Race: Javelina 100k
Location: Fountain Hills, AZ
Results: 10:14:28, 2nd female and 4th overall
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
- I loved being able to see all the other runners so often as they were coming at me from the other direction. Trying to spot Matt in his euro shirt (and everyone else I knew) gave me something to look forward to. The top two men in the 100 mile were also especially impressive to see throughout the race. They both looked so relaxed and were friendly and cheering each time I saw them.
- The abundance of ice. I was nervous about the heat going in, but still didn’t realize quite how much I’d rely on the ice. It was readily available at all the aid stations, and so helpful.
- The atmosphere was fun and I liked coming into the headquarters every loop. I couldn’t quite envision what it was going to look like with so much crew for so many runners. It seemed like it would be hard to find crew and bags, but they’ve obviously done this before and it was so simple and convenient. So smart to have such a big loop through camp to give easy access to crew for all runners.
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
The 100 mile race, which had 600 runners, started an hour before the 100k and I started catching up to 100 milers around 5 miles into the race – so there was a lot of passing to do. It was only tricky in a few spots and for the most part people were very aware and it wasn’t a problem. It was just constant, though things thinned out a bit after the first loop.
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
I’m just amazed at the people who can run in full costume. It was so hot. There is no way I wouldn’t have ditched a costume after the first loop.
The finish line was a little strange. It seems like they could have done more in announcing finishers. I was the 4th person to finish the 100k and it didn’t seem like anyone was paying attention, there was no way to get out of the finishers chute, and no one gave me a buckle (which I didn’t even realize I was supposed to get for the 100k until a few hours later).
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
I think I paced pretty well. I didn’t exactly follow the common wisdom to start slow because I wanted to take advantage of the coolest part of the day. With the 100k I wasn’t really going to be out there long enough to get any of the cooler evening to run in, so I really only had a couple hours in the morning to take advantage. It ended up working well for me. Even though I obviously slowed through the day, I think it worked for the best, and I constantly moved up in placement throughout the day.
I had some stomach issues early on, but was able to solve them by paying attention to trying to stay cool. I took advantage of all the ice at every aid station and taking the time to do that allowed me to keep eating (well, mostly drinking) and moving at a reasonable pace.
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
For this race – ice, as mentioned. I had some in a ziploc in my pack against my back, in my arm sleeves and in my buff for most of the day. I think the most effective cooling was squeezing the ice sponges over my head though. I would do that multiple times at every aid station. This did mean my feet were wet almost all day, which I wasn’t expecting. It didn’t cause me any problems, but might be something to keep in mind.
The aid stations can be a bit crazy because there are so many runners. I tried to get out of the busiest ones as soon as possible, both to avoid being overwhelmed, and sometimes to get ahead of large groups of runners to avoid having to pass them later.
I think my biggest worry, oddly, was getting a bunch of stuff in my shoes, because I read so many recommendations to wear gaiters. In my opinion, there was no need. My feet were fine all day. (It was also helpful when Matt asked me what would happen if I got stuff in my shoes, and I thought about it, and the answer was “nothing”.)
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
How great ice is, and that I can actually run 100k! There were no major hills, and I wasn’t quite sure how it would go not getting hiking “breaks”. A different kind of race than I’ve done for sure.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
My main takeaways:
- You will pass a lot of people, no matter what your pace is. There are just so many people out there going both directions.
- It is true when they say there is no shade.
- No major climbs.
- The first loop is longer that the others and the extra stretch includes what I thought was the least enjoyable part of the course (but it was also where I got stuck behind a lot of people, so that could have biased me), but you only have to do that part once.
- The downhills are really fun to run.
- I had read it was really rocky and sandy, but I didn’t find that the trail itself felt especially different than running in PNW.
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
It’s the desert! So depends on what you like. I enjoyed it. Although I also think anything the sun is shining on is beautiful.
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
There are no big climbs, so it is not tough that way. But that also means I felt compelled to actually run the whole thing, which is a different kind of challenge.
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
Super well run
Competition – Is there a strong field?
More for the 100 mile than the 100k
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 to get into, easy logistics since you pass headquarters so many times. Lots of hotel options within a 20-30 minute drive, or you can camp.
4 every loop. I heard they had some unusual offerings (pumpkin pie and other things), but I never saw anything more than standard aid station food. Maybe the exotic treats came out at night. There were a lot of aid stations that didn’t have soda poured into cups so you had to ask for it. I think it was because the soda was attracting bees.
Weather and typical race conditions
I read that “average” was ~83 I think. But it sounds like high 80s/low 90s is actually more typical. It felt like 150 at times.
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?
I carried a ziploc with me from the start to put ice in to carry in my pack. I also carried sunscreen and chapstick all day, and never used it, but would probably still recommend it. I would definitely recommend putting your phone in a waterproof case or ziploc bag if you take it with you so you can take advantage of all the ice water at the aid stations, without ruining it. I carried two 500mL bottles from the start and that was enough for me.
I debated putting my bag with the drop bags at headquarters or with crew (because I thought it was going to be a little chaotic at headquarters). In reality, it’s not chaotic at all and having my bag either place would have worked just as well.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
Yes, they can hang out at headquarters and see you every loop.
Top 3 male and female, plus other special awards
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
I’d give it a 5. Really well run, helpful volunteers, fun atmosphere.