Monday, October 29, 2012

Javelina Jundred - Busted - My Race Recap

I did not complete the Javelina Jundred 100 Miler.


I messed up my with my shoes, nutrition, and hydration...again.

The good news is that I did complete 4 laps and got a 100K buckle and didn't have to go to ER. ;) So that's a plus, right? Here's the story.

On Thursday night, I drove over to my sister's. She lives about 30 minutes outside of Phoenix and she was going to be my "crew" for the weekend. I got to see my nephew & nieces for a little bit on Thursday night and then Friday morning. After I took them to school, I went to the store to pick up the last of the food/supplies I wanted to take. My sister got off work at noon and after we ate lunch, we drove out to Fountain Hills where the race was being held.

We drove straight to the McDowell Park to check things out and they had already got most of it set up. So we got to see the layout of the start, Javelina Jeadquarters, in the daylight.
Then we checked into our hotel, rested a bit, and headed to the Radisson for packet pickup. We got some great swag: a bag, water bottle, hat, and shirt (check out @bayou's pic of it here). While I was in line for my bib, my friend Cliff (from ET51K) came over and I got to meet his pacer Jeff and introduced him to my sister. We waited a little bit for Josh to come done and then headed into the pasta dinner. We ate with Cliff, Jeff, and Josh (see a pic of that here) and they were scaring my poor sister! I'm trying to get her started racing but they have all been doing these crazy, hard, long runs and she thought they were nuts. ;) In a good way. I asked her after if meeting them and hearing what they had done made me seem less crazy to her and she said NO. Ha!

Me and Josh at packet pickup:
When we left there, we went to the store for a couple more things and then went back to the hotel so I could get my drop bags and race gear ready. Here's a pic of the outfit I wore with my bib:
Then it was time for bed and I slept surprisingly well. I thought for sure I wouldn't get any sleep! But I got a good 6+ hours. I woke up at 4, ate, and got dressed. At 5, we headed over and my sister dropped me off at JJHQ. I dropped off my drop bags and then found Robert (@batelauer) and also found Cliff.

Me and Robert:
Then I saw Josh for a few seconds and found my sister and then it was time to start!

The race started at 6 am and it was still dark when we headed out. I had my small Petzl headlamp on and it was fine. The start was crowded and most of the runners at the back where I started were walking so that's what I did. No dodging runners in mile 1 for this race! It was nice and cool and kind of surreal. Watching the sun rise over the valley as we ran was pretty darn cool.

Javelina Jundred is a loop course. You do the course in opposite directions each lap which is what the sign with the skeleton above is reminding us. There was about an 800 ft gain each lap with the "halfway" point being Jackass Junction. The other 2 full aid stations were Coyote Camp and Rattlesnake Ranch. There was also a water only stop, Tonto Tavern, between Coyote Camp and Jackass Junction.

Loop 1 - 0-15.4 miles
I felt awesome on the first loop (check out this pic here). I had food in my pockets and was carrying my water bottle so didn't stop at the aid stations except to refill my water bottle. I was trying to keep my pace to about 14 min miles and I had no problem doing that in the first half of loop one. It was rocky and had a gentle hill so that slowed me down. Once I left Jackass Junction though it was a smooth downhill and I went quicker than I should have. I finished that loop in 3:35. I just got some food and then headed out for my next lap. I told my sister that I planned to do it slower - about 3:45 or so she would know when to expect me.

I saw Cliff for a lot of the first lap and got to see Robert and Josh as they headed back on their loop 2 so that was fun. Oh, and this was what the views looked like while we were running.
Loop 2 - 15.4-30.8 miles
I was still feeling great on loop 2 and tried to take it even slower to get my average pace down. I was doing a 9 min run/1 min walk and then walking any "hill" I felt like. I grabbed some food at Rattlesnake Ranch and Jackass Junction and had them refill my bottle with ice water, which tasted SO good. I was doing S Caps every 45 minutes to and making sure I drank water during the 1 min walking intervals. I felt like I had a good schedule going and my stomach was doing fine.

After I left Jackass Junction, the rocky part started. It started warming up too and I was starting to feel it. I was afraid I was going to run out of water before the next aid station so was conserving a little. I totally forgot about the water stop, Tonto Tavern, between Coyote Camp and Jackass Junction. I think I started getting behind on my hydration at that point. When I got to Coyote Camp, I saw Josh there and he told me I looked hot (what every woman wants to hear! ;) too bad he didn't mean it that way) He also told me to sit down but I said no, I needed to keep going. He left and I was shocked to see him heading toward HQ instead of Jackass Junction. I knew something had to be wrong for that to happen. I drank a bunch of coke and water and asked them to hose me down with ice water and then headed out myself. I finished loop 2 in 4:01 which I was happy with since it included stops at the aid stations.

Oh, I met Carilyn (@CarilynJohnson) out on the course during this loop which was really cool and got to see Cliff and Robert on their loop 3.

