2018 Javelina Jundred

This was my fourth go at the Javelina Jundred with finish times now ranging from 21-something to last year’s 17:38 for 8th overall.  After the race last year, it was hard for me to imagine how I could top that although my mind wandered and then pondered a 16-something. 

After getting sidelined with an injury, returning to full training, and getting closer to the event, it was obvious to me that I wasn’t in the same kind of shape as last year.  That said, I’m thankful to be running and extra thankful to be able to run a hundred in order to fulfill my Western States lottery obligation.  This will be my fifth year in the lottery and with 16 tickets, I’m hopeful -- I’m hopeful every year but 16 tickets seems like more than a few.  Perhaps not, we’ll see next month.  One paragraph and I’m already off topic…

Pre-race, everything was going to plan.  The taper went well, the days leading into the race were on track, and next thing I know, I’m standing in the chute waiting for the gun to go off sporting the #8 bib.

As I’m standing there, my wife points to Mocko who I knew was racing.  I’ve met Chris previously but I especially wanted to meet him this time because Ry-Ry has a man crush on him and I so desperately wanted a photo with the two of us.  As luck would have it, he’s standing next to me a few minutes before the race and She-Ra gets a pic of us.  Day is going good so far!  I push Mocko up front, the gun goes off, and we’re all off.

In some bizarre world where I’m not competitive, if I had started walking when the gun went off, would I have ended up in better shape later in the day?  Since the answer is YES, I will say that I probably went out too hard.  In reality where I AM competitive, I’d like to find that balance between walking and a pace that doesn’t end up with me doing damage control 6 hours after the race starts.  I thought I had that plan dialed in but as with all good plans, sometimes they just don’t work.  This was a slow motion derailment.  It was obvious to me that I had a problem when I stopped urinating and wouldn’t start again until sunset.  In total, about 8 hours without urination. 

While this is gross and I’m certain you’re wondering why I’m talking about body functions, it’s necessary to understand the importance of this one particular body function as it relates to the success or failure of your day.  In summary: 

Pee = Success! 
No Pee = Failure!

I don’t know about normal people but in a hundred, I want to urinate once per hour during the daylight. 

So I find myself in a situation and if I were just in it to finish it, I would have stopped at an aid station, hydrated until I returned to normal, then I would have headed out.  But I’m in it for time and position so I’m trying to work through this problem, and all problems, while moving.  I get into an aid station, I take in extra fluids, I’m taking in sodium, I’m making sure I’m not thirsty prior to leaving, and I exit with topped off bottles.  It didn’t seem to make any difference, this problem continued on. 

By the third lap, the damage is manifesting itself in the form of cramping and stomach issues.  I’ve been upside in enough races that the added problems don’t phase me and fortunately, my head remained fairly clear.  Typically my mind and body are both out of sorts but the brain-thing was working well enough.  So I just continued working on the original problem and I dealt with the new problems as they popped up.  The cramping issue appeared a few times but I eventually got that sorted out.  The stomach issue lasted all the way to the end.  I felt like nightfall would solve most issues and the situation did improve but the coldness made me stiff.  The cramping was gone but running was tough because my muscles were aching.  Once I could get to running, I would loosen up but if I stopped for too long, the process to get going again was like a trying to get honey out of a cold bottle.  And pain.  You turn the bottle upside down, you slowly watch the honey escape the mouth of the bottle, and you hurt a lot.  That’s what it’s like.  Worst honey ever. 

I never really had that mid-race, shit’s going wrong, kind of pity party.  It was just sort of accepting that I went out too hard and I had to work through it to get to the end.  I did have one of those moments when I thought if I got bit by a rattler, I’d have to get pulled from the race.  But then I realized that I’d still have to check that lottery requirement so that came and left almost in the same moment.  Those of you who have raced a hundred are probably think the rattler idea is genius while the rest continue to think we’re even more nuts than at first glance. 

Throughout the night, I did see four rattlers.  Technically, one was under a box that had “Rattlesnake” written on the side of it.  I assume that wasn’t a joke and there was an actual rattler stuck underneath the box.  I wasn’t lifting it to find out.  I had a visual on the other three rattlers, not my first rodeo, wasn’t scared because they were doing their thing and I’m doing my thing.  Then about a few miles from the finish, that getting bit by a rattler thought pops into my head again but now I’m concerned because I’m GOING TO FINISH THIS RACE regardless of whether I get bit.  In my mind, I get bit but I don’t tell anyone until after I cross the mat so they don’t haul me off and ruin my lottery.  Yes, this is the crazy shit that goes through your head when you’re running all day and all night. 

Before I wrap this up, I’ll rewind a few miles.  When I started the final loop, I wasn’t exactly surefooted.  The first half of each loop had enough scree on the ground that my plan was to power hike through it and in the back half, if I could run, I would run.  Getting through the first half was exactly like I thought and running was sketchy.  When I got to clear ground, I started squeezing the honey out of the bottle and I eventually got to “running”.  I ran all the way back to the finish and I didn’t bother to look at the clock because I already knew it was slow.  Hang on, I have to go look it up…

Finish time – 21:40 for 56th overall.

I got an email from a guy that I coach which said:  “Nice job on getting it done.”  -- something I say when an athlete’s race doesn’t go as planned but they still finished.  That felt like a real Kung Fu snatching the pebble from the hand kind of moment. 

I saw this photo and if you change the word “life” with “racing”, I would say that’s spot on as well.  Except that math doesn’t actually work unless there’s another 50% where you’re winning but we’ll just ignore that part. 

If you’re racing for mediocrity, you’ll never truly be disappointed with the outcome but you won’t win either.  I can’t say that I’ll ever like failing but I accept my failures as part of the process.

Lottery time!