Friday, December 18, 2015

Old guy pains... help! SalonPas, KT Tape Pro-X Patches, Zim's Max-Arnice, and CEP Compression Review and Giveaway!

Photo Credit
Well... like it or not, I do get what I call "old guy" pains... not debilitating injury type stuff, but the normal kind of creaky stuff that actually is lessened the more I run, which is great!  Regardless, I am always open to trying out anything that can provide some relief!

So, much like post from a year and a half ago.."Things that make you go aaaahhh..."  this review post is all about things that I have found that can really help!

So, check out my thoughts on the SalonPas products, KT Tape Pro-X patches, Zim's Max-Arnice, and CEP Compression gear... and stick around to win a care/relief package for your pains!

So... first up is Salonpas.  This company has been making pain relief products since 1934, and originally in Japan only.  What is cool about this company is that I remember this well from when I was a kid and my mom would use these patches. My mom is from Japan, and we lived there for a few years as my dad was stationed there in the Navy..

This is how I remember them looking.... but this is what I tried out!

So yeah... a little bit of a change from what I remember.  BUT... what makes Salonpas unique hasn't changed.   Basically, these products use menthol, methyl salicylate, and capsaicin as topical analgesics that bring that icy/hot relief from those old guy aches and pains.  What I like most are the pain relief patches delivery system.  While I was struggling with my chronic back pain for several months, the pain relieving patches with Capsaicin and Menthol were awesome! They came in larger patches that were comfortable, easy to apply, and lasted a long time.. up to 12 hours for me.  They were a lifesaver when I wasn't able to sleep due to the pain I was having.

Anyway, I really loved seeing that this product was still around, and working better than ever.  Be sure to enter below to win the sample selection pictured above for your twinges and aches!

Next up... CEP and some cool compression gear.   Now, if you've been following for a while, you may remember that I really can't run in compression socks, even though I've tried several times and in different gear.  I just get that claustrophobic feeling and my calves are never happy. BUT... I do truly love compression on my lower legs for recovery... works so well.

So, what I tried out from CEP are the Compression Sleeves and the Compression Socks.  Now, to be fair, I did give these a short run, but alas, the sleeves wouldn't work for running, however the socks performed pretty well.  However, I am still an Injinji runner and probably always will be, but the socks fit well, and were comfortable.  They provide some structure/compression to my feet, but not overly so.  The sleeves however have been relegated to recovery only, but for that I like them.  Easy to put on since they are just sleeves and not a full calf sock. Comfortable, and a good quality.

That being said.. someone else in my family seems to have "acquired" these compression sleeves!

My son and I ran the Fall Series with the Pikes Peak Road Runners in Colorado Springs this Fall... and he loves them!   Maybe a little big for him, but he swears they make him faster...  so I guess I may not get these back for recovery purposes!

Ok.. next up to keep you moving and less pained is another product from Zim's.  Back in 2014 you may remember me reviewing a great foot cream and freeze spray from Zim's HERE.  Great stuff...

This time around, I gave the Zim's Max-Arnice a try.  In addition to a 2% Menthol as a topical analgesic, the Max-Arnice also includes Arnica and Aloe.

Aloe, and it's benefits, I knew about, but Arnica was new.  Arnica is a homeopathic herb that has been shown to help with bruising, aches, pain, arthritis, swelling etc...  so you can't go wrong there!

I like this gel as it is not greasy, absorbs well, and is soft on your skin etc.  The folks at Zim's are providing a tube of you to try as well in the giveaway package below..  Thanks Zim's!

Ok.. last but not least, KT Tape ProX Patches!  Those that know me know that on a long run or race, I am usually held together with kinesiology tape!  I love to use Rock Tape and KT Tape because for me, they really work!

What makes the ProX patches cool is that they simplify some applications that require up to two or more strips in normal tape.  I really like these patches on the back of my Achilles as it allows me to get the fit I need without multiple strips.  And they are pre-cut so when combined with the pre-cut strips, makes application quick and easy.   I haven't tried them for particular pain points, but I can see how they would come in handy for that, with each of the "tabs" you can adjust the amount of tension easily where you need it.   Anyway, anything that easily holds my parts on and eases pain during a long run/race is a win in my books...    a pack of 15 pre-cut patches will be on its way to one lucky winner as part of the giveaway below... Thanks KT!