Loop 3 - 30.8-46.2
When I got back to HQ, my sister was waiting for me. I asked her to get my drop bag so I could change my shoes. The course was rockier than I expected, not bad but a lot of the kind of rocks just sticking out of the ground. That's the kind of rocks that did my foot in last March and they were doing a number on my foot again. I knew I needed to change shoes and get the little rocks out of my shoes when I got back to HQ so didn't want to waste time at Coyote Camp and that's why I'd told Josh no. I wanted my heavier Saucony's with the sturdier sole/rock plate so I could run more comfortably. Looking back, I wish I'd started out in them.

I saw Josh at the aid station and he told me he was really sick - throwing up, etc. so I found out why I'd been able to catch him. Poor Josh. I grabbed a few things to eat, including a popsicle (totally yummy) and went to sit down in the shade to change my shoes and socks. My sister also had a Fanta Orange soda for me and that tasted so good. I spent about 20 minutes there and then headed out. My dad, stepmom, and niece were there but waiting for a shuttle so I didn't get to see them. I told my sister since it was hot now I planned to take it even slower so don't expect me for 4 1/2 to 5 hours that way they could go to the casino if they wanted.

As I headed out for my 3rd loop, a bunch of people were looking and pointing at something in the desert. I asked what they were looking at and it was a coyote! So cool! :)

I think I did pretty well from HQ thru Tonto Tavern. But then fell apart between Tonto Tavern and Jackass Junction. I ran out of water and I was so hot and starting to feel woozy. That is not fun when you have to pick your way thru rocks. After twisting my ankle a couple times, I gave up running and just walked. People were asking me if I was okay so I must have looked bad. :(

My calves and hamstrings were trying to cramp and when I stopped at Jackass Junction for food and water, they started in earnest. Oh, and my inner thighs decided they wanted to join the party. I felt a little dizzy and nauseous and was flashing back to Summer Spectacular 50K so I knew I needed to cool off. I sat down in the tent but was still feeling bad and my legs were cramping so I laid down on one of the cots. The medics at the station made me drink a ton of water and take some S Caps and bananas and oranges.

Listening to the other runners in there who were dropping made it so tempting. I knew I had to get up and get moving or I'd give in and call it quits. But then my right calf cramped up bad. It was brutal. The medic grabbed my calf and he really worked it to get rid of the cramp and then loosen it up. I was so thankful for that. Another runner came in who was in bad shape so I got up so they could have the cot. My inner thighs were still not happy campers but at least I wasn't dizzy or nauseous anymore. I had them refill my water bottle, stuffed some ginger snaps in my pockets, told the medics I was leaving, and left. I'd spent 50 minutes there and it was cooler and the sun was setting. I had my small Petzl light in my pocket but the moon was pretty bright so you didn't really need it on the smooth section. I found I was able to run a little and I think I did probably 50/50 on the way back to HQ. I stopped at Rattlesnake Ranch but food did not sound good at all but I had a little broth and a quarter Nutella sandwich.

It was harder to see who was who in the dark but I did see Josh and Cliff going back in which was nice. Oh, and I heard coyotes howling for the first time that night as I was getting close to HQ. A pack with pups which was a total trip!

So, I finished loop 3 in 6 hours and 35 minutes. Considering that included the 20 minutes at HQ and the 50 minutes at Jackass Junction and the stop at Rattlesnake Ranch, I wasn't too far off in my time moving to what I'd told my sister but I could feel time slipping away from me and it was frustrating.

Loop 4 - 46.2-61.6
When I got in to HQ after loop 3, I went to where my family was and they helped me get ready for loop 4. I had a slice of pizza and the rest of the Fanta from earlier. I changed out of my Run It Fast tank into my Jackson Jackass 50K shirt (for luck) and grabbed my jacket and another light. I also grabbed my mp3 player and stuffed my pockets with pretzels and shortbread cookies. I had given myself 15 minutes for this stop and left right on time. I said goodbye to my dad and stepmom and told my sister I would see her in hopefully 6 hours or less. I saw her sooner than I expected because I left going the wrong way! So I had to backtrack to go the right way. Oops. :)

Once again, I think I did okay going up to Jackass Junction. A lot of walking, a little running, and mentally feeling okay. I stopped at Rattlesnake Ranch again for another square of Nutella and banana and a refill of my water bottle. My niece had filled it for me at HQ. I'm sure she told them water but it was filled with Heed and I couldn't drink it so didn't have anything to drink between HQ and RR. I tried a couple sips but it just was...gross. I'm sure it's not but I just can't handle it. So there was that. But I didn't really think about it being a bad thing. I was just moving and listening to my music to focus on something other than what was ahead.

