Sunday, July 22, 2018

New Year's One Day 2017 - Race Report: Part I

This has been sitting in my draft folder and was never posted. Hmmm...maybe it's time to post it! goes…

Race Report - Part I

New Year’s Eve morning, I woke the family up around 5 am to get ready for a 6 am drive over to San Francisco. We loaded up the van with tent, sleeping bags, extra blankets, food for the family and food for me. After we were on our way, I tried to sleep while my wife drove. I dozed in and out worrying about if I remembered all the stuff I needed for my race and trying to focus on one thing “just keep moving.”

We arrived at Chrissy Field about 8 am which was plenty of time to set up our mini-camp and get me checked in. I ate a 33Shake Chia Gel as a breakfast and pre-race starter to get my stomach working on some fuel. I paced around the start/finish line area awaiting the start of the race. I took off my XeroShoes Amuri Venture to get my feet acclimated to the ground temperature. I had a couple long sleeve shirts, my running hat and gloves on which would hopefully keep my feet warm by “overlayering” my core and head.

The race director called everyone over for the 9 am start and gave a few instructions - one of which was that we could alternate directions during the race if we got tired of running in the same direction. Good to know, since a 1.065 mile loop in the same direction might get old.

The director started the race and we were off! There was a little bit of a rush, most likely the first group of 6 hour runners, which I intentionally tried to stay away from knowing that it was going to be a very long day.

As I came off the paved path on the south side of the lagoon and onto the dirt path, I noted that the gravel was a little tricky. Upon reaching the bay side of the course, the gravel became a bit more treacherous. This was going to be tricky. (More specifics about the gravel to come…)

Eventually, I fell into a trot with another runner and started chatting about various things. I answered the usual questions about barefoot running - how long I’d been doing it, what my race strategy was, how long did it take me to transition? I also discovered that ultramarathon man, Dean Karnazes, was supposed to be racing - although no one had seen him yet. I joked that it was because he was still running over from somewhere else to the race as he has been known to do.

After a few laps, I broke off from the other runner to refuel with another Chia Gel and a little bit of Tailwind Nutrition drink and hit the restroom. I headed back out on the loop - again. My family was hanging out for the first few laps, but eventually headed off to hike over to the Palace of Fine Arts to do a little sight-seeing.

Coming around for the 5th or 6th time, I was noting that my feet were getting tender from all of the negotiation on the gravel path. I made a tough decision - this race would not be done pure barefoot. I threw on my injinji toe socks and my XeroShoes Amuri Venture and headed back on the course. As I came around the loop again to the gravel section, the sandals made a definite improvement in my comfort level. However, after a handful more laps, I realized the damage had been done. I was feeling a particularly sore spot on the ball of my left foot. As I passed my base camp, I instructed my “crew” (translate kiddos) to get the moleskin and athletic tape out for my next lap. As I came in, they had what I needed ready. I sat down in a camp chair and cut off a section of moleskin, attached it to the ball of my foot and taped over it to fully secure it. While doing so, I noticed there was a visible bruise about the size of a nickel. Not good. I got back onto the course and continued my laps.

And so it went around and around occasionally switching direction to change it up. I’d stop about once an hour to grab something to eat - for the first 4 hours it was 33Shake Chia Gels. However, after about 1 or 2 pm, my body told me it was done with the Chia. There was nothing specifically wrong - I didn’t have any stomach issues or other concerns - I just didn’t want to eat them. So, I switched to pretzels with peanut butter and continued taking sips of Tailwind Nutrition every hour. I only carried a bottle with me for one lap, but becoming quickly annoyed with my water belt I dumped my belt at my base camp and opted to drink whenever I came into the aid station.

By mid-afternoon, I realized that my bruised foot was causing me to alter my stride just slightly enough that my left knee was beginning to hurt. It seemed to be a similar pain to what I had last summer. I put a little tape across my knee cap to encourage my knee to track properly. This helped some for the duration, but there was always a slight pain in the knee for the entire race. Due to this discomfort, I began slowing down and walking a portion of each lap. I told my wife that I thought the 100-mile goal was gone. She was encouraging and said that it wasn’t gone yet. My pacing chart had tracked out to 107-112 miles, so even though I was slowing down, I hadn’t crossed the threshold of less than 100 miles.

By late afternoon, I had slowed significantly. I informed my wife and my parents that it was looking more like 80 miles and a 100K belt buckle finish. My dad gave me a few encouraging words before they left for home that evening.

I continued on lap after lap. For roughly the first 12 hours of the race, I tried not to focus on what lap I was on. My focus was to just keep moving and try to run/jog when I could. Around 8 or 9 pm, my daughter joined me for a handful of laps. She would run ahead and then walk as I tried to catch up. After the 3rd or 4th lap, she got cold standing around the tent and went off to bed.

