One foot at a time | One sole at a time | One hell of a good time


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

2008 Angeles Crest 100 Trail Run - Idlehour Aid Station

2008 Idlehour Aid Station Volunteers - Photos by Don Merten

Sadly, when I tried to apply for the Angeles Crest 100 (AC 100) this year, I was already too late. The race was full! Still smarts from that error (not signing up sooner). So, I did the next best thing...I volunteered at the Idlehour Aid Station (around mile 85) and hung out with a bunch of cool people all night long while assisting runners making their way to the finish line.

Idlehour's aid captain is a veteran of the race and a super great person named Joe Franko. He has turned the Idlehour aid station into one of the best in the business. :-)

I will get some highlights down soon...before my memory is gone:

Joe Franko (Ye Olde Chanticleer) and BFT


Monday, September 17, 2007

Angeles Crest 100 - 27 Hours

Running down the El Prieto Trail, less than 4 miles from finish

A BIG thank you to Vibram for letting me run in some prototype FiveFingers and Green Foods for Magma Plus which I know had something to do with a 5 hours+ improvement on my time compared with last year!

At the award ceremony

Coming into Islip photo by Christina Hennessey

Thanks to Wild Mountain Runner founder Freddie Perez for giving me a ride to Wrightwood and support during the race. Big thank yous to Arturo Valdez and Jose Hernandez who paced me from Chilao. Thanks to Chris Rios, Deb Clem and Sunny Blende for aid station support...it helped a lot.

Coming into Buckhorn photo by Christina Hennessey

More to come...

Video of me entering 52 mile checkpoint

My report to the Ultra group:

Howdy Folks

I surprised myself big time this weekend.

My goal was to finish better than last year.

Last year's goal was simple: to finish...alive.

Last year's time: 32:16 This year: 27:00


Prerace: pizza and beer with Freddie Perez in Wrightwood. Two
Newcastles and 7 pieces. Also, spaghetti dinner.

Sleep: not so good at the Methodist Camp in same building as the
visiting Tarahumara along with Chris Rios and John Radich. Only slept
a little, but Jenn Shelton visited me in my dreams, so can't complain.

This year I ran in two different prototype FiveFingers that cover the
entire foot preventing crap from getting in the shoe. I had NO chance
to test the shoes before the race. I also wore Injinji socks borrowed
from Robert Andrulis as I left mine at home. These helped me

Finally had a chance to wear my Dirty Girl gators, and my Moeben
sleeves that Gary Hilliard threw at me as a prize as I was leaving the
Mt. Disappointment post-race party. Both were extremely effective
although Ken Hamada said I looked unusual, i.e., like a freak.

Nutrition. This year I used drop boxes. I prepared my own powder
using a mixture of malto dextrin, soy protein, Green Foods Green
Magma, E-Caps powder and Chia seeds.

GU: 2 an hour

Watermelon at many aid stations.

Progresso Chicken soup, drank cold out of the can 2 times, trick
learned from Flaco Mendoza.

Idlehour aid station: solid food and Miso soup. Thanks Joe. This is
the place to stop and eat at mile 82.

Pacers from Chilao to Chantry and Chantry to finish, Wild Mountain
Runners Arturo and Jose.

BFT, Freddie and Arturo at the finish

A lot of help from my friends.


PS. I leave for Greece on Saturday, filming and crewing for Scott.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

AC 100 Training Run - Shortcut to Windsor 40+ Miles

Jay Anderson, Robert Schipsi, Chris Jensen, BFT

Did this same training run last year (see blog entry here). This year seemed to be better. I did not get as tired. We added a little mileage by going down to Henninger Flats for water. The water at Millard was flowing much better than in June.

I ran several of the uphill sections barefoot. The toughest section for me is after Sam Merrill aid station all the way to the switchbacks leading into Millard.

Jay lead us through the last section at speed. It was nice to see that we could still move after 10+ hours.


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Saturday, July 07, 2007

AC 100 Training Night Run: Chantry to Finish

We started at Chantry at around 10:30 PM and headed for the finish.

The course was as dry as I have ever seen it. Most streams are now dry. The trailwork that has been done between Idle Hour and Sam Merrill is very evident. Great work. Also, the Mt. Wilson Toll Road has been graded and was like running on fine powdered snow.

