Wednesday, January 29, 2014


"To be free you have to have time, a little bit of time, to live, to cultivate the three, four, five unquestionable, fundamental things that are important in life. All the rest is noise and fuss."
Jose Mujica, Uruguayan president

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

7-year Heat Map - Do-it-yourself

Check out my Heatmap for the past 6-7 years of mountain running. For those of you who don't know what a Heatmap is - it's an intensity map that shows where I run most frequently over the 7 year period. Blue = less frequently, Orange = frequently, Red = very frequently

Here are some of my 7 year running stats:

6.5 years (+/-) of Garmin 205/305 data (3 watches)
6,000 miles total
1.4 million vertical feet up
1,100 hours - plus or minus
Average run elevation = 7,040 ft
18 pairs of shoes
Does not include hikes/climbs - some biking snuck in there
Map just includes my local runs on the Wasatch Front mostly in North Utah County

Friday, July 5, 2013

Running Quote

Rob Krar referring to the record setting run of the Grand Canyon R2R2R:
“I took a few moments to remind myself of the dark place I was about to enter, a shade of gray where the pain and exhilaration of the moment combine into a state of being I both fear and yearn for.”

Monday, January 28, 2013

Great writeup!

This was a great article I recently read from Dirty Running blog.  This guy has some entertaining blog posts for running, as well as for life.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Fastpacking - maybe there's a future in this crazy idea

I stole this article from somewhere.  Jim Knight is the guy who got my mountain running kick-started long ago on Timp.  I remember him enthusiastically telling me back in '95, when I first met him, about these crazy adventure stories with Bryce Thatcher and his ideas and plans for more of the same and cool new product development for this new form of adventure.  Their stories of ultra distance mountain running in the remote Rockies and setting records on the Teton instilled the desire to create my own adventures.

Thank you to the pioneers of our sport.

This article is great reading.


