Davy Crockett’s Running Frontier

I like to Run Insanely Long & Crazy Distances                                                                                                             Pony Express Trail 100
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The treadmill. Love it or hate it? They were invented back in 1818 to help prisoners cure their idleness. In those early years they were used for punishment and certainly in modern times they are still viewed by many as a way to punish yourself. In the late 1960s, my dad built a treadmill (without a motor) to exercise on. It was an amazing difficult machine to get moving and made no sense to me. Most trail ultrarunners despise the treadmill and consider using them as wimpy when you could be running outside. However many years ago I discovered the value of doing workouts on the treadmill to improve my footspeed and increase my mental strength. I’ve shared my views and experiences in a chapter of my running book at: http://www.crockettclan.org/ultras/treadmill.pdf

The furthest I had previously run on a treadmill in one session was 34 miles in 2013. On that day I hit the 50K mark at 4:31. That run included steep inclines, climbing about 5,000 feet along the way. I knew that some serious ultra long-distance speed was possible on the treadmill but I never was motivated to try running 100 miles on the crazy machine. But in my quest to reach one hundred 100-mile finishes, I discovered a virtual race being organized, the Dreadmill 48. This event allowed the runner to choose any day in December and seek to run 100 miles or more in a 48-hour period. I thought it was a great idea, a way for me to get another 100-mile finish without leaving home. If sucessful, it would be my 96th 100-mile finish. continue reading…

 

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I ran a relatively new 100-miler, the Kansas Rails-To-Trails 100 held in eastern Kansas, part of the Kansas Rails-to-Trails Fall Ultra Extravaganza. The course really intrigued me, running on a former rail bed, the 51-mile Prairie Spirit Trail. There is also a spring edition of this race.

Railroad Depot in Garnett

Railroad Depot in Garnett

In 1867 construction began of a 143-mile rail line running north/south through eastern Kansas and was completed in 1871 connecting a number of small towns. During the 1880s, passengers rode on the train at speeds up to 35 m.p.h. The rail line was active until 1990 when it was abandoned after being sold. The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks was granted title in 1992 for a recreational trail. By 2008, a 51-mile stretch of the trail had been developed and named the Prairie Spirit Trail. continue reading…

The Bear 100

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The Bear 100 was the first 100-miler I attempted back in 2004.  It was a small event that year with 51 starters and you wouldn’t see other runners for many hours.  I didn’t quite finish that year, but it started my long association running The Bear. Since then I had finished it seven times and hoped to accomplish it eight times, which would make it the only 100-mile race that I have finished that many times. During the early years the course was a loop format in the mountains above Preston, Idaho, but in 2008, it changed to a point-to-point course from Logan to Bear Lake.

My summer mountain 100s had been a struggle.  Starting in July I discovered that I was having great difficulty keeping my speed up during races with steep sustained uphills. This led to DNFs at both Cascade Crest 100 and Wasatch 100 where my progress was significantly slower than any previous years. This became discouraging during both races. For the first time since my rookie year I had to keep my eye on cutoff times.  This was disheartening and both times and I mentally quit as I realized I would need to run well over 30 hours to finish. Leading up to the The Bear 100 I put in more effort with hill training and believed I would be fine early on, but probably would still struggle later in the race.

My best Bear finish was back in 2010 with a solid time of 26:30. I always hope to beat my best times, but this year I set realistic expectations based on my recent elderly results and put together a pace chart to finish in 32:30.  I hate running 100 miles in more than 30 hours because of the toll it takes on my body being out there for so long.  But if I wanted to finish Bear this year, I decided to expect slowness and just focus on finishing. continue reading…

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Squaw Peak 50 is a classic and tough 50-mile race held in the mountains above Provo, UT. During the early miles, the course climbs the slopes of Squaw Mountain (aka Squaw Peak) a prominent peak that rises above Rock Canyon, frequented by day hikers and rock climbers. It received its name back in the 1800s for “Big Elk’s squaw” who died in the canyon following a battle with pioneer settlers.

For years I had wondered if running a double Squaw Peak 50 would be possible and how tough that might be. I succeeded in 2015, running a double Squaw Peak in 29:32. I ran the first 50 loop solo and then joined the race for the second 50 with a couple hours head start. It all went very well and I was able to run with my son during portions of the second 50. that year was a mild year temperature-wise with no snow. Last year, I again attempted to run a double, but the weather was very hot and I wisely aborted after finishing the first 50.

A week before the 2017 race, I finished Pigtails 100 near Seattle, Washington. I recovered fast, so a couple days before Squaw Peak 50, I contacted John Bozung, the race director, and again received permission to run a double. Why, I’m asked? Why not? Back in 1981 I hiked up to the course for the first time and it deeply inspired me to one day explore that Wasatch back country. Little did I know. . .  continue reading…

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I returned for the third time to run the Pigtails Challenge, a lesser-known ultra, near Seattle, Washington. There were five distances, 50K, 100K, 100 miles, 150 miles, and 200 miles. I ran the 150 in 2014 and finished the 100-mile race last year. Each time I had a great first 100-mile time of around 21 hours so I looked forward to try again.

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The Pigtails Challenge is held at the Lake Youngs watershed in Renton, Washington, which is only about 15 miles from where I grew up and went to high school. The 9.4-mile loop trail runs around the perimeter of a very protected reservoir that supplies drinking water for Seattle. Along the trail, there is only one place where you can get a glimpse of the lake. The course is very easy to follow because you simply run on the outside of the high fence that guards the property. It always reminds me of the movie, “The Village” where a society lives secretly in the woods behind high walls. continue reading…

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…

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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…