Thursday, October 28, 2010

Javelina 100M!

I am still riding high from my best ever performance. It's almost hard to articulate. Beating my own expectations doesn't happen often but Javelina 100M was so much more than I could have imagined. Dreaming big and visualizing yourself doing extraordinary things is the cornerstone of completing a 100M race for sure. Racing a 100M is often the next step for many beyond just finishing. The word "racing" also has many meanings. It could mean winning, it could mean going for a PR or just simply putting your head down and focusing. That's what endurance activities have to offer. An array of meaning for each individual and most of the time that personal meaning is respected among peers. For me the term "racing" has taken on all forms. I have had the opportunity or should I say taken the opportunity to test the meaning of the word in several forms. My conclusion, racing 100M is a test of patience and perseverance. I am not equipped to line up to 100M and go for broke. Some may say I am selling myself short or not believing I can do more, be better or faster.

What I do know for sure is, "Mental confidence is what the mind thinks the body can do. Physical confidence is what the body itself knows it can do". Matt Fitzgerald

I know I can run 100M and how fast is simply of matter of my training. For Javelina I knew I needed to run, not hike at all. All the climbing and descending I generally do to prepare was over and now I needed to learn how to get my legs moving again. I needed gain back the physical confidence so my body knows it can RUN. I asked Howard Nippert for help. He coached me for 3 months exactly. Not much time. I got my first schedule and just about died. I had been used to training blocks that gave me the mental edge I felt I needed to be successful. However, I am a dutiful student. A rule

follower. At times I felt a bit slighted as if he didn't have the confidence in me to give me workouts worthy of my experience. I pushed those useless emotions aside. It is incredibly freeing to let go and do what your told. I felt like I gave him the data, he gave me a schedule, I paid for it, I would do it exactly and if it failed I knew who to blame. ha, ha.

What I gathered was he felt I knew how to run 100M and what I needed was to get my legs moving again.

My Race: This would be a very quick trip. Leave Portland on Friday and fly home on Sunday night. Since Bill and I put Alex's schedule first that meant Bill would not be able to come. Of all the 100M races I have done this would be the second one he has missed. Though we were bummed it was the right choice. I was in good hands. Micheal and Susan would be crew and pacers for both Carrie and I. We were well taken care of. Bill was in constant text mode with them both and I would get updates.....gotta love technology. The washing machine loop course at Javelina is unique. I don't know of any other races that take this approach. This could either drive you nuts or become a strength. I choose to not be drove nuts by a course I line up to run so I knew I could use this to help me along. I could draw energy from friends and co-runners all day long. I can tell you now this was a blast and super motivating. Seeing my co-runners work their way through the day was awesome.

Loops 1 and 2: My plan from the start was to take it easy and start moderately. The 15.4 mile loops are not super hard or technical but that just makes managing them more important. A death march on the final 2 loops would be miserable for me and I knew if I didn't head caution while feeling fresh the payment would be a long hard grind later. I forced walk breaks for both loops. I played silly games like timing the amount of time it took me to walk a hill. The most I got was 1 minute. That is seriously funny. A one minute climb! However, I am not silly enough to think this 1 minute climb wouldn't turn into 3-5 minute climb later. Needless to say, I got a good feel for the terrain and already decided which direction I liked better. It was a perfect cool morning and the day was shaping up nicely. The weather was not going to be real hot. Though for me I had moments of being overheated. I did a fair amount of heat training in the hot box which helped. My first lap was just a bit ahead of schedule. My pace chart was built for 22:36. My fastest 100M was Vermont 100M on 21:37. Though everyone gave me some crap about the sandbagger 22:36 I really felt that was appropriate for a couple of reasons. First, I haven't been on a course like this where there are "NO" obvious climbs and descents. The natural break for the muscle groups did not exist. Second, this was a dry hot heat. I am pretty good at managing the heat and the key word is "managing". Managing means paying attentions to my pace and fueling. I felt I would need that here. My second loop was barely on pace. I had a few moments of being hot. The sun would be covered by a thin cloud and when it would come back out my whole head would sweat like crazy. Kind of like a hot flash you get when your old....or my age....or pregnant. I had 2 hot flashes when I was pregnant and I can tell you it was intense. At one point I thought, "Man, AZ has the weirdest rain". I was running along and drips

were hitting me like a mild sprinkler. I looked up and saw thin clouds but far away. Then I realized the sprinkler was my head! I took more walk breaks on this second loop which cost me.

Loops 3 and 4: I have now run a 50K and not in any speedy fashion. I was okay with this. Each time I came in to head quarters (main area where Susan and Micheal were set up) I took my time. I made sure I sat and cooled off using cold wet towels, ate or drank whatever was on my plan and just took a moment. This is how I planned to manage myself early on. I wanted to remain calm, cool and collected channeling my performance at Vermont 100M. This is "racing" for me. Being a freak early has never paid dividends in a 100M race for me. I feel like after years of toying with idea of "racing" a 100M this is how I should do it. As I said earlier, I am not equipped to do it the other way. I have tried it and the outcome does not prove to be faster or better. Instead I think it makes me slower and ultimately pissed!

