Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Keto/Fat-Enabled Running

Coming up on New Year’s Day, I will be racing in my first 24 hour run. Last month I was trying to decide how I was going to effectively train and power my body through 24 hours of running. I’ve struggled from time to time with nutrition and overtraining issues. With regards to nutrition, I’ve managed to train my body to take in food over long trail runs. However, I’ve never enjoyed or had much success with the typical gels that runners and cyclists use during races. Sports drinks have, likewise, had mixed results during training and racing. With respect to training, I’ve gone the junk miles route with building a base and then ramping up to crazy miles to a peak and then tapering and I’ve done strength training with minimal miles - long and slow.


In my past training, I’ll freely admit that I’ve never been a stickler to any sort of diet. I generally eat healthy, but I do enjoy fast food and pizza. Those who know me well, know that I am a Pepsi addict. After biting the bullet and signing up for this race, I knew something had to change. I knew that I was not going to be able to continue with my status quo training methods. Over the past 7 years as a barefoot runner, I've come to learn a lot of things about how we as humans are designed and how my own body fits into that mold.

So, how did I end up at a Keto/fat-enabled training model? By accident.

It's funny how you come across things that you don't think will have a major impact on you until well after the fact. It's also amazing how the seemingly random puzzle pieces of life fall into place at the right time.

For those of you who have followed my journey, you know that I began barefoot running after reading Christopher McDougall's Born to Run. If you have read the book, you also realize that it is not really a book about barefoot running per se. However, the book has inspired a large number of people to take up barefoot running. When I read that book, I was looking for something to inspire me. I was a frustrated runner. I hated training for marathons, but I loved the challenge. After reading the book and jumping in feet first on barefoot running, my entire outlook on running changed.

Well, in 2015 McDougall wrote Natural Born Heroes. I recently listed to the audio version commuting to and from work. Again, I didn't really know much about the premise of the book, but it sounded interesting. From the get-go I was hooked - an amazing tale of WWII soldiers, amateur historians, natural movement, and human nutrition.

The book was actually a culmination of my personal journey of barefoot running to this point. I have been interested in natural movement since I began barefoot running. Parkour, natural fitness, barefoot running and paleo eating (although I hadn't actually made any nutritional changes) were all interests that have been evolving over the past 7 years. The book brought me around full circle to where I needed to be.

For the past month, I've been following Phil Maffetone, Primal Endurance Podcast and others in an attempt to alter my nutrition and training methods. I've cut out virtually all carbs and most if not all processed foods. My diet is more Primal with most days being under 50g of carbs in my low-carb, high fat diet. My race training has shifted from faster miles to long, slow miles with my heart rate under 136 bpm and occasional high intensity training sessions.

The frustrations with this new method has been with slowing down enough to keep my heart rate under control. Another difficulty has been adjusting what I eat and cutting out all processed foods - especially Pepsi! Old habits die hard. It's amazing how addicting sugar and processed foods are, but if you commit to 2 weeks of no sugar the effect can be life-changing. However, the payoff has really come in training. I have had sustained energy on runs and long hikes - many of which in a fasted state.

I will continue to write about this journey as my race approaches and the training evolves. Stay tuned!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Training for a 24 Hour Run

It's been quite a while since I've posted. Family life, while amazing, takes time away from training and racing. Now that things are a little more routine, I decided to put my money down on a race to "motivate" me to get serious about training and racing again.

So, here's what's new. . .

Over the summer I dropped some money on the race fees for the New Year's One Day race on New Year's Eve in San Francisco. So, it's real now. No turning back.

I started out with some easy runs up to 3 miles at a comfortable 11:30 pace. A 24 hour race isn't really about speed as much as it is endurance. However, I was stuck with how exactly to approach my training - long runs, speed workouts, strength training, and nutrition.

After listening to a number of podcasts from Trail Runner Nation and Primal Endurance, as well as reading Christopher McDougall's book Natural Born Heroes, I have decided to go for the fat-enabled, primal eating route. This includes heart rate training and low-carb, high fat nutrition recommended by Phil Maffetone.

