Davy Crockett’s Running Frontier

I like to Run Insanely Long & Crazy Distances                                                                                                             Pony Express Trail 100

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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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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: downloadable PDF version to read off-line. 268 pages, 18 meg. 12,000+ downloads to date.  

To be continued…

100-miler FAQs

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Whenever anyone learns for the first time that I run 100-mile races the usual questions start coming. I can count on this happening almost every week at work during the beginning of a meeting. I enjoy answering these questions and watching the reactions. But I hope they go away with a greater understanding of the sport. Here are many of the common questions asked and my answers.


Urban Running

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During the winter, one of the most frequent questions I receive is: “Are you still running during the winter?” Since I started running in 2004, I have never considered taking the winter months off. I usually do the complete opposite and step up my training to new levels, putting in more miles during the winter months compared to the summer. Putting on holiday weight doesn’t become a worry and the result is a solid mileage base for the races in the new year. As of 2016, I’ve run year-round for more than twelve years.

But my approach is different during the winter. Many runners in Utah in recent years have enjoyed to continue to push up to the peaks in deep snow. Perhaps that is fun, but for me, it does not contribute much toward continued 100-mile race training. I move my training down into the valleys and find ways to do creative, interesting long urban runs.

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I DO NOT agree with this common statement

Even more fun than running 100-mile races for me is doing solo adventure runs. My first long solo adventure run was in 2002, to Kings Peak in Utah. Over the years I gained more and more experience and learned how to run with minimal weight on my back, but enough food and emergency items to keep me out of trouble. I’ve now run thousands of miles solo in the back country in Utah and Arizona. I’ll routinely do runs of 50K to 50 miles and at times up to 100 miles.

I’ve been criticized for going out alone for such long distances. But those who know me understand that I’m actually very conservative as it comes to safety.

One year a local road runner who experienced the Grand Canyon for the first time was so excited about the experience that he scheduled a large group run for a Grand Canyon R2R2R in the heat of June, inviting anyone interested, including people he never had met before. Dozens of first-time Grand Canyon runners expressed interest. I was very vocal about how dangerous this was at that time of the year and how improper it was to organize group runs with strangers into dangerous areas. I had read and followed very closely all the canyon rescues and deaths from heat exposure. That runner and his friends slammed me on social media. Eventually someone informed the NPS authorities. Thankfully this large event never took place and soon the NPS started to require permits for these type of group runs.

The vast majority of my runs involve routes and trails where I know, where I can run into people, so I’m rarely really alone. I know my limits and take what I think are reasonable precautions. On certain runs I’ll take a rented satellite phone or a SPOT tracker. Other things are taken like signal devices, fire starters, and emergency blankets.

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About once a year I like to update my buckle collection.  This picture shows all my 100-mile buckles.  Additionally I have a few 50-mile and 100K buckles not in the picture.  I think buckles should be reserved for the 100-mile distance or further.  I am missing ten buckles.  Bighorn 100 didn’t issue them for two of my years there. I didn’t get a couple buckles sent to me, one from Bear and one from Pickled Feet.  Moab which is no longer held, didn’t issue buckles.  And Vermont didn’t issue them unless you finished below 24 hours (a shameful approach).  Plain issued rocks instead of buckles.

And then there were the ten DNFs.  Two issued 100K buckles.   In all I’ve started 92 100-mile races and have finished 82 of them. continue reading…


Proper fueling while running an ultra is somewhat of a religious topic. There are many things that work and nothing truly is sacred, to be successful. Some ultrarunners are vegans, and most eat meat. Some believe drinking soda is harmful, and most drink it freely during races. Some think you should drink constantly, others when you feel thirsty. Some think beer is heavenly liquid, others consider it to be unhealthy and dangerous. If you get a chance, volunteer at an aid station during a 100-miler and watch what people eat and drink from the aid station or from their drop bags. Fueling strategy can be all over the map. Figure out what works for you.
To be successful in ultrarunning you must keep in careful balance:

1. Calories
2. Fluids
3. Electrolytes

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