The following race recap of the 2022 Javelina Hundred 100 mile ultramarathon was written by Hart Strength & Endurance Client Kate Metcalf. Javelina Hundred is a 100 mile & 100K raceheld on a 20 mile rolling single track trail course, consisting mostly of the Pemberton Trail in McDowell Mountain Regional Park near Fountain Hills, Arizona.
It’ll probably be easiest to give you a detailed loop-by-loop report, so here goes!
I started in the 6:30 wave with disco lights, awesome music, fire dancers on the side lines, and the entire camp showing up to cheer us on out of the start. What a rush!
Within a few minutes, we enjoyed a beautiful sunrise on the trail. The wave was pretty tightly packed throughout the first loop and I tried to focus on keeping a comfortable pace within the group and getting a feel for the trail and landscape. The gentle climb up to Coyote AS (the first) went quickly, I topped off my water, and continued.
I spent the 6.5 miles from Coyote to Jackass AS with a veteran runner working on his 10th Javelina finish! He was there for the first running and regaled me with stories from past years and bits of advice for later. He told me I was approaching the race pacing right, mentioning that most of the folks running past us were the ones who would be DNFing. The trail was a rocky climb followed by rollers and went by quickly with good company.
At Jackass AS (halfway through the loop), I refilled water and picked up some watermelon and PB&J and moved on.
At this point I was feeling nicely warmed up and took advantage of the 5 miles of gentle downhill to move a bit more and let gravity do some work. It was starting to get warm and I was glad for my ridiculous sun hat. I refilled on water and started down the last 6.5 miles of the first loop, which is the variation that only happens on loop 1.
The last 6.5 miles were truly hot and honestly kind of a pain. Rocky and with short, jerky climbs/descents that made it hard to find a good flow. I also was sort of stuck in a couple of different packs but had trouble passing because of the narrow trail. I was glad to get through this and roll into camp to finish loop 1!
My crew met me and I changed socks, changed my shoes to a half-size up, put on my sun sleeves, ate some mashed potatoes and a horchata shake, and made sure all my snacks were topped off before setting out for the hot loop.
The first part was comfortable and again went quickly. At Coyote, I topped off water and filled my sleeves, buff, and hat with ice to prep for the hot 6.5 miles ahead.
This is where all that heat training started to really pay off.
Despite the climb and the relatively intense radiant heat and direct sun, I was feeling fantastic. I power hiked and focused on keeping my heart rate low, but ended up passing at least 30 people. Some folks were really struggling but I was feeling great.
At Jackass, I refilled water, ate a bunch of watermelon and took some PB&J, had the most refreshing sponge of ice cold water squeezed over me, and refilled my sleeves and hat with ice before moving on.
I continued to feel great through the next segment, continuing to pass people and keep my heart rate low despite moving to a slow run pace (between 12 and 13 minute miles). I was having a great time, enjoying the scenery, loving the huge saguaro cacti and lizards darting around, and feeling so happy to be out there.
I got to Rattlesnake, refilled water, refilled ice, squeezed water over my body, and took some snacks to finish out the lap. It was still really and truly hot, but not anywhere near as hot as some of the stuff I’d done earlier in the summer so I continued to feel really good. I was eating well, hydrating well, and still feeling fresh.
When I arrived at the start/finish at the end of loop 2, they were pouring water over each person coming through. What a welcome feeling! I stopped at the crew stop to change socks, change shorts and shirt, put on my waist light, and eat and drink a coffee before going out again.
This loop started to cool down within about an hour of starting it, as expected. I topped off water at Coyote and made my way into the darkening desert. I hadn’t put on any music up to this point and waited until the coyotes started to sing before deciding to put on something to keep myself company.
Runners were much more spaced out at this point and I was pretty frequently alone, leapfrogging with a couple of runners (Mark, David, Patrick… I met some great folks) and occasionally passing others. At Jackass I was thrilled to realize I was over 50 miles in and still moving well. They were cooking hot food at this point and I got a hamburger and a cup of hot broth before continuing.
Leaving Jackass with burger in hand, I started to have a little trouble swallowing food. I knew I wanted to eat the entire burger because I needed the calories, but it was tricky to get my body to want to swallow. I’ve experienced this before and I knew to expect it on this race but it was definitely annoying, especially to have to carry the damn burger in my hand for so long because I just couldn’t get it down.