I passed the 50 mile mark on the way to Jackass Junction! My first 50 miler done. I was in new territory since leaving on lap 3 but I thought I would never see 50 miles on my Garmin the way things have been going. So that was very cool. But I was cold and tired when I got to Jackass Junction so I stopped and sat down and had a cup of soup. Robert was there and he wasn't doing to good. I spent more time there than I should have but finally got going. I left there at 11:30.

Things went way south when I hit the rocky part. My right foot was killing me and I was trying to place it very gingerly on the trail. Which means of course that I slipped a few times. And the way I was placing my foot bothered my shin so that started complaining. I guess I hadn't been eating enough because I also had a huge drop of energy and it seemed like forever until I got to Tonto Tavern. I sat down on the bench there and started eating the pretzels I had in my pocket to see if that would help. There was someone manning Tonto Tavern this time and I thought I might be hallucinating so I asked him if he was a real person. He said yes. But wouldn't a hallucination have answered me as well? ;)

So I left there knowing I had 5 more miles to go. It felt like forever. I wanted it to be over with but the only way out was to walk. My legs were seriously noodley and it was not helping me plant my foot safely. Oh, and I'd developed blisters on my toes. But finally, finally I got to Coyote Camp and forced myself to drink some coke and eat something. I think I had a brownie and something else but I can't remember what. I tried not to linger and didn't let myself sit down again even though I really wanted to and wondered if I should take care of the blisters but I didn't. It was mostly smooth after that so I got a little quicker at least.

After Coyote Camp, I heard coyotes howling again and saw a couple of shooting stars. And then I started thinking about how slow I was. I got a text from Josh at 3 am and I told him I had 1 more mileish to go. He told me to take it just 1/10 of a mile at a time. That was kind of hard for me to do because my Garmin had died somewhere after Tonto Tavern. But I knew what he meant and I just kept moving forward. I was depressed about how much walking I'd done on that last part so I tried throwing in a few spurts of running. And by golly, when I got near HQ, I forced myself to run to the start. I was going to finish running at least!

So I finished lap 4 at 3:23 am. Yes, lap 4 was 7 hours and 12 minutes. Pretty bad, huh? That's flipping depressing. It took me 21 hours and 23 minutes to run 61.6 miles.

I was done. My foot and shin were done. I could have gotten 1 more loop in before they pulled me from the course but I didn't think my foot would get better, only worse so I told them I was dropping and they gave me my 100K buckle.
Pretty cool buckle, huh? My first! Woo!

My sister and my niece were waiting for me when I finished. I didn't want any food or anything. All I wanted to do was get my shoes off. When I took off my socks, I got to see the blisters. One on the outside of each big toe. Nice, big, red ones. Ugh. I waddled over to the med tent and asked them if they could help me with them and they cleaned them up and bandaged them for me.

Then we left to see if we could get a hotel room but the 2 hotels closest to the race were full so we decided to just head home. My poor sister was super tired! We got home about 5:15 and I cleaned up and then fell into the sleeping bag. Seriously. Just kind of keeled over into it. I slept for maybe 90 minutes, if that, but my foot and shin were hurting so bad it was fitful. I gave up sleeping at 7 and started icing them.

And that's what I did most of Sunday. Iced my foot and shin or applied biofreeze to it. I could hardly walk on it and my family was just shaking their heads about how I could think it was fun. I was not a good advertisement for racing on Sunday!

I also was still nauseous and did not want to eat but I forced myself too because I was still cramping up until dinner time on Sunday. Even my hands were cramping. I wanted to thank my sister for helping me at JJ100 so I said let's go out to celebrate. I said I didn't care where we went as long as I could get a steak. They picked Olive Garden and I was good with that so that's where we celebrated my first 100K.

Followed by celebratory sundaes:
So I have mixed feelings about this race. I am not happy but I'm not too sad either. I am really disappointed and mad that I didn't make it to 100 miles. A friend had sent me a text a week before JJ100 and said something like I would be a 100K finisher soon. He was totally joking, I think. But I am still pissed that I proved him "right".

And yet, I am proud of myself for not dropping during loop 3 and for going out on loop 4. Proud of myself for doing my longest distance to date and for getting my first buckle. Heck, I'm proud of myself for showing up and not letting fear keep me from getting to the starting line. Yes, I was afraid that might happen. But it didn't.

I also enjoyed the venue/course and seeing the runners on the course multiple times, especially it was cool to see Mike Morton and Hal Koerner running the same course I was!

When I think back on the race, I have more positive thoughts about it than negative. I still have doubts about whether I'm made of stern stuff but I am willing to try again. I think this was a good lesson for my next one. Right now I'm planning on one in March. Hopefully. There is still a big jump from 100K to 100 miles but it's not quite as scary as it was before. I can't wait to try again! :)

Well, that's it. My JJ adventure. Hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading!

P.S. In case you were wondering...Josh did 100K (after being violently sick and getting attacked by a jumping cactus during his run!), Robert did 70 miles (when a massive blister on the bottom of his foot forced him to drop) and Cliff finished his first 100 miler in 27 hours and 30 minutes! And surprisingly, I wasn't the last 100K. Only 160 of 364 runners completed the 100 Miler. Another 159 runners completed at least 100K. I was 316th. You can see all the results here: JJ100 Results.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Javelina Jundred Or Bust

In just a few hours I leave for Arizona. I get off work at 4 today and then I’m driving over to my sister’s. So my Javelina Jundred Adventure begins soon! :)

Am I excited? Scared? Nervous?

You bet.

Everyone is asking me how I feel and if I’m ready and if I’m thinking “what was I thinking?”.  Honestly, I did have a “what was I thinking?” moment in the shower this morning. ;) But it didn’t last long. Because what I was thinking when I signed up for this is that I have nothing to lose. After all, what’s the worst that could happen? That I don’t finish it, right? When I signed up for Javelina Jundred, I had to ask myself if I was okay with a DNF. And while I’m not okay with it…it would be my first…I decided I could learn to live with it because it meant that I’d tried. That I’d reached for the stars and if I didn’t reach them, I would still be farther than most people who never tried.

But I REALLY want that 100 Mile buckle. Really bad.

I read something recently…I can’t remember where…that said when the going gets tough, you have to have a reason for why you should keep going instead of quitting. I guess my reason to keep going will most likely be pride. I don’t want to fail. I can handle being pulled because I’m sick or because I didn’t make a cutoff. I can’t handle quitting because it was too hard. I am not a quitter. And you don’t know how much I hope that’s true. It’s one of the reasons I signed up for this race…to prove it to myself.

My other reason is a little more fun. I want a tattoo of coyote tracks, either on my shoulder or on my ankle. Like the running set in this pic:
Crazy reason, huh? But I want it and I told myself I couldn’t get it til after I did a 100 miler. So I’m going to do my best to earn it.

I chose Javelina Jundred because it fit my Year of Animal Racing but also because it’s in the desert. I love the desert so I figured it would be a good place to try my first 100. I think the thing I like most about it is that it’s a harsh environment but beauty can be found there as well as creatures…like the coyote…who are tough and enduring. It’s a wild place and full of wonder.
I’m happy when I’m in the desert as you can see from this pic of me at Joshua Tree a few weeks back.
Let’s hope I’m still happy...tired, but happy on Sunday! :)

See you on the other side!

Oops, almost's the link if you want to track me at JJ: 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Numbers Game

Running is a numbers game.

Don’t you think? Or is it just me?

I am a numbers geek. I’m an accountant. I do math puzzles for fun in my spare time. I’m a geek, what can I say? ;)

So it’s very hard for me to run without numbers. I can’t just go for a run and not know how many miles I ran. I have to either run one of my known routes or I have to wear my garmin. I just have to know. Plus, I’m always calculating pace and finish time. So if I give myself an hour to run and I’m feeling good and running faster than I expected, I start calculating what my avg pace is so that I’ll know how much to add on.

I also have this thing where I have to end at certain distance. On the bike it means I have to finish even or just a little over a mile distance. I can’t stop at 19.7. I have to finish at 20. 20.1 is okay though. Don’t ask me why.  It’s even worse with running. I can’t run 3 miles or 6 or even 13 without adding that little extra bit to make it 5K, 10K, or a half marathon. I just can’t. I also have to keep going if I get to .7 miles so that I hit the next whole mile.

But really the big “numbers game” for me right now is Javelina Jundred. I need to average at least 18 minute miles to finish the 100 within the 30 hour cutoff time. 18 minutes seems totally doable, right? I mean I can almost walk that fast. I say almost because I probably average 3 miles per hour when I walk. I’m telling you…having short legs sucks!

I’m sure I’ll be doing a lot of calculating while I run it. My plan is to run it like I ran the 12 hour. Very easy and with a run/walk mix. Probably 9/1 at the beginning and then who knows from there. I would love to average 4.5 to 5 miles per hour. At least for the first half. I just don’t know whether or not that’s slow enough in the beginning? It’s a big unknown for me.

I would be more comfortable if I’d done that 50 miler for sure. But I have done a lot during this first round of 100 training. I think.

During my 100 training, I ran 1,357.8 miles and rode 2,026 miles. Is that enough?

I did 1 12 HR, 2 50Ks, 2 marathons, and 6 half marathons. Plus a 15K and a 5K. Is that enough?

I did 7 additional long runs from 18-24 miles  (usually followed by a long run from 13-14 miles the next day) including back-to-back 21 milers the weekend after I did the Leading Ladies Marathon (and a 12 miler the day after that marathon). Is that enough?

I hope so.

It’s only 5 days til Javelina Jundred and I’m ready to put that training to the test right now! It feels like Saturday will never get here and yet in some ways I wish I had more time. But one thing I’ve learned from running marathons and 50Ks and 12 hours is that you’ll never feel completely ready. You’ll always feel like you could have done more…more miles, more speed work, more rest, more sleep. You just go with what you’ve got in the barn.