OK!  For any of you out there struggling with nagging aches and pains, I'm hoping any or all of these products will get you back running like Dasher up there...

Be sure to participate via Rafflecopter wing-dingy below for your chance to win a selection of Salonpas, Zim's, and KT Tape products!  I'll run this contest through Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015 at 10PM MST.  Open to residents of the U.S. only thanks.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks again for tuning in!  Have a great weekend!

Happy trails!


Monday, December 7, 2015

Give Back, Spread Joy! BackJoy SleepSound Pillow, SitSmart Posture Plus, and Trigger Point Massager Review/Giveaway!

Hey!  It's the holiday season, and that means two things...  the season of giving, and the time of year I mess up my back!

Ugh.. seriously... this time last year, I messed up my back hanging Christmas lights the day after I turned 50!  This year,  managed to do something about 6 weeks earlier... still not sure what it was, but I was out of commission, and not running much, if at all!


Well... thanks to BackJoy products (A super cool Boulder, CO company), I was able to recover last year (check out what I used HERE), and with additional new products, I've managed to recover again and get back on the trail!  So, I can't thank BackJoy enough for making some great products, and allowing me to review/share them with you!  Also, as part of their "Give Back, Spread Joy" campaign, BackJoy is donating $5,000 of pain-relief products to deserving charities on behalf of participating bloggers such as Barefoot Inclined!


So, in addition to the PostureWear Elite compression shirt, RollerBall massager, and SitSmart Posture Plus I used last year, this year I tried out the SleepSound Pillow and Trigger Point Massager! 

But better than that, since it is the season of giving, BackJoy has kindly allowed me to give you one of these packages (pictured above, and a $170+ value!).  So.. stick around to hear my thoughts on each of these, and be sure to enter to win!

First up... the SitSmart Posture Plus...  I used one of these last year, so here's a quick recap of my thoughts (which haven't changed)... nice to have a second one around, and I'm going to have to give it a try in the car!

"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 Youth which is great for kids as well.

This one is blue, but I actually now have a red and green one.. how festive!!

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!"

Next up is the SleepSound Standard pillow.  This latest back issue I've had has bothered me the most when sleeping, so needless to say, I unpacked this pillow immediately and put it to use!  It seems simple in design, but wow it really has helped. 

The memory foam and contoured cushioning is really awesome.  I am one that alternates between my back and either side, and the design of the pillow allows me just to roll side to side and positions my head in the right area of support.  I noticed relief in my night time back pain immediately.  And now, that I am mostly recovered, I still use the pillow just because it works so great! I no longer spend time fluffing, or wadding to get the support I want.  Love it! 

Finally, it's the crazy looking Trigger Point Massager.  Yeah, I know.. looks like a back scratcher on steroids!  I really wasn't sure what to do with this when I got it, and I even consulted my friend/chiropractor Jane about it.. she highly recommended it and gave it a thumbs up for self management techniques!

So... I know a little about trigger points, especially in my calves to help alleviate Achilles issues.  You know, it's that driving down into those "hurt so good" knots to release tension and break down knotted tissues.  Well the Trigger Point Massager allows me to get to those kinds of places easily on my shoulders, neck and back.  And, the therapy knobs can be used on the feet, calves etc.. anywhere you need to massage or release tense muscles.  Good stuff!  And I can imagine it makes for a wicked Ninja type self defense weapon as well!  (well, ok, maybe not, but it sounds cool)

So there you have it... BackJoy continues to develop products to alleviate back pain and promote great posture!  And, I am thankful to them for allowing me to participate in their Give Back, Spread Joy campaign again this year.   And if you've suffered through yet another one of my lengthy and verbose reviews, you get rewarded with a chance to win a back care package for yourself (or a loved one since it is the giving season... but maybe they will share ;-)  )

Ok.. you all know the drill by now.  I'll run this contest until Saturday December 12th, 2015 at 10PM MST.  To enter, gain entries via the Rafflecopter thing-a-ma-jig below.  Contest is open to residents of the U.S. only (sorry rest of the planet).  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

OK!  Thanks again for tuning in. I really do appreciate it.  Stay tuned for more great reviews and giveaways... AND.. I 'm beginning to work on my annual Happy and Healthy Giveaway on January 1, 2016.. and you DON'T want to miss that.... seriously... :-)

Happy Trails!!


