Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Javelina Jundred. My first 100.

There are 6, 15.4 mile loops. The course is on the Pemberton Trail in the McDowell Mountains in Fountain Hills, Arizona. It is single track and jeep track. The course was comprised of a nice smooth dusty trail, followed by some sand, followed by tripable rocks and hills. In the evening the full moon would come out and would provide some light. For each loop, you go a new direction. For the first loop, we went clockwise. Then counter clockwise for the 2nd and so on. The 7th loop is special as you get a glow stick necklace and you go out 4.5 miles on the normal course, than get to take a right turn onto a new trail to get to the finish.  The course has an elevation gain of 800 feet for 15.4 miles, so it is fairly flat.

First 3 loops. The first loop, I had my costume on. The race stared in the dark, although that really did not last very long, I could see within the first 20 minutes. I got to check out the course with fresh legs. I tried to keep it at a 12 min pace, which is slow for me. It was hard at times, especially on the downhill sections. I did what everyone advised and walked the uphills. It was a fun loop; I got to see everyone’s costumes. There was a lot of excitement on the course. I enjoyed seeing the other runners as we passed.  I often chatted with people briefly; they all told me that I was doing very well for my first time. I remember chatting with one man. He asked me about my kids and asked which one I liked better, I responded, “the one who is being good at the moment and that always changes.  I noticed during the 3rd loop that my voice was starting to sound a bit hoarse; I thought I was going to lose it, but never did.The heat never bothered me.
My costume. I changed after the first loop, it was getting hot.

During the 4th loop, it got hard. I was headed towards 62 miles, 12 more than I’ve ever gone before. I was still running, even as night started.  I had my headlamp on and had one of my knuckle lights. I had a long visit at one of the aid stations as I really had to go to the bathroom. I stayed at the aid station for about 9 minutes, but I needed to.  I was running on a rocky section when a blister on my toe broke open. My initial thought was, “oh no, I’m doing so well, is this the end?” I sat down, took off my shoe and sock, got out one of my earrings and opened up the blister more, then sprayed on New Skin, all the while being completely annoyed by a moth. I guy came by and asked if I was alright. I got up and it hurt initially, but the pain subsided and on I went. I next remember being on a flat section, running slowly, eating a Powerbar when I heard a group of coyotes and so wish that I had my pepper spray with me. I thought they sounded so close. I quickly put the Powerbar away and ran faster to catch up with a man walking ahead of me. He said “no worries, they won’t eat you.” I still ran away quickly. When I came into the headquarters, I was absolutely exhausted and I really wanted to quit. It hurt, it was dark and scary. But, I remember something a woman told me previously, she said “when you’re finished with the 4th loop, it is very tempting to quit and get the 100K belt buckle. Don’t, just take a few steps and get out of there.” She was right, it was hard. I ended up getting a pacer for the 5th loop. She was supposed to have paced a faster woman who ended up calling it quits after 77 miles, so she was free to help me.

5th loop. Headed towards mile 77. My pacer and I ran a little bit at first and we got along very well. She told me about her, I did the same. She told me about Arizona and the different cactuses and species of animals. After awhile, I was feeling nauseated and quit talking so much and started walking. I never really ever ran again, it hurt too much. My pacer reminded me to drink, considering that I was barely eating. Absolutely nothing sounded appetizing to me. I forced myself to gummy bears, cookies, candy, broth. All gross. The one thing my pacer did that probably shouldn’t have happened, was reminding me that I still had to finish the loop with her, go out again, then out a final 9. Ughhh!!! That played with me mentally. The only thing that I kept telling myself was to just leave the headquarters and go out for a final 6, just leave. It was during this loop that my Garmin died, so I got out my older one. I stopped talking and just followed her to the headquarters. She’d walk a good pace, which challenged me in a good way. She was probably my favorite pacer.
Loop 6, heading towards mile 92. My original pacer had to go, so I got two new ones, a man and a woman. I told them that I really did not feel like talking, so they talked a lot. I told them my story a little. The man told the whole story of those Twilight books and movies from beginning to end and I corrected him during spots he got it wrong. I’ve never met a man who knew the Twilight story as well as he. The girl would always tell me when there was a big log or rock so that I wouldn’t trip. At times I held on to one of them when it was steep and rocky. They were the ones who however kept tripping, she even fell once. It was nice to have someone there and I mean with all my pacers, just the company. That 6th loop especially was very dark and the crowd had drastically thinned as we were nearing the daylight hours. The only time that I ran during the 6th loop was when it was light and it lasted for about a mile and at a decent speed. Other than that, I did not have it in me. I could tell that my teeth were very sensitive; the sugar from the gummy bears hurt my teeth. During this loop, I really only took a bit of something when my stomach growled. I just drank.

Coming in for the final loop
Loop 7. Finishing. My husband wanted to pace me this time, so okay. He can walk 9 miles. I leaned on him a lot and I mean literally, down the hills, around the rocks. I was breathing heavy and everything sucked. I barely said a word. I had felt like I was in some kind of major battle, just trying to survive. Everything hurt, even my lips were badly chapped and I had been putting chap stick on all day. I think my Garmin was not registering right, which played with my emotions. I kept looking for that final turn and it took forever to get to or so it seemed. I cried a little because I was upset how long that final loop was taking to get here.  Finally it came; I filled up my water bottle, trying not to get stung by the many bees swarming around the aid station. The length of this trail was 3 miles, and then it turned to go back to the finishing line. I had to walk, I couldn’t run. I remember my husband telling me he was feeling chills and I noticed that he did not have that much water with him. So I lectured him about what it takes to be a good pacer, which means taking care of himself. But, I will point out. He stayed at the course the whole entire time. Every time that I came in, he was there. He only had 1 hour nap. He even helped out at the aid station. He was very supportive. The last 2 miles is when I started crying, I couldn’t believe that I was actually going to finish this thing.

The finish.  It was absolutely incredible. I did not have a big crazy finish; I ran a little bit in and smiled. I was just so relieved to be done.  I got my picture taken, got my belt buckle and sat down.
My finishing photo

In writing this, it has been 3 days. My blisters are healing. My leg swelling is finally starting to come down. I was able to take a shower standing up for the first time. I am very tired and have a big appetite still.

364 people started the race. I placed 141 out of 160, 100 miler finishers. My time was 29:07:45.
Other photos. Checking out the course the day prior.

Taken just before the race, I was so cold.


  1. I am crying reading this! What an emotional experience (physically too obviously) but the emotions you must have been feeling....truly a cleansing experience! Awesome girl!

  2. Congrats!! Way to stick it out! LOL about Twilight :)

  3. "Don't stop, whatever you do don't stop." Hmmm...where have I heard that before?? :) Nice job Jeannie Horton.

  4. Well done on your first buckle! Great to see you out there.

  5. Congrats! I imagine most hundred mile veterans can relate to your story. It's never easy, especially the first time. But you stuck it out! You put it on the line and did what you needed to do. Well done and welcome to the club!