It’s a huge honor to introduce my favorite DPMR member, Javier Castellar. Without a doubt, his support from day one has been essential in both the founding of the club and the creation of our signature race, the Castle Peak 100k. It’s not always easy being “Mr. Helen Pelster,” but he bears it well, always game to volunteer at events or watch the kids while I’m at a meeting or off training myself.
I’m very proud of his ability to train despite his demanding work and travel schedule. He completed the inaugural Castle Peak 100k, and has been in charge of runner tracking and timing every year, as well. I am also impressed by his relentless pursuit of the 100-mile finish. We are looking forward to the rest of our days exploring the mountains together.
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I am originally from Spain. I started working in early 1990s for Silicon Graphics in Madrid, and they eventually moved me to Mountain View in Silicon Valley. Later I started my own company, got married, and I moved permanently to Truckee which I have called home for over 18 years.
When did you begin running and/or long-distance running, if that applies? Why?
I use to run half marathons in Spain and I was an avid climber and skier. I started long distance running after crewing Helen on her first ultras because (a) I love the mountains and (b) I love the running community and camaraderie.
Do you race? Does racing motivate you? If not racing, what motivates you?
I have been “racing” 50K’s, 50-milers, 100K’ss and now attempting 100-milers. Racing motivates me less than the actual long training leading to the race. I really treasure the typical unassisted 40-mile training runs with DPMR friends and family in preparation for some race.
Do you have any dream races (either hoping to qualify for or get selected for)?
Due of the above reasons, I currently don’t. However I did enjoy pacing Betsy Nye in Hardrock 100 as allowed a ‘free’ glimpse of what is about without the assured destruction and training investment of the full race.
Do you have a favorite on-trail food or nutrition strategy? Favorite post-run meal or beverage?
Tailwind or GU Roctane drink mix as a base, then Stinger chews to complement. If crew is available: sticky rice with blueberries and two slices of bacon here and there. As a post run recovery drink: beer (Blue Moon)
Do you have a favorite recipe to share?
I am only allowed to make coffee and survival cooking when left home alone.
What was your favorite running experience this past year?
Running/pacing with Helen the last three miles of IMTUF 100-miler to her win and course record in sub freezing weather.
What was your most challenging/ character-building experience this past year?
Without a doubt Pinhoti 100-miler in Alabama. It supposed to be cool in November, but turned out to be record heat with 100% humidity. I could not wear a hat or glasses or even the full hydration vest due to the incredible humidity. Also, I had never run with so many leaves and slippery logs on the ground and the course had all these ravines up and down and waist-deep river crossings. I did survive the daytime at my planned pace and as it cooled down in the night I felt ready to finish when disaster strike at mile 70 when I hurt my knee. I could not even walk and took me forever to reach the next aid station with the aid of a tree branch. At least there was no doubt I had to drop so I did not feel that bad about it – no regrets!
What are your upcoming racing/adventure plans?
I just DNF’d at the Tahoe Rim Trail 100-miler, which pissed me off despite doing a good first lap and having done a ton of training. I was feeling strong at mile 50, but somehow my stomach decided to cramp hours later of recovering from the heat at Diamond, so I had to call it quits during the night, ending up with only 60 miles. I did push hard for a number of hours, but not being able to take in water or food at altitude, I did not want to have to become a liability for the organization at a remote station, so I walked back during the night with my pacer to the medical tent at the finish line.
The silver lining is that I can chalk this one up as a good training run, as I am considering turning around and signing up for Headlands 100 miler about a month from now. I don’t want to waste all my good TRT training. It still it has lots of climbing (20,000 ft,) but it’s like cheating because of the low altitude.
Longer term I want to do multi-day adventure runs with Helen, sleeping in the forest and filtering water.
What do you do for a living? Is it hard to fit in time for training?
Twenty years ago my friends and I co-founded the company that I work for (Aechelon Technology Inc.) and it is always very busy with 150-200 employees. We make military flight and sensor simulators and mission rehearsal systems for the US Marine Corps, US Navy, US Air Force, US Army, Special Operations Command and the US Coast Guard. Since our headquarters are in San Francisco, I primarily work from home, but I do travel over 125,000 miles a year. Fortunately, it is mostly to Washington DC and other locations on the US East Coast, but a sometimes I have to go overseas.
It is really hard to fit the running time – sometimes I run on the air bases before my meetings but other times I have to resort to my most hated activity: the treadmill in some random hotel or airport.
What led you to join the DPMR?
Well, I am married to the president (Helen Pelster).
What has been your favorite DPMR experience so far?
Without a doubt Castle Peak 100K and the Memorial Day Picnics.
Favorite local trail?
The Warren Lake Loop: Summit Lake, Frog Lake overlook, Warren Lake, Basin Peak, Castle Peak and return over the Donner Lake Rim Trail.
What other outdoor or indoor interests do you have?
Any interesting facts about yourself you would like to share?
If I told you I will have to kill you. No, seriously, I think the funniest fact I have is that I met Helen because of nuclear weapons. It is true. At the time I was building a monstrous 3D visualization computer system for Los Alamos National Labs. Because nuclear weapons are not exactly PR friendly, we needed a “Green Peace” dataset to demonstrate the system in public. Helen was at the time doing the Visible Human Project in Colorado (a sliced cadaver volume dataset that was very famous at the time,) so we flew her in to my lab in Silicon Graphics in Mountain View for few days and – long story short – the rest is history.