Monday, November 30, 2015

Get and Stay on Track! Pivotal Living Fitness Band Review and Giveaway!

Hey!  Guess who... I know.. it's been much too long since my last blog post, so I apologize.  Life, work, holidays etc etc...    anyway, back at it now and time to catch up on some reviews of some great products!

Pivotal Living
So let's get to it with a review of the fitness tracking band offered by Pivotal Living.  Check out the review, and then stay tuned at the bottom to enter to with a Pivotal Living Band! 

I'll preface this review by noting that I have never used a fitness band before, so I can't really provide any comparisons to other types of tracking bands.  

But what really drew my attention to Pivotal Living was the price tag on the Fitness Band.  How much?  $12.....  well, $15 with shipping.  But significantly less than other bands out there...  so, what's the catch?  Well, its $12 per year... BUT, each year you get a new band, which will include any updates/improvements made to the device, and you are good to go for another year. And 7 years of new bands to equal a $99 Fitbit.   For $1 a month, I thought it was worth a try to see what it was all about. 

So, after getting my band, and charging it up, I downloaded the free Pivotal Living App which is a free download available in the iTunes Store, or on Google Play

So what can you track?  The Band is designed to track sleep, activity, steps, calories burned, as well as weight/hydration (via manual inputs in the app). 

The app and band is easy to set up, and you can develop your personal profile and targets for the app/band to track.  The band syncs to your smartphone via a bluetooth connection and will update when you swipe the screen down on the app.  In between syncs, the band itself tracks steps, activity, and calories with short reports you can see on the band with the press of the button. 

Besides the activity/step tracking, I found the sleep tracking to be very interesting.  By pressing the button on the band twice, you signal the band that you are going to sleep.  Based on movement etc, it calculates the length and level of sleep.  I've found that it seems to be fairly accurate, or at least does a good job of tracking if I wake up/get up etc. 

The step tracking feature is pretty accurate as well, especially if you allow it to connect/share data with any tracking function on your smartphone.  It cross checks data there to enhance accuracy. 

As far as hydration goes, you have to just swipe your finger across on the hydration line to add ounces consumed.  Good way to track towards a goal, provided you remember to update it! 

Ok... so now you have the basics of the band/app.  Pretty straightforward, and not a lot of frills etc.  I ended up getting one for my son, and my wife as well and each of them has used it off and on.  Based on our family using these for about 6 months or so, here's the feedback. 


  • The price is right!  I really like this model of pricing with an annual fee, and a new device each year. The model that is available right now already contains improvements over the version we have. 
  • Relatively simple app, and band.  It was helpful to read over the startup info and to play around with it, but for the most part it is intuitive
  • Accurate..  as I've noted, distance (via step count) is pretty accurate, lining up with what I see on my phone, as well as distance run on my Garmin etc. 
  • Daily targets on the app can help with motivation by providing feedback and reminders (if you set it up for that)
  • Light weight and comfortable to wear. 
  • Nice alarm feature and stop watch.
  • Battery life is great... I usually charge once a week, but I think it could go longer without a charge.  Band has a meter, and app shows battery level when sync'd as well. 
Cons (or wishes):

  • There can be hiccups when trying to sync, and sometimes some data can be lost. This only happened a few times, and I remedied by following some advice from the FAQ's (i.e. make sure the time remains sync'd between your phone and band)
  • Prior days data can only be seen in the app.  I REALLY wish there was a way to download months worth of data into an excel sheet for each of the measurements. These would be great when talking to your doctor etc to see sleep patterns, activity levels etc over a long period of time.  The folks at Pivotal Living tell me they are working on this. 
  • Readout on band is difficult to read in bright light (latest models have a new color and are noted as helping with this)
  • Band is not waterproof
  • Scratches easily (another improvement in the latest model, not the one I tested)

So, overall, I certainly feel the Pro's for the Pivotal Living Band and App outweigh the Con's for sure. The rest of my thoughts are just about fitness bands in general.  

I know that when I first got the band, I was always checking my stats, drinking/moving more to hit my daily targets etc.  But over time that initial excitement kind of waned, however I still wear it daily, and track my steps (which are tough to get working from home on days I don't run!), and my sleep etc.  I'm finding it hardest to get in the habit of tracking my hydration, but I'm going to try to do better!  AND... I can look forward to the new and improved band around April when my year is up!