So, stay tuned as I document my journey toward a 24-hour race to 100+ miles!

Future posts will include training regimens, sports nutrition supplements that I am incorporating and overall eating plans that I have implemented.

One final note - Please take note of the new running shirts that I have designed with the new Story of a Barefoot Runner logo on them. For this first run of shirts, there is a limit to the first 50 purchased. I am hopeful that more will be in the works!

Run safe!

Barefoot Runner Shirts NOW AVAILABLE for a LIMITED TIME!


Ok, Barefoot Runners! Come and get them while they are hot! I am offering a pre-sale for my new. dri-fit, long-sleeve, barefoot runner shirts. They come with the Story of a Barefoot Runner Logo on the chest and the text "BAREFOOT RUNNER" down the left sleeve. The colors offered are black, graphite, navy, maroon, green, red, royal blue, and white. I hope to offer some neon colors in the future. The cost is $40 per shirt with shipping included (US ONLY). The pre-sale is for the first 50 shirts ordered between now and October 28, 2017. Shirts should be shipped by November 10, 2017. Please use the PayPal buttons below to select Color and Size options. Thank you for supporting Story of a Barefoot Runner!



Colors
Sizes



Monday, January 9, 2017

I'm BACK! New things on the way!

CHECK OUT THE NEW LOGO! LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK! SHIRTS, STICKERS AND MORE ON THE WAY!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Up and Coming News . . .

Sometimes we become side-tracked in our plans and need to take the time to sit back, re-focus, and set new goals. The past year has been a busy one for me with a new addition to our family. As a result, my priorities obviously changed and my training regimen fell to the wayside.

Now that things have settled into a new routine, I decided to take some time and think about how to move forward from my new "normal."

What is in the works for Story of a Barefoot Runner?

1) Expanding the blog to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

If you are on any of these social media sites, you may or may not have found my presence there. Story of a Barefoot Runner has a Facebook page by the same name. On Instagram and Twitter the handles are@BarefootTerry. So if you haven't already, check me out there!

2) Podcast in development.

Keep your eyes peeled and ears alert for the launch of Story of a Barefoot Runner podcast this Fall 2015! If you have suggestions on topics or people you would like to hear interviewed, feel free to post a comment below, send me a message on Facebook, or a Tweet. I will do my best to cover the topics you are interested in.

3) Racing.

It's been a while since I've done any serious racing. The next 12 months are going to be exciting. I'm going to be working on training using a mixture of running strategies I've used in the past - long, slow runs, speed work, and total body training using HIIT and MovNat methodologies. I will be writing a series of posts on my MovNat and other training regimens leading up to some big races that I hope to do before 2015 is out as well as beyond. So, stay tuned.


