Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Let's do this! Less than 3 days to my first 50 miler!

Ok.. here's another familiar post about being a little nervous/freaked about an upcoming milestone race!   Familiar because I just wrote one of these 3 weeks ago before the TommyKnocker Ultras 50K+! 

Well, although I was concerned about being prepared, I managed to complete that rugged 50K and felt surprisingly good afterward.  I had told myself that if I came out of that one unscathed, I would call it my last long training run before my first 50 miler.... so here I am, on the brink of finishing 50 miles this Saturday...   I didn't say attempt, I said finish...    dang, now it's in writing!

I think I may be more excited about finally being able to put this sticker on my car (From Endurance Decals).  He sent it to me along with my Trail Ultra runner decal I got after completing my first 50K in May, and it's been staring at me on my keyboard since then!

And this is right where it will go...   and yes, just enough space to add a 100K and 100M!  However, there is plenty of time for that...  my goal was to do a 50K and a 50 miler before I turn 50 at the end of November. Then I'll have another 50 years to finish a 100K and a 100 miler! :-)

So am I ready?  Ready as I'll ever be I guess, although I don't feel like I've run enough of course, but I think that feeling will always be there.  Also, I managed to pick up a head cold late last week and have been trying to shake it since then.  Just about gone, but on the plus side I think it forced me to taper more than perhaps I might have.

Mt Carbon.. high point of the looped course (4 X 12.5 mi)

So, I'm really looking forward to this race, since I've heard such great feedback from many other's that have run it in the past.  Also, I'm looking forward to meeting a lot of folks that I've chatted with via the Colorado Ultra Runners, Front Range Ultra Runners (FRUR), and the Trail and Ultra Running groups on Facebook... such a cool and supportive community!

1 of 3 water crossings each lap.. gonna get wet 12 times!

I'm also really happy that this race allows pacers late in the day for 50+ milers, so I am stoked that my friend Mark Lofquist from Paleo Runners is taking time out to run the last 12.5 mile loop with me... and after 37.5 miles, I'm using the term "run" rather loosely :-)

Ah yes... this will be my strategy.  Going to take it slow and easy to start... smile a lot... and from a fueling perspective, I shall EAT ALL THE THINGS! So this is an early warning to the aid stations to look out!  I think I managed my last 50K well by fueling and hydrating early and often, and I will put that into play again... especially with the expected heat (mid 80's).   Bottom line is, I'm going to enjoy this race and the entire experience.   I know... my non-running friends and family think I'm totally nuts... but that's ok... could be worse things to be nutty about!

Finally, while I have a ton of INKnBURN shirts.. this may have to be on my list to get, to celebrate a year of 50's..    wow.. 50...  I'm almost middle-aged!

Oh.. and speaking of milestones, this week the Barefoot Inclined Facebook page broke 1,000 "likes", and this blog has exceeded 1/4 million blog visits since I started it almost 3 years ago! I am stunned and also humbled by all of you who have taken time to join me on this journey.  Thank you so much!  If you check out my FB page, I posted a status there about hitting these milestones. If you like or comment you will be entered to win a BI logo t-shirt and whatever other swag I round up for you! If you aren't on Facebook, leave a comment here and I'll put your name in the drawing as well.

Ok... thanks again for taking time to read my random ramblings...    have a great week and weekend!  I'll post a race report back up here as soon as I can after the race on Saturday...     OH... and if for some strange reason you want to track me that day, go to this link to get updates (and you can download iPhone and Android apps to do the same here):  (Jeff Gallup)

Happy Trails!


Monday, September 15, 2014

And now for something completely different: Minuteman MM02 DLC Liberty Watch Review

Uh wait a minute.... time out..   (ok ok.. sorry for the watch puns).   Yes.. something completely different and, gasp, not related to barefoot/minimalist running, trail running, ultra running, clean eating!

Well.. time for me to fess up...  one of my guilty pleasures is watches... yes watches.  I love them.. and if I had more disposable income (that wasn't spent on race entries), I'd probably own hundreds!...

