Thursday, September 30, 2010

keep on truckin' to inspiration station and beyond...

me, Davy Crockett (l) and Karl Meltzer (r) near Saratoga Springs, UT
i'm still trying to wrap my head around what my friend Karl is doing.  he is an incredible ultra-runner and is sponsored by Red Bull (among other sponsors) and is running from Sacramento, CA to St Joseph, Missouri on the Pony Express route to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Pony Express.  he is also my friend.

following one of the crew RVs out of Fairfield, UT
another friend and endurance athlete, Matt Hart, is part of the crew on this adventure.  they have a couple of RVs and follow Karl from point to point, and aid him along the way.  Matt has been tweeting from the field and keeping us all updated on Karl's condition and progress.  there is also a physiologist named Lelsi who takes Karl's blood samples every morning and monitors his health, and a film crew who is documenting the whole ordeal.

Karl, near Eagle Mountain, UT
it's a pretty incredible undertaking, but i can tell you that from being Karl's friend for about 12 years, it doesn't surprise me.  his ability to take on what looks like the most daunting of tasks with such a humble demeanor:  well, that's just the way he is.  Karl is the one who first got me interested in ultra-running.  yesterday, as Karl approached Salt Lake City, i made a point to meet up with him and the crew in Utah's West Desert.

i got to Lehi easily enough in I-15, and then proceeded West through suburbia.  i got turned around a couple of times, because i was trying to find the actual Pony Express route, and it gets a little obscured amidst several thousand cookie-cutter houses.  i finally turned on Google maps from my iPhone, texted Matt Hart (whom i now will refer to as "Captain Hart"... ) and met up with everyone near Fairfield, UT.

after crewing Karl near Fairfield, i was definitely inspired.  as of yesterday, Karl had been running an average of 52 miles per day for the past 14 days.  i followed the crew along the route and we saw another runner who turned out to be Davy Crockett, a local ultra-runner and race director for the Pony Express 100, who wanted to get in a morning jog with Karl.  i helped Davy shuttle his car, and then actually got a few miles in with the two of them as well.  Davy left us at mid-day to get to work, but i kept running with Karl.  i wasn't sure how long i would last because i have still been having some lingering issues after my injury at Wasatch, but i just told him and the crew i would play it by ear.  i dropped my car west of Lehi, grabbed my pack, and settled into the comfortable 12 minute-mile pace.

Karl, on the Draper bike path, running towards home
i have to tell you, it's been a while since i have really run a long distance with Karl.  he has just gotten so damn strong and fast over the years that i lost my job as his pacer several years ago.  but yesterday, motoring along at 6 or 7 miles per hour, it was like old times.  we chatted along the route and made jokes.  i got interviewed by the film crew and there were local news stations filming us as we made our way through Draper.  i felt a little silly because this is Karl's accomplishment, not mine, but he said he wanted me in the shots with him.  it was really an awesome day for a run with my friend Karl.

i'm still wrapping my head around the distance that was covered.  i ran with Karl from Lehi to Draper, about 20 miles.  by the time we got to Draper, Matt Hart stuck his head out of the RV and asked how i was doing, and i said, "i think i'm done."  my hip was starting to lock up again, and i didn't want to strain anything too badly.  so i hopped into the RV and listened to some Mos Def with Matt.  i tried to steal his bottle of nuun on ice, but being ever the savvy Captain, he would have none of that.

i had planned on running about 10 or 12 miles with Karl yesterday, but the inspiration of the day just caught me up and i didn't want to quit.  i looked at the distance that we had come across the Salt Lake Valley and was pretty much in awe.  Karl has each day been running over twice as far as i had run yesterday, and has been doing it for two weeks.  and he still looks fresh.

Karl, at his home in Sandy after our run
Karl made it home to his house in Sandy yesterday evening, where he will take a well-deserved rest day and can sleep in his own bed.  he and the crew will be back on track Friday morning.  he still has about 5 weeks to go according to his crew.  i know i'll be following his progress online daily and i'll be with him in spirit all the way.  what an inspiration.  keep on truckin', Karl.

to follow Karl's progress, go to the RedBullUSA website:  click here.


  1. Hey, it was great fun to be out there with you. Karl's doing a historic trip, its great your are supporting him.

  2. i enjoyed meeting and running with you too, Davy.