh, and the heat will do a number on you, too.

What a fun day though. I got to see my dude reel in his second 100-mile finish, run 40 miles through the desert in a place I've never been before (first time in Arizona!), spend time with my lovely CHUGs, hang out with Kelly who is pure human joy, and learned even more about how incredible the human body is. Just when you think it's had enough, it kicks into another gear and pushing you along some more. Geof is an incredibly strong runner and it was so cool to see first hand how he does it. JJ100 is a very, very well run event, great volunteers are out there, working hard, Jamil and his whole family 'get it' and have everything you could possibly want from a race. The organization is top notch, and they just...thought of it all. It was so cool. Kudos to the Coury family, and everyone that worked to make this happen!

Lessons learned? I don't fall in the desert, so maybe I should only run in deserts :) Geof has really, really great legs. Perpetuem saves lives. I love glow sticks when they lead only to aid stations. Never volunteer for 8 hours, crew for another 5 hours and then run 40 miles on a stomach filled with pumpkin pie, Gatorade, water, oatmeal cookies and a sub sandwich. Perpetuem really does give you the best sounding burps, and the sound reverberates off of cacti very well...I'm just sayin'. Blister ain't no joke...I just KNOW there is a solution out there and Brian is going to discover it :) And, last but not least, 100 miles is an amazing distance filled with a lot of incredible experiences and lessons that you will take with you everywhere in life. I can't wait to run 100 miles alongside Geof :)

Two thumbs up to Javelina. I recommend running it someday. Just remember, it ain't all that easy!

Chillin' at the K Bus with Geof and Brian after Geof's finish, and a luke-warm shower

Check out Geof's account of the awesomeness: A Very Javelina Jalloween

Crash, out.


Anonymous said...

Great report Crash. You tell it jow it is. Great peeps have one jell of a time out in the jot desert. Thanks for your jelp with my blister situation.

Alan Barnes said...

Great report. Working the aid station then just dropping in for a 40-miler has got to make for a long day (or night, that is). Congrats on Geof's finish, and your surviving pacing duties!

SteveQ said...

If you don't fall in the desert, you're not trying hard enough. Congrats on 25 hours - great time!

Dave Combs said...

Hey, Paige! It was fun having you out at Javelina Jeadquarters during the day. I wondered at one point where you'd gotten off to, and now I know--you were out pacing. Geof, excellent job with the 25 hour finish! (It's easy for me to remember your name, as my brother is named Geoff. ;-) Congratulations to both of you, and I hope to see you out at Jeadquarters again next year. I'll certainly be there.

Anonymous said...

Paige, You and Geof are truly amazing:) What an awesome race! Very nice post too!

Many Blessings,

Kelly Gaines said...

Yay Paige! It was such a fun weekend and great to hang out with you as always. :-) A huge congrats to Geof for a great finish, with a big help from you. You are a force of nature, girlie -- I know how pooped I was towards the end of the day, and that was with no running. The fact that you paced G for 40 miles a week after a 50-mile finish...dang! Thanks for writing a great report!


Irish Cream said...

You and Geoff are simply amazing. I am so impressed by your incredible adventures . . . EVERY TIME, I wish I was right there with y'all b/c it sounds like such a cool journey! You are seriously the best race report writer ever!!

Many congrats to Geoff (and kudos to you for being a kickass volunteer/crew/pacer--how did you do all of that in one day, girl? WOWSERS!) :)

David Ray said...

Paige, you've got all my respect. And throw in some more for Geof.

Great report on a great race.

Paige said...

Thanks all my peeps! It was so much fun out there...makes me wanna go back and run it, too!! :)

Leslie said...

Whaaaat no Halloween Costumes?!? I thought for sure you would have a "sexy nurse" outfit in you bag-o-tricks....especially for pacing duties!!

Paige said...

LOL! I did though! I wore my 'sexy sailor chick' costume for volunteering/crewing duties, but after 14 hours in that outfit, it was time to put on something more comfy for pacing :)

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