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28 hours of hell on earth

November 3, 2007

So it seemed. I can’t say I’ve witnessed Chet experience a more difficult 100 miler. He finished just over 28 hours. It was HOT, I mean, REALLY REALLY HOT.

Thursday Oct. 25th, Chet, Gabriel, Jim and Eric loaded up into our truck and departed about 6:30 a.m. on their way to Phoenix for the Javelina Jundred. They made it down to about Nowhere, Arizona (no joke) and camped at the Burro Creek Campground. Chet highly recommends the campground.

The next morning at 5:20 a.m. my cab showed up and off to the airport and headed down to Phoenix. Karen picked me up at the airport right about when Chet & Company made it into the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. I headed out with Karen and Chet and everyone headed up to the McDowell Mountain Park to hunker down for the day and relax before the race.

Somehow, I was volunteered to participate in Karen’s son’s elementary school’s “Hoops for Heart” event. So, coming from Reno, Nevada where the high temperatures had hardly exceeded 70 degrees for the previous two weeks or more, I spent 3 hours in the hot Arizona sun without sunscreen or sunglasses, and I had a BLAST. But shhhh, don’t tell Karen, I don’t want to ruin my reputation.

Ironically, I was rather comfortable out there in the sun, but it was astonishing to hear all the Phoenix natives whine and bitch about the heat. Ummmm, hello, y’all CHOOSE to live down there and endure 110+ degree days regularly and you’re bitching because it was in the 90’s!?! I hadn’t seen above 80 degree days for a month or more and had been waking up to 30 degree temps commonly. Just interesting. Alas, I digress.

So, while I was chasing basketballs, appreciating the politeness of 5th and 6th graders, and basking in the sun, Chet & Co. were getting camp set up at Javelina Jeadquarters. (Heheh, like my *pun*)

After enjoying the afternoon with Karen, we waited for D (Karen’s son) to get out of school and headed out to meet up with my Boyz. Karen had previously mentioned what a bottomless pit Dylan was, this I got to witness first hand. Karen and I had missed lunch due to the “Hoops for Heart” event. So we stopped off at Robeks for a smoothie at the local gas station. Karen and I got smoothies and D, who was HUNGRY got some Funyuns and something to drink. All the while, he’s trying to coerce his poor mom into Reese’s Cups or this or that or the other thing.

Oh my goodness, the smoothie was sooo goood! So, we head out to the upper outskirts of urban sprawl hell, Oh, I mean Phoenix, to the race start and stop at Fry’s for my last second shopping for the next couple days. Still, the bottomless pit is begging for food. I stock up on essentials, pop-tarts, chips, sandwich fix’ns and mountain dew. Oh, and ice.

So, D buys one of the biggest sandwiches I’ve ever seen and I get my family essentials for the weekend and off we go through Scottsdale on up to Fountain Hills to the park. It was beautiful out there. We finally get to the Jeadquarters and meet up with Chet & Co. Some introductions, hi’s and idle chat and Karen and D headed back home and Chet groaned and promptly released the hound of hell to me…I mean, Gabriel to my care.

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Saturday morning, Chet got up and was VERY quiet not disturbing us in the camper. Yah Chet. I was exhausted from horrible nights of sleep for the past several days, so the longer I could sleep (and Gabriel) the better. Unfortunately, the one downside to camping at the race start/finish/Jeadquarters was the fact that everyone and their brother, sisters, friends, family, etc. is there and well, they were all less the quite. Not that I can blame them.  So from out camper window we watched all the runners head out on their way.

Eric was the first one through the first lap.

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The heat was definitely taking it’s toll early on. Eric looked pretty good, but was already struggling with his notorious stomach issues. I still think Eric should take a cue from Jack Driver and just learn to puke, puke a lot and run through it. Right Eric.

Chet came in looking strong, taking it easy. His strategy….just finish the race. But, he looked good. We knew it would be hot, but I wasn’t too concerned about Chet as he is well acclimated to working hard in extraordinary heat and his body tolerates it well.

As the morning progressed, I couldn’t figure out why I had a ripp’n head ache. I did a mental check of my water intake over the course of the past several days and was comfortable that I had drank plenty. Finally, it occurred to me that I was suffering from caffeine deprivation. Gabriel was true to his shirt, and poor Jim, when he came in after his first lap, I was up to my eyeballs frustrated, tired and just on a short fuse with G. Finally, with MUCH pressure, a couple movies and reading the prologue to “Life of Pi” to Gabriel, I FINALLY got him down to sleep, despite the sweltering heat in the camper.

Chet came and left, heading out for his third lap. I relaxed a bit while G was asleep. When Chet came in after his second lap, it was horribly hot. He looked pretty good. But, it was unreal how hot it was. I was struggling to follow the shadow cast by our camper to stay out of the sun.

Gabe slept through most of Chet’s third lap. As I sat melting in the sun and drinking my Mtn. Dew (thank goodness for caffeine) I surfed the net a bit, played some games and just chilled. Something I don’t often have time to do.

