Javelina Jundred

October 27-28, 2018

I already ran two 100 mile races in 2018, but for reasons I don’t understand neither of those races was a qualifier for Western States. Six weeks after Mogollon Monster 100 came one of the final Western States qualifying race of the year, Javelina Jundred. I struggled a bit with injury during those six weeks, so I only felt confident enough to register a few days before Javelina.

Normally I look forward to October races for the cool temperatures, but Javelina takes place in the desert just outside Phoenix, and the predicted high was 90˚F. We had already had snow in northern Colorado. I often struggle in hot weather, so that was definitely the big question looming over this event for me, even more so than my injury.


I arrived on my 40th birthday, the day before the race, and did an easy 3 mile run on the course in the middle of the day. This. Isn’t. That. Bad. At least, that’s what I tried very hard to convince myself. The desert air was so dry I had no sweat on me. I spent most of the afternoon preparing my gear for the race, and hydrating as much as possible. Then I watched part of a movie and went to bed early.

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I woke up 2 hours before the 6AM race start to get some breakfast, and since all my stuff was still ready from the night before, I went back to bed for a while. I lined up at the start line in the first wave (for people trying to run under 24 hours) and patiently awaited the race to begin. The course is a roughly 20 mile loop that we cover 5 times, alternating directions each loop.


This is a huge race with hundreds of runners, and after about a quarter mile the trail gets narrow. Once we got going I was pleasantly surprised to find myself in exactly the right position. The people in front of me were moving fast enough that I didn’t get frustrated. The people behind me weren’t too anxious to get past me. We had a nice pleasant run on a dark trail for a couple miles before it started to get light out.

The trail was fairly smooth and relatively flat for the first 4 miles. Then we hit a couple miles of rockier trail, and a gradual uphill that lasted several miles. The rocky trail wasn’t that bad, at least not on the first loop. The uphill, while slight, was a little longer than I was expecting. We weren’t going up a big mountain, and the climb was so gradual I barely noticed at times. It was easy on the first loop, but I was already beginning to dread the later loops.

As this wasn’t a mountain we never really reached a summit, the terrain just changed from entirely uphill to rolling up and down. At the mile 10 aid station I put ice cubes in a tube sock and tied it around my neck to cool down. It wasn’t hot yet, I was just getting a head start. After this aid station came a very long downhill. I had been holding back, but on the downhill I let gravity take over and I opened it up a little, leaving behind most of the people who started near me and passing dozens of people.

By the end of the first loop the temperature was heating up. I picked up a small carton of chocolate soy milk from my drop back and drank it as I walked around to the start/finish line and let it settle a bit while I walked back to my drop bag. I would repeat this process at the end of every loop (except the finish). I loaded up on ice again and headed back out the way I came.

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Loop 2 was great. I felt great. I was eating and drinking well. Copious quantities of ice kept me from overheating. I felt good running up the long hill. I saw Melissa’s friend Christina for the first time, who was running the 100K race that started an hour after my 100 mile race. I kept thinking, “this is too easy.”

My morning wasn’t perfect, though. I had considerable soreness in my legs earlier in the race than I was expecting. It was uncomfortable, but there was no need to panic yet. I could keep moving at a good pace for quite a while.


Loop 3 was really, really hot. The ice did it’s job. The temperature slowed me down, but it didn’t destroy me the way I had feared it might. Need more ice. My legs were sore and it started to slow me down a bit. I had been walking up short, steep inclines, but now I was taking short walk breaks every mile or two with the hope my legs would come back to life.

After loop 3 I picked up my headlamp, ditched my ice sock, and walked for two miles continuously. I could tell by the way I felt after 100K that this wouldn’t be my fastest 100 mile run ever. Fortunately, I never expected it to be. I had a short recovery period after my last race, and this weather didn’t suit me at all. All I needed to do was finish under 30 hours to qualify for Western States. So that’s all I planned to do at that point.

Just finish. Time doesn’t matter.

I snapped out of my funk just after dark while running up the long hill. My legs had recovered a bit. Just then I started experiencing a weird pain in my foot. This sort of pain usually doesn’t last long, so I trudged onward. Not only did the foot pain persist, it got worse and worse. I finally started walking because it hurt so bad. The problem was, it hurt just as bad when I walked. This made running down the long hill pretty horrible.

By the end of loop 4 I had covered ~15 miles with horrible foot pain and I was facing the prospect of 20 more miles. Walking didn’t help. I might as well run to get this over with sooner then. So I mostly ran, with a few walk breaks sprinkled in there. I walked up most of the hill, then ran/walked the rolling parts at the top of the hill.

With 10 miles to go I noticed I had a chance to finish under 21 hours. All I had to do was run 15 minute miles. I ran a 12 minute mile, then a couple 11 minute miles, then some 10 minute miles. I could smell the barn, and I kept speeding up down the hill. I only spent a few seconds at the last aid station. Just 4 flat miles to go. Every step was agony on my foot, but the end was coming so fast.

I crossed the finish line in 20h23m, which was surprisingly my 2nd fastest 100 mile run, even after all the unpleasantness. I immediately caught a chill and hobbled into the medical tent to warm up. My foot hurt too bad to walk over to get my drop bag, so a volunteer was kind enough to get it for me. I changed into dry clothes before making the painful walk back to my van.

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My legs recovered very quickly from this race, perhaps quicker than ever before. However, nearly two weeks later, I’m still having lingering foot pain. The swelling is gone, and I can now walk without a limp, but every step still hurts, at least a little. This is the longest I’ve gone without running for a long, long time and I feel like I’m getting some well deserved rest. I’ll probably see a PT or doctor soon to work out this foot thing.

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