Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Javelina Jundred Race Report 2013 - 100 Miles Of Awesome!

Wow, I had quite the 100 mile running adventure over the weekend at the Javelina Jundred. It is so crazy to think that this was my first 100 mile race two years ago. It was such an amazing experience that I came back again last year (which ended a few miles shorter than I hoped for). I was nervous but excited going into this year's race.

I submit that you won't find a race with a more fun, happy atmosphere than Javelina Jundred. It's like a 100 mile Jalloween party. I wasn't going to wear a costume after last year's traumatic experience. But we found this big foam wig at Target the night before the race so I figured I'd give it a whirl. Here is my mug shot:

I was so thankful to have my wife and son, Mel and Jackson join me on the trip to Arizona. After Jackson's experience crewing at the Bryce 100 he was so excited to be involved again. We went the day before the race to check out the trail. This is at Jeadquarters where runners pass every 15.4 miles.

One of the things I was most excited about was to run with my coworker and friend Catherine. We've run a bunch of races together and I was psyched to be with her as she went for 100.

Around 400 runners set out to tackle the 100 miler (with nearly another 100 going for 100k). It wasn't cold at the starting line at 6am so we knew we'd be in for a hot couple days on the trail.

It is a beautiful thing to watch the sun come up and see the little dots of a conga line of runners spread out on the trail up ahead of you.

We kept getting a good laugh from other runners who said they were puzzled when they saw this shadow coming up behind them with an enormous Bride Of Frankenstein head.

Catherine is about the happiest, funniest person you could spend a race with. Our goal was to stay very, very conservative for the first 50 miles and we did a good job of staying on pace. We were having a blast! (Of course there were still 87 more miles to go.)

The course consists of six loops of 15.4 miles and then one last 9 mile loop. You have 30 hours to cover those 100 miles. On our second loop we spent some time with new trail friends Ian and Leslie. Leslie said something like "We're looking forward to noon so we can say to ourselves 'At least we'll be done with the race by this time tomorrow!'"

It wasn't just humans that we spent time on the trail with. Thankfully no rattlesnakes, but we saw a few well-fed tarantulas.

As the hours went on, temperatures continued to soar into the 90s. Reports from Jeadquarters got up to 96 degrees and out in the middle of the desert people were getting up to 102 DEGREES! Trying to go 100 miles in the middle of that heat is a huge challenge and we started seeing people hunched over barfing or trying to lay in a thin sliver of shade from a cactus. We kept plugging forward.

Despite the crazy heat, Catherine and I were feeling as good as new. Here is the secret: ice in a tube sock! This was the first time I've used this and it was nothing short of a miracle. Mel had sewed some Velcro to the end of a tube sock so we could fill it with ice and then seal it. It kept us cool and the ice dripped down our shirts keeping our core temps very manageable. I also filled my hat with ice at each station. These things made a WORLD of difference. I really think this little icy sock puppet saved our race.

One of the things I was most happy about was being able to manage nutrition and hydration better than I have in any other race. I probably got 80% of my calories from liquids. After each loop I refilled my pack with Tailwind to get the calories and electrolytes. I also took some hits of Coke along the way. I'd say I got another 10% of calories from Honey Stinger chews just because sometimes I felt like I wanted something to eat. And another 10% of calories from food at aid stations like a few pretzels or a little piece of pumpkin pie. The Tailwind had electrolytes, and in the heat of the day I also took one salt tablet around once an hour. I had no stomach issues for the whole race. This little chunk of sandwich was the only substantive solid food I ate for 30 hours:

We kept plugging along knowing that once the sun started to go down the temperature would cool off. Sometimes Catherine and I would tell each other funny or embarrassing stories. Sometimes we'd just run in silence. But it was so, so great to have that company out on the trail. I was so thankful for her support and focus.

When we were around mile 42 we got passed by ultra running legend Hal Koerner who was at around mile 77 of his race. We cheered him on and he smiled and said "Way to go, keep it up!" You can see Catherine in the background thinking "What just happened?!?" That guy was cruising. He went on to crush the race with a winning time of 14 hours 56 minutes. We joked that Hal could run 100 miles, go take a shower, eat a nice dinner, sleep eight hours, have breakfast in bed, and watch a movie by the time we finished the race. Props.

We witnessed a completely spectacular sunset. I kept thinking how thankful I was to be doing what I was doing. It simply does not get better than this.

Mel and Jackson volunteered all day at the Jeadquarters aid station. They are the best! It was so cool to have their support each time I came through. It wasn't just Mel and Jackson that were awesome, each aid station was full of the best volunteers you'll ever find at a race.