So, when I was presented with an opportunity to review a new watch, I just couldn't say no!  And the watch I'm talking about is the Minuteman MM02 DLC Liberty.  Before I get into the specs of the watch though, I have to tell you the cool stuff about the Minuteman Watch Company.  What caught my attention were these points as to why Minuteman was created:

  • To raise funds for charities that support Veterans and their families (25% of all profits)
  • To provide work for Americans/Vets
  • To provide a quality product that will stand the test of time
Cool right?

Ok.. watches made in the USA for a great cause.  But what about the watches?  Check this out on the MM0 Series:

  • Wet tested to 300m, despite the 200m rating, which exceeds ISO standards
  • Humidity testing that meets Rolex standards
  • Built in two shops in the US, both run by Certified Master Watchmakers (CMW21), the highest level certification by the AWCI
  • Stainless Steel Diamondback DLC coated case (coated by Ionbond, Greensboro, NC)
  • ETA 955.112 Swiss Made 7 jewel quartz movement

Ok.. enough with the specs, it's obviously a well crafted watch.  But here are the other really nice features.  The watch comes in a really nice zippered/padded case.. not a box! I used to keep the boxes from my watches, but they got in the way, and really weren't needed, but they were hard to toss!  This padded pouch is really nice for travel, and you can use it for other stuff! The MM0's come with a nice leather strap (hand crafted in the US), as well as a 5-ring Zulu/NATO style nylon strap. 

Sorry for the low quality.. watch pics are hard to take!

The MM0 Liberty is 43mm across (excluding the crown), and it has a nice screw down crown as well.  My wrists are on the small side, but I like the fit and feel of this watch.  And the watch has a nice heavy (but not too heavy) feel.  With the nylon strap, the watch weighs in at 3.6 oz. 

The leather strap is nice, and a little dressier of course, but I really love the NATO nylon strap. I think it suits the watch style better, and it is really comfortable.  Took me a bit to figure out how to use the strap, but thanks to Youtube, it's all good :-)

The stamping on the back (including the serial #) is pretty cool...  but hard to take a pic of as well! 

Overall I really do love this watch! One of the things I like about it most is its clean lines and simplicity.  Anymore it seems we are overloaded with tech, and this watch cuts to the chase with an easy to read face (even at night.. the luminous dial works great), and easy to work (one knob!).  I know it may sound silly, but for me it's kind of refreshing. This watch does one thing, and it does it damn good :-).  And after wearing it a lot for the past month, it is really sturdy... and built to take a beating it seems as I can be rough on watches. 

If you want to check out the other Minuteman lines, go to their website at or on Facbook (click HERE) and check them out.  There is also a link to the retail dealers where you can find Minuteman watches...  just click HERE you know a little bit more about me (and what to get me for Christmas! ;-) ).   As always, if you have any comments/questions/feedback, feel free to leave a comment below, or drop me a line on Facebook. 

Happy trails!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Minuteman MM02 DLC Liberty for free from Minuteman Watches as coordinated by Deep Creek Public Relations in consideration for review publication

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Human Potential Race Series: Tommyknocker Ultras 50K Race Report

My new favorite t-shirt!  Well, after my INKnBURN gear of course :-).   It's official, I completed my 2nd 50K this weekend, and it feels great!

Ready to go!
As you know, I was just a little worried going into this one, as I hadn't followed a super strict training program like I did for my first 50K back in May.  I was happy to learn that I really was ready to push myself for almost 34 miles, with a new distance PR and time on my feet PR :-)

This was the inaugural running of the Tommy Knockers 50/100K, and the first race for the Human Potential Running Series.  While the race did have a few glitches (as to be expected), I felt that it was really well run, and such a great adventure!  I am looking forward to this one again next year, as well as all of the other races on the calendar for HPRS.

Laurie, Kurt, and me 

The volunteers were amazing! And, it was so cool that one volunteer was fellow INKnBURN ambassador (and 10 time Leadville 100 Finisher) Laurie Nakauchi!

