Above is my dad and I at last years Pony Express coming over Dugway pass about 35 miles into the race.
I met with my race crew to go over the plan for Pony Express 100 yesterday. Last year, I made it to mile 72 and had to drop from the race because of pain in my knee caused by a high ankle sprain I had not allowed to heal sufficiently. Last year I vowed to come back and finish the race. This year, I’m coming in injury free, I have one 100 mile finish under my belt, I have trained better, and I am on the low carb diet.
There is a thirty-hour time limit on Pony Express 100. That means you have to maintain an 18-minute mile to finish the course before time runs out. But, I don’t want to be out there for thirty hours. The longer you are out there the harder it becomes to finish because you are tired, ache, and want to be done.
It takes six months to train for a one hundred mile event, at least for normal people who have a full time job and family to care for, and failure to finish after training for that long is a disheartening blow to say the least.
So you have to plan for every possibility that you can think of happening out there. One hundred miles is a long way and a lot can happen. I’m not saying that you need to be prepared for the zombie apocalypse, although I wouldn’t fault you for it, but each possibility that is within reason.
Pony Express is a great beginner’s race because you have to have your own crew and they can access you at any time during the race. There is only one aid station provided and it is at mile fifty. It is the finish line for the 50-mile runners and dinner for the 100-mile runners and their crew.
The major issues you have to consider are weather conditions, problems with your feet, and problems with your stomach. The best course of action is to do everything you can to prevent any of this by training well. And then be ready to deal with it when it does occur out on the course.
I have a blister kit to deal with any type of blister situation that arises, and I have a “medical kit,” which contains solutions to stomach problems that may arise. I pack the full gamut of clothing for Pony Express because daytime temperatures are around 75 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime temperature drop below freezing.
Once I have all the gear I need, I have to teach my crew when I will need it. For this, I meet with my team before the race and go over a list I put together of what I will probably need and when. This list includes any important rules my crew has to follow, the food I have available, when I should change clothing, and any time cut offs for the race.
My parents are coming out for this race, which is exciting for me because they are not able to be at the finish line of many of my races due to work schedules and life events. They are pulling their camping trailer out to the race start and taking care of my son Sky (13) and my dogs while I run.
My dad is going to be my daytime crew. He will meet me along the road as my mobile aid station from 5:00 a.m. until about 5:00 p.m., which will be from the start to mile fifty or sixty depending on how I am feeling. Last year I had my crew meeting me every ten miles during the first fifty of the race, but this year I may cut that to every five miles.
Swiss Miss and another friend will by my nighttime crew performing the same duties that my dad did, but from 5:00 p.m. until I cross the finish line anywhere between 5:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
Both my daytime crew and nighttime crew may become pacers at some point in the race to help encourage me to keep going or to provide me some company out there on the flat as a pancake western desert. J$ will be coming out to pace me from mile 75 into the finish line, which is what he did for the Salt Flats 100.
My goal for the race is 28 hours, but just finishing is a huge achievement and I will accept a 30-hour finish with open arms as well. I am really looking forward to crossing the finish line where my mom, dad, Sky and a few of my best friends will be. I cannot imagine a better way to spend an October day.