Katy Coleman (HF18344)- Jackalope Jam Race Report / My Running Journey
Less than 4 years ago, I started running to reduce stress. I was managing our company, a household, and four little ones. I was in a fast-track grad school program, a challenging marriage, and a number of social groups. It’s exhausting just re-reading that… Thankfully my life has slowed down a bit!
A fellow mom at the Pearland YMCA encouraged me to sign up for my first 5K— Yuri’s Fun Run, which I did pushing a double stroller. I became instantly hooked on running events. Never could I have imagined completing one hundred miles in one event. I didn’t even know that was a thing!
A marathon was always a general item on my bucket list, but seemed so far fetched considering my health history. I started watching YouTube videos to see if it was possible for someone like me (slow) to even do such a thing. After a few convincing stories, I believed I could, so I did.
While I was training for that marathon, I stumbled across Trail Racing Over Texas. I was looking for a practice race about 15-20 miles. PSA: 15-20 trail miles is NOT THE SAME as 15-20 road miles. I learned that the hard way with MANY tears but nonetheless completed my first trail race at Mission Tejas. It was supposed to be a 25K, but was more of a 30K thanks to Rob’s “bonus miles.”
I was fascinated by the trail running community right away. In February of 2020, I volunteered at the Jackalope Jam, amazed that people could actually keep going over 100, 150, 200+ miles! I asked many questions, noted what runners were eating and what gear they had, etc. Everyone was encouraging and helpful!
I planned to go back to JackJam as a participant in 2021, as it has one of the most generous time limits in the country to earn a 100-mile buckle. I trained, Snowpocalypse happened, and the race was canceled. I tried again in 2022. Worst. Weather. Ever. After three days in the freezing rain, sleet, drizzle, and wind, I collected my first 100K buckle (62 miles) and went home! I was determined to meet my 100-mile goal in 2023, coming back with more experience, better gear, renewed faith, and a stronger mind.
This race has a time format rather than a distance format, meaning you can’t really “DNF (Did Not Finish).” You sign up for a set amount of supported time— 6, 12, 24, 48, 72, or 100 hours— and get as many miles as you can during that time. I signed up for the 100-hour event (mostly with volunteer credits— thanks, TROT!) with a goal to earn my first 100-mile buckle. This goal and ample time limit on a 1.5-mile loop course allowed me to sleep full nights and take as many breaks as needed. I ran, walked, shuffled, and got it done with plenty of time to spare! I’m convinced almost anyone with determination and perseverance can do exactly what I did!
The best part of trail events (as always) is the people. Everyone was encouraging and respectful of each others’ goals because there wasn’t a single goal out there that was EASY. Pain and adversity is unavoidable… It’s our response and relationships that makes it bearable. These people actually made it ENJOYABLE.
Much love to all of my 100-hour peeps! Thanks for all of the laughs, prayers, smiles, booze, advice, push-ups, and words of encouragement. I loved hearing about your experiences, families, and goals. From the pre-race dinner to the victory lap, I truly enjoyed hanging out with you!! Thanks to Cal the race director, Jeremiah, and aid station volunteers— esp Jon— for taking great care of us!
Shoutout to my “sister” Steph! People mixed us up on the course the entire time, haha. I really don’t know what I would do without her! She is the most prepared person on the planet with lots of energy and the strongest will, in a good way! Thanks, Steph, for everything!!!
Thank you to my friend Jessica and boyfriend Kevin who each drove 2 hours one way just to show their support during my final day on the course. I don’t take that for granted in the least! Y’all are very much appreciated!!!
Next year, I’ll be back for a day or two of volunteering. I kind of have a thing about not doing the same race two years in a row so that I get more unique experiences. (A couple of exceptions are Houston Aramco and Austin 3M!) In the meantime, I’m back to my favorite distance— half marathons! My next one will be #50!
If one of your goals is to complete an ultramarathon, but you have concerns about your finish time, support, or health & safety, I HIGHLY recommend this event. Or, if you just want to see how far you can go without pressure! In 100 hours of camping and running around a cone together, you will gain a new perspective and friends for life. Registration for 2024 opens tomorrow at noon!
Photo and Post Credit Katy Coleman