I decided to test both 6mm double-hemp huarache and a 6mm latigo leather huarache...again.

On the way up the first long climb, the leather sandal pulled through the toe hole. I took the sandal off and continued climbing with one barefoot. Really no problem going up. As I climbed, I repaired the sandal, so by the time we took a rest, I could pop it back on, no worse for wear.

I had the toe knot come loose on the hemp sandal on the way down Sam Merrill. Repaired it on the road and continued.

I purposely went out with sandals that had been heavily used last week. I need to become completely confident in using these sandals including being able to repair on the road while moving if necessary.

Thanks for a great night training run.


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Sunday, May 20, 2007

27 Mile Mountain Training Run - Hemp Huaraches

Coming into Eagles Roost Aid Station
Angeles Crest 100 Training Run*

Decided to put my latest hemp-strapped huaraches to a good, tough mountain trail training test run. I fully expected to be doing repairs while on the trails, and those expectations proved accurate.

Firstly, I want to say that I am still very pleased overall with my huarache sandals. But, there is still room for lots of improvement, and I am constantly trying to find the perfect solution for a running shoe/sandal that is both effective, minimal and green.

Close-up on the new huaraches

Hemp is proving to be a fantastic material for straps. The material is soft enough to not tear into my skin. It is stronger than leather and becomes tighter when wet. Just like with the leather straps, these can be repaired on the fly with extra material around the ankle.

Close-up on the new huaraches 2

The biggest new problem I encountered is the side holes on the huaraches breaking. I am afraid that this is a problem that all my huaraches up to this point will be susceptible. The Vibram soles that I have been using are only 4mm thick!

All went well today. After 27 miles, my feet are pain free with no blisters or significant scrapes from today's run.


PS. This test puts me one step closer to making a pair of sandals entirely out of yucca that could handle the rugged terrain of one of the toughest 100 mile races in the USA.

*Photos by Christina Hennessey

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Huarache Training Run - 20 Miler on AC 100 Course

Elevation guide showing Sam Merrill

Short clip running down El Prieto Trail from Upper Brown Mtn. Trail
Music by System of a Down from my daughter's iTunes purchased list

This past Sunday was a good test for the huaraches. I took them over to the last portion of the Angeles Crest 100 Endurance Run course to see how they could handle some nasty, rocky switch backs.

I started up the mountain near where the AC 100 ends at Johnson Field. Caught the El Prieto Trail to the Upper Brown Mountain Trail over to Millard Campground. In the early part of the course, I was having to go through a bunch of little streams and puddles, so I had some more testing of wet sandals.

From Millard I headed toward Echo Mtn. eventually on the Sunset Trail, and then from Echo Mtn., I got on the Middle Sam Merrill Trail which brought me up to the junction of the Mt. Lowe Road, Idlehour Trail and Inspiration Point Road. Elevation 4700 feet. So total run had about 4700 feet of climbing.

On the way back I got to test the huaraches' ability to handle downhills on some potentially slippery swithbacks. Not a single stumble. Not a single stubbed toe. I was on my game.

Map of my run, 10 miles up and 10 miles down...

Per normal, I took my FiveFingers along in case of huarache malfunction, but I didn't need to use them.


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Monday, September 18, 2006

Angeles Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run - Completed

Above two photos by Andy Kumeda

Photos by Anibal Corsi
Taken on the 3 mile road section

I completed the AC 100. 100 miles, 21,000 ft. of climb, 26,000 ft. of descent in 32 hours and 12 minutes wearing Vibram FiveFingers.

More to come...


The following email from Jay "Toots" Anderson answers to why someone may try running such a treacherous course in super-lightweight, flexible, thin shoes.

from Jay Anderson to "Ken and Ted:

I ran the race too and I certainly was amazed that Ted could finish
the thing. For your readers that aren't familiar with AC, 100 miles
is just one source of difficulty. There is something like 21,000'
cumulative climb and 27,000' cumulative descent. Most of the trails
are rocky and some times very rocky. The first half of the race
stays above one mile in elevation and the first 40 miles probably
averages well above 7000' in elevation. Add to that hydration,
nutrition, and chafing issues and you can see why this is such a
tough race. This race is probably 4 times as difficult as Ted's
previous longest race - Leona Divide 50 miler. Vibrams aside, for
Ted to take such a big jump in difficulty successfully is quite
As for the cutoffs becoming more lenient, I think that running
wearing the Vibrams helps toward the end of a race like AC because
the light footfalls have spared the legs and back a lot of shock to
which other runners subject themselves. So I think Ted's quadriceps
probably felt better than mine did after the race.
At any rate, kudos to Ted for a great accomplishment.