Monday, August 3, 2015

Review of the Mizuno Wave Universe 5


Mizuno Wave Universe 5

On a visit to my local running store to pick up a 5K race packet, I noticed the Mizuno Wave Universe 5 on the shelf. The owner gave me a bit of ribbing while I was looking because he knows that I am a barefoot runner. However, when I picked them up, I was quite impressed with the weight of the shoe, the relatively thin and flat-ish sole, and the thin material in the uppers.
After trying them on, I decided to purchase the pair to try as a backup shoe for running trails that might require a little bit of protection. One note, these are probably the most expensive pair of shoes that I have purchased either as a former shod runner and as a minimalist/barefoot runner. The price tag came in at about $125 (Nov. 2014).
First some basic stats on the shoe according to the website:
Weight: 3.2 oz ea (Size 10.5 US)
Stack height: Heel 13mm, Forefoot 11mm
Discoveries:
At the time of my purchase, I had assumed that as a minimalist shoe it would have a zero drop. However, after having run in them a few times and then looking up the information on the shoe for this review, I was surprised to find that there is a 2mm drop from heel to toe (13mm heel/11mm toe). The other thing I discovered when researching online is that the shoe is considered a racing flat. However, a someone who refers running barefoot, I usually am looking for a lightweight flat shoe for added protection on technical trails. So, a racing flat could fit the bill if I like the shoe.
I ran approximately 20+ miles in the Wave 5. The test runs were conducted on a combination of paved bike path and single track dirt trails.
First impressions:
The shoes are incredibly lightweight. They almost feel like you have nothing on your feet. One downside is that the toe box narrows in a similar manner to traditional running shoes. Despite this, it does not feel overly constricting on the foot but does not allow for full toe splay typically found in other minimalist shoes that have a wide toe box. The thin sole does allow for fairly decent ground feel. The sole is flexible and allows your foot to flex. There is almost nothing to the uppers. It is basically a thin layer of very breathable material.
Fit:
The pair I purchased was a 10.5' which is my typical shoe size. They fit comfortably and snug around my foot. The uppers are so thin that they do not constrict your foot as much as a more traditional upper might do. They are extremely flexible.
The footbed is lightly padded. It is thick enough to take the edge off of any rocky terrain, yet thin enough that you have decent ground feel.
Test runs:
On my first run with the shoes, a buddy of mine and I went out for an 18 mile out and back run along a portion of the American River 50 mile course starting near Folsom Lake. Approximately half of our run was on a paved bike path/gravel fire road and the remainder of the runner was on dirt single track. The shoes allowed me to run the gravel sections without any hesitations that might occur when running these sections barefoot.
The next run was at a nature preserve where the video of the shoe was filmed. This run was primarily single track trail running. One thing I noticed on this run was that the dew on the grass easily penetrated the shoe. This did not cause any problems on the run that morning, but it is possible you could have issues with blistering in damp shoes. That being said, the shoes also seemed to dry quickly since the material is so thin.
On the whole, I enjoyed my time running in the Mizunos. My main concern at this time is the drop on the sole. My worry is that changing between barefoot, zero drop shoes, and into a minimal drop shoe might play havoc with my Achilles tendons. The reason I state this is that when I was training for my first 50 miler, I trained almost exclusively barefoot, but on my first run in my Merrell Trail Gloves, I ended up straining one tendon resulting in my only race DNF. With that in mind, I have done lots of running since then in my Merrells without any issue. Since I had no issues following my runs with the Mizunos after 20+ miles it is not likely that there will be an issue.
One odd thing I noted when walking on wet concrete or on tile floors is that the oval shaped recess in the heel acts as a suction cup. This is not a factor when running, but does give an unusual sensation when walking on smooth surfaces.
On a final note, I think despite my reservations about the 2mm drop, the Mizuno Wave's ultralight weight and thin profile has won a spot on my limited shoe shelf.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Western States Endurance Run 2014 Experience

A little (very) slow in posting this, but with me it's always busy - this time it's welcoming a new addition to the family. So, before I start posting about lots of new and upcoming adventures, I thought it best to finish up what has passed.

Enjoy the "Experience."

Back in May I threw my name in the hat for another shot at pacing at the WSER. I had so much fun doing it in 2012, but was unable to attend in 2013.

A couple weeks later, I received an email from a relatively local runner asking if I was still interested. After a couple emails we managed to connect on the phone. I realized I was being interviewed for the job of pacer - makes a lot of sense if you're going to put your race in the hands of someone you haven't met before. One of the first questions I was asked was, "Why do you want to run 20 miles in the middle of the night with someone you have never met?" It was a question that caught me off guard, yet it is a very legitimate question. My answer was that at this time I have not qualified for WS and even if I managed a qualifier, I would still need to be drawn in the lottery. So, this is my opportunity to be "in" the race without actually being "in" the race.

This was good enough answer for my runner - Todd Law.

His goal for the race was obviously a finish, a PR, and if the opportunity presented itself a sub-24. My goal was to make sure that we accomplished as much of this as possible.

The morning of the race, I gathered my gear and began the drive up to Auburn where I was going to meet Todd's wife, Heidi, and the his other pacer, Andrew. I arrived before the Todd's wife so I headed over to Foresthill to check-in and was fortunate enough to watch the leaders come in and out of the aid station. It is amazing to see the strength and speed these runners still have after 62 miles!

