Davy Crockett’s Running Frontier

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

logoMonument Valley is a region in southern Utah/northern Arizona that features a cluster of enormous sandstone buttes that tower as much as 1,000 feet above the valley floor.  Much of the area is included in the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park with its impressive views that rival any national park.  This year, for the first time, the Monument Valley 100-mile race was held in this spectacular park.  You have seen many westerns filmed there, Marlboro Man commercials, and even a Forest Gump highway scene.

After coming up short (90 miles) at Antelope Canyon 100, three weeks earlier, I was anxious to get back on the desert trails and complete Monument Valley 100.   I recovered very fast and was even able to train 118 miles during the week between the two races.  I felt strong and ready. continue reading…

Antelope Canyon 100

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Antelope Canyon 100 is run in and around the spectacular and unusual city of Page, Arizona.  Page was founded in 1957 as a housing community for those building Glen Canyon Dam across the Colorado River.  The city is perched on top of Manson Mesa above beautiful Lake Powell.  If you like running through slot canyons, on slickrock next to cliffs, across miles of open desert, this one is probably for you.  The name for the race, Antelope Canyon, comes from a famous slot canyon that we would run through, normally only accessed by private tour companies permitted by the Navajo Nation.

This was the first year for the 100-mile distance at this race and a handful of daring runners including myself decided to sign up.  Concurrently with this race are also distances of 50-miles, 55K, and 25K.  With some quick research on the race, I quickly knew that the most important word about this race was a four-letter word: SAND.  I knew that I must prepare myself for the sand and even sought out sandy areas near my home to practice and mentally prepare.  The race director, Matt Gunn, estimated that the 50-mile and 100-mile runners would be running through about 30-miles of sand. continue reading…

Coldwater Rumble 100

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I ran Coldwater Rumble 100 in Goodyear Arizona, near Phoenix.  This is one of the many events put on by Aravaipa Running, the same group that puts on Across the Years, Javalina Jundred (100), and others.  They always do a great job on their races.

Coldwater Rumble provides races of various lengths: 4 miles, 20K, 20 miles, 52K, 52 miles, and 100 miles.  They all start on the same day with staggered start times.  About 400 runners would be on the course that is laid out on various desert trails in Estrella Mountain Regional Park.  You could clearly tell which race a runner was in by the color and number on their race bib. continue reading…

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Somehow I managed to run 3,000 miles again this year.  It has been a frustrating year.  I had a few good months in the spring when my problem leg no longer bothered me and my speed came back, running a 20:34 100-miler and even led Salt Flats 100 at mile 44.  But the summer was challenging as I DNFed two 100-milers, mostly because of mental weakness.  The last two months of the year have been discouraging as my leg becomes sore, like a chronic shin splint in the area near where it fractured a few years ago.  The pain usually isn’t bad, but I know if I push it, it will only get worse. Running slowly works, but with speed, it seems to pull at the membrane on the bone.  We’ll see what 2015 holds.  I’ll try to run 100 miles this week at Across the Years and see how it goes from there.  I haven’t entered any 2015 races yet, other than the Wasatch 100 lottery.

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During my 30,000 miles of running between 2004-2014 there have been some very tough moments.  Much of these rough miles were self-induced, caused by being ill-prepared.  Other times were just due to unexpected events during races and adventures.  Tough times are part of the sport and hit us all.  The key is knowing how to overcome tough spots and working through the challenges to run another day.  This collection of short stories are some of the hard moments I ran into on the trails. continue reading…

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The temperature drops, frost falls, leaves cover the ground and the snow begins capping the mountain peaks above.  When I started running in 2004, it seemed like all the runners I knew would stop doing serious training for the winter months, taking a break. I had increased my fitness level and feared the impacts of stopping, going back to a sedentary life, so I just kept running and training year-round.  But living in the Mountain West required me to change my approach for the winter months. continue reading…

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Ultrarunners in the Mountain West likely also become peak baggers.  Those peaks stand high above and call runners who are fit enough to run and climb their slopes to the top.  Climbing to the tops of peaks never really was an interest to me in my earlier years.  I would get up to the top of peaks by car or ski lift, but never under my own power.  As a child I used to climb up “Y mountain” in Utah to the Y on the mountain slope. One day I went up as far as I could toward the top, but was stopped by difficult cliffs.  Peak bagging for me came decades later. continue reading…

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All ultrarunners have their favorite places to do regular training.  I wonder if I would have ever become an ultrarunner if I didn’t live at the foot of a high mountain which became my running playground.  I believe to truly keep a long-lasting love for running, your primary training area must be close to home, preferably right out your door and with miles of alternatives.  I’ve seen too many runners run the same routes over and over who have lost that interest and have difficulty getting out that door each morning.  I watch runners run on a pretty busy highway near my home with frowns on their faces as they run by noisy traffic on a pavement shoulder.  They do this morning after morning oblivious to the wonderful peaceful trails nearby. continue reading…