Davy Crockett’s Running Frontier

I like to Run Insanely Long & Crazy Distances                                                                                                             Pony Express Trail 100
                                                                                                                                                                            www.ponyexpress100.org

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The early trail 100-mile races, including Western States 100, Old Dominion 100, and Vermont 100, all have their roots in horse endurance rides. The parallels from those rides to 100-mile ultras are many. Much of the experience and practices of those rides became part of trail 100 mile runs that were established in the 1970s and ‘80s.

In 1955 Wendell Robie, a successful businessman and outdoorsman from Auburn, California had a discussion with an associate about whether a horseback rider could cover 100 miles in a day. He got riled up about it and vowed to prove it could be done. He wanted to conduct the ride on a trail he had particular interest in, a historic trail used by miners in the 1800s between the California gold fields and the silver mines in Virginia City, Nevada. Wendell named the trail, “The Western States Trail.” It went through little old gold towns between Lake Tahoe and Auburn, Califronia, crossing over the crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Wendell made plans, established a committee, and worked to get support from the city of Auburn. A stated purpose of the ride was “to determine if Western horses are bred today as tough as those of the Pony Express era.”

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The fastest 100-mile ultrarunners during the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s

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I am always drawn toward the stories of the early pioneers of ultrarunning. I think it is important to take time to appreciate the history and accomplishments of the runners who paved the way before us. The birth of the 100-mile trail race has been attributed to Gordy Ainsleigh, who in 1974 wanted to see if he could run a 100-mile horse race in California, the Western States Trail Ride, on foot, instead of riding a horse. He was successful, finishing in 23:42, proving that a person could run 100 miles in the mountains in less than a day.

But ultrarunning, including 100-mile races, did not start there….

This started out to be a blog post, but turned into a free online book.

Download the entire book (PDF) here: Swift Endurance Legends

More than 2,600 downloads since May 3.

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The journey to becoming an ultrarunner has many varied paths. I personally never dreamed to be a runner of any kind and in fact most of my life, pretty much despised running. But along these unexpected paths, running somehow evolved. This story is mostly for me, to look back and understand where I came from, but it also may be of interest to others as they too become an ultrarunner.  Perhaps this is my runner memoirs.  It is a attempt to bring together many of my experiences and lessons learned over the years. Recently updated (3/17)

Full book, download PDF here: My Path to Ultrarunning  to read off-line. 268 pages, 18 meg. 13,100+ downloads to date.  

To be continued…

Buffalo Run 100

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I ran the Antelope Island Buffalo Run 100 for the 4th time. Antelope Island is the largest island in the Great Salt Lake, covering 28,022 acres. It is home to bison, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, mule deer, coyotes, bobcats, upland game birds, and waterfowl. In 2006 Jim Skaggs established the first ultramarathons held on the island and in 2011 introduced a 100-miler.

In 1848, Fielding Garr established permanent residency on the island. He grazed his own herds there as well of massive herds for the Mormon Church. At times there were nearly 1,000 wild horses roaming the island. In the 1890’s, John E Dooley owned land on Antelope Island. He bought buffalo and transported them to the Island. By 1900, the small herd had multiplied to over 100 head. Recognizing the recreation potential of the island, the north 2,000 acres were acquired by the state in 1969. In 1981 the state purchased most of the rest of the island thus preserving it as a state park for all the people to enjoy. Today the number of bison on the island number about 750. continue reading…

splits
In running, a negative race split is when the second half of a race is faster than the first half. Runners generally strive for negative splits in road races — marathon or shorter.  Most world records at these “shorter” distances have been achieved with negative splits.  Galen Rupp set the American record in the indoor 5K of 13:01:26.  His mile splits were 4:14, 4:12, and 4:04.  Some coaches feel that negative splits should be achieved not only by elite runners, but also by the recreation runner.

Achieving a negative split doesn’t mean that at the halfway point you need to speed up, but at some point in the second half of the race you do speed up.

A Runner’s World article stated, “Anyone can and should run negative splits.  Unfortunately, most runners don’t. Instead they start in a near sprint, hang on through the middle and resort to a survivor’s shuffle at the end.”

Should you try to achieve negative splits during a 100-miler?  I’ve seen many do that survivor’s shuffle at the end and in a few races I’ve done it too. Certainly it is possible to do a negative split 100, but I have never come very close to achieving it in all my 89 100-mile finishes.  I believe I could do it if I purposely held back significantly during the first 50, but I believe my overall time would end up much slower.

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Miles and Miles

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milesIn 2002, I started to keep track of the number of miles I ran, starting with my very first Mount Timpanogos hike in Utah. That kicked off my desire to stay fit and run on trails. At first when recording miles, I was somewhat of a trail snob, only keeping track of miles run on trails. Somehow I put in my mind the thought that unless the miles were on trails, they didn’t count. But I soon came to my senses and kept track of all my miles. For that first year I ran 691 miles. As I strived to lose weight, I also kept track of swimming miles and over the first three years swam 333 miles.

People have attempted to find the person who has run the most lifetime miles. Because proof with running logs are not very good, the best documented record probably is held by Dr. Herbert Fred of Houston, with more than 250,000 miles by the age of 85 in 2014. He kept many logbooks. His biggest year was in 1966 when he ran 7,661.5 miles. In 2011 he ran 2,886 miles at the age of 82. In April 2014, he surpassed 250,000 miles. That is further than running all the way to the moon (238,900 miles).

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I ran the Trail Trashed 100, put on by Triple Dare Running Company, held in foothills of the McCollough Range above Henderson, Nevada, near Las Vegas. This was the first time a 100-mile race was put on as a part of this running event. Other distances included 50 miles, marathon, half-marathon, 10K and 5K. I discovered the race only ten days before and decided to register. The course was only four miles from my son’s apartment in Henderson. I would be attempting to finish three 100-milers in a four-week period.

The Trail Trashed 100-mile course consists of four 25-mile loops. As I researched the course and pieced together Strava segments, I discovered that this would not be an easy 100-miler, with about 16,000 feet of climbing. “Not easy” turned out to be an understatement. This turned out to be one of the toughest 100-milers I had run in several years. continue reading…

Jackpot 100

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logoI ran Jackpot 100 again, held at Cornerstone Park near Las Vegas, in Henderson, Nevada. This race is a loop-format race on a 2.38-mile course through the park. Various races are held concurrently, 48-hour, 24-hour, 100-mile, 12-hour, six-hour, and marathon. I chose to run the 100-miler. Last year I finished in 6th, with a time of 20:51, my best 100-mile time of the year. I looked forward to another possible fast race.

But this year a terrible rain storm was forecast and the rain would pour for hours. I came prepared with rain gear and mentally prepared myself for potentially miserable race conditions. My goal was to finish in the top-five and hopefully run faster than my time last year. But I didn’t have firm, high expectations. Two weeks ago I finished Rocky Raccoon 100 and I had been sick with a sinus infection ever since, with very little training. continue reading…