When I left for my 3rd loop I felt good, hot but good. My body was running pretty well. The best part was my fueling. It was absolutely perfect thus far. My third loop was just under schedule by 15+ minutes which was certainly a boost but still I was cautious. Now at mile 46.4 I felt in control but my legs were starting to talk to me. I got into HQ and cooled them off and got out. I was walking a bit more now and knew the rigor of all the running was making my hips and legs more sore than normal. I got to the 50 mile mark and glanced at my watch. It read 9:32. Not great for 50 miles but not bad either. When I arrived at the first aid station I took a moment to stretch. "Are you running 100M race or doing yoga"? That's the question I got from another runner. I replied, "I am sore already so I thought the stretch might help". He laughed and we headed out together. We talked and I confessed that my legs are getting very sore. He said, "Have you taken any Advil". I reply, "No, I generally don't do that but I might have to tonight". I was hesitant to even consider taking any Advil or anything and generally I don't do that anymore since 2004 when I started working with Scott who suggested I not do that for good reason and even better use the pain as fuel. :) We continued our conversation and he told me he was in the medical field and if I was hydrated and going slow I should take 2 Advil now and 2 Tylenol two hours later! WTF!!!

BIG CONFESSION! I took 2 Advil right then. I really questioned the move but since they were already in my gut I needed to drink. I felt really good and was plenty hydrated but now I was super vigilant. Three of us ran a bit further then all of the sudden I was feeling very good. I put on my music and began running. My love hate relationship with my Garmin 310XT had suddenly turned into a love affair. The accuracy was awesome in the vast desert. My paces were showing sub 9:30, then sub 8:30. The guys tried to hang on and as we turned the corner one said, "Obviously the Advil has kicked in". It did and I found a high. I like to call them moments of glory and when one comes in the second half of a long race I take it for all it's got. I ran and ran with what seemed like boundless energy. My legs felt amazing, my energy better than the first 3 loops. I found myself back at HQ faster than all but my first loop!

Laps 5 and 6: I came bounding in with the most amount of energy and excitement. I had covered 61.9 miles and was absolutely thrilled. Micheal picked up his pacing duty. I put my music on and flew! I continued to have this crazy amount of power. My fueling was spot on! I confessed to Micheal that I had become a drug addict and have popped 2 Advil earlier and I needed 2 Tylenol out my bag. He looked at me like I was drunk. I might not have been drunk but I was high. He questioned me and I barked back. "The guy said take 2 Tylenol"! He gave me the look but knew better than to withhold the Tylenol. I downed the pills and headed off. I felt zero guilt because I was too busy having the run of my life. We cooked on lap 5 clocking the exact time I ran on lap 4. Could this get any better? We arrive at HQ and I decided to drink some broth with crackers in it. I felt the additional salt would be good. I drank and ate it all. We leave and it takes me about 5-10 minutes to get it all digested before I could really kick it in. Micheal had gotten used to my singing and since I only do that when I am on fire the silence concerned him. I assured him the concert would resume as soon as this all digested. Sure enough I was back in action. When was this moment of glory going to end? I was nervous. I began to wonder if and when it ended if I would be crippled and destroyed. It never came. My Garmin was still giving me some serious paces for 75+ miles on my drugged up legs. It was hard to tell who I was passing or who was passing me. I really didn't care but when I came in to HQ on the final long lap I saw a group of girls fighting for their lives. I knew they were in front of me because when they were focused and working hard.

Victory Lap: Carrie called this final short 9 mile loop the victory lap. For me, on this day at this race I felt like I won. I won the question I wanted answered. Are you only a good mountain runner? Today I am proving to myself I am a good

runner, not hiker, not hogger (hiker/jogger...Susan's phrase for the combo) but a runner. I was beginning to feel the race on my body. I know it's mile 92.8. I should feel it and I loved it. We made our way to the aid station to take the turn onto the best piece of trail. A new trail. One that cuts right down the middle for 2.8 glorious downhill. I flew on this. Out of pure happiness. My left leg tried to buckle a couple of times but not enough to bring me down fully. I think I skidded once onto my hands but got right back up. I had just past the 3rd place gal and wanted to keep it but more importantly I wanted to reach the final turn. Not because I was almost done but because the final turn was at 100.3 miles and I wanted to know how fast I could run 100 miles and how close I was to even splits. I reached it at 19:53! My first 50 were 9:32 so that means I ran the second 50 in 10:21. Not bad. I crossed the finish line in 20:07 with pure joy and amazement.

Not one touch of nausea, not one low point and a PR. The aftermath was a swollen left dorsey flex point between my foot and ankle. That healed up within a couple of days. The funniest part? When I got home and unloaded all my stuff I looked at the Advil and Tylenol containers. When I held them in my hand they rolled over and I see the expiration date. The Advil expired in 10/05 and the Tylenol!!!!!!!!! expired on 04/03. Can that be possible? So, the question is? Do those things really expire or are they one hell of a placebo? Either way I don't care. I certainly am NOT saying anyone should take anything during a race ever! What a race, what a trip and I am still soooo happy to end the season like this.