If you have anyone on your Christmas list looking for a fitness band/app, I think Pivotal Living would be ideal!  Plus at $15 you can get them for everyone on your list!  But, since you've suffered through another lengthy review of mine, I'll give you a chance to win one for yourself! 

I'll run this giveaway until Saturday December 5th, 2015 at 10PM MST.  Contest is open to residents of the US.   Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below... thanks and good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks again for tuning in... stay tuned for more great reviews coming up...

Happy trails!


Monday, October 26, 2015

Estes Trail Ascent: 3rd Annual US Trail Running Conference, Estes Park, Colorado

Wow... so I just had a tremendous opportunity to attend the US Trail Running Conference in Estes Park, CO on Friday/Saturday October 9th and 10th. This event was at the historic and beautiful Stanley Hotel, which was really awesome. This is the 3rd annual conference, hosted by Terry Chiplin and Active at Altitude (which looks amazing by the way, I need to learn more!)  The event ran from 7th to the 10th, with the first two days designed for Race Directors, and the last two days for trail runners of all levels.

As an ambassador for Fuel 100 Electro-Bites, I was fortunate to have been invited by co-founders, Andrea and Michelle, to attend the conference and also to help run the Fuel 100 booth during the Expo times.

I LOVED working at the booth!  I got an opportunity to talk to a number of folks about Fuel 100 and to share samples and goodies with them.  I worked the booth with fellow ambassador Chuck Radford, and co founder Michelle Halsne.  And when we weren't working at the booth, we got to listen in on a number of great panels/discussion on all kinds of aspects of trail running.

I also got to meet some great folks at the other booths as well, representing Altra, Pearl Izumi, Honey Stinger, VFuel, and RecoFit.  Speaking of RecoFit, I was happy to meet Susie Walton, owner, and learn about some super cool compression gear she created.... stay tuned for a review coming soon!

Below is the schedule of events from the last two days, and I wanted to share it so you could see the kinds of things discussed, and the panel of great folks that were there!

  • Friday October 9

    • 7.00 am Fun run presented by Altra – Lumpy Ridge Trailhead, off Devils Gulch Road
      With Golden Harper, Josh Arthur, and Ashley Erba
    • 9.00 am Doors open – expo time
    • 9.45 am Welcome to Conference
    • 10.00 am Trail running shoe development & future direction – live on YouTube – view at this linkMichael Thompson, Scott Jaime, Sage Canaday, Joseph Gray, Josh Arthur, Golden Harper
    • 10.45 break
    • 11.15 IMBA presentation
    • 11.30 Creating trail running opps in our communities & grow the sportHeath Kirschner, Reid Delman, Ellen Miller, Jeremy Duncan, Nancy Hobbs
    • 12.15 expo time
    • 12.30 lunch & fun run
    • 2.00 Trail running & FKT’sScott Jaime, Joseph Gray, Dr. Dumont, Jeremy Duncan, Paul Cuno-Booth
    • 2.45 break
    • 3.15 Running form workshop with Josh Arthur & Golden Harper – presented by Altra and VFuel
    • 4.00 break
    • 4.15 Stretching & flexibility workshop with Dr.Florence, presented by Estes Park Medical Center
    • 5.00 expo time
    • 5.30 doors close
Friday evening film festival at Reel mountain theater
  • Saturday October 10

    • 7.00 am Fun run presented by Pearl Izumi – Lumpy Ridge Trailhead, off Devils Gulch Road
    • At fun run – 3 time US Mountain Running Champion Joseph Gray’s clinic on blister prevention and blister care with Spenco Medical 2nd skin products
    • 8.30 am doors open – expo time
    • 9.00 Nutrition & hydration strategies – live on YouTube – view at this linkJoseph Gray, Ashley Erba, Sage Canaday, Jeremy Duncan, Dina Griffin
    • 9.45 break
    • 10.00 – 12.00 Beginner trail runner track – with Nancy Hobbs & Lisa Jhung
      • sessions on trail running 101 / myths
      • how to start trail running
      • technique, gear,
      • training & racing…
    • 10.00 Effective training & remaining injury freeAnita Ortiz, Sage Canaday, Josh Arthur, Dr.Florence, Golden Harper
    • 10.45 – 11.15 break
    • 11.15  Lifelong runningGinny Landes, Dr. Dumont, Nick Clark, Terry Chiplin
    • 12.00 expo time
    • 12.30 lunch & fun run
    • 2.00 Women’s panel & trail safetyAmanda Lee, Susan Farago, Amy Plummer, Ashley Erba, Anita Ortiz, Lisa Jhung 
    • 2.45 break
    • 3.00 workshop – Uphill & downhill running technique – with Sage Canaday
    • 3.30 – 3.45 expo time
    • 3.45 ATRA presentation
    • 4.00 Trail maintenance, advocacy and sustainabilityDanny Basch, Paul Cuno-Booth, Joseph Gray, Nancy Hobbs
    • 4.45 – 5.30 Expo time / close

