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Devon Yanko Wins Javalina Jundred 100 Miler

Nov 04, 2015

Racing

Last weekend Haute Volée Devon Yanko raced the Javelina Jundred 100-miler...and won it! Broke the course record in 14 hours and 52 minutes, averaging 8:45/mi pace the whole way. Devon deserved this win. She strives for big goals and makes them happen. We could not be more excited for her huge feat, and even more so for what's to come in her world of ultras in 2016. Walk us through the race, Devon.


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Photo by Melissa and Deron Ruse of SweetM Images

On Halloween, I lined up with 458 other runners to tackle the Javelina 100 miler in the desert of Arizona. There is nothing scarier to me, no ghost nor goblin nor monster under the bed, than tackling a 100 miler. I have not completed a 100 miler since 2008 and not even started one since 2010. But that is why I came, to do something that scared me and to do something that challenged me! This year has not gone according to plan for me and mentally has been extraordinarily taxing. I have struggled with feeling like I have lost my mojo. I have struggled at times even to love running. Running 100 miles to me was simply about getting to that finish line, earning that finish line.

I went to see if I could go the distance and in the process find my mojo! I went to find my strength and courage. I went to battle my demons and face the darkness. I went to see if I could rise again like a phoenix from the ashes, if I could find a new runner me. I could have never imagined the day unfolding the way it did.

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Photo by Melissa and Deron Ruse of SweetM Images

Before the race, I wrote a letter to myself. In that letter I wrote: “Be led by passion, love and perseverance. I will rise to a new level and see what I am capable of. Yes, it is going to be hard as hell. But don’t back down. Walk across the fire and let it burn. You can handle this.” I didn’t merely just handle it. Instead I put together the performance of a lifetime. I truly went to a new level and not only found that I was capable of running on the level that I use to, but that I was in fact capable of so much more. I have never run like I did on Saturday, I have never pursued my limits so hard, run with so much guts and found moment after moment that I had more to give. I not only finished, I crushed it. First woman, second overall, new course record in 14:52 in the 9th fastest time ever in the 100 miler for a North American resident and 3rd fastest trail 100 mile time ever.

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Photo by Melissa and Deron Ruse of SweetM Images

People have been asking me, “Where did that come from?” To be honest, I truly believe that this kind of race has been a long time coming. I have had the physical tools for a long time, the combination of speed and endurance. But mentally, I have worked very hard to get to the place where when I ask myself “How bad do you want it?”... the answer is “MORE.”

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Photo by Melissa and Deron Ruse of SweetM Images

The race was not easy for me. It truly was a battle which makes the victory and accomplishment that much sweeter. In the first 30 miles, I battled with my head. I had to beat back the demons and silence the doubting. Those first 30 miles flew by though and I managed to work my head back into a better place. It was a good thing too since the next 30 miles would test me and nearly bring me to my knees. The next 30 miles were during the heat of the day and the desert heat is unrelenting and there is no shade. I started having issues with keeping my hydration and nutrition in my stomach where it belonged. I cramped. My foot hurt. My cold seemed to re-emerge and block my sinuses. At mile 45, I sat down in the chair and wanted to quit, but instead I got back up and continued. At mile 62, I returned to the start finish area and wanted to quit even more than I had before. But my crew worked their magic, my pacer jumped in ready to run, I drank an iced coffee and went back out into the desert, hoping that now that the temperatures were cooling, I might be ok. I was more than ok. Before long, my pacer and I were running hard, and my legs were feeling strong. I started to believe I could not just finish, but I could crush it, I could push my limits and find a new potential for myself. Running into the dark, I grew wings and flew over the terrain fast and free. I ran the last 41 miles faster than anyone including faster than the male winner (beating him by 6 mins, he finished in 13:49).

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Rest and recovery (Yeti style) never felt so sweet. 

I have never had a finish line so sweet as this one. I had just put together the best run of my career. I had come back from the dead. I had pushed myself harder than I have ever in a race. I asked myself for more and continually found another gear, another level. I came to Javelina to do something that scared me. To do something that challenged me and pushed me. I did that but I realize now that I also came away having discovered the runner that I can be, the runner that I am. This is me and this was my day. 

 

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