We finished 45 miles and picked up a pacer for loop four- a friend of mine named Kristin. We have corresponded for years but never met in person. This kind soul drove two hours to the race, paced us for 15 miles, then hung out and waited at the finish line until the end. She kept us motivated and moving steady. I can't thank Kristin enough for her help.

Some crazy stuff went down on loop four. Somewhere around mile 52 Catherine stopped moving. Then she hunched over. I knew she was about to join the ranks of those real runners who leave part of their dinner on the trail. She said her stomach felt much better after barfing and she kept right on moving. For photographic purposes she recreated the scene.

It turns out that we didn't need to recreate that scene......because it happened two more times. But here is the amazing thing - Catherine kept right on going. She was passing through some dark times that are inevitable in a race this long. But she was determined and kept fighting. To see her feeling yucky, then barf, then keep persevering - it made me cry. I was so inspired.

We finished mile 61 with Kristin then headed out on loop five on our own. It was pitch black outside but the temperature was absolute perfection. To be honest, I only remember one thing about that lap. It was at mile 69. My feet and knees had been sore, but mile 69 is when I plunged into the pain cave. Make that the pain penthouse. Holy ouch. Bob Glover said "You'll be wistful for the 'wall' of the marathon when you hit the 'death grip' of the ultra." Very true. Here is the entrance to the pain penthouse:

We arrived at mile 76 and ready to begin loop six. Our pacer for the loop was none other than Catherine's awesome husband Kacey. Unfortunately Catherine's feet were not happy campers. She had some blisters going on that would make you blush.

We had to bust a move if we were going to cover the last 24 miles of the race before the cutoff. Catherine and Kacey said that considering how she was feeling, it was looking like she wouldn't make it in time. They told me over and over that I needed to go now or else I wouldn't finish. I kept resisting but eventually agreed. It was hard to leave after going almost 80 miles with Catherine but I pressed on.

My feet were SCREAMING. I have what is known in the medical community as WOHCS (Walking On Hot Coals Syndrome). Every step feels like walking on a bed of fire. That kicked in around mile 40 and grew progressively worse with ever mile but after doing these races I'm slowly starting to learn that I can keep running despite a raging case of WOHCS.

I got to enjoy my second sunrise of the race. Seriously - how funny is it that you can be running for so long that you see a sunrise, a sunset, and another sunrise?!?!? This cool cactus threw me a peace sign.

I don't know what got into me but a fire was lit and my little chicken legs started hauling. I was feeling better than I could have hoped. One of the things I love most about Javelina is that after you finish loop six you are given a glow necklace as you head out on your last lap. I can't tell you how much I looked forward to that necklace for 91 miles. You can buy one of these for ten cents, but for me, this thing is priceless.

When I got to Jeadquarters Mel said she was ready to come out on the last loop with me. I told her I didn't know if that was a good idea. She hasn't run in three weeks since we ran the St. George Marathon. Plus it was scorching, scorching hot. (No ice sock puppet on day two.) Plus I was having this freak of nature thing where my legs were running like lightning. But she insisted. And you know what? She held up like a champ! She kept up with every burst I threw at her. I am so happy that I was able to share those miles with her. She is amazing. I love her.

The last four miles of the race are different than the rest of the course. They are lovely, silky smooth downhill rollers that kept my legs whipping. I was in heaven.

I finished in 29 hours and 33 minutes after running the last 20 miles faster than any ultra I've done. Mainly I just wanted to get done so I could take my shoes off and sit down.

I was highly thankful to get those shoes off.

So here's the conclusion in all of this: I have the best family ever. That girl Catherine?? Yea. She's amazing. Amazing. She earned herself a very well-deserved 100k belt buckle and pushed through more than anyone could know. I really admire what she accomplished. Running 100 miles is seriously hard and seriously rewarding. Out of the 400ish people who started this race only 41% finished. Now that's a hard race!

I have now finished five 100 milers. These ultramarathons change you. I feel like the person who started the race is not the same person who finished the race. I was again given the chance to peer inside myself in a way that only 100 miles can make you do.


  1. Congratulations - nothing like a cheerful ultra race report to inspire!

  2. Amazing! I don't know how you do it! Congratulations to you and Catherine!

  3. Congratulations to you!! Congrats to Catherine on going for it and getting the 100K buckle. 41% finishing rate is pretty low for Javelina. I stalked you all day and was so happy to see you finish, especially after last year.

