2018 Jackrabbit Jubilee

It’s been a while since I’ve written – mostly because I was dealing with an injury earlier in the year.  Nothing huge but I had to take some time off which caused some loss of fitness.  The injury healed and since then I’ve been focused on getting back to my former shape.  I’m not at 100% but I’m making progress and I’m happy to be running.

2018 goals were pushed aside when the injury appeared and the primary goal became getting back to the ability to run a hundred mile qualifier for the Western States 100.  Assuming I will check that box off by the end of the year, I’ll have 16 tickets in the lottery.  Every year I say that should be enough to get me into the race and every year another 1000 people enter the lottery.  So that being a factor, I’ll just say I like my odds better with 16 tickets and I don’t want to lose them. 

Maybe a month or so ago, I was feeling confident about my training and I wanted to do some sort of race.  Nothing big, just something.  I stumbled across the Jackrabbit Jubilee which is a NASCAR style timed event – 6 and 12 hours.  Although my initial instinct was to jump into 12 hours, the 6 hour event seemed like the proper step.  The race takes place in Buckeye, AZ at night because Arizona and HOT.

I didn’t pay a huge amount of attention to the weather until the day the runner information email was sent out.  That’s when I learned it would not only be hot but also humid.  :\

Driving to the event, I noticed the car temp showing a whopping 109F degrees.  It was comforting to see that as I arrived at the exit off the freeway, the temp was only 107F degrees.  Fortunately, the temp is skewed by all of the concrete and asphalt because the 4.5 mile drive from the freeway to Nardini Manor where the event is hosted saw another drop of 7 degrees.  Yes, it was 100F degrees but when the sun sets, it would drop into the high 90’s and without the sun, it’s actually not awful.

When the race started, it was hot but tolerable.  My first loop was fast but the extra effort was mostly just jockeying around the other 80 people.  Once I hit the first loop, I settled into what seemed like a realistic pace.  Round and round I go and the first thing I notice about night racing is that my belly feels full.  Earlier in the day, I was struggling to figure out how to eat throughout the day without showing up feeling bloated.  I decided to turn the clock as if I were racing in the morning and I determined that breakfast would be my logical dinner with lunch being a smaller meal.  No dinner at all.  Typically, I race in the morning on an empty stomach so why would I eat anything within seven hours of the race.  In hindsight, I should have had my last meal prior to noon.  Way prior.

It took about two hours for my stomach to feel normal but then the next obstacle appeared which seemed like a stomach stitch that lasted for the next THREE HOURS.  It was pretty painful and I had to stop a couple of times to let the pain subside but aside from the couple of stops, I just gritted my teeth and moved forward. 

In the race description, they said muggy, good grief, it was MUGGY.  So much for “dry heat”, Arizona can be swampy but around midnight, my belly stopped hurting, the temp finally dropped to what felt comfortable, and even the humidity let up a bit.  With an hour remaining and all things improving ever so slightly, I had a mini rally.  I wasn’t running fast but I was running a little faster.  With a timed event, the end draws near whether you’re running or not but feeling better, I motored on in hopes that I pick off someone to move up in position.  It didn’t happen, I remained and finished in 5th place overall so perhaps I just prevented someone from picking me off. 

In the morning when I checked out the final results, I had been dropped to 6th place overall by someone who started the 6 hour race that began at 1am.  I’m ok with 6th.  Happy to be running and happy to be even remotely competitive at this point. 

This was my first night race and my first timed event.  I doubt I’ll do another night race because I’m an early riser and getting my schedule dialed in would be complicated.  As far as the timed event though – that I liked.  I don’t think I’d jump straight to 24 hours but if a 12 hour shows up at the right time, that would be something I’d try.