Before I give you the blow by blow details, I will note that the biggest glitch in the race was really not preventable. It was unfortunate that a property owner who lived along one of the roads/easements wasn't happy with having a race going by, and ultimately harassed 100K runners, and painted wrong markings and moved tape markers to throw off the course, causing many 50K'ers to take a wrong turn and run up to 6 more miles in total after getting turned back around. The response by the race crew to get everyone redirected, and to deliver extra water on the trail was great.  I can't say enough about the support.  Also, to RD "Sherpa" John Lacroix's credit, his very detailed runner's manual (and pre-race meeting) both emphasized that although all efforts were made, as ultra runners we were responsible for knowing the course, AND the manual noted that vandalism could occur.  I was running with a map, and although I wasn't impacted by the vandalism, I did need it in order to stay on course around mile 26.

Oh.. and since I'm sure you are dying to know.. I ran this race in the B2R Trail Performance, the same shoe I ran my first 50K in.  And they performed flawlessly! I brought backup shoes, but didn't need them... 9 hours on my feet, 3 deep water crossings, and getting rained on, and my feet still felt great and I had all the traction I needed!

So, off we went at 8 am to the sound of John striking a huge rock with a pick axe!  The first part of the course was up Painted Rocks Rd (dirt road), but then turned off onto the network of Forest Services roads/trails in the Pikes Peak Ranger District.  I met Mike (above) early on in the race, and we ran together until the 2nd aid station around mile 8.  For trying to acclimate to the altitude (he came up from Texas) he did awesome!  The pic above was coming into the first aid station after a lot of climbing...  we joked that we had better be running in the pic :-)

This was at the Mile 8 aid station.  It was such a beautiful morning and beginning to warm up. I dropped my arm sleeves off at the first aid station.  Everything was feeling good, and the trails were great.  Compared to my first 50K, I felt like I was staying well ahead on my hydration and fueling.  Plus the food at the stations was great.. snagged some plantain and banana chips here that were perfect!

Coming into the Mi 13 aid station, I was still feeling pretty good.  The trail didn't have as many steep climbs in this section, but a lot of rolling hills.  The thing about this course was that there seemed to be very little flat! It was either up or down....    I fueled up at this station, grateful for an ice cold bottled Starbucks Mocha that my friend Matt (working at the station) had stashed for me...  that really hit the spot.  He brought beer as well, but I just wasn't feeling it so had to pass :-)  I snagged some Mama Chia pouches from my drop bag, as well as a USB charging stick to boost my Garmin.. I knew  I would be pushing the limits of the charge on my watch and wanted to keep it going.

After this, the next aid station would be just past mile 21, so one of the longer hauls on the course. I was a little concerned about this leg because it is in this zone (mile 15-21) that always seem to hit a wall or low spot.  I anticipated this happening here, but I'm happy to say it didn't! I think much of it has to do with fueling and hydrating earlier (rather than when I really felt like I needed it). Also, it was during this leg that I caught up with a group of runners that were ahead of me.. I was confused at first, but when I got to one of the turns on the trail, I found out that they had gone the wrong way (due to the vandalism I noted earlier) and were just getting back on course after running an extra mile or 5 depending.  I assured them we were headed on the correct path (I had ridden the course a week earlier), so we all headed on down the first really steep descent.  During this drop I had a chance to chat with a nice lady that was in her 20th year of running ultras!  So cool...

Once we reached the bottom we had a water crossing (first one I got my feet wet in), and then started a really arduous and steep climb up the other side.

Finally hit the aid station at mile 21 and took a little extra time to grab a sandwich, more Coke (I know I know... terrible stuff, and the epitome of processed junk, but dang it works for me in an ultra!) and a few more Mama Chias from my drop bag here.  I was feeling great here because I was pretty certain I had avoided my normal low and was gearing up to keep going. I was also posting pics to Instagram while on the trail which was fun.  But of course my phone eventually died, so anyone following may have thought I did too!

While the day was beautiful, it was also a typical Colorado day in the mountains.  By the afternoon, clouds rolled in and so did the thunder and lightning.  Around mile 23 the hail started dropping and the wind picked up. I got nailed with a quarter sized hail chunk right on top of my head! I ducked under a tree (which didn't help much) and hung out for 5-10 minutes for the worst of it to pass. I was starting to feel a little beat down at this point, but then I had to stop myself and say... "You are running an ultra marathon!!  This is AMAZING!!"  Which brought a smile to my face, and the edge off the pain.

oh look.. another uphill!  :-) 

After several more grueling climbs (5,100 ft overall on the course), a sun break, more heavy rain, and almost getting lost (took one wrong turn, realized it after .25 mi, consulted my map and got going again), I finally hit the final aid station close to mile 30.  Felt so good knowing I was so close! I enjoyed some hot broth that really seemed to bring me back to life...  followed by a shot of some awesome Moonshine corn whisky!  That was some good stuff... and off I went with a big grin on my face.