Ever wonder where the term Fastpacking came from?
The following article answers that question.  Jim Knight coined the term.
This article is from the July-August 1988 Ultrarunning Magazine.
by JIM KNIGHT          2 August 1988
    Through the light drizzle, heavy overcast, and tall pines I spotted a tent that had to be the source for the aroma of vegetable beef soup that I picked up on the trail some 50 yards ago.  I walked quickly to the tent door and met three startled faces peering out at me.  "How far to the Green River Lake trail head?" I asked.  "About 12 miles," replied the cook.  Turning around, I hollered up the trail, "Hey, Bryce, only 12 more miles!"  The cook asked, "Are you hiking out tonight?"  I said, "Oh yeah - we have to - we're out of food."  "Oh God!" he said, pulling his soup kettle back from the tent door in a protective gesture.  From his perspective, 12 miles would be a good day's mileage.  From ours, it was a good distance between rest stops.  "Where'd you camp last night?" he asked.  "Baldy Lake," I replied.  "Oh God!" he said again.  That would be four days of footwork for him.  I had aroused his interest now - he wasn't eating his soup.  As Bryce walked up, the cook asked, "You guys training for a marathon?" "No," we replied, "we're just running."  That was obvious.  We weren't dressed like backpackers.  We certainly weren't moving like backpackers.  We were wilderness running.  Power walking.  Carrying all our food and gear on our hips instead of our shoulders.      Kind of backpacking, but much faster.    More fluid.     Neat.      Almost surgical.     Get in.     Get out.    I call it   fastpacking.
    This was a wet finish to an eight year old dream of mine:  To cross the Wind River Wilderness in two days.  You know, just like any weekend.  Run 50 rugged miles into the middle of nowhere, spend the night, and run another 50 miles out.  No problem.  Go to work on Monday with a great tan and a sly smile.
    Eight years ago, my wife was about to backpack the very same route.  I couldn't swing a week off from work so I hatched a plan of running in and meeting her (and friends) at halfway, using them as support to travel in two days what normally takes five to seven.  The trip washed out, but not the dream.  This one stuck in my head and continued to germinate until the time, equipment, and partner were right.
     I began wilderness running as a means to stay in shape for mountain climbing. But just being in a beautiful alpine environment had its own merits.  The high of running and superb scenery pulled me along the trails like a magnet.
The journey became the reward.  The satisfaction and the memories kept me coming back, planning new routes, repeating old ones.  This was a creative exercise.  Visually fresh.  Mentally stimulating.
     My sidekick - Bryce Thatcher - had a similar background, only reversed.  He was a runner before he was a climber.  His experiments in fanny pack design yielded us some working prototypes that were comfortable, easy to use, and biomechanically efficient.  They also yielded some weird looks from the people we met along the trail.  Radical plan.  Radical equiptment.
    So, I had a partner; and with other gear, I had equipment.  But what about the time?  Weather was a critical factor.  Getting a good two-day weather "window" would be be more likely than a four-day window, and early to mid August is often the most user-friendly.  We crossed our fingers and launched on August 2nd.
    8:30 a.m.  Not a great time to be starting a trek of this magnitude, but reaching the trail head (via long, dubious dirt roads) at 1 a.m. can alter even the best laid plans.  We chose the Southern entrance (Big Sandy 8,190 feet) because the terrain would be easier on our first day, with (slightly) less climbing up to the North entrance (Green River Lakes, 7961 feet).  Any downhill punishment would surely be compounded by carrying some 18-24 pounds each.  The first five miles were fun and exciting, as our enthusiasm level was at a maximum.  That quickly turned to fear and dread as our minds began playing the "what-if" games, grappling with the seriousness of our venture.  Did we really know what we were in for?
    Our plan, originally, was to follow the Highline Trail at a steady, modest pace with 15 minute rest stops every three hours, refill our water bottles every two hours, eat every hour, and drink every 15 minutes.  Simple enough.  While the southern end of the range may be easier terrain, the trails are not so clearly defined or marked with signs as those in the northern half.  Even a good map and compass didn't keep us from missing a poorly marked junction and losing an hour while route finding.  We ended up taking the Fremont Trail, which is higher and rockier than the Highline, but parallel to it and the Continental Divide.  We eventually rejoined the Highline Trail, but the effort was more than we had planned.
    The abundant lakes and streams that are a hallmark of the Wind River Wilderness provided a constant, ready supply of cool water, but we filtered everything because of the grazing sheep.  The water was a welcome soak to hot feet and kept swelling down.  The weather so far was flawless, the scenery magnificent.  We passed shimmering lakes by the dozen and wildflowers by the thousands.  The trails proved to be rougher than anticipated, but served to keep us at a safe pace.  This was no area to be caught crippled because of carelessness.
    In spite of our creative route finding, we managed to cover some 40-50 miles our first day, but that was no consolation to me.  I slept fitfully that first night.  I was either cold (dressed too light), nauseated (ate too much), or nervous (thought too much).  Tomorrow would demand greater mileage over tougher terrain.
    Mornings are never easy for me - I'm such a slow starter - but the next day I couldn't wait to get up.  It was a morning of fun and fear.  Fun to be here doing, learning, growing, and running; and scared because of the commitment, the unknown, or the fact that I had just dumped the remaining fuel for the stove.  Our next hot meal would have to be in Pinedale.
    It wasn't our intention to begin the day climbing, but that's how things turned out.  In fact, all we ever seemed to do was climb.  Here we were on another unnamed pass (we named it #6) after sleeping above 10,000 feet, in search of self and increased hemoglobin.  Passes were opportunities for our stiff bodies to loosen, our lactic acid to dissipate, and our determination to wrestle with gravity.  On top, the view was always one of exhilaration and despair.  You know the feeling - don't look too far ahead or you'll see just hour far you have to go.  Keep your eyes just in front of you and don't count your steps - just make your steps count.  Narcotic self talk.
    Fremont Creek Crossing was a welcome stop and a good cold soak for our feet.  We learned from other trekkers that Shannon Pass was closed by a rock slide.  That was a real concern because a detour via other trails would cost us time and extra miles.  We decided to chance Shannon.  As it turned out, the choice was good but the weather was deteriorating.  We were above timberline a great deal and vulnerable, so it was time to boogie.  Bryce and I put the hammer down, passing enormous granite walls that pulled ar our climbing heartstrings.  We caught fleeting glimpses of Gannett Peak, 13,804 feet, Wyoming's highest.  This was terrain we were at home with, similar to the Tetons, where we both had running experience.
    Rain and hail forced us under a boulder cave for about an hour, but we were off again into the crisp, sweet air.  The rock slide we had heard about was a big boulder field to be sure, but going down was so much easier for us, equipped as we were.  We covered in ten minutes what took a party of four people almost two hours.  This was what mountain running was all about - light alpine travel - swift and sure.
    A near twisted ankle snapped me back to reality.  It may be all downhill from here, but the game isn't over yet - I reminded myself.  As we dropped below timberline again, the drizzle began that kept us soggy until the finish.  I donned Capilene tops and bottoms to stay comfortable as the trail turned from rock to firm soil and forest mat.
I inhaled great lungfuls of humid forest air pungent with the fresh fragrance of wet pine.
    At three Forks Park we followed the flow of the Green River in its infancy, drawing strength from its tumbling descent and a good pace from its noisy chatter.  Wispy vapor clouds hung on the tops of Granite Peak and Square Top Mountain as we pitter-pattered beneath  the stone giants in the dusky gloom of evening.  We didn't stop too much here, for this was a magical place.  The giants threw stern glance as we peeked between the cloudy veil to see them face to face.  With a shrug, the veil closed and we were granted passage.
    The trail soon flattened out and so did our pace, seemingly.  Our pitter-patter turned to flop-squish as the standing water in the trail reduced our shoes and feet to mush, our stride to a soggy shuffle.  lush grasses and plants on the trail sides kept our legs and socks well basted.  No chance of overheating now.  It was getting dark and cooling off rapidly.  We were also low on food.  Bryce mixed a strange and potent brew from our remaining Max@, Gatorade@, and CarboPlex@ to chase down half a baggy of trail mix.  Some leftovers!  Blisters began to sprout like mushrooms on our suddenly tenderized feet.  What a pity to have come so far without any injuries only to get them six miles from the finish.  Better now that at the start, I suppose.
    The monotony of flat trail in the dark was agony.  This was the real test of will.  Forget the glory of powering up the hills, or the glee of screaming down them.  That is easy stuff.  Your objective there is clearly defined and you can see where you've come from, where you are going to.  But this was an endless hill - or hell - to which our legs were not accustomed after some 90 miles of extremes.  We had never been here before and didn't know where the end was.  We couldn't really gauge just where we were and our patience was being tested.  All there was to do now was frump along in the dark like hamstrung Frankensteins and dream of the Jacuzzi, hot soup, and massage therapists waiting for us at the trail head.
    In the black and with a lame flashlight we finally spotted a sign in front of us that marked the trail's end, but not the end of our journey.  Our wives had shuttled a car for as as planned, but the parking lot was half a mile away.  Worse yet, there was no cheering crowd, no live media coverage, no enthusiastic crew or hoopla to gret our return.  Just curious campers with their own problems, wondering why a pair of day-hikers would be out so late.  We slogged by them, envious of their warm fires, lawn chairs, hot food and creature comforts, to our car, anxious to dive into its jumbled interior and grop for warm, dry clothes.  It was 10:30 p.m.
    The lady cashier in the Pinedale convenience store kept her eye on us.  More out of pity, I suppose than of suspicion.  It was our eating habits and the way we walked that tipped her off.  She simply asked, "What'd you guys do?" I simply responded, "We ran the Highline and Fremont Trail in 38 hours."  There was a long pause as she looked us over, then said "Why?"  A good question, and a tough one to answer.  It was too much to dwell on for the moment.  I could only say "Lady, now is not the time to ask."
    Since August I've had plenty of time to ask myself why and to look for answers.  THe best one seems to be "Why not?"  But that's just the half of it really.  Why run a hundred miles through a wilderness you nothing about?  Why run a hundred miles around a track you know only too well?  It's because life is a process of pushing our horizons back, of gaining insights into what we are all about, of pushing to the top of many passes to see where we're headed.  Just to know that is reason enough.
    A month later I ran the Wasatch 100 Mile Endurance Run, my first ultramarathon.  My first race of any kind, really.  I finished in eleventh place.  I hadn't planned on doing it at all.  Someone just suggested it.  I said "Why?"  They said "Why not? You've done it before."  In a way, I had done it, but that didn't make the race physically any easier for me.  Mentally however, it made all the difference - and that's where the real victories are.
                                         * * * *          J i m     K n i g h t         ****