Chet came back in after his third lap. We still had not seen Jim come in from his second lap. After a swift exchange of bottles and a refill of Succeed caps, he was back out. A while later, Jim finally came in. It was hot, getting late in the day, and he was suffering the ill effects of the heat and a cold to boot. Jim decided to throw in the towel.

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You’ll note in this photo, one interesting thing… O’l Jim’s got a beer in his hand. Well, after two beers, Jim realized that he needed to get his butt out there and he went back out and finished two more laps for the 100k and received his 100 kilometer buckle.

After the 4th lap, Eric came in pretty well toast. He looked like hell, and I’m being generous.

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Honestly, I was starting to get a bit concerned about Eric. Ironically, as he was sitting there his hands began to go numb. We got him over to the Jeadquarters and he had a chat with the medical staff on hand and took a rest. While he was in the tent, Chet came in with Jill, whom he was running with. Chet, though tired and starting to hurt a bit, was looking relatively good.

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He hooked back up with Eric and they all headed out for their fifth lap. This would be the last time I saw him before them in the morning, as since it was just us and G, I would take the opportunity to get some sort of a decent nights sleep with Gabriel. When Chet came in at around 2:00 a.m. I didn’t hear him.

Chet says he was very tempted to join me in the camper, but he knew darn well that if he did I would kick his butt right back out. So, that didn’t happen and they headed out for their last full lap on the 15.3 mile course.

In the morning, Gabe’s and I were awake when they came it. We walked a bit out on the course to great Chet and Jill and walked in with them. They came in slowly.

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I knew right away that Chet was in excruciating pain. Apparently, somewhere in the last 20 miles, he managed to either pull, strain, or tear his calf muscle. We’re still not quite sure what he did, as the pain continues. Jill was one tough cookie.

Jill and Chet ran with one another through most of the race and provided awesome mutual support to one another. Jill, ironically, is from Reno too. Funny how you meet people in your own town hundreds of miles away. I’m pretty happy Chet and Jill joined up on the course, as it’s always nice to meet nice new people.

Into the aid station came Chet and Jill. I worked on making sure Chet had everything he needed. He dropped his fannie pack at this point and opted for two hand held bottles for the last 10 miles. In all the hustle and bustle poor Gabriel got lost in the mix. Next thing I hear is the poor guys crying. Awww.

I also met again, Jill’s boyfriend Ben. What a nice guy. He offered to go make a beer run for us and I put in my desperate request for coffeee. Here’s Jill, Ben and Chet.

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I would have gone myself, but didn’t feel like packing up the camper all just for some caffeine and beer. Here’s a pic of the camper and all our junk.

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So, despite some of the hottest weather and some of the most excrutiating pain Chet’s had on a race, he finished. Ben, Gabriel and I headed out on the course later in the morning (after I SUCKED down my latte – thanks Ben!) and waited for Chet and Jill to make it in. They were running a little slower than we expected, and when we saw them, the were definitely slow moving. But, they made it. And they did it in style – just over 28 hours.

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Two very happy finishers!

Jill unfortunately had to rush off to the airport and head back to Reno with her friend Clair and boyfriend Ben. Due to screw-ups by US Air, Ben ended up having to fly a different airline and flight home. Jill, emailed Chet this about her return home…

While getting off the plane and limping to baggage claim on Sunday I am pretty sure my joints had fused. Ben had to take a separate flight so I was hobbling on my own and it took me so long to get down there that my bag was in a special holding area because they thought i had left without it!!

Oh my goodness. First, Jill is awesome! She freaking ROCKED that 100 miles. I can not even imagine running a hundred mile race. Really, right now at this stage of my life, I can’t see the appeal. And second, it’s brutal on the body. Sometimes you fare better than others, but after witnessing Chet’s varied physical state after many races, I can just say sitting on an airplane right after that, Jill’s a superstar!

After the race, a nap by Chet and G, we headed to Four Peaks Brewery for dinner. Karen, her hubby, D and T were kind enough to meet us there and we enjoyed a nice dinner with friends. After dinner, we headed back up to the Jeadquarters and camped for our last night in Arizona.

The next morning, after some pictures of Chet & Co. we headed to the airport to drop Jim off as he was on his way home to New Zealand.

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After dropping Jim off at the airport, we began our journey back to Reno. I drove back. And watched the boys pass out along the way.

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P.S. Eric, please don’t drool on G!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 15, 2007 7:45 PM

    Great recap! I’m always amazed how Chet doesn’t look like a piece of toast at the end of his ultras – does he ever get tired? I’m also amazed at how big Gabriel is. Apparently he doesn’t get tired, either!

  2. nevadamtnbear permalink*
    December 16, 2007 7:38 AM

    Yes, he gets tired, but he keeps an amazingly good attitude. But he also tries to keep them fun, he doesn’t run so hard that tears himself up something wicked.

    That may change this year as he’s starting too look at his times a little more. If he ever gets into Western, he’d like to try for a sub-24, I guarantee he’ll look well toasted after that – well, maybe – ideally he’ll be properly trained for it.

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