Monday, April 18, 2016

"You can always quit later.." 24 Hours of Palmer Lake Fun Run 2016 Race Report
Wow... ok!  Completed my first 24 hour race last weekend, and I finally have time/energy to put together a race report!  As I sit and look out the window at 2+ ft of Spring snow, I am so glad this didn't hit last weekend!  Anyway, thanks as always for tuning in...  here are all the gory details :-) WARNING: This report may be as long as the race was... and forgive the font sizes.. Blogger is not behaving today...

Ok!  So, I had heard about this race last year...  I just loved the idea of a "fun" run... no frills, low cost, and just a lot of fun. Being a back of the back of the pack runner, having the ability to try and run for 24 hours with no cut-offs and easy support options was really appealing.  This was the 3rd year for the event, and the first year it was run by Palmer Divide Run Co.

I convinced my friend Craig (2 time Leadville 100 runner) to sign up and keep me company... Craig is a great guy, and very supportive, and we had a great time.

Pikes Peak Traveland Inc.

AND.. not only did Craig come run this one with me, but (via his great fiancee Heather), we were sponsored by Pikes Peak Traveland (in Colorado Springs).  The great folks there provided us with this 31ft RV to be used as our base camp!  It was so nice to have a convenient way to stop to change out gear/clothing, use the restroom, and warm up over the chilly evening!  Talk about luxury ultra-running!  So a big shout out and thank you!

Now.. to the race.  Palmer Lake is a .82 mile dirt loop around the lake, and has some really great views... of nature and of the multiple coal and freight trains that passed by on the track here along once side of the loop.  I thought it was actually pretty cool to have them come by... especially to wake me up at night!

It was a little bit chilly and breezy in the morning, so I has happy to have the great long sleeve from Pikes Peak RV..   the rest of the gear included, Carson Footwear Red Zombie Racers, Injinji's (covering a fair amount of Rock Tape for my PF), Recofit sleeves, Orange Mud Double Barrel, Switch Sunglasses H-Walls, and of course my HPRS #Adversity trucker hat...  

So... off we went at 8 am... (well 8:05 for Craig and I as I arrived late..oops).  113 of us in all were signed up and participated, although the structure allowed folks to run any time, for any distance etc... they just needed to log their lap counts during the 24 hour period.  I know there some that came out to run a specific goal distance or for a certain amount of time.  That is the cool thing about this event.. come run as much or as little as you want, and take a break any time!  The trail was dotted with tents, and the parking lot with vehicles.. all as individual base camps for runners...   It was also great to see so many friends and fellow ambassadors at this event... thanks Robbie Pike for grabbing this pic!

So.. round and round we went...  it did warm up some during the day, but not overly so... for me it was perfect.. probably in the low 50's..  My biggest concern going into this race was my lack of training (primarily long runs), due to my struggles with PF issues in my left foot.  Also, I just didn't know how I would hold up for 24 hours... my prior longest time going was 14 hours when I completed the Bear Chase 50 Mile in 2014 (my longest distance as well).  So, first lap around, I measured out land marks for .2, .4 and .6 miles... effectively dividing the loop up into quarters.  I settled in to a 50/50 run/walk... alternating each .2 mile...   that worked well, and it helped with the pain/cramping in my foot by keeping up a variety of motions.   I wanted to run more, but kept telling myself I wouldn't last if I did... plus I just didn't know how my foot would hold up. 

So... I kept this up throughout the morning and afternoon...  and I tried to limit my stops at the aid station, as any length of stop during a lap would add up quickly!  Additionally, the RV was on the opposite side of the lake, where I had my extra gear, fuel etc, which was another opportunity to stop as well.  Stops aside, when I moved into the "ultra" marathon distance, I was feeling ok.. not great, but ok.  Fueling had been good (I was using Fuel-100 Electrobites, Tailwind, fig newtons, trail mix, Mamma Chia pouches, and BACON.. yes bacon at the aid station!).  And speaking of the aid station, the volunteers were GREAT...  Chad and Jessi from Palmer Divide Run Co were ready to get me whatever I needed or do anything they could to help... not surprising in this community, but fantastic never the less... so THANK YOU!    I never really bonked or even felt down mentally, so from that perspective hydration/fueling was great.  My foot however was not happy...  the PF pain had peaked at this point, and with 16+ hours to go, I started to worry..

Fortunately, the pain kind of leveled off there, and I didn't feel I was damaging anything, just aggravating the inflammation, but it stayed at a point where I could grit my teeth and keep moving.  The great thing about this format of race was that I was able to see my family several times during the day.  I didn't want to subject them to sitting around, so they spend the day with my sister-in-law, but came by several times...  they boys ran a few laps with me.. as well as our dog Chips...  that was such a great distraction..... and they brought beer!!  yes.... beer, bacon, friends/family...  now you know why I love trail ultra running!  

In addition to my family coming by (and the friends I got to run with), I had a few friends stop by as well!  Shaun (aka The Pikes Peak Guy) and his wife Cielo came by in the late afternoon to run 5 laps with me.. which was awesome.  Gave me some type to just chat and take my mind off the fact that I was on lap 44 (36 miles)...   And yes, those are all my little tick marks for each lap...  I stopped at the aid station each lap to check it off....  perhaps next year I will try to do this every 5 miles, but will have to trust I can keep count, or track another way before stopping each 5 laps.   30 seconds a lap to check in added up to 40 minutes of not moving!  

