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It’s 2020, the year of no races except the few that persevered through pandemic guidelines. One of those gems was Aravaipa Running’s Javelina Jundred. A 100 mile and 100K course rolling through Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. If you’re looking for a recap of the Javelina Jundred 100-miler, you’ve come to the right place.

On the drive back to SoCal post race I started a note in my phone. It began: “ Initial feelings: Holy shit, this is the raddest thing I’ve ever experienced.”

Shelby Farrell at Javelina Jundred

I’M JOME:

“Holy cacti, this surface looks perfect for running on,” I thought as we rolled up to Javelina Jeadquarters, also known as the Four Peaks Staging area in McDowell Mountain Regional Park. We paused to capture a picture of the Subie in its natural habitat next to a giant saguaro.
Subaru in the wild
By some miraculous desert magic, we found an open camp spot maybe eight spaces from the starting (and finish) line.

I plopped my bottom in the dusty center of the vacant spot while Jason jogged off to grab our tent and officially stake our ground.

Within five minutes of proudly holding down the fort, a runner came by and retched violently at the homebase setup next to us. I would be lying if it didn’t scare me a little. And then I remembered where I was, and what I was about to be doing. The memory of hiking and skiing Tuckerman’s Ravine in college came to mind. A snowshoer had broken their leg and was being transported by rescue. My first 50K a gentleman slipped on the dewy grass of the black diamond trail we were running down, he screamed in agony waiting for medics as I tiptoed by him. The unpredictable can go very wrong when you’re adventuring outdoors-- or while sitting on your couch for that matter. You can’t let the fear of unknown potential mishap hold you back from exploring your personal limits. I got over the retching man.

Once camp was made and my packet was securely in my possession, I was able to shift my focus back to my mental and physical preparation. This included eating some cold leftover home cooked salmon (yum << and that’s not a sarcastic yum), and forcing myself to hop on the foam roller and stretch.

I can’t say sleeping at the event is strategically the best way to go. It’s hard enough to sleep the night before a race, but the folks at Aravaipa Running know how to party. It wasn’t so much the tunes pumping, it was the FOMO of wanting to be out there dancing and cheering on runners, that’s a hard feeling to sleep through. Waking up at the starting line though… that’s pretty clutch. *Note: the race was socially distanced by having runners start in waves of ten over the course of three days. So by my Saturday a.m. start-- Halloween day with a full moon-- nbd-- many participants were already in the phase of refeeding their souls with milkshakes and burgers.

I watched the 6 a.m. elite runners blast off. They looked fast, and they were carrying significantly less than me. Off they went. Fuck. I’m next. Back to getting ready…

Shelby Farrell Javelina Jundred Recap

LOOP ONE:

Slow and steady wins the race. I rocked a unicorn horn and tutu. There weren’t enough ridiculous outfits in the waves of runners I witnessed. Loosen up elites! I knew I needed to costume-up in some capacity as a measure to help take myself less seriously and a reminder to have fun.
Javelina Jundred Recap Shelby Farrell
When you see your shadow in a getup like this, you can’t help but smile.

I pretended I took a time machine to Thanksgiving, and gleefully snacked my way through the first 22.3 miles. The highlights being a banana, half a big-ass pickle, two Oreos, a goopy fruity baby food packet, clementine, and a bunch of Floyd’s of Leadville CBD gems. I took selfies and continued to drill in the intention of having fun. The first twelve miles were a warm-up, the next ten were my time to start dialing in the rhythm of the day.

Oh and no caffeine or music, yet-- those were rewards for later.

Javelina Jundred Shelby Farrell

TRANSITIONS:

Transitions were new to me. The farthest race I had done previously was the 50 (turned 57) mile North Face Endurance Challenge in 2019 where I was able to walk and nom through aid stations (<< which actually is how the extra 7 miles happened. Salty crunchy chips can be very distracting). Having a tent with a cozy mattress, extra gear, and all the nibbles, felt like the island with sirens that lured Odysseus. But a sea nymph wasn’t going to take down my ship. Every loop I had to regroup, reset, and get back on course. I never successfully timed my between loop transitions-- and will definitely be more mindful of that in future ultras. I did however use this convenient respite to justify purchasing multiple trail shoes. Every time I changed shoes it felt like I was beginning a new run.
Butt at Javelina Jundred

LOOP TWO:

Loop two also needed to feel easy. Although, my OG plan was if I was feeling particularly baller, I would pick up the pace. With no shade and a warming atmosphere, I can’t necessarily describe my run-state as “baller.” I felt solid though. I granted myself the privilege of a few sips of Red Bull and three pump-up songs from my fave spin instructor on repeat (turns out I only downloaded a fraction of the playlist, oh well).
Javelina Jundred Recap

LOOP THREE:

