Races Trail Running Training

2019 in Review – November

2019 Ragnar Trail AZ

More races!

The first one was Ragnar Trail AZ, which—if you’ve read much of this blog (haha, nobody has)—you know is an event with a lot of history for me, and I love it. I fell out of love with paying the registration fees for it, though. For the last couple of years, I’ve told my Ragnar-running friends that I’m on their permanent reserve list. Happy to come out and help if someone on their teams isn’t able to make it and they need a substitute. I didn’t get that call until pretty late this year, and I thought it was going to be my first year missing it since 2014.

Hiking Races Trail Running Training

2019 in Review – October

San Tan 50k

October was a lot of fun. I did a long, hot, grindy 50k training run out at San Tan and then it was special events of some kind or other for the rest of the month.

Trail Running Training

2019 in Review – September

Mt. Ord

We started off September with a Labor Day hike up Mount Ord. Kris had never seen this place I was going to run at all the time during the summer, and she wanted to get a look at it.

Backpacking Hiking Training

2019 in Review – August

Backpacking the Coconino Rim

August’s big event was a backpacking trip up the Arizona Trail along the Stagecoach course out to the Coconino Rim. During the race, I had gone through a lot of this area in the dark, and when sunrise came toward the end of it, it was so beautiful to me that I wanted to come back out to see a sunrise there again. 

So I got some friends together for the trip, and they came along to check it out with me.

Trail Running Training

2019 in Review – July


In July, I officially started my training block for this year’s big running project (as well as next year), the Southern Arizona Triple 50. As everyone who lives here knows, there is no better time of the year to start a big training block than the middle of summer.

Backpacking Races Trail Running Training

2019 in Review – March

Monument Valley 50k

The Monument Valley 50k was the race I was training for. Kris and I made a weekend trip of it, going to stay at The View Hotel in Monument Valley itself, and it was amazing. Just staggeringly beautiful. 

One of the awesome things about the race is that runners get to go through some areas that normally either require a guide to access, or they are completely off-limits to non-tribe members altogether.

Road Running Trail Running Training

2019 in Review – February

HOM 100

February was when I figured I should get around to training for the 50k I had coming up in March. My first bigger mileage run was out at the annual Hom 100, a fantastic fundraising and awareness event for ALS that my friend Trevor puts on every year. It takes place on a 2-mile loop set up around his neighborhood, and you show up and run as many laps as you want. I did 21 miles (my longest run since Stagecoach) and had a lot of fun hanging out with all the running buddies there.

Trail Running Training

Surviving Javelina Jundred: Tips from a Local Who Has Done the Race

In 2016, I ran the Javelina Jundred 100k. I’ve sent my race tips to friends getting ready to do the race several times since then, and I figured I should just go ahead and make this a formal blog post that I can link to, and maybe others searching the internet for race information might find it as well.

The Basics

Javelina Jundred is a 100k and 100 mile race that takes place at McDowell Mountain Park every October, the closest Saturday before Halloween. It is traditionally a hot and sunny race, as this tends to be a time of year when we don’t get much rain. While the nights have started their seasonal cooldown, the daytime is still pretty warm and tends to peak around 90º, give or take.

The race takes place mostly on the Pemberton Loop of the park, with detours on the west side along Shallmo Wash and Cinch Trail on the east that take runners down to “Jeadquarters” at the Four Peaks Staging Area. This forms a loop of approximately 19 miles that the 100k runners will do three times, and the 100 mile runners will do five (there is a variation in the first loop that adds a few miles to round out the total mileage for each distance). The loops are done “washing machine” style, which means that each loop you run is done the opposite direction of your previous loop.

When I trained for the race, I deliberately ran in the heat of the day to build up my heat acclimation and to figure out what my systems would need to be to survive the race. The things I did worked for me, and I took away some ideas for improvements I would make if I did the race again.

Here’s what I did, and what I learned.

Hiking Training

My Worst Great Adventure: 24 Hours of the Prescott Circle Trail

When I ran Javelina Jundred 100k in 2016, the biggest surprise I had in graduating to that distance from 50k was what the last four, five, six hours felt like. I knew it wasn’t going to be fun, but I wasn’t ready for how not-fun it was going to be. And then when I ran Black Canyon 100k in 2018, I was again surprised—but this time it was by how much easier the back half of the race was, and I think it had a lot to do with knowing what to expect. 

So when I started planning the final training block for my first 100 mile race, I wanted to ensure as few unpleasant surprises as possible, and the biggest one I had my eye on was the final hours of the night. It’s a time that is well known for being the worst part of the race, and it makes runners drop. 

In my 100Ks, I had passed the 2 AM mark during the race and knew that I could manage that much okay. So it was really the stretch from 2 AM to sunrise that was my area of greatest concern. I didn’t know how it would hit me when it came, and I didn’t want the race to be when I found out for the first time.

Thus was born the idea for my last big training push for Stagecoach. I would go on a 24 hour hike. I chose hiking rather than running, because the point was “time on feet” rather than distance, and hiking would be less wear and tear on me. Running for 24 hours seemed to me like it would be the classic mistake of “running the race before the race.”

After I came up with this plan, I had to decide where to do it. I didn’t want to just repeat loops out at the local parks over and over, so I started looking around for ideas that sounded a little more interesting. I did a rough estimate of what the distance would be if I did 24 hours at a fairly comfortable pace (I was estimating between two and three miles per hour) and came up with a little over 50 miles. That gave me an idea to go do a thing I’d been wanting to do for a while: complete a circuit of the Prescott Circle Trail.

Trail Running Training

Getting Through It

So my last post was fairly grim, but it was meant to be. Running a lot in the heat is lousy. I talk to other runner friends who tell me that they have gone out and trained in the afternoons during the summer for long stretches like it’s no big deal, and all I can think is that they’re either way, way tougher than me or that they’re better liars.

I did it and I got through it, but I hated it. It wasn’t so much that I hated it while I was out there doing it (because my brain just shifts into “get it done” mode once I’ve started—this is the real reason why you train, folks), but I dreaded going out. I mentioned in the last post that I was skipping most second-day runs, and that just continued. I never did get much better at dragging myself out early for a Sunday morning run after a long, hot Saturday.

But this is the thing I want to talk about.I didn’t just keep doing the same thing. I took a break from that, and it made the rest bearable.