Javelina Jundred (K) – or, Elton & I Run the Sonora

By November 20, 2017 No Comments


I’ve had Javelina Jundred on my radar list for several years .  Twice I’ve registered, then had to defer (injuries, recovery from stage racing) – so when end-of-season schedule shifted & cleared part of October, I was delighted! and signed up right away.

That’s the good part.  The not-so-good? My decision to add a heavy-pack beach marathon 2 weeks before Javelina (what?!) thinking it was good Marathon des Sables training. (For the record, it WAS great MdS training – just not exactly a “taper” for 100K run).

The Race

Javelina takes place in the Sonoran Desert, just outside of Phoenix AZ,  Super well-organized, swag is high-quality (lovely soft race shirts! dry bags! beautiful buffs!), and the aid stations & volunteers are amazing.

Course is 3 loops, run “washing machine” style – when you complete a loop, you turn around and run it back the way you came. Fun! because you get to see runners coming back toward you throughout the day  It’s also a Halloween party – with scary fake snakes, spiders — and a costume contest for runners. (Costume part was mostly fun, though I’m still trying to “unsee” thong guy…)

How It Went

If you’ve known me for more than 2 ½ seconds, you know that deserts are my favorite places in the universe. This desert? spectacular – all I could think walking up to the start, “there’s magic out there”.

Sunrise race start

First loop – crowded at the start and the trail was narrow, but soon widened and runners spread out a bit with 10 miles of gradual & not-so-gradual uphill to halfway point. Temps started rising early, so made sure I put ice in my neck buff & under my hat, dumped water on my cool sleeves at each aid station.  Did my best with footing but holy hell, I kicked a LOT of rocks.

Pretty sure I kicked every single one of these. Some twice.

And one spectacularly irritating wardrobe failure! Possibly due to weight I’ve dropped  from high (for me) mileage training, but the legs on my run skirt would NOT stay put.  Gahhh! I ended up tugging & adjusting + cursing until I finished the loop and got to my drop bag at start/finish — where (mercifully) I had my Nike shorts stashed “just in case”. Changed clothes, picked up my headlamp – knowing it would be dark before I’d finish 2nd loop – and headed back out.

Beautiful desert views from the course

2nd loop

By then it was mid-day and the heat really kicked in. Zero shade! & I felt myself slowing to an (even slower) jog. Took a second to grab earphones from my pack & plug in to my running playlist. Instant happy!  For some reason, my Spotify feed was full of 80’s Elton John which was ridiculously… perfect.  Picked up the pace and ran solid and steady.

Happy runner

When the heat-footing-sand-tired got rough, I sang.   When it got really rough, I sang ALL the parts – including the backup chorus (B-b-b-Bennie! … ) If you were near me for any of the miles from 24 to about 50 –  please let me apologize now. For all of it — but maybe especially for that last round of I’m Still Standing that got significantly louder when things got darker.

3rd loop

Finished 2nd loop and briefly considered stopping (42 miles is good! I’m tired! Sore! My back hurts and it’s really dark!) – but didn’t give myself time to think about it. Did a quick change into dry shirt from my drop bag …. out for last 20 miles.  Pitch black dark with only occasional headlight of another runner, big skies with bright quarter-ish moon. SO much dust! my contacts quickly loaded up and the world was one big dark blur. Luckily, trail markers were glowy so I was able to navigate. Kind of.

Soundless except for my breathing & coyotes calling to each other through the dark. (We were warned at the prerace meeting that coyotes would be out & about – “they won’t hurt you!”– so I wasn’t scared. Except that moment when one howled right next to me! I jumped straight up & almost fell — which probably made for great entertainment at next pack meeting , “Did you see how I made her jump?!”)

No – I did not take this photo

And the finish – in early hours of Sunday a.m.  Happy, tired, filthy dirty – with the sound of coyotes (& a bit of Elton John) still playing in my heart.


What worked well

  • New Tifosi glosses
  • Pearlizumi cool sleeves
  • Nike shorts
  • Altra Lone Peak 3 trail shoes
  • Trail toes foot lube
  • Black Diamond Spot (but not the batteries! which I had to change in the dark of loop 3)
  • Spotify music
  • Victory Sport bag – best drop bag ever
  • Solid food – veggie burger, quesadillas, fruit – I’ve been training to eat solid food while running & it seems to be working
  • Strength training – all the weight work & tire pull really helped with climbing


Not So Well

  • North Face skirt – argghh!
  • Recovery time from Surfside heavy pack marathon