I arrived Friday afternoon, and after spending a little time at the booth, Michelle and I attended the Running Form workshop that was presented by Golden Harper (founder, Altra Running Shoes).  While I thought I knew good things about proper form, I learned a lot of new tips/tricks here which was great.  Best part was the other guests at the Stanley wondering what all these folks were doing, running around looking goofy :-).   But I took away some great stuff from this session.  Later that afternoon we also got some great info on dynamic stretching with Dr. Florence. 

That evening the Fuel-100 team enjoyed a nice BBQ steak dinner (once we got the charcoal lit with some Fireball :-) ) and spent most of the evening talking trail and ultra running... I mean, what else is there right?  We stayed at a cool little cabin right above downtown Estes Park... and although right by town, Michelle had already run into a mama bear and her cub less than 100 yards away from the cabin door!  So much for that run :-).  

The next morning we were back at it... working the expo booth, and then got to hear some great panel discussions on Nutrition and Hydration, Effective training to remain injury free, and one of my favorites, Lifelong Running.... great for old folks like me!  

After a nice lunch, and meeting some other great folks, including Terry Chiplin, Nancy Hobbs, Golden Harper, and Joseph Gray, it was time for me to get on the road home.  Although only there for part of this conference, I came away from it energized, educated, and excited.  Getting to network with and meet so many great people in the trail running community was priceless.    I can't wait to get back there next year for more great stuff, and I encourage anyone who loves trail running to attend as well...  so much good stuff you don't want to miss!!

Happy trails!


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Fly your Freak Flag! Vivobarefoot Trail Freak Review

Ok... now that the big summer races are over, time to get back to some reviews!

First up, a belated review on the Vivobarefoot Trail Freaks!  I say belated because I've had them close to a year now, but have had a tough time getting miles logged on the shoes I need to review etc.

But, better late than never so here we go!

If you are a fan of Vivobarefoot, you are probably already familiar with their collection of trail running shoes.  The Vivobarefoot Neo Trail was my FIRST pair of minimalist shoes, after first running in Xeroshoes sandals (at that time Invisible Shoes).   Similar to the Neo's, I also have run in the Breatho Trails from Vivobarefoot as well.

Similar to the Neo and Breatho models, the Freaks utilize the same sole (2.5mm, with 4.5 mm lugs, 3mm insole) and tread pattern.  As with the other Vivo's, I ended up removing the insoles to stick with the 7mm stack for the best proprioception.   Also, my size 44's came in at 9.8 oz, very close to the Breatho, and a tad lighter than the Neo's.

If you are familiar with the Neo/Breatho, or have read my reviews, the Freak is truly a hybrid between those two models.  Not as light and breathable as the Breatho's, but certainly not as sealed up or hydrophobic as the Neo's.   The Freaks provide a nice compromise between the two.  They sport a 3M mesh and laminated upper, along with a Lycra collar and Dri-Lex lining.

The Freaks also utilize the gusseted tongue (like the Breatho's) with speed laces.  Maybe I'm old school, but I am not crazy about speed laces... I like good old fashioned tie up ones :-).

Anyway, if you like the other Vivobarefoot trail models, you won't be disappointed with the Freaks.  The have terrific traction, and great ground feel/feedback and just a really comfortable minimalist shoe.

Above (from left to right), are the Neo Trails, Breatho Trail, Trail Freak, and Winterproof Trail Freak.  Something for everyone!  However, as of today, it looks like the Winterproof is no longer available, but has been replaced with a Trail Freak II Waterproof.  I've not tried either, so I can't say much about those. Also, the Neo and Breatho have been discontinued, but you can still probably find them on sites like Leftlane Sports or Sierra Tradng Post etc.   If you want to see the latest available in off road shoes from Vivobarefoot, click HERE.

