Sunday, November 01, 2009

Chasing the Greater Baboo.

I spent the last 36 hours crewing the Sweet Baboo at the Javalina Jundred.  I'll put up some pictures soon.

The Javalina Jundred is a great, well-run party that has ultra runners doing 100 miles in it.  It's 6 laps of 15.4 miles each, and then a 9-mile loop.  YES, I KNOW THAT ADDS UP TO OVER 100 MILES, WHICH IS BEYOND F***ED UP, but there it is. If you are unable to complete all seven laps, but complete at least four, you get the Javalina Jundred "Whimp-out 100" buckle, for completing 100K (62 miles).  What's great about that option is that it keeps people from hurting themselves for a buckle.

So I ran back and forth a bit fetching for him.  Made him put on sunscreen even though he was cranky.  You know what crew means, don't you?  Cranky Runner, Endless Waiting.  I figured it was a good sign. 
Andy paced his 5t lap, and I paced him for his 6th lap, and between the two of us, we saw Baboo through the night.  

So during the lap I paced, it's dark, and we're power-walking and doing some jogging on miles 75 through 90.  The aid stations are 5 miles apart which seems appallingly far apart, but whatever.  They are super well stocked with friendly, knowledgeable aid-station volunteers.  So we're cruising along in the dark, and then dawn comes - I hand Baboo his sunglasses and as we hit one of the inexplicable warm spots in the desert, he says something I don't quite catch.  Something like, "when the trail gets really nice, I can sprint it." and then he does.

Oh, yes, he did: while I was trying to extricate one arm from my pullover jacket he takes off at a pretty full on run, and I have to follow him, because what kind of loser pacers gets her ass kicked by her runner?  I thought it was going to be a trot, but then he's running full tilt.  I mean, the dude had 80+ miles on his feet, and he is SMOKING me.  What a freak!  I'm hauling ass, trying to catch him, and it's only about 3 miles later that I finally catch him, because he stopped at the next aid station.

I was able to catch my breath after that, but he set off at a trot and I had to keep up.  It was at this point that I suggested that maybe he didn't need me after this loop.  I might even be slowing him down. Don, on the other hand, was happy to pace Baboo for his final 8 or so miles. 

And I"m like this big baby.  I've gone 15 miles at a pretty good clip, and I'm all, "It's hot out here.  My feet hurt" but I never, ever said that.  I said things like, Just think how great it will be when you're finished. 

I watched one pacer, who was jogging backwards facing his sobbing, exhausted runner, You're not going to give up!  You know why?  Because Janet doesn't give up!  Janet is going to get that buckle!! Janet kept running. and crying a little, but I don't think she quit. That's what a pacer does.  Doesn't let that runner quit. The ones that do get recriminations a day or two later when the fog has lifted, Why'd you let me quit?  I wasn't injured.  I was just tired.  You should have kept me going!

So anyway, sweet Baboo finished, wasn't last, my Baboo ran 100 miles.  Again.  I bet your Baboo can't do that. 

PS: Phoenix is just crazy hot sun, even in November.  Ugh.  

Meanwhile.  I have some general comments to make about crewing an ultra runner.  Now, I'm not saying I'm the world's best crewer, I'm still learning.  But I witnessed some pretty shameful "help" from people toward their runners.  I want to address them, who will go to work tomorrow and tell their co-workers/friends that they "crewed" for someone at the Javelina Jundred, when indeed, their runner was pretty much on their own.  I'm not naming any names.  That would be mean. 