Jay Anderson

He is absolutely right about the quads and back. For me, I had NO pain in either. However, my ankles are still sore today, and my feet were swollen for three days after the race.

In general I feel stronger 4 days since the race, and will do some light running starting tomorrow. I am planning on a 10 mile cross-country race on Sunday, barefoot in Hansen Dam, but I probably won't go too fast.



Deb Clem helps me at the finish line (hip cramp)

Below is my race report submitted on Thursday the Ultra list

Before I begin, there are many whom I would like to thank, too many. You know who you are. You are the people at the aid stations, you are the race directors and sponsors, you are the smiling faces on the trails, you are the folks who make this a real sport filled with more honor and courage than money. I love you all.

As many of you know, I like to run barefoot.

Why? Well, that's a big question; however, I will say this, three
years ago I could only run for about an hour with shoes on. I had
plenty of energy left after an hour, but had too much pain, especially
in my mid-back.

To make a long story short, running barefoot was the way I found how
to run well, with good form and without pain.

I started running marathons last year...barefoot. Qualified for

I even started running trails barefoot.

Naturally, most people thought this was just bizarre behaviour. Some
thought it was extraordinary. Others just waited to see what would

Little by little I got stronger and pushed my limits.

I found that I could go about 25 miles on tough trails before it
started getting too difficult to continue safely. My goal was to
complete the AC 100, and it became clear that I was going to have to
find some sort of foot protection to go that far.

I started studying indigenous footwear, including yucca sandals worn
by the original Angeles Crest inhabitants. I went down to Mexico and
ran with the Tarahumara and learned to run in their sandals. I tried
prototypes of would-be shoe designers and came up with a few things of
my own. All had pluses and minuses.

Then early this year, I saw a blog talking about Vibram's founder's
grandson's quest to make a shoe that feels barefoot but still protects
the sole while working on his boat.

I called the company, introduced myself and requested a test pair.

The first time I tried them, I knew that they had done something
right. It felt like barefoot to me.

After some further testing, I knew that I had a shoe that could get me through 100 miles. In the meantime, Vibram sponsored me to run Boston Marathon and some other races. It was a dream come true.

As I experimented more on running in in the FiveFingers shoe, I gave
my feedback to Vibram for an upcoming shoe designed more specifically
for running.

Finally, I was prepared for the AC 100 - and thankfully Vibram helped with some of the race costs.

This would be my first 100.

Training for me lasted 2 years. It all started with a fun-run
sponsored by Andy Kumeda last year. It was my first 50k and was run along some of the trails on the AC course.

That run was followed by many other training runs on the AC course. This training was very important for my overall preparation for the run. More or less, by race day, I knew what I was getting into.

Perhaps the most important training run happened about 4 weeks before
the race. I ran through the night with a group of runners from
Shortcut Saddle to Millard. It was my first all-night run, and it was
on the last part of the course in circumstances similar to what I
would face on race day.

Most important lessons from my training runs came from failures:
failure to hydrate adequately, failure to intake enough electrolytes,
failure to eat enough. All these lessons led me to be more prepared
for AC 100.

I rode up to Wrightwood with Xy Weiss of Dirty Girl Gators. She brought three AC virgins:
me, Mark Jacobs and Vinnie Torres. Thanks for the ride Xy!

From the beginning of the race, I had just one goal: to finish. Time itself was not a factor. I wanted to get 100 miles under my belt, to feel it and understand it. There would be other days to go faster.

Ran the first part of the race with Michelle Peot and Mike Palmer. I had read about Mike and knew that this was going to be his 9th AC 100in a row. He had finished 8 in a row mostly in the 31 hour range, so I knew that he was someone I could count on to get to the finish.

Two very important things happened at Chilao (mile 52). For the first
time I started listening to my daughter's MP3 player, and most
importantly, in answer to the prayers of friends, I was blessed with a
pacer even though "I" didn't think that I needed one.