The hay is in the barn and this coyote is ready to run!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Coyote Signs

9 days til Javelina Jundred! Single digits now. I can't believe it's almost here. I'm tapering this week and I'm doing okay with the taper. Mostly.

I only ran 8.6 miles on Tuesday, 6.2 yesterday, and 9 today and missed not being able to go longer. But it was nice getting to sleep in a little. I could probably use the lower mileage anyway because I have a few little niggles in my left leg (knee, glute, and calf). Nothing major and they are fine once I've warmed up.

Running has not been spectacular. I feel a little sluggish. I swear that my body does not like taking time off of running. I do much, much better when I run everyday. I know I needed the breaks because I was probably a little bit overtrained. Just a little. ;) But each run gets progressively better when I run every day and today's was pretty good. More fluid. More graceful. That's the thing about taking time off...I feel clunky on the next run or two and I don't like it!

I've also been dealing with some weird stomach thing. I have been feeling a little nauseous and bleh the past few days. I've been trying to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night to see if it helps. It doesn't make eating a whole lot of fun right now though and it's really hard to enjoy my lunch burritos since I've lost my appetite. Again. Sigh.

Anyway, I'm in a weird place in that I'm not stressing about how my running is going. I don't need to be fast for JJ100. I just need to finish it in 30 hours. Which seems totally long as I can stay on my feet. And keep food in my stomach. And stay awake. <-- My biggest worry.

But I am hopeful. :)

I had a very interesting thing happen on my run Tuesday morning. I saw a coyote run across the bike trail and then another a few minutes later. The 2nd coyote and I ran by each other and both of us looked over our shoulders to see what the other one was doing. I saw it stop on the trail and watch me. And then it howled! I stopped too and listened for a moment and then it took off and so did I. It was a very cool encounter and I think it was a sign of good things to come. Maybe that coyote knew I planned to get a coyote paw print tat when I complete the 100 and it approved! Ok, probably not...but you never know...

One other coyote related item is that one of the aid stations at JJ100 is called Coyote Camp:
I added the Wile E Coyote, btw. ;) But I think it's another great sign for JJ100, don't you?

I don't know...I could be blowing smoke about the signs and thinking wishful thoughts but like I said, I am hopeful. Only time will tell. In this case 30 hours. But hopefully less!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Raptor Ridge Race Report

I kind of just like saying that. Raptor Ridge Race Report. Kind of just rolls along, eh?

Rapter Ridge Trail Half was my 16th half marathon and my 10th this year. I had a good day today. It was a good, solid run and turned out better than expected. Got in some dirt and some hills which is always fun!

So...I was supposed to do a 20 miler on Sat and a 5 miler today per my plan but the Raptor Ridge Trail Half was the last race in the Animal Half Series for Dirt Devil Racing. Since I'd done all the others (Wild Horse, Foxy, and Cougar), I HAD to do this one, right? Oh, yeah! I decided to do 13.1 yesterday and 13.1 today.

Yesterday's run went well. I was a little tired because I went to my mom's and waited for my mom, sister, and niece to get back from their Hawaii trip (and not just because I was going to pounce on the box of Honolulu Cookie Company deliciousness!) and their plane was late. I didn't get to bed until about 1:30 but still got up at 6 to go for a run. I didn't feel too tired though. The bad thing was that I didn't get to eat before or after my run so didn't eat til we all went to lunch and by then I was STARVING. And then in the afternoon, I had a major energy crash. :( I ended up taking a nap and then falling asleep about 8:30.

I woke up at 3:30 this morning and got ready for the 90 minute drive down to Escondido. I MADE SURE I ate breakfast before I left. I did not want to crash again. I got there at 6am in plenty of time and picked up my bib and race swag.
The back of the race shirt totally cracked me up because I often think something like this when I'm near the end of a marathon or 50K and think how did I get myself into this! Because it's fun, of course! :)

Raptor Ridge started at 7 and there were 3 waves. I was in the last wave so started around 7:12. It was cool and foggy/misty and I felt pretty good. My left glute and calf were a little tight from Saturday's run but they loosened up and didn't give me any grief.

The race was held at San Dieguito River Park. The course was mostly smooth trail or double track with about a mile of single track (all hill). I had never been there, or so I thought, but it turns out the hill we hit at mile 5 was the same hill we ran during the Cougar Half, just in reverse, so I was familiar with it.

