Javelina Jundred from Project Talaria on Vimeo.
One thing about Javelina that does get my attention is the potential for hot, dry weather. Situated in the Arizona desert, the course offers no shade. Fortunately, with a full summer behind me, I should be decently heat-trained. The keys will be to pace it well and stay cool and hydrated--all things that are firmly in my control.
I have a few races coming up, including the Xterra Trail Marathon in Cheyenne Mountain State Park and a 5K on the road, that will take me right into my Javelina taper. The Xterra race will be a training run and will come with zero taper.
Last Sunday, I lined up for the Hot to Trot 10K race in Pueblo, Colorado, which is about 100 miles south of where we live. I was down in Pueblo for work as my employer, Delta Dental of Colorado, once again sponsored the annual Chile & Frijoles Festival, where tens of thousands of people enjoy a fun three-day street party of sorts. I figured that while I was there I might as well run in their 10K race, which I saw in action last year and regretted not entering. This was to be my first-ever 10K, which is hard to believe as I've run in almost 75 races in my life.
Based on the 2014 results, I knew there was a shot that I could break the tape in this year's 10K. But then when we lined up on Sunday morning in downtown Pueblo, I noticed a few fast, young guys around me. Turns out they had entered the 5K. Once the 5K and 10K split off, I found myself in the front. I hadn't found myself in the front of a race in a long time. A really nice guy on a bike led me out to the turnaround on the path they have along the river, allowing me to see who was behind once I zipped around the cone. I was reminded of how stressful it is to be in the lead of a race. Not that it happens much with me (hadn't happened since 2009), but it's stressful. That said, I had every intention of winning this thing!
Long story short: I was able to hold the lead and finish back in town first overall in the 10K with a time of 38 minutes and 35 seconds. I was deep in the pain cave in the last 10 minutes. That's not a terribly fast winning time for a 10K but it was fast enough to get me the W on that particular day. So, in that respect, I'll take it. It felt really good and it gave my confidence a little boost. Plus, I had a great time. This was a fantastic, low-key community race and they even fed us a hot breakfast at the Gold Dust Saloon afterward! Plus, I won a pumpkin and walked away with a nice 1st-place medal. Other things I liked about the race:
1) They had just one aid station and all it had was...water. I like that.
2) At no point in the race did they offer bacon, sports drinks, Big Macs and other items now offered at ultras to athletes who have become entirely too spoiled.
3) It started with "ready, set, go!"
4) It was perfectly marked.
After the race, I got to thinking about my time. Five or six years ago, I thought, my time would have been 2-3 minutes faster. While that may potentially be true, it's also true that Pueblo is at about 4,700 feet. So, I figure at sea level I might be 30-60 seconds faster. I would love to enter a sea level 10K and find out for sure!
I really like the 10K distance. The 10K pushes you into the pain cave. You can run it super hard and then wake up the next day with minimal soreness. I think one of the bad habits ulrarunners can develop is not going into the pain cave enough. Ultras, while really hard, usually require lower intensities. I think it's a good idea, at least for me, to rev up the engine now and then and taste blood. It keeps the knife sharp (nothing like mixing metaphors).
Now, go run!