After running Bryce 100 last week, I took a rest for a few days and the decided that I should to do something crazy.  I went and ran the Squaw Peak 50 course unsupported because I missed it last week since it was on the same weekend as Bryce 100 this year.

I started at Vivian Park, the normal start of the race, at about 6:30 p.m.  Early on, I was bothered by some bloating issues which slowed me down and almost made me turn back, but I got through it. (Don’t eat a spicy pizza right before a run).   Since I was hauling all my food and extra water, the initial big climb was about 15 minutes slower than if I was racing it.  I ran into a moose about mile 3 and the silly beast just kept running ahead of me on the trail for a half mile.  It finally went downhill.   Above Rock Canyon, a guy on a motorcycle came up to me and told me just down the road was recent bear sign (poop) and they had just set a bear trap.  He seemed concerned about me.  I knew I would be far away within an hour.

Darkness came around mile 10 above Rock Canyon.  A car was coming down and it saw my strange green light and waited as I came up.  “Are you OK?” asked the guy.   “Yep, I’m doing fine.”   He just couldn’t understand why I was heading up in this remote area in the dark.  I just ran on.

It really was a different perspective running the course in the dark.  Most of the course flagging was still up which helped me a bunch, but I still would pause at points just to make sure I was going the right way.  There were sections where the flagging was down and I just had to trust my memory of all the turns.  I’ve run the course many times.   I never took a wrong turns.  I did backtrack once, thinking I was going the wrong way through a bushwack section above Rock Canyon, but I was indeed doing it right.

The long seven-mile descent toward Hobble Creek was fun and the lights from the city below was cool.  I ran out of water on the way down but knew I could get some soon at the canyon below.  I treated any questionable water sources. I hit the Hobble Creek road about midnight and I’m sure the couple cars that went by thought I was nuts.  I really took the paved road run easy and reached the top of the road about 60-90 minutes slower than normal, but I was having a good time.

At mile 30 I stopped to eat a buritto and other goodies.  After that I had amazing strength and speed.   I ran fast into Little Valley and felt better than I ever have running into that section.  I ran most of the trail up to Bald Knoll, feeling great, the fastest I had ever run that section.

Dawn arrived as I finished going around Bald Knoll, making my approach to Bozung Hill.  I had traveled about 28 miles during the very short night.  The climb up the steep hill wasn’t a big deal.  I didn’t feel the effects of altitude at all.  I looked to the east and thought about the Utah Valley Marathon starting just over the mountain in Wallsburg, five miles away and wished my friends well.

The morning at the top was spectacular as the sun started to peak over the mountains.  It was so cool to be up there. I took my time.  I next ran down to Windy Pass.  The trail for the entire course was in better shape than I have ever seen.  The major factor is that last week 200+ runners pounded it down for me.  It was nice and smooth in many sections.  I normally didn’t see footprints left from last week, but the wear on the trail was very evident, and easy indicator that I was on the right route.

It started to get warm as I made the huge descent into South Fork.  But the sun was still low so there was plenty of cool shade spots.  I never saw a single person on the trail and I had to do all the spider web breaking for the day and night.

I finally hit the South Fork Road and enjoyed the morning run down the paved road, greeting many bikers making their way up.  It is so much more pleasant finishing in the morning instead of the hot afternoon.   I finished in about 14:30 to zero fan fair….quite satisfied.  It was a great experience, glad I did it.   When I reached home my wife commented that I didn’t look tired.  I really wasn’t.  Funny how a 50-mile run is no big deal now.

This adventure also helped me answer a question I have pondered for a couple years.  Is a double Squaw Peak 50 possible?  Don’t be surprised if I show up to next year’s Squaw Peak start with 50 miles done already.