I ran easy til we started the climb up the hill. Like I said, it was a mile long and it was still cool so it was pretty nice. I did walk some of the steeper sections but ran as much as I could. Once we hit the top, it was a smooth more gradual downhill to the turnaround. I ran much more of the hill coming back since it was gradual and only walked a couple of sections. Here's a pic I took looking back at the valley as we went up the back side of the hill:
Once over the top, we had the fun downhill single track section. I ran this part much more aggressively than I did for the Cougar Run. I had a ton of fun on this section! I am proud of myself for attacking it. :)

Once down the hill, it was mostly flat to the end. I did get a little tired at the end and my stomach was a tiny bit gurgly but I finished strong. I passed about 4 or 5 people in the last couple miles including a woman who almost caught me at the end. But the RD was announcing #s and he said mine and then he said #363 and she's coming fast and I was like, "oh no, she's not going to pass me back" so found something left in my legs and beat her to the line. Ha! ;) It's the small victories that count sometimes!

I finished in 2:27 and change (per my Garmin) and that is 20 minutes faster than I did the Cougar Half back in June so I'm happy. Here's the killer medal we got:
Fierce! Don't you think? We also got a glass and a drawstring bag along with our race shirt so lots of swag for this race.
All pretty cool. I will probably be using the glass for my chocolate milk instead of beer though. ;) The Animal Half Series was pretty fun. Got to see some beautiful and interesting areas of San Diego. The courses were fun and progressively challenging but completely doable for all levels. They had cool medals and shirts and extras like beanies/hats/bags/glasses. The only thing I didn't like about the series was that you had to go to a local pub/bar for post race food and awards. Not that I was getting an award but it's fun to see that. If you live in San Diego though, it's a good deal.

Okay, it's 2 weeks until Javelina Jundred! I am officially in taper mode. Holy cow! I should be freaking out right now and I am a little bit but overall, I'm excited. Josh (@bayou) asked me at the end of his 100 if I was scared after seeing one up close and I could honestly answer him that it didn't scare me one bit. Crewing for him was probably the best thing I could have done...besides training...because I felt like I fit in there with the other runners and crew. I felt more comfortable and it didn't seem like this great unknown anymore. Oh sure, it's still scary and I still have some doubts but that's why I'm doing it. To see how far I can go. To see what I'm made of. It's going to be a good thing. :)

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Crewing At Yellowstone Teton 100

I have not run in 4 days! 4! And I don't even care. That's pretty wild, eh? But I experienced one of the most amazing, fun, and inspiring weekends ever so it more than made up for the lack of running for myself. Besides, I got to see plenty of running while crewing Joshua Holmes (@bayou). This was my first time  crewing a runner during a 100 miler so I was a little nervous. Of course, I didn't let Josh know that! But I really wanted to help him finish this run and PR so I had a few goals for this weekend:

For Josh
1. Get him to the race start.
2. Help him finish and PR at YT100.
3. Get him home safe!

For Me
1. Don't get lost during the race.
2. Stay awake.
3. Don't lock the keys in the car.

I'm happy to report that all goals were met!

So, that's the short story. The long story is this...

(Yeah, you knew that was coming, right?)

So on Thursday, I picked up Josh on the way to LAX. We were flying to Salt Lake City and then on to Idaho Falls. There was some traffic and the line to go thru the checkpoint was super long so it was iffy but I finagled us into the short line and we made it to the plane on time. Woo! 1st flight was a go. We only had 30 min between flights so when we landed in SLC, we ran thru the airport to our next flight and made that in time too. Woo! Flights...check.

We stayed in Idaho Falls on Thursday night and drove to West Yellowstone on Friday after hitting up Wal-Mart for supplies. We made it to West Yellowstone around 3:30 with plenty of time to spare before the runner's meeting at 5. To pass the time, we went to the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center to check things out. I almost lost him to a Grizzly there!

But I was able to save him from the grizzly so he made it to the runner's meeting. ;)

After the meeting, we went and got dinner (delicious lasagna) and then I dropped him off at the hotel while I went to get a few more things. Then I went back to the hotel to get as much sleep as possible to prep for the night ahead.

In the morning, I woke up and sent Josh a text to make sure he was up and then got ready, ate, and packed up. I got Josh's stuff too and packed them in the car so he could head to the race start. He got to race start on time...barely...but on time. Goal #1 for Josh complete!!! Thank god.

So...a little background first. Before we arrived in Idaho, we thought the overnight temps for the race would be 26 degrees...which is flipping cold, right? But then Josh had checked on Friday and the predicted low for West Yellowstone was SEVEN degrees! Insane! But Josh was going thru with it as did all the other runners. Brave souls.

Luckily...ok, not lucky but at least a little was 12 degrees when the runners started out. I took longer to pack the car than I thought so I didn't make it to the start line in time for the start but decided to wait in front of the hotel where they would be passing twice. I cheered Josh and the other runners as they passed me going and then coming back and then jumped in the car to head out on the course...and warm up!