I started out of Chilao, put my headphones on and started jamming up
the hill. A few minutes into my trip, I felt a tug at the back of my
Camelbak. I turned around to find a runner. She was asking me if I
need a pacer. Her runner had dropped. I had already set my mind
to finishing this race without a pacer, yet somehow I knew that this
was a good opportunity for me, so I accepted her offer. She said she
was willing to go all the way to the finish. I just couldn't believe
it. Brenda Bland from Madison, WI turned out to be a real answer to

The inspiration of music and my new running partner gave me a new energy. I was moving. Next stop was Shortcut Saddle, and from there, I knew that I was within striking distance of a success.

Brenda helped keep the path in front of me well lite. I hated the
trail to Newcomb. I don't like hard trails topped with sharp, hard
rocks. From Newcomb, we blasted down through Chantry.

From Chantry, I kept a good pace up to the Wilson Toll Rd., and ran
down to Idlehour. With less than a mile to go to Idlehour, I really
let it all out and ran like the wind to the aid station. I wanted to
see what the legs could still do. They had a lot still in them
although my ankles were starting to bother me. I had been taking
Advil from Newcomb to fight the pain in my ankles, and it was barely

From Idlehour, I got on the heels of Mike Palmer. I knew he was going
to make it, so I hugged his rear until Sam Merrill. He really moved
through this section passing many runners.

From Sam Merrill it is mostly downhill on tough, rocky, narrow, dusty
switchbacks. I hate how long it takes to get to Millard, especially when you can see it is right there.

I was moving and getting more and more confident that I could complete
this race.

A bad thing happened at Millard. I used the toilet. While trying to
maneuver my rump onto the toilet seat, my compression shorts fighting
me, I pulled a muscle in my hip!

I noticed something was wrong, but really knew something was wrong
when I couldn't run. Brenda tried to help me, but the muscle in my
hip was too tight and strong for her to massage loose. Sadly, I
was going to have to hobble to the finish line. Luckily, I still had

I would have loved to have run the last section from Millard to
Johnson Field, but it wasn't going to happen.

As we came within view of the finish, I could hear the cheering, only
at that very moment could I find it within me to run the last 100

I did it!!!

Next year? You bet. I want a trophy and the only way I'll get one
is doing this race 10 years in a row.

I spent more than 2.5 hours in aid stations. That won't happen next year.

Next year, I will have a strategy deeper than just finishing.

Music is very useful, and I plan on using it more and more.

A good pacer is a god-send.

Training in similar terrain, or preferably, on the very same course is
most helpful

Again, there are many whom I would like to thank, too many. You know who you are. You are the people at the aid stations, you are the race directors and sponsors, you are the smiling faces on the trails, you are the folks who make this a real sport filled with more honor and courage than money. I love you all.


Ted Out Cold - Award Ceremony
Photo Coach Jimmy

PS. A big, big thank you to the famous barefoot marathoner and guru of barefoot running, Barefoot Ken Bob, who spent the whole weekend meeting up with me at the various aid stations, filming, photographing and interviewing me as I made my way to the finish. Several of his photos are in this report, and an upcoming video/dvd.

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Angeles Crest 100 Training Run - Baden-Powell

The Beginning

The End
Photo is of Ken, Jean and me.

Had a great training run this past Sunday. Must have done around 31 miles. Ran out of water. Got lost. Got found and lost again. Threw up. Long story. Ken and I finally made it out...alive, and none-too-worse-for-wear.

A group of Swiss tourists took this photo and a few more. They were amazed at my 40 year old Volkswagen and my FiveFingers shoes.

Best Regards, Barefoot Ted

PS. A big "thank you" to Hal Winton for what he does for all of us involved in the Angeles Crest 100.

The Swiss Rescue Team: Fredy, Lucas and Christian - push start the VW

Vibram FiveFingers after 31 miles of tough trail

1966 VW Beetle, 40 year old car, still going strong

Mt. Baden-Powel, Elevation 9399 ft / 2865 m, second highest in Angeles Forest

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

AC 100 Night Training Run 11 Hours

Jay Anderson, Andy Kumeda, BFT, Adam Ray, Jeff Stein and Kevin Bradshaw

Thanks again to everyone for all your help on Friday night's run.

To tell the truth, it was more difficult mentally than physically.

