Race Summary: Javelina Jundred 100 miler - Do I pee on myself?

What's the hardest part of a 100 miler?  A common question.  Short answer, deciding if I pee on myself or not!

Long answer?  Well you're going to have to read to get the details on that.

I’ve run from my demons in the past only to find I was running on a circular track.  Constantly running back into my demons I fled, to find them stronger, more hideous, sadder, angrier, scarier, or more aggressive than before.

Haunting me consistently with only moments of self-delusional reprieve.

This destructive self-imposed cycle continued until I learned to run with my demons.  To understand their frustration.  To feel their pain.  To touch their fear.  To embrace them as….  well...  a part of me.
Understanding I will never rid myself of my demons, but my demons are useful indicators of life.  Warning gauges of when things begin to go astray in life, within myself or externally in the world which affects us all.

It was the morning after the Javelina Jundred 100K when I first discovered within myself it would be possible for me to go the 100 mile distance.  I remember thinking I have one shot.  Once chance and only one.

Few know it was all a mental exercise at the time as I grew confidence in myself as I reconstructed my soul.  Trying to map out my life within and redefine myself within myself as I crawled through a devastating dark time in my life.

The Javelina Jundred 100K course is a “short” version of the longer 100 mile (161 km) journey, athletes I considered un-human would go on to face and many conquer.

But I didn’t run my first 100 mile race at Javelina.  No, I flew all away across America to Florida to run a point to point 100 miler, the Daytona 100.  A flat journey from Jacksonville Florida to Daytona Beach Florida.

My reason?  Pemberton trail (the primary trail of Javelina) is an intimidating beast of a trail).  There’s no freaking way I could conquer such a feat I thought to myself.  So to Daytona I went, to find a different kind of grueling craziness.  Remember there is no such thing as an “easy” hundred miler.

Years after my Javelina 100k initiation, the call to Javelina continued.  I would return as a volunteer to mark the trail, as a pacer, and to simply hang out.  I marveled at those who took to the line of both distances.  But it was the 100 mile distance in which there was always a tug, accompanied with fear.
See the Javelina Jundred 100 miler has a high fail rate.  Roughly 50%

There are many reasons Javelina eats it own.  Weather and the actual course being the major two.

Weather, because its the freaking desert.  Temperatures swing wildly during the fall months in Phoenix.  I’ve seen temperatures in the triple digits in October.  With an extreme drop as the sun drops behind the mountains during the night.

There’s no reprieve from the sun on the desert floor.  There are no trees to hide beneath.  It is relentless as the course is totally exposed.  You may find refuge temporarily at an aid station or behind a saguaro cactus, if desperate.

The casualties mount and fallout is horrible.

In addition to the course being totally exposed, there’s a rocky technical section which will beat your feat as the mile accumulate.

Not to mention the continual elevation gain.  There’s the back side of the course which appears deceptively flat, but when you are leaving the Jeadquarters heading reverse to Jack Ass, you are gaining elevation.  If you go too hard, you don’t realize it until it’s too late!

All of these factors end up in injuries from falls, heat exhaustion, digestive issues, or hallucinations during the cold of the night.

Yeah.  It’s ugly.  And I knew it.  And Javelina intimidated me.

But leave it to friends, years of growing as a runner, and feeling challenged.  I finally gave into the call and decided to tackle Javelina in full.  Fears and all.

But unlike my first hundred miler or other journeys to the distance, I decided to take it in stride.  I didn’t plan my run as if I was attempting to launch a satellite into low orbit.  No nutrition planned out.  Only a small bag with some essentials as a "just in case" scenario, 2nd pair of shoes, change of socks, and few common nutritional items.  That's it. 

I didn’t over think it or calculate my every moment, move, or nutritional value.  I went with a simple concept.  Eat what is on the course.  Eat often.  Drink plenty of fluid.  Carry a hand-held flask or two and let the darkness of Javelina come to me.  Embrace it and face it.

Few days before, I decided to run in the suit.  The temperatures were dropping and Javelina would be cooler than years before.  So why not.  If we going to conquer this beast, may as well do it in style while raising some funds for Make-A-Wish AZ.  Right?  Right…. (Nervous confirmation).

But let's cut the crap.  These ultra crazy endurance runs gather a unique subset of individuals who are all broken in some kind of way on a unified journey to heal the soul.  And it's beautifully addictive.  There!  I said it.

There's nothing like the expo of an ultra.  It's an intimate crowd.  You know.  A get away of sorts.  Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name and they're always glad you came.  You want to be where you can see the troubles are all the same.  you want to be where everybody knows your name.

Damned it Ed!  Enough with the conjecture, how was the race?

Like any long distance endurance adventure.  Javelina was filled with elation, hell, joy, darkness, excitement, distraught, and pondering life.

