Bigfoot 200: A Retrospective by Jeff Davis

Race Team Member Jeff Davis recently tackled the Bigfoot 200 endurance event. (no, 200 is not a typo). Here are his musings on this grand adventure.

JEFF: This is my long overdue attempt to make sense of my longest run to date.  The Bigfoot 200 is a 206.5 mile (to be exact) point-to-point run that begins at Mount St. Helens and finishes in Randle, WA traversing a section of the Cascade Mountains.  This run has 50,000+ feet of elevation gain and endless views.  I can’t say enough about Destination Trail and volunteers that truly made this a life changing event.  Everything was world class from start to finish.

Photo Cred: Howie Stern

Photo Cred: Howie Stern

In summary, the run took me 71 hours and 43 minutes.  During this time I got roughly three and a half hours of sleep and some great hallucinations.  A mile-by-mile account of such an event would be terribly boring and wouldn’t capture the essence of this adventure.  Instead, I attempted to highlight some of my takeaways from the run.  If anyone would like advice on longer races, feel free to contact me.  Or if you want the full story, I’d be glad to grab a beer and tell the long version.

Mt. Adams; photo cred: Howie Stern

Mt. Adams; photo cred: Howie Stern

After three days of running, here are my thoughts:

·         Fully embrace the highs and lows.  Sometimes you can’t change the situation, but you can direct your outlook.

Lava Fields; Photo Cred: Howie Stern

Lava Fields; Photo Cred: Howie Stern

          One must be pushed past their preconceived notion of what’s possible in order to get a clear view of reality.  Our self-prescribed limits are often based on fear and projections of negative outcomes. 

·         If you’re uncomfortable talking to yourself or being alone with your thoughts, this distance is not for you.

Johnston Ridge; Photo Cred: Howie Stern

Johnston Ridge; Photo Cred: Howie Stern

          Once you’re tired enough, a pile of fir needles or a partially decomposed log can look like a luxurious king size bed with 600 thread count sheets.  These runs are a great exercise for distinguishing your needs from your wants.

·         Negative speak has no place in endurance runs.  Venting may make you feel better for a moment, but it has no lasting effect and wastes valuable energy.

Photo Cred: Jeff Davis

Photo Cred: Jeff Davis

          Nothing happens in a vacuum.  Even a 200 mile run without pacer or crew is built on the sacrifice and support of family, volunteers, and race officials.  Remember to be grateful for everyone you encounter out there.

·         Don’t project the enormity of the task ahead to your present situation.  Assess your present discomfort and objectively ask yourself if you can endure this moment.  The answer will most likely be yes.

Before the Finish; Photo Cred: Jeff Davis

Before the Finish; Photo Cred: Jeff Davis

          A sage quote from Steve House says, “The simpler you make things, the richer the experience becomes.”  Don’t pack your fears for a run/adventure of any distance.  You need much less than you think.  Packing the appropriate gear is a constantly evolving art.  The goal should be to balance safety and reasonable comfort and still attain a raw experience in nature.  The more you cling to stuff you believe you need, the more baggage you carry with you.

·         There are two types of hallucinations.  In the first, you realize you’re hallucinating and your rational brain knows what you see/hear isn’t real.  The second type is a complete break with reality.  Obviously, you should try and sleep before the second type arrives.

Truly amazing and awe-inspiring. The highest of fives and biggest congrats, Jeff!