I decided to go out a few miles and wait for Josh. I parked by the course photographer and the flash as he took pictures helped identify the runners in the dark. And then there was Josh! And Oh.My.God...he was covered in frost. All of his hair was white with frost, from his eyebrows to his beard to his hair. It kind of freaked me out a little but I didn't say anything. He told me that his bottle had frozen and he gave it to me. The water bottle that I had taken out with me to fill his Amphipod had already started to freeze too. Yes, it was that cold. As I was driving on the course, the temp dropped to 9 degrees! But Josh ran on and I drove out a couple of miles to meet him. AFTER slipping and falling as I ran back to the car. Doh! But no damage thankfully!

After that, I would leap frog Josh on the course. He'd ask me to wait for him 2-4 miles ahead and then I'd give him whatever he needed: water, nuun, roctane, boost, etc. He would usually tell me what he wanted at the next stop so I could have it ready but sometimes I'd have to scramble. There were a couple of mishaps along the way.

At one point, he told me that he needed to use the restroom and I must have stopped at every building along the road and they were all closed! One of the gas stations was even closed already for the winter. That is so weird. But I finally found a place. Then he asked me to find him a cheeseburger and the only cheeseburger I could find was the last one at this one little store. I microwaved it with their presets but when he tried to eat it, the burger patty was rock solid. Damn it. He didn't say anything but I'm sure he was disappointed. :(

But he kept running. And it got warmer so he could start shedding layers.

Around mile 30, his knee started giving him trouble. And it was bad. He put a knee brace on and kept running.

He seemed really down about it and thought he might have to DNF. I told him to just be smart about it. But he changed shoes and kept running. He was a machine. And I was really impressed by him.

Saturday, during the day was interesting for me because I not only got to watch Josh but the other runners around him. I'd see the same mix of runners each time I drove ahead to wait for him. They helped me keep track of him. I'd see this runner or that runner and know that he would be coming soon. Then I would grab what I think he'd need or what he told me wanted and run out to meet him. Then I would walk/run with him a little to get the bottle or gel packet and instructions for the next stop.

The other thing that was cool was that I got to meet the crews for the other runners and we would talk while we waited for our runner to come by. And I would get to see what they were doing for their runners and learn a little bit about everyone.

And of course, the views along the course were pretty darn cool!

When Josh hit the aid station past the 50 miles and he was still running/walking and didn't talk about stopping again, I knew he would finish. So then it was about getting ready for the coming night for both of us. He came thru the aid station at mile 60.5 in 10th place and after that, I saw that he was starting to pass some people. He was doing amazing!

So the day time in the sun was nice. No jacket required. And then the sun set.

And the temperature dropped at least 20 degrees faster than you can put on a glove. I was not looking forward to the night ahead. I'd froze my butt off in the short time between the start of the race and sunrise. What would it be like with hours out there? For me, the other crew and most of all for the runners? We started adding layers to Josh and eventually hand warmers. I'm not sure how much it helped but he kept running. Like a machine.

For a while, Josh ran with another runner named Tom who was doing the race without a crew. Josh asked me to get him water at one of our stops and I did. And then later that night, I asked Tom again if he needed water and while I was filling his bottle he told me Josh was doing well but to not turn on the heater for him so he wouldn't be tempted to stay in the car. But there were a couple of times that Josh asked me to turn on the heater and I did because I didn't have the heart to say no with how cold it was. That and he kept asking for something hot to eat at the aid stations but they didn't have anything hot until about mile 90! But Josh was very disciplined so he got going as soon as he'd eaten or changed or whatever. I didn't have to push him. He was pushing himself.

The night was freezing! But it was beautiful. There was an awesome moonrise w/a golden moon. And then there were a bajillion stars. I made a bunch of wishes: that Josh's knee would stop hurting, that he would finish with a PR, that I wouldn't get lost, etc. I'm glad a few of them worked. ;)

Josh was passing more people on the course and it caught me off guard at one stop. The pattern was solo light, solo light, pair of lights, Josh, pair of lights. And then at one point he became the second solo light! I was like wow, he must be have switched into beast mode. So after that it got a little lonelier since there wasn't other crew around. I'd kind of relied on them leap frogging me too so I would know I was headed in the right direction and I had to do the last part completely on my own, but didn't get lost once! Woo! So Goal #1 for me was accomplished.

At the 2nd to the last stop, I almost fell asleep. I closed my eyes for a few seconds and the clicking of the hazard lights was hypnotic. It was close, but I didn't sleep. Goal #2 for me accomplished. But that stop and the last stop were rough for me. At the last stop, I was walking toward Josh and listening to these dogs barking and wondering if they were going to come out at us and it took me a while to realize he was telling me he needed boost. But I finally got the message and got some for him.

And that was my last stop with him and I drove ahead to meet him at the end. He was really doing this! Just a few miles left after everything that he'd fought thru - his knee, the freezing cold, not getting the hot food he needed, me getting things wrong sometimes. He was about to finish.

