Davy Crockett’s Running Frontier

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

 

rangeFor years as I would drive south on I-15 by Fillmore, I would gaze up at a particular mountain range after passing the small town of Scipio, Utah. This range presents a peculiar flat horizon on top and I would wonder and dream of running along the top of that mountain range end to end. In 2016 I accomplished this run from Scipio to Richfield, a journey of about 58 mies. This mountain range is named the Pahvant Mountains, after the Pahvant tribe, a branch of the Ute Indians. The Pahvant Range merges into the Tushar Mountains on the south.

The Pahvants are rarely visited, mostly by ATV or horseback riders. A section of The Pauite ATV trail runs along a portion of the range. The range is about 44 miles long and 10 miles across. There are a number of peaks along the range over 10,000 feet high. In 2009, an ancient high-altitude Indian village site, named Pharo Heights, was discovered on the range top at 9,465 feet. The village was occupied between years 450-1300 A.D. It was likely a summer residence when the ridge was snow-free. 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…

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…