I met so many wonderful and strong runners who had the courage to put their toes on the start line.  Many didn’t cross the finish, but they faced the Javelina with the courage and fortitude of human courage I continue to strive to grow into.

The biggest difference for me personally is this journey wasn’t about trying to resolve life issues, redefine or understand myself, or rebuilding my soul after mental and emotional distress.  This journey had me simply facing a physical and mental barrier I knew I had mentally and physically grew to overcome.

There was no larger goal.  Just wanted to face a long time fear of McDowell Mountain for 100 miles and overcome the battle within my head, and eventually my hurting body.  

And what a battle it was.

There were moments I wanted it to be all over.  The physical pain to push way beyond when the body cries “Please for to love of humanity, STOP THIS MADNESS!”, is constant.

It’s simple to say you have to embrace the pain of life or physical pain and use it as fuel.  Shit, if it was that easy we wouldn’t need fossil fuels to power our lives.  We would simply use the pain of life and master the universe.

When the shit gets real, and there’s a fucking chair right there!  Or a cot in the med tent where you can lay down and let it all be over!  Who da fuck wants to go back out in that heat under the relenting sun!

Or let the gods forbid the frigid cold of the night as the coyotes howl in the distance as the Nike Pegasus 36 trail shoes no longer feel plush over unstable granite rocks, lit by the light of a headlamp from your head in the dark of the night.

Loop 1 is the longest loop to make up some distance to ensure a full 100 miles.  It's the first loop runners have to be cautious.  The energy of fresh legs are with you.  The excitement of being a part of something so energetic and alive.  Meeting new people.  Bonding with fellow runners.  Getting to know intimate details of other human beings as the miles fall behind you.

Caught up in the beauty of the rising sun.  The smell of a new day.  And if you're not careful, you've run out too fast.  Haven't been hydrating properly.  Haven't been eating properly and the foundation for the remaining 90 miles is, to put it nicely, screwed.

But it is such a wonderful loop, as this is the loop you will make life long connections and Instagram friends!

Good God I hate the back side of loop 1.  That freaking climb out of the valley back to the Jeadquarters...  Damned!

But there is something about seeing a friendly smiling face in a shirt, tie, and red boxers? LOL!  The craziness of Javelina. 

Loop 2 would find me so zoned out and low…. I don’t remember much of it.  I remember the pains of digestive issues beginning.  I remember thinking I need to consume more water or I’m going to be done for…. I remember wanting for it to just stop.  I knew I was getting close to being in a bottomless pit.

I remember just telling myself.  Keep moving.  Just focus on the next step.  Don’t consider the distance.  Be in the now.

I was in a really dark place when I heard my name in the distance.

It was Henry.

His voice up beat, but I could tell his soul was beat.  But in that moment, I saw a flicker of a light.
We didn’t talk much or exchange much of any pick up, but in that moment the completion of the loop didn’t seem that far.

Olivia, Lani, and Jess were all there when I came in and tended to my physical, I didn’t give any indication my soul had been broken.  You know what they say “fake it till you make it”.

Yes, Oliva and Jessa!  The Bama crew came all the way in to aid and crew me.  These ladies were definitely my angels of the night, along with the amazing and wonderful Lani who ran the unofficial InkNBurn aid crew tent like a BOSS!  Much love Lani. 

I knew I was going to make it now.  All I had to do is knock down another 20 miles and I could rest.  Let my pacer pull me along.

Loop 3 would see the sun slowly set in the distance behind me as I headed back in.  With the darkness comes the howeling of the coyotes in the dark and the release of other animals which take over JackAss Junction.  The party animals.

Unleashed to entertain us weary runners!  And entertain they did!

I would see Andre upon decending into JackAss and he took care of me to keep me moving. 

The funniest moment is caught in this video I was taking just to memorialize the craziness of the party in the desert known as JackAss Junction at Javelina Jundred!

About two miles out from JackAss I feel into another pit of darkness and my memories fail me. 

Loop 4:  I was so beat down when Olivia stepped up to pace me at mile 62.  100K warm up with a 62K run is how I thought about it up to this point.  I forced her to walk for about 10 miles while I recovered.  I know I had to be sleep because there is nothing after the first 6 miles of loop 4.  I mean I have ZERO memories!

I just remember leaving out and began talking and sharing about me.

I rarely open up about what’s going on in my life.  Letting others know personal details.  Maybe it was the sleep deprivation.  Who knows.  I just remember I wanted to not think about the physical pain.

Obviously it worked because at some point…. I got nothing.  I don’t remember coming in for the final loop.  Don’t remember going out for the final loop.

I remember the sun rising to the east and how it made me feel.  I felt alive.  Blessed.  I knew I would finish the distance in this beat body.