    HUGE props to me Cory, as always, you are my ultra inspiration! Maybe one day we will be at the same event :D

  4. Congrats Cory! Amazing and awesome. Totally!!! Recover well. :)

  5. Congratulations on another 100 finish. You have more strength and courage than most the 100 milers I know. You inspire a lot of people and that's the true win! And a big congratulations to Catherine. I'm really happy for her and impressed with her effort out there. Keep it up, guys!

  6. What a Stud ! Congratulations on the strong 100 miles ! You are getting a impressive collection of buckles . Makes me want to test Javelina myself . Maybe 2014.............
    Danny Widerburg

  7. I always LOVE LOVE LOVE to read about your 100 mile experiences. You are such an idol! This just makes me raring to go now!!

    I love how this is a team effort and your team was happy and helpful and super supportive. Good job team!

  8. This is just so amazing, inspiring and hardcore crazy!! Congratulations!!

  9. You're all crazy and I'm totally in awe of your achievement. Congratulations.

  10. You take the best pictures, just hilarious! Good job, that is amazing. Ewww tarantulas...

  11. I loved your head-piece! The sock is a great idea, Catherine. I am all for home-made contraptions.

  12. Congrats Cory and Catherine! Awesome race stories...I wither around 95 degrees, so I can't imagine pushing through a 100 that hot!!

  13. Way to go, Cory! I was watching you during the race. Congrats on another ultra!

  14. Ah Cory, this is awesome! Congratulations on your finish and congrats to Catherine, too!!!

  15. I've been waiting for this story all week! Nothing short of amazing, Cory! Congratulations! This makes me want to run a hundo! Maybe one day!

  16. Dude you are the man! You continue to amaze me, inspire me and make me want to get out and run. Congratulations on your fifth 100 miler! I think the beat part is that you had family right there every lap. I love that your wife got up and finished it with you! She is a trooper. Your very inspiring people!

  17. Dude you are the man! You continue to amaze me, inspire me and make me want to get out and run. Congratulations on your fifth 100 miler! I think the beat part is that you had family right there every lap. I love that your wife got up and finished it with you! She is a trooper. Your very inspiring people!

  18. I say this every time, but you simply blow me away. I know there are times you really have to grind during the race, but you always look so happy and have such a great attitude in your pics. I've always looked at 50 milers like 'anyone can do it if they train long enough' ... but 100 miles is something special. The most impressive thing about you Cory is your never give up spirit. I'm so impressed that after not finishing before, you came back and defeated it. That takes a special focus and commitment. Well done and cograts!

  19. Fantastic run and report, well done! This is one of my absolute dream races. Hopefully the exchange rate will allow me to come and run it one day. Rest well!

  20. Cory, Everytime I read your reports I just want to put on a pair of running shoes and run a lap with you! You and your family are so incredibly inspirational and great role models for all of us! I was so happy to see that Jackson was supporting you again! We literally have a wall of pictures in our shop from ages 18 months to now 14 years old supporting Jeff at Leadville:-) Love the sock, love that Mel ran with you on the last lap...thanks for sharing!

  21. Ahhhh Cory - dammit, I am so freaking proud of you!!! If I ever get stupid enough to run a 100 one day, I am coming to run it with you. Well done, my friend. I hope you're recovering well - can't wait to hear of your next adventure!!

    Congratulations to Catherine, too - very impressive!

  22. Awesome, just awesome. Having a supportive family makes it even more special. Nice that you recognize how blessed you are and do something with it.

  23. I can't imagine running 100 miles! Congrats on finishing and getting a PR, too!

  24. I loved the report and pics!! You are such an inspiration to runners who run a 5K to an ultra. My experience with you and Catherine on the course changed me. I will do the Javelina Jundred soon!! I will pace you any day and help you and any runner through the pain caves, dehydration cave and plain old delirium cave. Remember when Catherine said, "wow things go to sh** out here pretty quick!" I am so proud of both of you and so proud of Mel jumping out in the heat with you!! So proud of Jackson going up the course to see you were okay and what you needed!! What a gift to be part of something special. You are all phenomenal!!!

  25. Great report! I think I remember you passing me on that final stretch to the finish. Great job! I'm going to steal that tube sock idea.

  26. Congrats to you on another 100 finish and to Catherine for her effort. Both impressive. Way to handle the heat and finish strong with a sub 30. Great report. I have gleaned so many good tips and advice from your blog to help with my training. Thanks. Hope to run with you in the future. (If you and Turd'l will slow down!)

  27. Congrats on completing yet another 100 miler! VERY impressive!

  28. Congratulations! It sounds like it was an incredible race and an amazing experience! I hope that your recovery is going well so you can hit the trails again soon!