As always, if you have any questions/comments, or if I didn't mention something, let me know! Email, leave a comment, or drop a line of the Facebook page..

Thanks.. and happy trails!


Thursday, September 24, 2015

DNF = Did Nothing Fatal : Tommyknockers Ultra 105K Race Report!

So yep...  last Saturday, September 12, I embarked on a quest to conquer 65.5 miles of trails just outside my small town of Woodland Park, CO at the Tommyknocker Ultramarathons 105 and 55K event put on by the Human Potential Running Series (for which I am a proud ambassador!).

My full race report follows, but as you have already guessed by the title of this post, I didn't quite make it to the finish.  More on that below, but after 3 50K's, 1 50 miler, and 41 miles at Chase the Moon 12-hour, I finally experienced my first DNF (did not finish).  Yes, it was a let down, but over the last week and a half I moved on from that to looking at it as the learning experience it was.   Did I expect I would never have a DNF?  No, not really, but I didn't think it would be at this race, but that just goes to show that you just never know whats going to happen... anyway.. here we go.

The festivities started with a pre-race dinner and runners meeting at Camp Elim Friday night.  This gave an opportunity to deliver drop bags, packet pickup, and to enjoy the company of the other runners. This was terrific as I was able to meet a number of Facebook friends (including local ones) that I had not met in person before, as well as see a lot of familiar faces of friends I met from past races.  Race Director Sherpa John treated us to a terrific dinner, and as always, gave us a detailed break down of the course, how it was marked, and what to be ready for. This was really helpful, especially for us 105K runners that would be starting at 2AM  :-)    Yes, I did try to sleep... but maybe got an hour.

Drop bags with extra Fuel-100 Electro bites, Switch Sunglasses etc, new Carson Footwear Stingers, Petzl NAO headlamp, and Orange Mud VP2... what else could I need?  oh yeah... maybe some clothes :-)
The 105K was run a little differently this year.  The first lap was a truncated version of the 55K loop, cutting out one section and eliminating the Signal Butte climb...  that little spike you see above. The shorter clockwise loop was followed by the full 55K counter clockwise loop which was the same as the 55K race.

So off we all went in the 2AM pitch dark... the loop starts with a pretty steady climb over the first 10 miles or so, but with enough downs mixed in to keep it interesting..    Aid stations along the loop were spread out with distances ranging from 3.25 miles up to 9 miles. 5 stations in all counting the start/finish, and hitting one aid station twice in each loop. Speaking of aid stations.... WOW is an understatement.  If you have yet to run a HPRS race, you don't know what you are missing. Besides incredibly dedicated and caring volunteers, the selection of food was incredible...  normal ultra aid station fair (chips, pop, candy, pb&j etc), but I also found BACON, TATER TOTS, BEER/Spirits, avocados, quesadillas, soup, BBQ, and a wide selection of amazing baked goods.... holy cow. It's hard to leave those stations!

What was so awesome during that first lap was the fact that it was a new moon, hence it was incredibly dark... I was having a hard time picking out common constellations because of the sheer number of stars I could see...   so beautiful..  I really enjoyed it, except for those bits of getting freaked out by sounds in the woods and worrying about barking dogs at the various campsites out there... but no issues.. just a peaceful, cool and quiet pre-dawn morning...   I was even staying well ahead of my "cutoff" pace.  I went into this with a goal of making it in before the 18 hour cutoff and in one piece, so I had made a cheat sheet of check in times at aid stations at that cutoff pace. So during that first lap I was continuing to put a good buffer in front of that cutoff time...     around mile 17 the sun started to come up, so I snapped the pic above...    felt good to get some light and switch the headlamp off..

At mile 21 I passed by Signal Butte... didn't have to climb it this time, but I would be back around mile 40 to make the 1.3 mile steep trek to the top and back down from the main trail.  At this point the temps were still nice and cool... maybe in the 50's, after starting the race in the low 40's..

From here, the next 10 miles went by pretty well...  at the Hayman aid station I dropped my headlamp, swapped for sunglasses and sunscreen.  At the Manchester Creek station, about 3.5 miles from the start finish I got a chance to chat with my friend Matt... he'd been up since 1AM working at the station and was just about done... then he was off for a quick nap and would meet me at the mile 45 Phantom Creek aid station and pace me for the last 21 or so.... or would he?