What's next: 2.5 weeks to see how lean I can get. Maybe if I can shed a good layer I will throw on a posing suit and give bodybuilding a whirl. Mountain biking! I signed up for that 24 hour race in AZ in February and I need to learn to ride my bike with clips and use the gears!


  1. Congratulations on an awesome race Ronda!!!

  2. CONGRATS!!!! I am so excited for you! Sounds like an absolutely fantastic race! Yeahhhh. And really pleased to hear Howard coached you to the best race of your life :) You should be proud of a great run, I sure am!

  3. Awesome, girl! What a great race you ran! Thanks for sharing... and I love your attitude. I am going to send you a FB inbox so look for it!

  4. Yeah, what they said:) It's been fun watching your splits and places move up!

  5. Awesome run, Ronda! It was so fun "watching" how rock solid you were all day.

    As another "medical field" person, I think Ibuprofen has gotten a bad rap. Yes, you have to be careful and no, you shouldn't down them like candy, but I doubt anybody has ever gotten renal failure from taking just two, and if they have, I doubt the Ibu was to blame.(Of note, OTC Ibu is 200mg/tab, 2 tabs=400mg. Erik Skaggs admitted to taking 1000mg at Waldo. I have heard he took even more, but that is hearsay).

    We all know too much water or too many salt tabs can land you in the hospital in a 100M, but nobody has suggested we shouldn't use those! If you use Ibuprofen judiciously and intelligently (like not taking it if you know you are way behind in your fluids or taking it chronically to mask an injury), it can be one more weapon in the ultra battle.

    The expiration date is the date the manufacturer is willing to stand behind as to their product being at least 90% of the stated dose. But Ibuprofen and Tylenol are both pretty stable and likely to be "good" way past their expiration date. That being said, I'd toss both of those bottles - replacements are cheap!

    Congrats again!

  6. I was so excited to see you made top 10! Woohoo! And your splits were so even! I hope you tell us about your training too.

    I'm a big believer in ibuprofen too, mostly because I'm one of those injured folks who need it to keep the inflammation down. I think if you're pushing your muscles to the limit and dehydrated, perhaps you're asking for trouble. My understanding of the expiration dates is that they do stability testing for a certain number of years, predict a date based on that test and consider that date good enough. It costs too much to figure out exactly how long a drug is good if it doesn't degrade for many years.

    Congrats again!


  7. Advil works wonders for me.

    Incredible job!!!!! I'm so impressed. Sounds like you had a lot of fun. You definitely are a good runner, mountain, desert or wherever!

  8. Yay, Rhonda!! I read your report earlier today on my phone, but couldn't comment for some reason, so I made sure to check back! GREAT JOB! Wow! I was tracking peeps all day and night and was so excited to see your finish time pop up! I will give my woop woop for ibuprofen as well...I used the same 2 ibu, and then 2 tylenol two hours later at my last race (Rio Del Lago) and was amazed at the difference it made for me. All things in moderation :) Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Fabulous run, Ronda! What a great way to cap off the season :) Congratulations.

  10. Way to go Ronda! You worked your way up the ranks to a top 3 finish! Glad to hear you had a fantastic run. I hope you are recovering well and glad to hear your new coach was a good support!

  11. I had been so swamped, I couldn't comment fully, but I'll try from what I remember reading:) First of, I am so glad you trusted HN and figured it can't make worse to just try a new thing. He does coach for flat courses, and the distance you know better than him anyway. Secondly, the washing machine loops are at Cactuse Rose 100 here, in Tejas, as well, and I found them to be pretty cool and not daunting. Come and try next year! Next, I take Vit I (a.k.a. Ibuprofen) pretty much in most races, and unless I don't drink, I don't have problems. Well, I did have one time a huge one, but there were many mistakes with the amount of it...Last (or not) - of course you ARE a RUNNER! What the hell did you think? Even I sometimes call myself that, on a good day:) And more - yay for figure comp, I am still trying to convince myself to give it a shot next summer, but I have about 10 extra % of fat to shed next to your work amount, and, well, may be not next year...who knows. But I do think it's a fantastic challenge. Comes summer and it's back to 110F, I'll give it more thought. Oh, and the splits are wonderful sista! Loving it!

  12. What an exciting report! My plan was to go to bed, but I just couldn't stop reading. Congrats on an awesome time and race!

    For what it's worth I am quite certain the Ibuprofen and Tyelonol worked normally despite being expired. But I don't think that was the secret to your success. You basically said it in your post - but with the right training and enough confidence, one can really do amazing things!

  13. Absolutely love the race report and a big congrats Rooster. Whatever you did in your training, it worked! Of all your race reports I read, this was a first which you just got better and better as the race progressed. Especially the last lap when you dropped the hammer and let it all go! Sounded like the perfect race from all aspects – Not surprised with the PR. Very inspirational!

    Bring on the suit!

  14. What a great race and a great report! Congratulations! Love how you stayed so tough, really that was hugely inspirational!

  15. Congrats!!!Great race..Keep it up!

    "Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it."
    -Oprah Winfrey ~smartwool