 

While in Foresthill, I also ran into my new friend Tony Nguyen, AKA I am Endorphin Dude. I had seen Tony finish just behind me at AR50 in 2013 and met him at a local half marathon a few months before WS.

I caught up with one other crew member of Todd's, Nancy, who had been crewing for Todd and another runner, Ken, from the start of the race. We transferred some of the gear to my truck that needed to get to Heidi for the evening/night shift.

Back at Placer High School, I transferred all of the runners' gear and my stash into Heidi's car and we headed out to meet Todd at Michigan Bluff. This would be our first chance to see Todd in the race and my chance to actually meet him (briefly) before our run later that night. We made the drive back through Foresthill and down the windy road to Michigan Bluff. We lucked out and found a spot barely big enough for the car and not too far of a hike down to the shuttle bus stop. Even after the trip down, we still had about an hour before Todd was due. It was late afternoon and I figured it would be best to at least attempt to get in a few winks. I managed a short, semi-comfy nap on a beach towel on the dirt shoulder, waking in time to see Heidi and Todd walking down the road toward our station.

 

After swapping out supplies for Todd, we headed back over to Foresthill to wait again and meet up with Todd's other pacer and the rest of the crew.

 

As a crew it is always a "hurry up and wait" experience. We arrived back in Foresthill with some time to kill, but not too much. We met up with the rest of the crew, now including pacers Andrew and Phillip. Todd came through about an hour and a half after we left him at Michigan Bluff. After we sent Todd on his way with Andrew, his first pacer, we stayed around to await one other runner to send his pacer along.

 

While the sun was setting, I decided I should take the opportunity to rest up a little. I planted myself on a sleeping pad, covered my face with my hat and dozed off. I awoke a bit later in the darkness to the sound of the crew talking to the other runner. Someone had thrown a sleeping bag over me while I had slept, thankfully, since it had begun to chill a bit.

 

After sending the second runner along with his pacer, Phillip, Heidi and I realized that we didn't have too much time to get down to Green Gate. We hastily packed the cars and consulted hand drawn maps in the Crew Guide. I lead the way driving Phillip's car and following the GPS. There is nothing quite like trying to find tiny roads while driving on winding mountain roads in the middle of nowhere, in the dark, even while following a map on a GPS (oh, and no address to input into the computer). Throw in that we were on a strict time table and you get the idea of the pressure I was feeling. It reminded me of pacing WS in 2012 when I was waiting for the Green Gate shuttle and the bus driver decided he needed a break and shut off his bus for a half an hour while pacers and crews scrambled about for a way to get down to the isolated aid station.

We finally made it down to Hwy 49 and passed through the aid station at the Hwy 49 crossing. Then it was off to find the small road to Green Gate aid station. I had been this way a couple of times before, but never in the dark. I kept thinking that we must have passed the turn off as more time passed since we had gone through the Hwy 49 aid station. I correctly assumed that I was following another crew car and when they made the turn I was looking for, I felt a bit of relief. We wound our way down the one lane road down to Green Gate trying to go as fast as the darkness and twisty road allowed. When we finally reached the bottom, there wasa bottleneck of cars trying to make the U-turn so that they could park on the uphill side of the road. Heidi and I were both fortunate enough to find parking spots not far from the dirt road leading to Green Gate. I quickly grabbed all the gear I would need and joined hied by her car.

As we were hiking down the dirt road, the radio crackled. Andrew informed us that they had crossed the river and were changing shoes. Heidi and I started to hustle out of fear that we would not arrive at Green Gate before they came up the hill from the river. Our fears went went away as we arrived and Todd had not yet arrived. About a half hour later, Todd and Andrew showed up. They were running on a target finish of about 25:30.

I chatted with Andrew to find out if we were still hoping for a sub-24 finish, but he informed me that the run from Foresthill had not allowed them to close the gap.

As Todd and I headed out, Heidi shouted out, "Sub-24!"

The first four miles or so went smoothly. After the aid station at Auburn Lake Trails, my worst fear began to hit - stomach issues.