Around 8 pm I started taking short 5 minute “rests.” I would sit down in my camp chair and tell my son to set his timer for 5 minutes. I would close my eyes and try to doze. Usually I would hear the chatter around me for 3 or so minutes, then I would slide off to sleep when my son or wife would say “Dad, time's up.” Then I would climb out of my chair and start trotting off to the start/finish line and get moving on the course again. This worked well every 1 ½ - 2 hours. The first couple would take me from groggy to an alert state even if I only dozed for a minute. After about 4 of these naps, around 2 am, I noted that it was getting more difficult to get up out of the chair and get moving again. I also was now close to cut-off for a 100K finish. I decided that these cat-naps were not helping as much as they were going to hurt my time and body (getting stiff and sore). I did some rough calculations in my head and decided I had to keep moving as much as possible with the exception of refueling and restroom stops. 100K was going to be close!

I’ve heard stories about people hallucinating on long endurance races and I’ve done a little bit of "sleep running" while pacing at Western States at 2 or 3 am. However, I have never had any truly bizarre experiences until this race.

The bizarre visions started around 4 am. In the low light of a full moon and my fading headlamp, while running across the dirt path section of the course, the gravel and dirt formed an image of parquet flooring. The ground looked completely flat and glass-smooth. The gravel formed the angular zig-zag pattern found in wood flooring. While looking down at the ground, I had a difficult time figuring out what I was looking at.

Around 5 am, the angular gravel formed peaks and the dirt between looked like canyons. The ground became very 3-dimensional with cavernous drops between the rocks and sheer cliff like rises among the gravel. It was getting really weird and I couldn’t understand what I was seeing.

By 6:30ish, the sun had started to rise and it was then that I could finally decipher what I was looking at. During the day, I had not really paid much attention to what the gravel looked like - only that it had hurt like hell on my bare feet. Now in the growing light of dawn, I could see the individual rocks were like rectangular prisms embedded in the dirt, but the dirt was washed-out in between the rocks creating the crevasses of 5 am. What a wild experience!

In the final hour and a half of my run, I dug deep to get my final couple of laps. Everyone on the course was cheering each other on. I needed 59 laps to get 100K. By 7 am, I had about 57 laps and knew that I would get my buckle. I just kept trotting along, still mostly walking. At about 8:05 am, I crossed the start/finish line for the 59th time. I confirmed with the race official that I had completed 100K. I could have pushed on for another 55 minutes for another lap or two, but I was hurting and sore. I stripped off my timing chip and handed it in at the table.

My family had already begun tearing down our camp and I waddled over to our van and stripped off my cold/wet shirts and put on a clean shirt. I began shivering uncontrollably about 10 minutes later and had to wrap myself in a blanket and sit in the car as our gear was packed in. I was back to normal about 20 minutes after that and we started our trek home.

Stay tuned for Part II for my post-race reflection.

Monday, October 30, 2017

33Shake Chia Gel Review

When I switched over to my keto/fat-enabled running training mode, I knew I also needed to switch up my race nutrition. I had heard about 33Shake on both Trail Runner Nation podcast and the Primal Endurance podcast. Knowing that it was made with chia seeds made it all the more appealing. If you go back to one of my first posts about Iskiate, the Raramuri chia seed beverage, you know that I was experimenting with chia seeds. However, I never really got a good handle on the drink. It seemed too much liquid to down and very seedy (for a beverage).

 Fast forward to today..

 After hearing about 33Shake, I decided to look them up. The chia energy gel comes in a squeeze pack that you might find baby food or squeezable applesauce pack. I opted to buy a 10-pack of the chia energy gel, which cost me $27.50 plus shipping. The product arrived promptly after a few days. On my next weekend run I took a pouch with me -remembering to fill it up with water to get it soaking (it takes about 10 minutes to gel up). Mostly I wanted to see how the chia gel tasted and if there were any negative affects on my stomach. With my fat-enabled training, I've been doing fasted morning runs, so I waited about a half hour into my run before downing the pouch. First, I must say that the chia gel has a great taste. It almost tastes like maple brown sugar instant oatmeal both in flavor and texture. I will admit it took a couple squeezes to figure out if I liked it and how to exactly "eat" it. Keep in mind, I hate normal gel/goo packs - I could never stomach the flavors or the slimy texture. With the chia gel, I figured don't chew the seeds, just swallow. I suppose you could chew if you wanted to, but in my opinion it's just going to leave you with a bunch of seeds stuck in your mouth. At the end of the run, no issues with my stomach.

About a week later I took two pouches on an hour and a half run. I took one 20 minutes into my run and then the second about 40 minutes later. I wanted to test how my stomach would handle more than one pack. Again, no issues with my stomach. It was easier to take in now that I knew just to swallow the gel. The one issue I had on this run was that one of the packs was a little light on water. The result was slightly drier chia seeds and an inability to get all the gel out of the squeeze pack. Mental note to make sure that each pouch is really full before heading out. Following the run and 2 gel packs later, no stomach issues.

So, the good news is that my stomach can easily handle 33Shake Gel packs. Now the real test will be energy levels on a longer run. I also plan on testing them for a weekend backpacking trip coming up. I'm hoping that I can off-set some of the backpacking food that I will have to eat (that is not Keto). More to come in the next month - more training, more blog posts. I will update the 33Shake experiment as my runs get longer.

 Go Bare or Go Home!

 **NOTE** 33 Shake Chia Energy Gel was purchased with my own money and the review above is my honest assessment of 33Shake to this point. If you are interested in trying out 33Shake you can find their website at

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!


Monday, January 9, 2017

I'm BACK! New things 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.