The race finished at Dreamchasers, which is the store owned by Lisa Smith-Batchen and her husband. Lisa was out on the course so I was talking with her husband while we waited for Josh to come in. Being out the cold and the excitement of seeing Josh finish woke me up a little but I was still not 100% awake, I think, because when he came running in he asked me where my camera was and I was like damn, how could I have forgot that. I didn't even have my phone on me. :(

So, I didn't catch the big moment but Josh finished in 21:23:55, over an hour PR for him AND he was 5th Overall and 1st in his Age Group! Totally amazing considering his knee and the weather!

So Goal #2 for Josh accomplished! Oh, and I never locked the keys in the car either so Goal #3 for me was accomplished too. Funny, that Josh told me after he was worried about that too. And about me getting lost. Whatever!

So the race was done but my crewing duties weren't over. I still had to get Josh home but our first priority was to get him warm and feeling better after running the 100. But I got him safely to the hotel after the race and then to our hotel in Idaho Falls the next day too. And I got him to the airport on time. And I got him home after we landed in LAX. And that's even with him deciding to take the roller coaster, crazy narrow, steep detour to his house. It was fun...sort of...because he showed me where Steven Tyler lived but my gas warning light came on so when he said did I want to do any more sight seeing, I was like no, let's just get you home. I was so relieved to drop him off! I'd gotten home in one piece so Goal #3 for Josh accomplished.


Seriously, the crewing was not hard at all. He was patient with me and never acted like a diva. I almost wish he would have though because he was too stubborn to let me help! If you're reading this Josh...learn to accept help from your friends without us having to twist your arm. Sheesh. ;)

I learned a lot during this experience. I saw some beautiful scenery. Met some amazing runners and their crews. And got to watch a good friend accomplish an incredible goal. Definitely a successful and rewarding experience and one I would do again in a heart beat.

If you get the opportunity to do this for a friend, I highly recommend it. You will be inspired.

Oh, one last pic of the two of us back at the finish the next day where we hung out for a while (also a lot of fun since there were other runners and crew back at the finish too).

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wild September

I can’t believe how crazy September was for me. I started out on a high, then a high, then a big low, and ended it on a high. It was wild and fun and scary and exhausting and frustrating and amazing.

First, these are my stats for the month:

Running – 241.2 miles
Riding – 233 miles
Races – 4 (15K, half marathon, marathon, and 50K)

And here are some random thoughts about September:
  • September was the first time I’ve ever run more during a month than I rode. Feels kind of weird. My poor bikes are feeling neglected, I’m sure.
  • I ran the most races ever in a month.
  • I ran the most race miles in a month (79.6).
  • I ran at the highest elevation in a race (Endure The Bear 15K).
  • I ran the most elevation in a race (Big Sur Trail Marathon).
  • I ran my first 15K (Endure The Bear 15K).
  • I set a PR for 50K (Summer Spectacular 50K).
  • I was 2nd in my age group! (Endure The Bear 15K).
  • I did my first runDisney race!
  • I wore my first costume in a race (Minnie Mouse)
  • I ended my runstreak at 109 days.
  • I ran every race in September with friends! (Disney Half with Teal & Beth, Summer Spectacular with Dani, and Endure The Bear & Big Sur Trail Marathon with Josh).
So, it was a pretty good month, right? The only problem I have with September is that I totally EFFed up my training for Javelina Jundred. :( I didn’t get my 50 miler in and this past weekend was supposed to be a 26/20 back-to-back but that didn’t happen either. I was way too sore after Big Sur.

Josh keeps telling me to be smart and take care of myself and that I train more than anyone but those missed runs make me nervous. I would have had a lot more confidence going in to JJ100 if I’d hit those. 2 things are going in my favor though and both are thanks to Josh:

I’m crewing him at Yellowstone-Teton 100 this Saturday so I’ll get to see up close how he preps for it and what a 100 miler looks like. I know I can learn a lot from him this weekend and from the other crew/runners on the course. I am really, really looking forward to it. Plus…hello? A long weekend in Yellowstone? Woo! I soooo need that right now. It will be so great to just get away for a while and relax and have fun (I'm off work until next Wednesday). :)

The other thing is that Josh decided to run JJ100 too. I know that we won’t see each other much but it will be nice to know he’s out there. Since it’s a washing machine course (you reverse direction each lap), I should see him (and Robert and Cliff – both doing their 1st 100s too) quite a bit. The more mental boosts I can get, the better.

I know that the JJ100 will be mostly mental for me and I think I can do it despite the blips last month. It won’t be fast and it won’t be pretty but I am determined to do it. I think that’s the most important thing, right?

Anyway, that’s my recap of September and where I’m at right now. Running is going pretty well. Still not quite where I was but I'm almost there. I’m still a tiny bit achey from Big Sur but I’m hoping that race will give me killer quads and glutes and help me fill out my jeans better. Running has got to be good for something, don’t you think? ;) No, was tough and I think I will be stronger for it.

I plan to do some running in Yellowstone. I’m praying I don’t trip while looking at all the beautiful surroundings. I CANNOT WAIT!

See you next week.