Getting ready to start the Javelina Jundred I knew Tea was trained. She had put in the time, running 4-5 mornings a week before school (around 30 minutes) and long runs on the weekend including doing the Pemberton loop (the race course) twice. The girl knew where she was at on every inch of that trail. She knew what it felt like to run a “fast” loop while still hiking every hill. She knew what it felt like to run the loop in 95 degrees, and running to finish before dark the one time we didn’t bring lights. I knew she had it, the only question was, did I?
Packet pickup was the day before the race, and so was Tru’s big day of getting his cast off. We picked Tea and Tajh up early from school to go with their little bro on his exciting day (SPICA cast coming off and an update and how Tru is doing to come soon) and then headed out so Tea could spend some time with her big people friends at pick up. It’s wonderful to see her interacting with all the adults that she loves and respects. To see how happy they are to see her makes me a very proud Momma. She is a an amazing Little Lady in so many ways, and as a Mother there is nothing better than knowing your child brings joy to others.
Sleep is a tricky thing to come when you are nervous about the morning, but eventual I found it. Tea and I woke to watch the 100 miles start and then got ourselves ready in the hour we had to wait before our own start. I recently found out i had superficial blood clots in my lower legs (superficial, don’t be too scared!) and running caused them much more pain. I found Hokas to be a help (not that the pain went away) but along with that came blisters from the Hokas. I got my feet taped hoping that would help and Tea and I stepped up to the start.
For the first couple of miles we were keeping a great pace. Pemberton is all “run-able” but we knew hiking the hills would help to ensure we would finish. Some people passed us in the beginning, but we also had a nice train going on behind us. Many people had great words of encouragement for Tea while there were also a lot of surprised looks. Teagan found it exciting that people had read about her and wanted to meet her. With all this the first loop flew by. A little over 15 miles in 3:30, and Tea was still feeling great, just the plan we had.
The second loop was counter-clockwise which is not our favorite direction. We hiked a ton and she continued to talk my ear off! This Little Lady has the best stories. Not only that but she remembers key markers and enjoys doing the math to decide how much longer we have to aid stations. We got to Jackass aid station which was basically half way around the loop and she was dragging a little. It was starting to get hot and we were now over 20 miles in, it was time to pour some cold water on her and get moving. We got the info Tonto (the water only station just a little over 3 miles out from Jackass) was out of water so we stayed cautious with our water. Luckily we were well prepared to make that entire 6+ miles from Jackass to Coyote Camp aid stations without needing to fill up again. The end of this loop Tea had Starbucks waiting for her (soy chai) and was ready to down some vegan pizza!
We hung out at Jeadquarters for a while so she could eat and drink, and we could learn she doesn’t like her special treat of chai! She sat for a while and Seth took off her shoes and rubbed her feet while I went back to medical and got my feet taped even more. Apparently taping my feet and preventing the usual blisters I was getting angered the blister gods and I was getting blisters in places I had never experienced before, perfect. We had now finished 50k and started out on our way to miles neither Tea nor I had done before. Because it was dark we were allowed pacers, so Seth joined us for this loop. I knew it was going to be a long one, and I was happy to have someone else take the lead for a while.
We were well bundled and planned on walking everything we wanted to, even downhills. Tea spent time holding hands with Seth and just marching along. It’s funny, even though this girl can run crazy miles, she is still the kid that falls asleep at bedtime no matter where we are. From movie parties with friends to the Alabama Shakes concert we went to a couple of days before the race, Tea falls asleep between 8-8:30 no matter what is going on. We were now past her normal passing out time and we were definitely dealing with a sleepy 8-year-old. Luckily an amazing sound came ringing across the desert right in the nick of time. The loud New Yorker voice of one of Tea’s favorite big people friends, Justin, AKA J-Lu. She knew he would be at Jackass (which is funny because she would only refers to it as “jackbutt” no cursing for her!) aid station and she could not wait to see him. She ran down the hill and was lifted into a big hug by him. She sat, ate, drank, and talk to everyone there. It was a huge lift for a sleepy little lady on her way to finishing 75k. We headed out again into the darkness but on our way to a little sleep for her.