I was also starting to have to pee a lot, which lit a little warning light for me – I wasn’t sure if it was the cooling temps or if I was overhydrated, but I knew I was starting to feel a little off. I just tried to focus on moving, swallowing food, and staying focused on getting to my crew.
I texted a couple friends along the way, and ended up talking on the phone with my ultra friend (the Moab 240 runner) at the end of the lap, which was a huge morale boost. I wasn’t feeling super low but I was definitely noticing my mind getting tired. We celebrated the end of 100k as I ran through the start/finish and I got to my crew tent relieved to know that I wouldn’t be alone beyond this point.
At the tent, I changed socks, tried to eat some food, and had a coffee with hot chocolate mix. I was definitely very sleepy by this point and I know from talking to my crew that I was pretty slow. In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t stayed in the tent for as long as I did. They did their best to move me along, and eventually I got myself out and started loop 4 with my first pacer, Alexei.
The dark loop.
Alexei and I chatted for the first section, and I was so grateful to have him there with me. It was nice to take my mind off of my tired legs and enjoy his company for a while. I told him about my race experiences so far and heard all about the camp shenanigans that had been going on throughout the day. We got to Coyote and I picked up some bean wraps to eat on the next segment.
As we made our way to Jackass, Alexei shared some stories and I did my best to respond, but was finding myself extremely tired at this point. It was after 1 in the morning and my mind really did not want to cooperate. I took a caffeine pill and Alexei was wonderful, reminding me to eat, handing me snacks, and keeping me moving.
I ended up apologizing and putting in my headphones to see if music would get me moving again and between that and the caffeine, ended up finding a second wind on the rollers in the second half of the segment. I charged the uphills, ran the downs, Alexei whooping and hollering encouragement as we went, and ended up passing more than a few folks before arriving at Jackass.
At some point along all of this, I felt a slipping sensation on my right heel and realized that I must have blistered under my heel tape. I decided to just leave well enough alone rather than risking pulling back tape to have a look.
At Jackass, as we refilled, I started to realize that my legs were really feeling sore. This was definitely the farthest I’d ever run and I was feeling it – nothing concerning, but wow were they talking!
Additionally, despite running, I was definitely very sleepy and disoriented. Alexei was an amazing help, getting more food and helping me get through the aid station in good time.
Unfortunately, on the next segment, I started to feel my stomach go downhill and had to slow my pace. Much like with the burger on the previous lap, I noticed that my stomach was just not happy about food and I was struggling to swallow things.
Alexei encouraged me to try running a few times but every time I tried to pick up the pace, the nausea would immediately start to pick up as well. I turned up my music, continued to powerhike and try not to think about the nausea, and managed to continue passing people, though it was really not pretty at this point.
I couldn’t tell if I was nauseated because of too little salt? Too much salt? It was really hard to problem-solve, and by the end of the segment, I was really not feeling good.
We arrived at Rattlesnake together and I sat by the fire to try to calm my stomach while Alexei got food for me. They were offering pizza but even thinking about a bite of cheese made me gag. They were also in the middle of making more broth so Alexei offered me cup noodle instead, but one sip of the salty broth sent me over the edge.
And that, dear reader, is how I ended up puking my guts out at Rattlesnake AS at 3:45 am.
Alexei was a total champ and rubbed my back while I heaved some more and then handed me a handheld of warm broth and an awesome sauce. We started walking and I realized I was feeling a lot better. It made me wish I had just thrown up about 5 miles earlier and gotten it over with.
Though tired, I was able to move a good deal faster than before and was so, so happy to start to see the lights of headquarters ahead. We made it into camp around 4:30 in the morning and I was ecstatic to realize that the next time I came around that bend would be to finish.
At camp, I changed socks, drank some coffee with hot chocolate, ate some mashed potatoes, closed my eyes for 5 minutes, and then put on my day clothes.
I started out my last lap with my second pacer, Jackson, and we were able to ditch headlamps shortly after beginning. The sunrise behind the mountains was otherworldly, with brilliant colors, gradually covering the landscape in a warm glow. I also started to really wake up again and by the time we got through Coyote I was alert and feeling good.
