In the 22 plus years I’ve known Don, we have had some amazing runs together. I still recall getting caught in a heavy storm off the Northern California Coast as we tried to make our way through the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, for an epic 60 mile mountain-run, all the way down towards HWY 1 (Cabrillo Highway) where the ocean meets the road. What a beautiful view. That’s often why people go through the torture at times of training, because the view you can get along the road is the greatest reward. This is also one way to toughen up your body and mind to prepare for tackling even harder events.

We were supposed to double back and cut through Wilder State Park but at one point lost the path due to heavy mud and rain. High water washed out the trails and made visibility so poor that we had the choice to hunker down or keep moving. We decided to move back to our camp because it was getting dark and cold. The storm tore down trees and road.

Early this year, Don had transitioned out of his shoe of choice because he had a nagging IT problem. He went from the Brooks Adrenaline and into the Altra Trail shoes.

sandal-luna-leadville-gordo-3This is my shoe of choice. I like the low ‘drop’ on the shoes. He  went straight into training with the Luna running sandals. He told me that he’d be toughening his feet up in order to run the Headlands 50 Ultramarathon. A more natural type of shoe can help strengthen your connective tissue (tendons and ligaments) and muscles so you can endure a lot more when you’re running or hiking.

I wondered how he’d do because he gave himself so little time to prepare in those sandals. Knowing Don, he’d push on through, but his feet were likely to have a lot of blistering and would feel like twisted celery when he was finished.

Last night after finishing his race he sent me his essential med kit. He took this along, packed into a running fast pack. For those who like to run distance or like to hike but get blistering and fatigue,  this med pack is a good starter to bring along. It’s light-weight, and contains what you need, until you get to your final destination. Keep in mind that Don was running 50 miles in Luna sandals. Your feet have to go through a toughening process. His feet held up well even after having to bandage his feet where the sandal straps rubbed away skin.

If you have shoes that ft properly, socks that provide good cushioning, and you don’t have any blistering, then all you’ll have during and after your travel are sore muscles. For those who are unfamiliar with long-distance hiking or running, especially over changing terrain features, it’s good to keep a few items with you.

In a race you have the luxury of aid-stations and knowing that you’ll finish and get to go home. When hiking in the woods by yourself, or if you’re on deployment, you may not be able to get the immediate care that you need. At a minimum carry some band-aids, moleskin and sterile wipes or anti-septic for your feet.Kit

1) Band aids (toe bandage).
2) scissors (utility).
3) flashlight (utility).
4) Zofran (for nausea).
5) Benadryl (allergic reactions).
6) Moleskin (blisters).
7) Band Aid.
8) Steri-Strip, two sizes (wound closures).
9) Flextend (rubbery faced moleskin-like).
10) Fire: waterproof matches, 41/4″ striking file, lighter.
11) Tobasco.
12) Surgicel (encourages clotting).
13) Biopatch (anti microbial).
14) Isop pads.
15) Xeroform (non-sticking antiseptic and antibacterial patch; also works as a candle for survival situations).
16) Dermabond (skin-bonding agent: pinch clean skin together, apply, let dry).
17) Tourniquet.
18) Tape: Coban, waterproof tape, transpore, and micropore.

Okay, what is the tobasco sauce for? Was it for a medical purpose? I called him and asked. He laughed. “To spice up my food!”

By Michael Kurcina

Mike credits his early military training as the one thing that kept him disciplined through the many years. He currently provides his expertise as an adviser for an agency within the DoD. Michael Kurcina subscribes to the Spotter Up way of life. “I will either find a way or I will make one”.

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