Davy Crockett’s Running Frontier

I like to Run Insanely Long & Crazy Distances                                                                                                             Pony Express Trail 100
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Browsing Posts published in November, 2008

The weather is getting cold and wet, chasing me out of the hills and off the trails.  I decided to take a crack at another road race and went over to Orem to run in this traditional Thanksgiving 4-mile race, with 534 runners.

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UltimateXC Moab 50K

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I ran in the very tough UltimateXC Moab 50K, south of Moab, Utah.   This race runs concurrently with races of 10 and 20-mile distances.   The course starts along the Colorado River and then climbs up to the top of high redrock rim.   The course would climb up to the rim three times!

This race appeared to be one of those for-profit running events.   The race entry was over-priced, but I couldn’t resist a chance to run in Moab again.   I drove down the night before, found a cheap room at Green River, got a good night’s rest, and arrived at start finish with plenty of time to get ready before the 8:30 a.m. start.

My early arrival gave me a chance to observe the competition.   I observed that the group did not look like a typical ultra crowd.  There were many over dressed and with large backpacks.  Few had trail gaiters on.    I also was surprised to see that the crowd was younger than usual. In fact the average age of the 50K finishers ended out being 35 years old.   I would be running with a bunch of kids.  

The temperature was a brisk 31 degrees at the start.   At the minute I changed to long sleeves.  It was a good choice.  Throughout the day, I would roll up and down my sleeves as the course went in and out of the shade.

At the start, very few wanted to push to be in front.  It was funny to see the race director trying to coax people to the front.    We started on time and away I went running with the top-10 runners up a beautiful canyon.   It was interesting to see how the runners sorted out.  The runners in front eventually all looked like ultrarunners, carrying very little and using gaiters.  They knew what they were doing.    The first five miles was a constant climb up to the top of the rim.     I backed off my pace and was soon running with a second pack of runners.   I was surprised how young and fast this group looked.   I reached the aid station at mile 5.5 at about 56 minutes, and good pace considering all the climbing.   The station was rather sparse of any food.   I was disappointed all day that no stations had sandwiches, but I survived.

The views were incredible as the trail winded around towers.  I really loved the downhill sections because they were mostly pretty technical.  Runners around me would carefully pick their way down the trail, but I would throw caution to the wind, increase my stride and bound down the trail like crazy.   On every long downhill I would pass several runners, but then I would slow down on all the flats and downhills. 

The trail was tough.  Most of it was on 4WD roads either through sandy canyons or down and up slickrock routes.  Long sandy sections really sapped the energy quickly.   The hard slickrock sections at times were tough on the legs.  But I enjoyed the diversity of the trail.

My next major race will be Across the Years, near Phoenix, Arizona, on December 30.  This will be my first attempt at a 24-hour run.   This type of ultra is a challenge to run as many miles as you can within 24-hours.   I hope to at least run 110 miles.

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