“It was dark at the Jackass Junction station on the reverse loop 4. It was after that I became intimately familiar with the rocky downhill section. I did a complete faceplant that hit so hard that it blew the top off my water bottle. My knee was bleeding from hitting the ground but after 5 minutes of walking I could start running again and made it back for the final loop 5. Going back out on loop 5, in almost the same spot going up, bam!! I faceplanted again.”
Race: Javelina Jundred
Runner: Jeff K
Location: Fountain Hills, AZ (outside of Phoenix)
Results: 19:04:15, 18th place overall
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
- The logistics of this race are easy – Running loops makes it easy for a lot of things including predicting your finish time. Start and finish line are the same place and close to to the main hotel. Practically everyone that was staying at the hotel was in the race so if you don’t get a car you can get a ride to/from. Crew doesn’t have to drive from point to point. You get the idea.
- TRR and a bunch of other Seattle runners showed up. It was great camaraderie.
- The “party in the desert” is like a Burning Man meets a tailgate party.
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
- Heat – Once the sun is up it is really hot. Even on the non-race days, I was uncomfortable just standing in it.
- Because it is loops and so many people It doesn’t feel like an adventure like Cascade Crest or a point to point.
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
- 600 runners starting a 100 mile race seemed really large to me.
- You wonder how someone could go 100 miles dressed in those costumes.
- People are also doing weird stuff out there on the course like talking on their cell phones while running and playing tunes through speakers in their backpacks.
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
This was my first attempt at a 100 mile race. Overall, I was really happy with how it went.
The race began just as dawn was beginning to break. Based on a suggestion by my friend Ather H, we started a good distance back off the front. This was a great way at controlling the “going out too fast”. After the 2nd aid station at the 11 mile mark, I lost Ather because he was having some cactus thorns pulled out of his leg in medic tent (apparently the price you pay if you step off course to take a sunrise photo). I met another runner who had lived in Seattle and we ran together between the 2nd and 3rd aid station. Those two sections ended up being only time on the course that I ran with another person for any significant amount of time.
In the heat of the day, I got into a routine where at every aid station I would fill my pack with ice, full my hat with ice, and cool off with the ice water sponge. Loop 3 felt like the slowest part of the race.
It was dark at the Jackass Junction station on the reverse loop 4. It was after that I became intimately familiar with the rocky downhill section. I did a complete faceplant that hit so hard that it blew the top off my water bottle. My knee was bleeding from hitting the ground but after 5 minutes of walking I could start running again and made it back for the final loop 5. Going back out on loop 5, in almost the same spot going up, bam!! I faceplanted again. More pain from the fall, but after a while it just kind of got absorbed into general fatigue so was able to continue onward. When I finally got to Jackass Junction for the final time at mile 90, It made me realize how much I just wanted to get off this freaking course with no more falls, and that motivated me to push to the finish.
Matt U was hanging around the finish line when I went through and we went over to the tables by the drop bags and hung out with Jeff U and others to watch the runners go through including Ather who came in at just after 20 hours. Around 3AM or so we were back at the hotel for some quick sleep, and then we went back out to the race to watch the awards and remaining finishers.
Since this was my first 100 miler, a bunch of people who had done 100 milers had told me things about what to expect…
Did not happen:
Blisters upon blisters – my feet were totally fine, and no blisters or toenails falling off
Puking or other GI issues
Hallucinations – I did not see any flaming cactus, or talking coyotes. Closest thing was seeing Gordy Ainsley who looked a lot like Santa Claus
Extreme fatigue – in the later miles my legs, knees, and shins were killing me
Dizziness – at one point during the heat when I was hiking a section, I could tell I wasn’t walking a straight line. Some other runners coming the other way must have noticed and asked me if I needed water or anything.
Loss of focus – I did entertain just giving up and accepting a much slower time to finish
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
- If this race is your first 100, knowing your pacing to sustain it is key.
- Keep your core temp low. The aid stations in this race have plenty of ice , so use it.
- Continue to re-applying body glide, or sunscreen when you go through the checkpoints. The conditions in this race are prime for a chafing and sunburn issues
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
- I would find a pace runner next time for the last 20 miles. This would have been a huge help to stay focused.
- Need to find a better nutrition strategy other than shot blocks and random stuff from the aid stations.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
You can make up good time when you are on the downhill sections. I started figuring this out in the later loops.
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
In the early morning and dusk. Yes. Otherwise, if you think heat is pretty, then also yes.
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
It is advertised as a great first time 100 mile. It has easy logistics and low vert. However, it has a really high DNF rate of around 40%.
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
Competition – Is there a strong field?
It could vary. This year had a really strong front group and the course record was broken by 30 minutes.
Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.
Easy. No lottery. The field is large and there were spots open even a couple weeks before the start.
4 total including the main Start/Finish area. I thought this was perfect.
Weather and typical race conditions
The race director said there was one year in race history where it rained and created a bunch of mud. Most always, however, it will but sunny and 90 degree desert conditions during the day.
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?
For the first loop and the loops at night, you could get away with carrying 1 20oz Bottle. During the day you should take multiple bottles and a vest that can hold ice in the back.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
Yes. They would see you 5 times just hanging around the start/finish area
Yes. There are a bunch of them for different categories. You get a silver belt buckle for sub 24
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
I’m just not a fan of desert running so I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5. That is just me and there are plenty of others out there who absolutely love it. I could see myself doing it again, but I don’t think I’d try to make it a focal point for the year.