So.. as I finished the last 3.5 miles (downhill!) I passed Othman who was struggling with a 50 lb rock... why? Because whoever found this marked rock.. and carried it over the finish line would win $250!  And that is exactly what he did.. taking almost 3 hours to cover that last 3.5 miles!  That was so amazing!

I finished the day by relaxing with some terrific BBQ and other munchies while we waited for the rest of the 50K and 100K runners to finish.  I ran 33.8 miles, and spent 9:08 on my feet, and didn't sit for the two+ hours after the race.  I met a lot of great people, made a lot of new friends, and just had a blast.  I can't wait to run this one again next year... maybe the 100K?

I am so looking forward to future races from Human Potential Racing...  Check out their next race.. the Indian Creek Fifties by clicking HERE.

And the best part?  I woke up the next day feeling better than I have on days after running half that distance, and was able to run a few recovery miles as well.  And that confirmed it... I'm going for 50 miles in 2.5 weeks on 9/27!  Wish me luck, or call me crazy.. either works!

Happy trails!


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Here goes nothing! My second 50K: Tommyknocker UItras, Woodland Park CO

Well...  my second 50K is this Saturday, and I have to admit I am a bit nervous.  I spent the months leading up to the the Greenland Trail 50K  on a well defined training schedule and felt like I was ready for the challenge of my first Ultra. 

This time around? Different story... I tried to start on a training program again, but couldn't stick with it over the summer..   instead, I've spent timing running when I felt like I should, and when I could make it fit as well.   Long runs have been in the 14-18 miles and nothing longer...  but, those runs have been relatively easy and consequence free, so I'm really hoping I'm ready.   Also, I am looking hard at attempting the 50 miler at the Bear Chase in 3 weeks, so part of me is looking at this 50K as a last "long" training run for that.  I'll make that call after this weekend!!

This will be the inaugural running of this race, and the first race (of many more to come) from the Human Potential Running Series.    I LOVE the fact that this 50K/100K is just a few miles up the road from me, here in little old Woodland Park, CO! I am really excited about this series, and what they are all about.   "Sherpa" John Paul Lacroix has worked really hard on putting this together, and I can't wait to experience this race. What caught my attention originally was just the overall mindset and message they are trying to deliver.  As an example, here is what they state on their page:

Human Potential Events are Conducted With The Following Principles In Mind


We encourage all runners to embrace a communal spirit during all of our events; official or otherwise. We want you to forge new relationships, learn from and about each other, encourage each other, and care for each other. After all, we’re all in this together every step of the way.


We acknowledge that those who finish last; work just as hard, sacrifice just as much, and are just as committed, as those who finish first. We uphold the old school traditions of Ultra-running by presenting the same finisher awards to all participants. We offer no cash prizes at our races and front runners will receive no special/preferential treatment over the rest-of-the-pack.


Our races are designed with the utmost respect for runners and non-runners alike, local and federal municipalities, local residents, land managers and businesses. While we acknowledge that it is nearly impossible to please everyone, we do our very best to respect and please the majority.
The way I understand it, it is an attempt to take ultra running events back to its humble origins, and making it less commercial etc..     I really like that, and am really looking to this and future events from HPRS!  Also, check out this link for more info and a great article on HPRS and Sherpa John from Colorado Runner mag here:

So, since I recently picked up an older KTM trail bike (early 50th birthday present to myself), I decided to go out and preview the course on Monday...  wow, it is going to be a beautiful run!  Here's a video I put together of it...  a lot of it is time lapse, with some regular video mixed in... set it to 720HD under settings for the best quality:

Anyway, as I said.. here goes nothing!  I know this will be a tougher course than Greenland was, but that being said, I hope I can still finish it in a halfway reasonable time!  Stay tuned for a full race report next week.

Happy trails!