Ok... so I checked in at the start/finish, just under a 50K in 7:45... for me, that's pretty good, and I was 45 minutes ahead of my "cutoff" schedule which was great...    however, leaving the start/finish meant another round of climbing to get back to the Manchester aid station, 3.5 miles out... and it was beginning to heat up quickly.  I checked in there, reloaded on some good food, and started the climb back to the Hayman aid station... I was really looking forward to getting back there because they had tater tots!!  Aside from a short downhill section, getting back to Hayman was just an upward grind..  it was really tough and even my uphill power hiking pace was beginning to wane, but I still had a buffer.   I finally arrived at the aid station, but I really wasn't hungry... I tried to eat some fruit, and reloaded on Tailwind and dumped some water on my head...   I knew Signal Butte was coming up, so I just wanted to get to it..

Ok.. Mile 40... here we go.  I told myself, it's just a little over half a mile to the top, turn around come down, no problem...   So, I started off the climb running into a few friends coming back down...  wow.. it was getting hot and I was moving slow.... but I kept at it.  Never has less than a mile ever felt so long!

Top of Signal Butte... I took this pic a few days before when I did a preview hike...
Finally, I reached the top... grabbed a playing card from the deck left at the top to prove I was there (I think its still in my pack somewhere), and turned around to head down....    and that's when it hit me... BOOM!  That's when the wheels came off...  As I started down.. I stumbled a few times... realized I was feeling dizzy...  and it kept getting worse.  Although I was moving slowly, and going down, my heart rate was up there and I was panting...  finally, to avoid falling down, I sat down on some of the rock steps leading back down to catch my breath... but I couldn't...  I also started to get weird muscle shivers/shakes..  I've never felt that bad before and suddenly I had visions of being airlifted off that stupid butte....   Some part of my brain realized that I must be experiencing heat exhaustion and had better do something.  I ended up stripping off my pack, draining one of my two water bottles, and lay down in some shade.  I thought maybe after 5 minutes I could bounce back...  I think I lay there for 20 minutes or more.  

Finally, I felt like I could move again, so I texted my friend Matt at the aid station some 3.5-4 miles down the trail. I knew he would be waiting for me, and by that time I had drifted beyond my estimated time to arrive there, even at cutoff pace.  I told him to please head back towards me while I worked my way that direction.  I slowly made it back down and started to stumble back up the road towards the aid station. I found out later from another runner that it was 90F at the top of Signal Butte that afternoon!

Matt met up with me, brought me more water, and made sure I drank it, and that I continued to walk straight :-)   That 3+ miles seemed to take forever, with short breaks in the shade and some slow walking.  Finally made it the aid station, just short of 45 miles.  Took a seat in the shade and let them know to put a fork in me, because I was done.   The folks at the aid station were awesome...  made sure I got ice and water and a place to sit...   I hung out with them for a few hours, but I wasn't good company as I spent most of that time just trying not to hurl.

So.. the good news is that I DNF'd...  Did Nothing Fatal thankfully..   AND I learned a lot.. looking back I realized my loss of appetite and other symptoms a good hour or more before hitting Signal Butte should have clued me in, and they will next time! Had I known, I would have taken more time at Hayman to cool down, loaded my hat with ice, and loaded at least one of my bottles with straight water (not sticky Tailwind), so that I could use it to soak my hat and shirt at the peak of the heat...   but alas, hindsight right?

While my body survived, my favorite trail running shorts didn't do so well...   after 1000+ miles they decided to blow out...   nothing to do with the aid station food.. trust me.. :-)

On the other hand, my Carson Footwear Stingers performed flawlessly.... I had brought back up shoes, but didn't need them... even with the water crossings, and the steep ups and downs on some harsher terrain, my feet were still happy at 45 miles, which just added to the frustration of stopping...   ah well... live to run another day..

Wow.. that was a lot of rambling...almost longer than the race!  If you've stuck around this long, thanks..  

What's next?  Fall Series with the Pikes Peak Road Runners.... my favorite short trail series, so that should be fun..   and maybe a run at the Indian Creek Fifties 50K?  We'll see....

Thanks for tuning in, and happy trails!