Thursday, December 20, 2012


A great video.  This series has more good videos and great footage to keep you going thru the cold of winter.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Strava is great

I have been sharing my runs and some biking on this Strava site.  This site is addicting, because it harasses you while at the same time motivates you - and vise versa.  It will tell you how you performed when compared to others and also will give you kudos and recognition when you kick butt.  Also on Strava you can see that some dude has a record on a trail that you know you can run faster - and it's fun to have that challenge.

You either take your GPS phone or GPS watch on your run and download runs to either to the site - there is a Strava app for IPhone, which I use, that downloads to Strava the minute I finish my run.  Strava also lets you challenge your friends too - which would be fun if you have any friends that are as crazy as you.  The best thing is that it is free.

What Strava needs is more local AF runners posting trail runs, and running trails, and posting.  Funny thing is that I hold a few King of the Mountain spots -which I figure there are faster guys/gals out there that will soon beat me.  I held the Timp summit record from Timpooneke trail from a 2010 run, then it was just recently beat.

My ankle is holding me back still. Downhill running is at an old guy's pace now - but glad to be out and running.

--happy running--

Thursday, August 23, 2012


I've had a good 15 years of rough running in the mountains with no injuries, and all it took was one millisecond and I'm down in the dirt - cursing on the ground, in pain and unable to move.  It was almost surreal- wondering if I broke my ankle.  Turns out only sprained it.  I limped back the long mile to the Alpine Loop Road and was OK - I could have easily been 10 miles out.

I'm hiking and out on the roads now, but no running trails for a few more weeks.  Therapy and ice.  I'm going to need mental therapy here soon as I watch the last weeks of summer slip by.  For those of you who know the frustration of being out because of an injury - you know my pain.

I look forward to fall running in the mountains.

-- Be grateful and run happy --

Monday, July 23, 2012

Hidden Mountain Paradise

Trail running heaven, turns to mountain running after a few miles.

Mountain running at its best.