This was my first run that went all night. My mind was really playing
tricks on me...every patch of soft ground looked perfect for a little snooze.

All in all it was a good learning experience. I know that I need more sleep deprivation training...


PS. According to Andy, we climbed 7100' up and traveled 9600' down -- that's quite a bit for 35-ish miles.

PSS. Wore a pair of Yellow Vibram FiveFingers. Since we ran at night, they didn't get too hot, so NO blisters after 11 hours. I did cut my big toe kicking a rock. It would have been much worse if I were barefoot. Lots of places on the trail are very barefootable, but some are just nutty as far as difficulty goes.

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Monday, July 31, 2006

AC 100 Training Run Completed

From Eagle's Roost to Shortcut Saddle - 25 miles.

Yesterday I put in 22 miles barefoot during an Angeles Crest 100 training run. I finally put on my FiveFingers after the terrain started getting really nasty, i.e., steep, sharp rocky downhills.

It's nice to carry a backup pair of FFs as an insurance policy when things get too rough. Once I put them on, it was smooth sailing to the finish.

Thanks to Camilla and Michelle for camaraderie.


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Saturday, September 17, 2005

Angeles Crest 100 Idlehour Aid Station

Joe Franco, Don Merten and Barefoot Ted setting up Aid Station

This biggest and the smallest drop bags at Idlehour Aid Station

Deb Clem, Joe, Don and BT early evening

Idlehour Group Assembled

Tarahumara Guests

Tarahumara Guests

Tarahumara Guests

What an day/day. Start up to Mt. Wilson at 1 pm to meet up with Joe and Don at 2 pm. Drove 5 miles down to Idlehour Aid Station and began setting up. First runner came through at around 7 pm. Ran back up to car a 3:30 am to get home in time to run the Hansen Dam 10 Miler.

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Saturday, May 28, 2005

Angeles Crest 100 - Final 24 Miles (or so)

On Thursday, Andy Kumeda, RD for the 50k run I did last month, wrote saying that he was planning on doing the last section of the AC 100 course with a couple other AC 100 veterans on Saturday (today).

I thought that I was recovered enough from the PV Marathon, and since I want to eventually do the Angeles Crest 100 Mile Race, I knew it would be a great opportunity, so, by Friday I agreed.

Got up at 4:30 am and drove off to Johnson Field to meet Andy, Bill Graney and Wendy. We started at around 6:30 and ended around 2:30, six or more hours up in the hills.

We actually started from Bailey Canyon. Somehow, I had forgotten that name. A mental block of some sort. Why? Because that is the same crazy, long, steep trail that Andy's 50k started and ended on. On that day, I think we all ran way too fast up it. Today, we mostly walked the uphills. Much more civilized!

I went barefoot in most uphill sections, but changed into a pair of AEI shoes that I Shoe-Gooed last night for the downhill sections. But as you can see (photo below) they did not hold up well although they did stay on my feet to the end.

According to my Garmin the distance was 24.11 miles. According to Andy's altimeter, there was a 6,568 feet of ascent and 6,522 feet of descent.

Big thank you to Andy, Bill and Wendy!

These prototype AEI shoes took a beating

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Saturday, April 16, 2005

San Gabriel Mountains 50K (31 Miles) -- SURVIVED!!!

On Saturday April 16th 2005, I ran an Ultramarathon in the San Gabriel Mountains. It took over 8 hours to run 31 miles. We ran from Sierra Madre to the top of Mt. Wilson and back. Awesome.

A big thanks to Andy Kumeda and all the volunteers. We had a great time.

Freddie Perez (64), Mario Sanchez(36) and I(40) ran together. We are all members of the Wild Mountain Runner Club.

PHOTO: Mouth full of PB&J, banana and M&Ms at the mile 17 aid station (notice I was wearing prototype AEI shoes which fell apart with 4 miles to go, so the last 4 miles were barefoot).

Chillin' at the finish

Note Added May 31, 2005:

Sad to report that one of the runners who particpated in this run died 10 days after the run. I remember him quite well. He looked a lot like Barefoot Ken. His name was Dan Kelly. He died at 58. He told me that this 50k felt like a 50 miler. Dan's the bearded guy in the middle of the photo below.

Dan Kelly (middle with beard), Rest in Peace

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