  • Showed up five hours after the race started, missing their entire first loop.
  • Spend most of your time kicked back, reading, napping, instead of getting everything ready for your runner.   
  • Sat in a chair, watched your runner come in...and then watched him or her leave, all without getting out of your chair.
  • Watched your runner search for something in their bag without helping them find what they think they need.  
  • Watched your runner run back out into the Arizona sun without putting sunscreen on them.
  • Believed that because they are a grownup, they don't need to be reminded of anything, and they don't need your help.
  • Don't check to see how much they are drinking.
  • Don't find out when the last time they peed was.
  • Left at sundown even though your runner was not finished with their race, when indeed sundown is when they start needing you the most.
  • Weren't around to know that, in the night, they became discouraged and tired and then quit, because nobody was there to talk them through it or tell them to get their butt in gear. 
  • Spent most of your time eating and napping.  Then, when you left, you behind left the foods that runners don't eat (meat and cheese trays), taking with you the foods that ultra runners do eat (potato chips).
  • Haven't bothered to learn about any of these things, because even though your spouse or parent has been doing this for years, you haven't bothered to learn a damned thing about it.  .
NO, if you did those things, you were not crewing.  You were spectating.  When you crew, that's your runner you're waiting for.  You are there for that runner.  It's not about you.  It doesn't matter if you lose some sleep.  It doesn't matter if you're bored.  You're there for them.  They need you most at night, when it's lonely and they feel like nobody else in the course.  This is when you, or another pacer, needs to get your butt in gear and follow them around the course, to assure them that nothing's out there, and the course is that way.

And that's all I'm going to say about that.



  1. Congrats to the Great Baboo. Well done sir!!!!!!

    As for the crewing comments, it sounds like someone's spouse really didn't want to be there. Seen that before. Runner insists, or spouse insists, but what is the point? (My husband does not crew for me!!)

    Congrats to both of you, rest up! Look forward to reading the SB's race report.

  2. Excellent job by both of you, looking forward to the pictures and the SB's report.

  3. I don't know any ultra runners. And I've never crewed for anyone at anything. But I feel humiliated just reading your crew comments on the off chance I might do once of those terrible things to MY IMAGINARY RUNNER. Thanks for the education. Congrats Baboo.

  4. Reliable CREW is precious!

    Congratulations to SB.

  5. Well if I ever (I WILL NEVER) sign up for a 100 mile race, I want YOU to crew me! Good job to both of you-both roles sound hard!

  6. @Debi: Look out! Seems like every time I say "never" I then say "maybe" and then I'm on giving them my money. I call it the "Never say never" curse.

  7. Congratulations :) what a great achievement for SB and his mighty Sherpa as well

  8. Hey Misty,
    I love your blog! I'm a pretty experienced ultrarunner but have been sidelined since the summer with plantar fasciitis. Which caused me to refocus on swimming and get back on my bike ... which led to me doing my first sprint tri a couple weeks ago ... preparation for which led me to your awesome blog. :)

    Very apt comments about crewing. Much of the same selfish behavior can also be seen in pacers. Often MALE pacers. Dude, it's not about YOUR workout!

    Congratulations to Baboo and you! I hope to meet you at an ultra one day. I'm RD of a 50K in the Bay Area (, but it'll probably take something longer for you to make the trip. Maybe Western States. :)

    Take care,

  9. Go Baboo! (and good whacking of the non-crew crewers - their poor runners)

    Did you see the NYT post-marathon article by their Well blogger? Has some good quotes about the slower folks....

  10. Yeah Sweet Baboo!! That is incredible!

    By the sound of it, some poor racers had sloths for crew. What a shame. I'll keep this in mind if I am ever unbalanced enough to attempt a race like this. I'm only partially unbalanced at the moment.

    Go Baboo! Great crewing by you!

  11. Holy moses, SB - you rock my world. That is all I have to say about that.

    And your rules of crewing are 100% spot on accurate. I wonder if I can copy this and post it to all my friends...

  12. Baboo is very lucky to have you !

  13. You are absolutely correct, my Baboo can not do that. Well, I do not have a Baboo, but I do have a Honey Pie and my Honey Pie most certainly can not do that, but he and I were both very excited to hear that yours did! AGAIN! Beast status!

    Great crew report! SB's race report is a thing of beauty as usual. Fingers crossed for Western States!

  14. Anonymous12:10 PM

    bravo Bamboo...great job! Bang up job Athena on crewing...and I agree with your observations!!

  15. Wait a second, is this list about my husband...oh wait, he was in Denver when I was in AZ!

    I love your report and think it is really wonderful what a great job crewing you did!

    Happy Running!


  16. Holy crap. That is bad a$$! :)


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