A couple weekends ago, I attended the Javelina 12 hour run put on by my friends at Aravaipa running. What a fantastic event. I ran it in the past. Actually, I ran my first 50 miler in 2008 when the event was just taking off.
My plans were to run between 1 & 2 laps. I knew Rachel James (Dave's wife) was gonna be there, and she wanted to run 2 laps. So, theoretically, we could run together. Would be fun, right? I was also super antzy. I hadn't raced since Angeles Crest, and while I wasn't considering this a race, I still had all those pre-race jitters. So I had all day to think about this - between house cleaning and soccer.
We arrived at McDowell Mountain Park without too much stress (sorry again for making everyone stop so I could go to the bathroom). Friend Seth and I would be running, while Sabrina and John partied it up.
(Race Director Nick Coury gives some last instructions before take-off, courtesy of Aravaipa Running)
It was light outside for about the first hour. I took off, and in the parking lot, there was Rachel. "Come on Rachel," I exclaimed, but she was filling bottles and getting ready. Hopefully she would catch me, and then we could share each other's company in the full-moon darkness.
(Man I was having fun! Photo courtesy of Aravaipa running)
I ran about the first 5-6 miles alone...then, I had a shadow. The guy behind me turned on his light and completely messed up my line of sight. I'm pretty calm, but I was having trouble seeing. I finally said something, and he rectified the situation.
A couple minutes later Jay Danek caught up with me and we chatted. Fun to catch up with him. However, I was starting think about all the times I had been out to this trail. So many races, runs, and memories. We finally reached the aid station, but my thoughts were overwhelming me.
(At the aid station, Photo Courtesy of Aravaipa Running)
I was having fun, but something was holding me back. Remember that thing people say about ultras being mostly mental? It's true. You can't fake a "good mindset," or you can...but it's got to come about and actually be a good mindset. I hung out at the aid station maybe 5 or 10 minutes (I don't know, I wasn't wearing a watch), until I forced myself to continue on.
My thoughts were filled with memories of old and new friends and moments we've shared on the Pemberton trail during various training runs and races. The Pemberton trail isn't my favorite, but I've got history here. It's the site of my first ultra, 100-miler, and 50k (I do things backwards). I've lost friends and gained friends after running here. Tears, laughter, vomit, pain, sadness, happiness...yep, I've gone through all these things here.
I wasn't in a dark mental place; I just had a lot on my mind. Sometimes that makes me want to continue running to work it out, but other times I just want to be done. That night, alone in the dark, I just wanted to finish up and sit with friends. Afterall, this is what this event is about - community, togetherness, etc. Everytime I've ever raced or ran here, the underlying reason had to do with friendships.
As I rounded the last couple of turns to the finish, I cleared my head, very confident that I was done with one lap but also very happy! At the finish, Sabrina and John were waiting, along with the numberous members of the araviapa family.
Fun, race. Fun times, and hey, I apparently "won" too. LOL!
1st place overall 25K , 2:19:16