Jackson and I chatted throughout the climb segment leading up to Jackass, laughing and cracking jokes and passing a few people here and there. My legs were definitely exhausted and I was slower than previous laps, but we still made decent time to Jackass.
At Jackass, I found a buff and got some ice to keep cool as the sun was up and things were again getting warm. I was still only able to really keep down mashed potatoes so I stuck with them and kept taking bites here and there.
We left Jackass and began moving through the descent. At this point, somehow, my legs started to loosen up a bit. Perhaps it was the warmer temps again or maybe it was the realization that I only had 9 miles to go, but I started to jog the downs. They felt okay and bit by bit I picked up the pace, realizing that if I continued to really move, I could make my 28 hour goal.
Pace got better and better and soon we were at Rattlesnake – the last aid station! At this point I was flying. I drank a coca cola, poured some water on myself, and began really moving. Legs were so tired but somehow cooperating and I continued to pick up the pace.
Jack had put on some ridiculous playlist and scream-singing along to Madonna and Fleetwood Mac and goodness knows what else, I was feeling so charged.
Shouting with Jack as I charged up the little climbs and flying down the downhills. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Alexei came jogging up and said the race organizers had let him run out to meet us. I almost cried I was so happy to have both pacers with me and began to really fly. We were laughing, I was grunting through every exhale, and screaming with excitement on every downhill bit! I could hear the finish line music bass pounding and then, around the corner, could see the tent tops peeking out over the hills.
I knew I could make 28 and pushed so hard through those last miles.
We rounded the hill, I charged up to headquarters, and omg, the people there, cheering me on, screaming that I was there, I was home, pointing me through the loop around camp to the finish. I started sprinting, screaming, and crying all at once!
There were cowbells and horns, other finishers along the sides cheering, and that finish line in sight. It was a blur but I was there, and at some point standing at the finish, I looked down and saw that beautiful “100” on my watch. They handed me my buckle, gave me a huge hug, and then more hugs from my pacers.
Back at the tent, the boys had pizza waiting for me and another horchata. I peeled off my socks and confirmed that yes, my right heel had some mild maceration and the top layer had slipped away back when I felt it shift on loop 4. Aside from that though, no chafing, hot spots, or other issues. It was time to just revel in all of it.
I finished the race on Sunday and drove to Grand Canyon NP that afternoon to camp overnight.
On Monday, my crew and I wandered around Grand Canyon for a few miles to enjoy the gorgeous scenery (glad I had my poles with me, even though I couldn’t use them for the actual race, haha), and then made the rest of the drive up to SLC.
Tuesday was a complete fog! I essentially just cycled between the bathtub, the couch, and my bed. I had started getting some cold symptoms later on Monday and they hit in full force overnight so it was definitely a rough day. I napped multiple times on Tuesday, took a short neighborhood walk to get some fresh air, and got 12 hours of continuous sleep Tuesday night.
Today, I’m finally feeling back to normal a bit. Still a lot of recovery to do, but the worst of the soreness is gone and the cold seems to be subsiding. Just an annoying cough that I suspect is mostly because of all the desert dust I inhaled.
Things that went well:
- Fueling aside from the stomach upset on loop 4 felt great
- I was quick on most of my aid station visits
- I made my 28 hour B goal!! Finishing 313 out of 600 total starters.
- I felt great in the heat and was able to move even faster on loop 2 than on loop 1 despite the temps and sun
- My crew and pacers were amazing
Things to improve for next time:
- I can be even more efficient at aid stations, especially the water only stops
- I would carry a smaller bladder for this race – I never needed anywhere near the 2.5 total liters I was carrying
- I need to practice night runs with food more regularly in prep for overnight efforts. I think this plus too much salt overnight was what had me throwing up at 3:45.
- I now know what 100 feels like. There are some spots where I could have moved faster and in retrospect didn’t need to hold back quite so much.
- Overall, I loved this event so much. It was incredibly well organized and the energy was amazing!! I’ve been doing my best to stay off of ultrasignup but damn is it hard! I will admit, however, that I did go ahead and throw my one ticket from Javelina into the Western States lottery… oops. 😉
Thank you Kate for sharing a glimpse into your Javelina Jundred 100 mile ultramarathon race experience! Congratulations on finishing your first 100 miler, we are so incredibly honored that we got to play a small part in your journey!