Eventually evening arrived, and it got dark..  and kind of lonely.  Although I had been exchanging smiles and hellos all day runners... often twice per lap as we would swap up direction every now and then to keep in interesting..  when it got dark, it was harder to see with headlamps each direction, and I think also because many of us kind of got into a zone of just moving at that point.  However as we got close to 9pm, or 13 hours in, there was a "beer social" lap... everyone picked up a beer ( or whatever they wanted) and we took a stroll around the lake...  that was pretty cool.  And even better, my friend Dione showed up.. grabbed this pic and walked a lap with me... or actually carried my beer while I was struggling to get my Garmin recharged and clear some goofy error messages!  Anyway, it was great to see her and get a little boost when needed.  It was also then that I decided I needed some real food.  I texted my wife, and she showed up with a double burger and fries from Freddie's....   have I mentioned how much I LOVE her?  :-)  Took a break to eat that, and warm up... it was getting really really windy and I was getting cold circling the lake..

From that point on it got uglier by the lap...    I layered on everything I brought, but was still cold. I huddled in my hood, dropped my pack, and just carried a bottle..   after 14 hours the run/walk mix was down to just a painful walk only, but I was still moving at a decent power walk pace.  At this point my only goal was to get past 50 miles so that I would get a new distance personal record.   61 laps was the magic number to hit, so I just kept moving.  I hit 61 laps (50 miles), and focused on my ultimate goal... which was to complete my first 100K (62 mi), or 76 laps...    so.. that was only 15 more laps... that sounds manageable.. right?    Basically those 15 laps were kind of a mind numbing march.... I daydreamed...I shivered in the wind...I thought I saw things in the shadows... I mumbled and waved to other runners...avoided stepping on salamanders (real, not imagined)...I tried to take my mind off the pain..  also, I fantasized about hot showers and sleeping.. and that all I had to do was text my wife.. I know she would be there.   BUT... I also remembered reading this fantastic post from fellow HPRS ambassador and friend, Matt Rutledge... you can read the post HERE.. but what came back to me was the line.. "you can always quit later"...   so I told myself... later, just later... in the mean time... left, right, left, right...

The 23+hour, 64 mile, put a fork in me selfie...

I continued on... hitting my 76 lap, 100K, 62 mile goal around 530 am...  This was a big milestone for me since attempting this distance for the first time last summer but ultimately DNF'ing at the Tommy Knockers 105K...   I promised myself when I hit that mark, I would take a few minutes to sit, address some foot issues, and just evaluate.  I sat in a chair near the RV by the trail... changed socks, and noticed a nasty blood blister on the ball of my foot..   I taped up around it, put the new socks on, ate a little bit, and got back up to get moving..... ouch... ouch...  those first few steps were ugly..   I spent the next hour or so just willing my legs/feet around the lake in the early dawn light...  it was great to see folks faces again, but I had dropped to shuffling painfully slow...   eventually just around 7 I decided I had hit my major goal, and that it would be best to call it a wrap.... not the full 24 hours, but less than an hour short... it was later, and I was ok to quit now....  

The results?  Full results are HERE,  but I ended up with 64 miles, 78 laps, 12 place overall out of the 114, 6th place male, and... a first for me, 1st male in my age group!  Was it worth it not quitting?  Absolutely...  As with any ultra, I learned a lot about myself, made new friends, visited with old friends, and just enjoyed the warm embrace of the amazing trail running community.. that's what its all about...      

Come run with me here next year!!

Thanks again for tuning in.... 

Happy trails!



  1. Great job Jeff! Loved seeing a familiar face out there... many, many times.

    1. Thanks! great to see you as well... all 156 times :-)

  2. Are you the same Jeff Gallup from Alaska that arrived at Xerox Seattle overweight and totally NON ATHLETIC?

    And to think, I'm the SAME GUY who thought my 5 Mile runs were DA BOMB...silly me for not understanding that your Clark Kent changeover was imminent.. Congratulations

    1. Thanks man..... looking forward to seeing you next month! Then you'll see I'm still the same old guy :-)

  3. I love this race report. You make we wanna come out there and do this next year! And the trail running community--yeah, completely awesome. Beer and bacon? Sign me up! Good job Jeff!!!!

    1. Thanks Mirna!! I would love to run this one with you next year! or any race for that matter :-)

  4. Jeff, ordered a pair of Iguanas last week using the "barefootjg" code (thanks). Order status on website has indicated "processing" for several days with no anticipated ship date. No response in contacting the company by email for further details on the order. Is there a normal timeframe at Carson between order placement and shipping? I am eager to try the shoes and to support a made in America company. Thanks

    1. Hey Kevin! I know we closed the loop on this via email, but just wanted to confirm here that Everett Carson got your message and responded. Also, he is going to work on some more clear communication about shipping times and progress of orders for future customers... thanks for reaching out and enjoy your Iguanas!


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