Over the years I have had issues on and off with various sports drinks. I've pretty much nailed it down to keeping the mixtures at half strength to reduce the impact on my stomach. However, I recalled that earlier in the day I had mixed a full tablet with my water bottle to maintain hydration while hanging around in the hot sun. Payback had begun.

I figured that I could make it to the next aid station. As the trail through the night wound on, my stomach began to get worse. I started scanning the sides of the trail to look for a place to ... take care of some business. The problem is that the trail between Auburn Lakes and Browns Bar is along the side of the mountain along the windy American River - there are no flat areas along the trail. As we got closer to Browns Bar, I informed Todd of my issue and told him I was scouting for a pit stop. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore and climbed up the side of there hill and found a relatively suitable spot to ... It helped some. I felt better, but only for a little while. I ended up hitting a porta-potty at every aid station for the rest of the night. Basically, it sucked.

Back to the main story...

After Browns Bar, there is a very long climb that winds it's way up and around the quarry before you hit Highway 49. I remembered this seemingly never ending climb from my previous pacing experience. Todd had begun to slow a bit and was trailing me by about 25 to 30 yards, which was fine for me because for the first time I began to fall asleep while trekking up the hill. I would take a step, doze, and then shake awake as I began to tip over. It was probably about 4:00 a.m. Finally, when I realized that this would no longer work, I stepped to the side of the trail and told Todd I needed to pull a 5 Hour Energy from my pack. He asked if it worked and I told him that I had no idea, but I needed to try something to wake up.

Ten minutes later, I was wide awake and powering up the hill. We crested the top and wound our way down to the Highway 49 aid station. A quick trip to the bathroom and we were back on the trail. Todd opted to take the lead now. The sky had begun to brighten and the sun was coming up. Todd began a relatively blistering pace with me chasing him for the next few miles up, over and down to No Hands Bridge.

When I asked him where he was getting all of the energy, he said that he gets a burst of energy when the sun comes up. Todd wasn't kidding. He just about killed me with his pace. By the time we reached the aid station at No Hands Bridge, Todd was still running like a machine and I had burned all remaining energy from my body. It was a strange experience. Here Todd had run nearly 97 miles compared to my 17 and I was the one falling apart.

After my, now routine, trip to the port-a-potty, we trotted off across the bridge. Now, as my memory serves me from my first time pacing at WS the climb up to Robie Point in the early morning darkness felt very much uphill most of the way. Now in the sunshine of the new day, it appeared to be relatively flat switchbacks with short climbs between. With my energy gone, these short climbs were completely kicking my ass. At one point about two-thirds of the way up, I actually had to put my hands on my knees and take deep breaths. It was a very humbling moment. I didn't want to give up on my runner, yet my body was betraying me at every turn. I kept waiting for Todd to drop me and head to the finish line.

Despite my repeated apologies to Todd, he kept me on board. My guess is that we had been beyond the 24 hour finish mark all night and comfortably set to finish well under 30 hours. I promised Todd that once we made it to the top of the road just after Robie Point we would run to the finish non-stop.

We were welcomed at Robie Point where I quickly downed some soda for a last ditch caffeine boost and walked the final "hill" into the neighborhood in Auburn. We began running once we crested the hill. Todd was still running like a machine and I was still sucking wind and fighting hard to keep pace with him.

We entered the stadium to the announcer introducing Todd. We continued our way around the track until I broke off into the pacer chute and Todd headed to the finish line. Todd's crew was cheering at the base of the bleachers and I ran over to them. They congratulated me on getting Todd to the finish. I informed them how Todd had basically dragged my ass the last 7 miles. But a finish is a finish - 26:02:25 Official.

In hindsight, I know where my issues arose from - hydration/nutrition. It is funny how quickly things can go bad on something as simple as what you drink. I thought I knew what worked for me, but incorrectly mixing my drink seems to have been my downfall. Also, I now know to bring my own TP for those unexpected stomach issues.

Thank you, Todd Law, for the opportunity to be your pacer at Western States 2014. We got to the finish line because of your sheer determination and will. It was a privledge watching you power through the night and most especially as you kicked my butt at the end. Congratulations on a second WS finish! I hope we get another chance to run together again with better results.