Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bringing Back Community: Human Potential Running Series

I am really, really honored and excited to be an Ambassador for the Human Potential Running Series (HPRS) for 2015!   So... who or what is HPRS?

I first came across HPRS earlier this year, and frankly I don't even remember where I heard of it... but I do remember seeing the Facebook Page (HERE) and website at

What caught my attention immediately were the principles of HPRS which are:

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.

I was immediately drawn to HPRS, because, as a back of the pack runner, I really appreciated the focus on recognizing everyone.  AND, as I had taken up trail running, and trail races, I could immediately tell it was a different community, and I really liked the way front runners would encourage everyone, and I felt like I belonged.

So.. I was drawn to HPRS, and what was even cooler, was that there was a 50K being run just miles from my house up here in Woodland Park, CO!  This would be my second 50K, and it was an amazing experience... much different than my first 50K (many folks were still around when I finished!).  You can read about my experience in detail HERE.   But to summarize, I made a lot of new friends, including Race Director Sherpa John Lacroix., and I've never felt so welcomed before. It felt less like a race, and more of a shared adventure that was incredible.

So, from based on that experience, I happily volunteered to run an aid station at the Indian Creek Fifties a few months later.  And that was as challenging (and as fun) as running the race! I ended up logging 11+ miles hauling gear/water, and made more great friends with the folks manning the station with me, as well as all the runners we served!

To me.. this is what ultra running is all about...   and that message is really sent home by Sherpa John. The new ambassadors met with him recently, and he was able to relay his story, and why community means so much to him.  And since it resonates with me, applying to be an ambassador was an easy decision, and it's going to be a blast!   But, check out this video below from Sherpa John and HPRS to hear it from him directly.  It relates to the Fat Ass series of races this winter.  If you don't know, Fat Ass races are really just organized group runs that help build the community..  no entry fees, no shirts, no cutoffs... just like minded folks joining together to see what we can get done together..   Speaking of which, I'll be running my first Fat Ass on 1/31/15... check out details HERE

So.. are you in!?  I hope so...  trust me..  if I can do it, you can as well... and now you have an entire community that welcomes you and is there for you...  so what are you waiting for? :-)

Stay tuned as I will keep you up to date on all activities related to the Human Potential Race Series... including my goal of my first 100K at the TommyKnocker's Ultras next year!!

Happy trails!


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Feeling my age.. ugh: BackJoy SitSmart, PostureWear, and Roller Ball Review

Photo Credit: Master Isolated Images,

UGH!...   I kid you not...  the day after I turned 50, I messed my back up.  No, I didn't mess it up falling off a cliff on an epic trail run... nope, apparently bringing the Christmas tree upstairs and restringing lights on it was all I need to really jack it up.   Seriously?  I mean come on!

On a positive note, it's been just about two weeks, and I think I'm about recovered.  I've tweaked my back a few times in the past, but usually its ok in a day or so... this one kept me from running for two weeks! So yeah... got a little grumpy.   Good news is I was able to get back out on a run today, and it feels great.  And, I have to give some credit to BackJoy for helping me recover. Although part of me thinks it is some kind of conspiracy as I received a box full of their products about 3 weeks before hurting my back!

So, just over a month ago I was asked if I wanted to participate in BackJoy's Give Back, Spread Joy campaign.  BackJoy is making donations of pain relief products to organizations like Wounded Warrior and UC Denver's VA Medical Center. So, by reviewing their products, a donation will be made on behalf of Barefoot Inclined which is awesome!  So, although at the time I thought "I really don't have back problems, this is a great cause, so I'll check this out."  Wow... talk about good timing :-)

So, the fine folks at BackJoy sent me a SitSmart Posture Plus seat, Roller Ball, and a PostureWear Elite compression shirt.

For the SitSmart, I initially didn't have a lot of use for it since I have a standing desk for work, and sit very little during the day.  I set it in my wife's office chair and let her use it.  She noted that it did make sitting a bit more comfortable, and she could tell it helped her posture.  However, she did say that it was a bit wide for her, so it is good to note that a smaller version is available as the SitSmart Mini which is great for kids as well.

I thought it felt good to sit on... and rather than being something that felt weird or forced you to sit a certain way, it felt more like a gentle reminder to sit up properly.  Now, after I hurt my back, that was a different story.  I certainly felt much better sitting down on the SitSmart than I did in any chair without it. With the lower back pain I was experiencing, the SitSmart certainly helped relieve a lot of that!

The Roller Ball is a handy little tool as well. Designed to use as a roller on your spine, I found it to be pretty handy for just generalized rolling as well.  What's funny is that the day this arrived, I was complaining to my friend Mark over at Paleo Runners about some glute issues I was having.  He recommended I work it out by rolling with a La Crosse ball, or with something like this:

Which was his home made "peanut" constructed from baseballs... look familiar?  :-)  Anyway, the BackJoy Roller Ball is made of a solid rubber construction with just a little squish and give.  Not much, but enough to keep from bruising.  I liked using it against a wall and rolling it up and down my spine, and especially my lower back.  But, I also used it to roll my sore glutes, and also my feet while at my standing desk...  great to have around!

Finally, we have the PostureWear compression shirt.   Now this is REALLY cool.  I normally wear a light compression shirt on under what ever shirt I am running in, so it was easy to integrate this into my running.  The intent of this shirt however is to push and prod your upper body into the ideal posture for a healthy back.

Now, keep in mind I wear a size L, so that is what I ordered in the PostureWear.  Notice in the pic above it looks like the size my smallest 10 yo would wear!   So yeah, this shirt fits really snug.  But, once I got it on, the effect was pretty cool.  My shoulders pulled back and down, lower back pressed forward a bit, chest out...  bingo... instant good posture!!    It was kind of strange, but I like it.  And again, when I was really hurting, I wore this shirt a few days just to help take the edge off some of the pain.  I ran a 5 mile trail race in it, and it felt pretty good, but I am not sure yet if I could wear this for 8+ hours in an ultra, but it could also be a great thing to throw in a drop bag to put on at some point to help with posture, or just to change things up.  On a TMI note, this shirt also works like a great girdle to keep my spare tire from bouncing around too much, so there is always that :-)

Give Back, Spread Joy on Facebook

So, thank you BackJoy for not only improving my posture, but helping out an old guy in pain! And, I'm glad that my review will help provide pain relief to those in need via the Give Back, Spread Joy campaign!

As always, if you have any questions/comments/rude old guy remarks, leave them below, or drop me a note of the Barefoot Inclined Facebook page!

Happy trails!


Just kidding!  ;-)