Only nine days until the Javelina Jundred - 101 miles of trail running through the Arizona desert. I'm nervous and completely excited. This race demolished me last year and I dropped after running 77 miles (plus one bonus mile after getting lost). I'm hoping for better luck this year.
Another thing I'm really excited about is running with my friend and coworker Catherine. We've done a bunch of races together but this will be her first time going for the whole enchilada. She is awesome.
I sent her an email with a tentative game plan for the race. I am very far from being an expert on this ultra running thing and I have so much to learn, but I've finished four 100s and thought this may be helpful for others looking to run far. So here is the proposed game plan I emailed to her with a few edits:
1) Have you listened to this Trail Runner podcast on race execution?http://trailrunnernation.com/2013/04/4-keys-to-race-execution/ I
listened to it again this morning because there is so much good info.
On the podcast they talk about The Line: this predetermined point where
the race REALLY begins. So everything you do before the line doesn't matter.
Your only focus is to get to the line feeling good. I think our line should be
the beginning of the 5th loop at mile 62.
That really is the hugest part of the race right there because you think
to yourself: "Okay, I'm feeling crappy and sore and tired. I'll just go for the
100k belt buckle and be done." As long as we can drag our butts out of that aid
station we'll hopefully be good to go.
2) For lighting at night I prefer a head lamp and a hand held which helps a
ton with depth perception (and spotting snakes - ha ha). I bought a 3 pack of
hand helds from Costco that are 250 lumens. They are so bright that they should
require a fire permit. So if you usually run with a head lamp and want one of
these I'll bring one for you.
3) Nutrition: We MUST, MUST stay on top of nutrition, 200-300 calories per
hour no matter what. We can help remind each other. I plan to use Tailwind for
the majority of my calories. It's a gluten free drink mix that I just dump in my
pack. Eventually my stomach tanks and I don't want to eat any solid food but I
can at least keep drinking. Check out their facebook page, you'll see how many
people it's helping to get through long races: https://www.facebook.com/tailwindnutrition. I know you're not
supposed to do anything new on race day but I've got a good supply, if you want
I can bring some as a backup in case things go south for you.
Keeping the calories going is one of the very hardest things about these
races but I've learned that it comes back to bite you big time if you get
behind. I'm going to have this be one of the things I really try to do better
with for this race.
4) I think we should be take very frequent walk breaks but make sure that
when we are walking, we're going speedy. Run slower and walk faster.
5) In and out of aid stations fast. Especially in a race like this where
there are so many aid stations that can suck time like crazy. Even if we passed
through each aid station on the loop and just stopped at Jeadquarters for 15
minutes that would still add an hour and a half to our race, and the extra time
on our feet is the real killer.
What has worked well in the past is to fill up my pack at Jeadquarters and
then that is usually enough water to get me through the whole 15 mile loop so I
don't have to stop at the other aid stations along the way except to maybe grab
some fruit or Coke or whatever. Tell Kacey that when you come into Jeadquarters
he needs to kick us out quickly. I'll tell Mel the same.
6) I've heard this tip on a few podcasts and it has worked well - I'm not
going to listen to music at all for the first half of the race. But after 50ish
miles when you put that music on it's like a drug and gives your brain something
else to focus on besides the fact that your legs feel like they're pinned
underneath a Greyhound Bus.
7) If we do get separated, we need to make sure to latch onto another group
of runners because it gets lonely out there by yourself and then your mentality
spirals down and you get cold and tired and come up with more excuses to drop.
Here's the thing I was thinking about this morning: I have trained for this.
I've woken up at obscene hours to get a run in. My kids are watching me and I
need to be a good example. I've sacrificed sleep. This little extravaganza costs a decent chunk of cash I. AM. NOT. LEAVING. WITHOUT. A. BUCKLE. Granted -
there will be times that I'll want to quit. And my mind will have rationalized
some really good excuses why it's okay to drop out. I will be miserable. But
don't let me. No matter how much whining and complaining I make - don't let me.
Remind me that if I drop I'll regret it. I'm not stopping that race until I get
to the finish line or until someone pulls me off the course after a cutoff. And
I'll do anything....anything I can to help you get that buckle
too. I'll help you through some dark times in the pain cave and I'll let you
help me when I'm in there too.
So that's my $.02. Sorry about the War And Peace novel I just wrote. And of course some of this stuff is race-specific....but you get the point. Finishing a 100 miler involves a degree of training, a degree of race strategy, and a degree of luck. Everything has to come together. And I'm scared to be posting all this gibberish before the race because I'll feel a bit silly if something comes up where I don't finish. You never know what will happen - but that's what I love about these races! Experiences like this let you peak into your soul and see what you're really made of.
Here's what I'm hoping - we are able to dig deep, push through the pain cave, and after 101 miles (right, this race is actually 101 miles, not 100) make it to the finish line. I'd love to add another one of these to my collection: