I’m starting to think about MdS as a restful vacation with a bit running thrown in. I’m not underestimating the desert...
Javelina Race Report: Part 1Liza
I hardly know where to begin. Do you want to know about the IVs and catheterization first or the 15 hours and 47 minutes of running?
I’ll start with the 101.4 miles.
The atmosphere at Javelina is entirely welcoming. I haven’t been to a race outside of Texas in a long while and it felt strange at first to be surrounded by ultrarunners I didn’t know and need to hug. But then I got caught up watching the happy bustle of packet pick-up, tent-pitching, and pre-race dining. Because Javelina is a seven loop course, and the crews stay at the start/finish, the area has a festival-like character. The volunteers are gracious and experienced and wonderfully good humored — and so are the race directors. You should go run this race and see for yourself. (Unless you can only run 100 miles.)
I am ashamed to write that I did not show up in a costume. I’d planned to put Kineseo tape on my shoulder and go as a beach volleyball player, but I got caught up in the trying-to-run-fast part of things and left the costume in the hotel room. Lame, I know.
No one seemed to want to take the lead once the race started and I found myself in front of almost 400 runners for about 10 seconds. I imagined 15 different scenarios where I got everyone lost in that span of time. Happily Hal and others finally charged by and took over the steering. I stuck near the lead guys the first loop because the pace felt comfortable and I wanted to chat. I managed to bother Hal for some pacing tips during that loop. (“Hey, I know you’re busy racing and setting a new course record and all, but I was just wondering…”) (He was very gracious, of course.) I ended up running the first loop a lot faster than I thought I would, but I chalked it up to the cool air and the beautiful sunrise. The second loop was warmer and I slowed to stay at that comfortable pace. My coach, Howard Nippert, e-mailed me advice before the race that included: “100 mile races are not won in the first 30 miles.” I kept repeating that to myself as the guys and potential conversations disappeared in the distance. Happily, the washing machine loops brought the rest of the almost 400 runners into view shortly. I got to say hi to everybody over the course of three miles. There were some amazing costumes. There was a woman with a huge peacock tail. Huge. And Catra Corbett was dressed to the nines as Lady Luck. There was also this fine fellow.
And there was a man dressed as a large toilet. I don’t know how he survived the midday heat. What was most impressive was how everyone seemed to keep their costumes on loop after loop. I would have started pulling out tail feathers at mile 2 if I had been that peafowl girl.
The looping was harder than I expected and I was very thankful to have an iPod on Loops 3 and 4. Bad 80s music with a little ABBA and Glee mash-ups mixed in can really get you through anything.
Paulette Zillmer, runner and pacer extraordinaire, picked me up on Loop 5. We’d only exchanged e-mails up to that point and I was looking forward to chatting away the hours with her. As we left, someone hollered something like, “Don’t let her drop you, Paulette!” And Paulette said something ridiculous about how I should feel free to drop her if I was feeling really strong.
Now I know there are amazing runners out there with 60 and 70 miles on their legs who can run faster than their fresh pacers. I am not one of those runners. If you pick me up at mile 60 and you can jog briskly, I will not be dropping you. Paulette probably could have power walked the last 40 miles and kept up with me. Did I mention that she won the Angeles Crest 100 this year?
After I told her she was a nut, we got down to the business of me feeling pooped and asking her for all sorts of help at the aid stations (I need two cups of Coke and an electrolyte tab and a flashlight and a long-sleeved shirt and please massage my lower back and and…).
I pretty much wallowed in feeling pooped and the rest of the race. I definitely didn’t uphold my end of the conversation with Paulette. And I got inordinately grumpy about the 9 million lumen headlamps and flashlights people were using. (It’s hard to be good humored when you’re both pooped and blinded.) This is about the point when I squatted to pee and saw that my urine was pretty dark. Badness. (Damaged muscles release myoglobin, which turns the urine reddish brown when it is excreted. Myoglobin breaks down into components that can block the kidney’s structures causing kidney failure.) I was shocked. I felt fine. Pooped, but in an understandable I-just-ran-90+-miles kind of way. I’d been hydrating carefully and peeing almost hourly. No ibuprofen or aspirin. I stood up, fought my way back into my compression shorts (PS. Ladies, compression shorts are challenging gear to manage during ultras), and headed toward the finish line. Another bathroom stop a little later confirmed the dark color. This time the urine looked like iced tea. At this point, Paulette and I were about four miles from the finish and definitive care. I don’t know if walking those last four miles would have changed anything that happened later other than the time I got to the hospital.
My great friend Chris was waiting for us at mile 100 to run the last 1.4 miles with me. I’ve mentioned Chris’ shirt-off-his-back-for-me pacing move from my first 100-miler. He outdid that feat this year. More on that tomorrow though. I spent most of those last 1.4 miles railing against 101.4 mile races and whining about my sore back. (Apparently the small waist pack I wore that weighed maybe 6 ounces was too much for my lower back muscles.) We sprinted across the finish line and then there was lots of hugging, a little bit of sitting, a quick shower and a drive to the hospital. I’ll work on that part of the story tomorrow along with my many thank yous, so I do them justice.
Spoiler: I am fine. I was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, given four liters of IV fluid, kept overnight for observation and discharged in time to make my flight home. I look like a sausage from third spacing all that IV fluid and I might have to buy a sweatsuit at Walmart to wear until I can fit into my pants again, but otherwise I’m fine.
Update: Javelina Race Report: Part 2