This walk was slower and honestly I questioned if we would make it all the way. She was just a tired 8 year old, and I was her mom feeling for her. I got down at one point and looked her in the eyes. I explain that we didn’t have to finish if she was tired, we could get Jamil (RD) to drive out, we could meet him at the road, and we could go back and she could sleep. We could be done. Her only response was a stern “NO” and she turned and began walking again, on a mission. Apparently she was not quitting, so on we trudged.
Coming into Jeadquarters meant she got to eat then head to bed. I ate also but sleep alluded me. The plan was to be up by 5 and head out again, and I think a part of me was worried about making that happen. I ate and spent time with friends before heading to my tent and getting a couple of hours rest. Before I knew it we were up and heading out again. My Little Lady and I had 15 miles between us and our buckles, we were on it! We hiked the entire first half to Jackass aid station where we saw Seth (who was picking up runners who had dropped to drive back) and a couple other big people friends. They (said big people friends) thought it would be funny to tell Tea to drop her Mommy right at the end and sprint in to the finish, pointing out I had blisters (which were terrible at this time) and she wouldn’t have any trouble. Tea being my amazing Little Lady gave them a “yeah right, why would I do that” look and we headed on our way.
Tea wanted Seth to run in with us so he headed out to meet us about 3 miles out. We ran a little and Tea was feeling alright, just excited to finish. In another half mile she went to brush a bee off her back and ended up getting stung in the hand. This cause uncontrollable crying from her. Look, she is 8, she is tired, she is 60 miles into her 100k, and now she got stung by a bee, crying was more than allowed.
So we gave her a couple minutes and allowed her to have her moment before we started moving again. Crying continued on and off until we got to the road crossing (meaning we were almost to the finish) and saw Jamil waiting on the other side to take pictures. Tea stopped, composed herself, and we were off and running again. Jamil continued to run ahead a little then stop and take pictures until Tea saw the finish, at which point she took off! I found myself, blisters and all, sprinting to try to keep up. At the end of her 100k Teagan was sprinting it in! It was amazing to watch, and difficult to keep up with, then we were finished. My 8-year-old had just finished 100k and was handed her buckle.
Tea promptly took off her shoes, put her buckle on her new belt and wore it around. She played with her friends, walked Catra’s dog Truman, talk with people, and took pictures like a pro.
She was happy to see Colby (12) finish his 100 mile (we had seen him out on the course a lot as well which she was excited about) and happy to eat some otter pops.
I was happy to take my shoes off and stare at my blisters for a while. I can not express how thankful I am for the amazing ultra running community. All the kind words and support out there on the course really helped keep Tea moving. I am also forever thankful for having so much special time with my daughter out on the trail. Between Seth and my Mom caring for the others I was able to know they were in good hands and able to focus on Tea and her needs the entire time.
What she ate– A LOT! She ate many gels, stinger chews (pink lemonade being her favorite), avocado roll ups, veggie burger, vegan pizza, and all the normal vegan ultra food.
Animals– Tea loved seeing rabbits, shooed a tarantula off the trail for safety, watched some lizards run around, and even saved a hurt lizard from getting stepped on the trail.
Gear– Tea loves New Balance. She ran the entire race in her brand new New Balance 890 v3’s, and had no blisters, her feet felt great! She carried her super cute Pink Ultimate Direction Bottle, and of course had two Buff’s with her at all time. They really came in handy at aid stations to dunk in the water to keep her cool.
The important things to note from this race are, I was with her every step, she was determined to finish, she got 6+ hours of sleep during the night, and she had fun majority of the way. I understand running 100k isn’t for every 8 year old, but it is for this one. So the question was, was I ready? The answer is yes! Training with her and following her “take things as you go” approach made this, my first 100k, go as smoothly as it could. I am so proud of my Little Lady for the determination and hard work she put in, and I am extremely proud we are now buckle buddies!
Love this. You and Tea are inspiring! I’ve been following your blog for a while and just want to thank you for being willing to share a part of yourself and your family with all of us.