Full lizard under a heat lamp status. This was the hottest part of the day.
Cactus in desert
I hadn’t been as diligent on nutrition in loop two, and I was about to start to feel the effects of such a n00b move. Eating got harder and harder. All the food looked repulsive. Miles 45 to 55 probably being the biggest sufferfest of the whole run. I was nauseous, a feeling that obviously nobody likes-- I could kill 2,000 words writing about how much I hate feeling nauseous and how I can count all the times I’ve puked in my life on… okay maybe not quite one hand-- but close. I hate it. Avoid at all costs. Thank you tough stomach. Moving through discomfort is basically the definition of running though, so onward and forward.
Javelina Jundred Race Recap
The sun was setting. I knew nightfall would be a magnificent refresh button. It’s satisfying having watched the world turn before your eyes while navigating through a spanse of nature; not to mention the temperature change was much needed. I had a basic bitch headlamp until the night before race day. It was the kind you need to smack to get the batteries to work no matter how recently they came out of the package. One of the race sponsors however was Kogalla, they make a light, with a serious battery life, specifically for ultra running. It’s the equivalent of strapping car headlights on your chest. I bought one and was thrilled to use it for the first time. The “Kogalla sun” woke me up. Moments later an aid station goddess instructed me to try the life-giving vegan broth. And for eight miles I can say with confidence that I actually felt baller.
Camping at Javelina Jundred

HOLY SHIT LOOP FOUR:

Making it to the point where my husband Jason could pace me was a milestone. I couldn’t believe I was there. He was ready in a red jockstrap, with matching red tutu, and shiny devil horns. It was a spectacle (and somehow we totally failed at taking a picture... wth). There is an award for “Best Ass” so we decided to take full advantage of the R-rated festivities. You couldn’t not cackle running behind that scene. Full moon, plus Kogalla light, just illuminating more than most would want to see…
Pacer at Javelina Jundred
My phone and watch were dead (I’ve since figured out how to avoid that… Coros Global watch ftw). I trusted Jason’s pace and laughed my way through miles ~61.2 through 80.65. Eating wasn’t easy-- but Jason shoved random bites in my hand as we rolled through aid stations. And the vegan broth continued to be my lifeblood.
Girl in tent at running event

LAST LOOP! LOOP FIVE:

I’m hyped. I’ve changed into a cozy outfit, don’t worry-- the tutu was still intact and on-- and I was ready to rock out on my final loop. I started solo, but Jason was going to run the last four miles with me. I got into the flow and glided through the night. The nausea ebbed and flowed. When it got bad I had to walk. But there was no sign of puke. I kept hitting up that vegan broth as if each sip were bringing me back from the dead.

Finally a hallucination! I felt it happening, as if I was lucid dreaming. A gorgeously ornate wrought iron fence appeared in the trail in front of me. Standing freely. It was stunning. So much detail. I knew as the vision materialized I was hallucinating. I took a picture of it with my mind and it morphed back into a prickly bush in the shadows. It felt like I officially became an ultra runner at that moment. I was proud.

Running with Kogalla light Javelina Jundred
Eventually I rolled up on the aid station where Jason was planning on meeting me-- no near-nudity this time-- :::tear:::. It was weirdly the evening of daylight savings, so I’m pretty sure the time had gone back an hour, but I don’t think Arizona fucks with their clocks. I was in a timewarp. All I knew was I wanted to get to that finish line, and it looked like I was soundly on track to finish under 24 hours. Meaning a bigger finisher belt buckle. Do it for the swag, right?

Jason and I took off. All seemed promising, until mile 97. The nausea hit hard. I puked a black death, unlike anything I had ever experienced. I thought about the retching man from our arrival. His race concluded with a DNF. I knew even if I was puking non-stop the last three miles, I’d crawl to the f’ing finish. Thankfully it was another baller breakthrough. A boot and rally for the record books. I dropped a 9:43 followed by a 9:07 minute mile to bring me home.

I didn’t cry, there was no champagne shower, but there was a feeling of insane satisfaction. I had done it. I put this race on the calendar to give myself a goal to focus on during perhaps the strangest year in American history. If it was cancelled like so many events were, I was going to run 100 miles somewhere, no matter what. I am so grateful to have had Javelina Jundred as my first hundo experience. The vibez were high.

I guess this is where I mention that I finished fifth place for females with a time of 21:02:33.

HOW’D YA FEEL?

Like the hottest of garbage, thanks for asking. The nausea continued for 24 hours. Imagine putting your body through a cycle in the washer and dryer. Then imagine you’re Playdoh in a preschool classroom, getting rolled and smashed into snakes and patty cakes by twenty hands. Then take your body into a virtual reality simulator where you’re getting buried alive, you know you’re going to survive, but the aches from the washing machine, dryer, and Playdoh are pulsating through every cell.

Idk, that all might be a wee bit dramatic, but it honestly isn’t far off. It’s the pride-- the runner’s high that is still sparking between synapses that powers you through the aftermath.

And when I was ready to eat again, I ate like an asshole. My body absorbed a venti Starbucks’ Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino with all the fixings like a Shamwow.

Post 100 mile race daze

AND THAT’S A WRAP:

I would 100% run the Javelina Jundred again and highly recommend it to anyone wishing to dabble with distance in the desert. I spent the six hour car ride putting together an Instagram story, visible as a highlight on the IG account @shelbzzf. And 26 hours after crossing that finish line I had already blacked out any feeling of misery and was starting to plot my next running goal. Yeah, it’s sick… I know. #ultrarunning
Belt buckle Javelina Jundred

ABOUT THE AUTHOR + RUNNER:

Shelby Farrell is the Media Megalodon at goodr. Basically a fun way of saying she does a bunch of shit for the marketing team. After a close kitty encounter in the Santa Monica Mountains, her spirit animal is a mountain lion-- embracing their balance of power, intention, and physical strength on the trails and in life. Follow her adventures @shelbzzf on the gram. And here is a shameless plug to also follow @culturegoodr too, because a lot of radness happens behind the shades at goodr.

Desert running Javelina Jundred

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