Aid station stops on this final loop were very brief.  Sub 3 minute brief in most cases.

Near Jack Ass for the final time, we were attempting to pick up the pace.  Olivia was pushing me, I slipped on a rock.

For the third time.

Right ankle.


This time it was bad.  So bad I instantly thought I would need to get to the med tent to have them wrap it if there was remotely a chance to finish.  You read that right.  For a split second, I thought there was no way I would make it past the upcoming aid station (mile 90).  

I walked it off and decided I didn’t have time for that.  I wanted this over.  NOW!

Out of Jack Ass with 10 miles to go, I told Olivia (my pacer) give me a few moments to get my mind around this.  To get out of my own head.

I was in torment y’all.  But I knew I had to embrace this moment, this pain and put the bullshit in my head aside.  It was time to get out of my own head and
  • A) Identify if any pains would cause me to not walk when I was older and 
  • B) Knowing if I thought I was in pain now, nothing would compare to the pain awaiting me after we get this done!
Within 1/2 a mile, I broke through the mental fog and pain.  I started doing intervals.  Quick intervals.  I mean blazing fast, can’t believe we’re going this pace at mile 90+.  I just remember there was no way I could have pulled this off during the Daytona 100, my first 100 miler.

I had truly grown mentally and physically.

I stopped at Rattlesnake aid station to get more calories and coke down.  When all of a sudden I remembered and exclaimed, there is nothing I’m eating now that will help me get to the end.  Let’s go!  3.9 miles on the docket and my body wouldn’t have time to convert anything I consumed into useful energy.  Fact!  Let’s get at it.

And get at it we did.  Interval sets again.  Until I went savage.  I started noticing runners in the distance, walking the final few miles.  I felt like an animal.  I believe I can take ‘em I thought.

Mind games y’all.

I told Olivia I think I can take them.  Now!  We started chasing down other runners!  Adam mentality y’all.

You know what this did though?  It got my mind off the pain.  I didn’t focus on the discomfort.  But I kept focusing on my abilities.  What can I do?  How can I close this gap without injuring myself or blowing up with only a couple miles left?

And that’s how I finished Javelina.  Tracking other runners down in the distance and getting after them!  One by one, until the finish was literally around the corner.   29 hours 3 minutes and 10 seconds.

Countless memories.  Wonderful stories.  Many new trail buddies made.  Awesome adventure.  All while facing my personal fear in a freaking two piece suit and bow tie.

Plus over $500.00 was raised for Make-A-Wish Arizona!  Y'all who donated rock!  And if you still want to donate, my 2020 fundraising campaign is live - click the link and give a dollar.  

That's the crazy thing about these races.  You can be mentally tormented and beat to hell.  Despite how low you are.  How quick the tears flow, everyone can find a smile.  Even in some of the most horrid situations.   Even in ultimate defeat, people find grace.  People find humanity.  People find peace within themselves.

But back to the question or questions at hand.

The hardest part of the race?  The part of the race I felt the most pain?  What was the biggest challenge?  These are the most common questions.

The answer?  The next morning.

Y’all fuck what you heard.  There is no darkness or pain like after you stop moving and your body begins to lock up.

Having to force through the pain of torn muscle fibers and sore tendons just to barely crawl to the bathroom.  Where you decide if it truly okay to pee on yourself versus having to put weight on your legs and feet hours later.

Yeah, like that.  But I wouldn't let nobody around me would know the struggle within.  I like keeping things positive despite the challenges I face. 

Attempting to run 100 miles may feel like it will kill ya.  It won’t.  It may get close.  Hell you may injure the hell out of yourself trying.  But the next day?  Shyyyyyt!  That’s where memories are made.

When no one is looking and it feels as if someone has placed hot branding plates behind your knee caps.

Where the idea of having a cactus shoved up your butt could give reprieve to the agony you feel in your legs and feet.

There are no crowds to cheer you own here.  There are no medals to be earned as you crawl your way to the bathroom.  There are no glory selfie shots as you scream internally in pain just to get a fucking glass of water because you need to hydrate.

My mema was entertained seeing me struggle in the early hours.  It brought a smile to her face as she inquired if I hurt my leg?  We would laugh in unison and share the moment, despite me wanting to cry.  

Here’s to everyone who has endured through the after effects of a major milestone race.  Be it a physical one of your first 5k or marathon.  Or a mental one of overcoming the bullshit of life and you just don’t want to move on with life.

No matter where you are on life’s journey, the road is long.  It’s sometimes dark.  Frightening even.  Folks will mock you.  Call you out.  You’ll doubt yourself.  Journey on.  Journey on.  One step.  Just one more step. 

In short, Run More Miles - Y'all Be Good.  Do You. 

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.