Welcome to Trail Toes

Our Stories

Stories of Where We Have Been
Trail Toes Phenomenal Ultra Extreme Anti Friction Foot and Body Cream was born in battle by MAJ Vincent M. Antunez, DSc, PA-C, an Army orthopedic Physician Assistant and ultra marathon runner, while serving in Afghanistan in June 2013.  Trail Toes is a specially formulated silicon and bees wax based product designed to protect the feet and body from the A, B, C's (abrasions, blistering, and chafing) that can result from extreme athletic endeavors.  It has been tested by athletes from all disciplines and with varying levels of experience in arctic, desert, wet and mountainous terrain.  This special formula has helped these adventurers compete more effectively in some of the most extreme athletic endeavors on the planet including the 170 mile Grand to Grand 7 day stage race, the 100 mile Hardrock ultra marathon, and a 584 mile Badwater quad.  Additionally, the Trail Toes, LLC staff and sponsored runners are dedicated to giving back to the running community and willingly support events and charitable organizations throughout the US and beyond.
This is a picture showing the culmination of the first 2013 edition of The Grand-2-Grand Ultra. This exceptional run is billed as the first ever self-supported stage race in North America. It was the dream of race director’s Tess Geddes and her husband Colin. They put together and cultivated an awesome crew and developed, what to date, has been one of the most personally challenging courses that I have had to opportunity to participate in. It is steeper then the Gobi, more technical than Atacama, and there is more sand than both the Sahara races in Egypt and Morocco (well maybe not, but there sure was more than I expected for Arizona and Utah). There were some additional benefits that I have not found in other races. For instance, the tents were nice and slept eight comfortably. They are well constructed and kept us, and our equipment, dry through the two rainstorms that came in on days one and two of the race. In addition, there was an abundance of hot water which was important for obvious reasons (at least 12 of the menus consumed during the race can be found throughout the book). However, probably one of the nicest surprises were the port-a-potties that were cleaned and resupplied daily. Seems trivial, but believe me, they were a nice touch. As per most of the stages races, during each of the six stages, there were three to four water stops with medical assistance and plenty of water and electrolytes should you need them. The other nice aspect was that as you ran the aid station volunteers got to know you. Some were even able to anticipate your needs, which again, shows the level of detail and training they received prior to the event. The race started in a small town called Kanab in Utah where we enjoyed a fantastic pre race meal of succulent brisket, potatoes, and beans. The town had a store and there were camping supplies available for those last minute forgotten items that you couldn‘t live without. The pre race weigh-in was conducted at a local school and was less then intimidating. I must say that sometimes it is nice to be trusted and treated like an adult. From there we loaded up on busses and headed out to the starting area that was on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I have to say, I have been to some breath-taking places in my travels, but this was on of the most phenomenal. Sitting out on a jutting rock looking down into the canyon is about as spiritual, as well as surreal, as it gets. But more importantly it is a not so subtle reminder of just how powerful nature can be. This ethereal feeling was empowered and heightened by the flapping of the birds wings that could be heard as they flew overhead. That is how it began: powerful, transcendent, graceful, and phenomenal. And for six days it never became less than that. While there were times I cursed it, the event is something I will never forget, and rather, play over and over again in my brain. This is the type of experience that you hope flashes through your brain as you are taking those last few breaths, it is that intoxicating and eternal. In no way does this attached picture capture the premise set-forth above, but I can assure you, if you are looking for a true challenge, and you have a few days, and an inclination to walk on the crazier side of human existence, this is the event for you. You will hate it, love it, and love to hate it. It will capture and inspire you to do more then you thought possible. It will test you physically, but more importantly the surrounding lights and colors will numb your mind with its awe inspiring beauty. And if that is not enough for you, the climbs, descents, cold, rain, miles, and brush breaking will at least keep you on your toes. But more importantly you will never forget the friends you made along the way. With luck, they will be equally eternal!
The accompanying picture is one of my favorites. These medals hang from the rearview mirror of my truck and provide me with a daily sense of pride. This is because they represent running and walking for over 562 kilometers (349 miles) throughout Europe. The medals are from races in Holland, Belgium,and Germany. They include two runs done in Holland. The first is called Z to Z, which is a 110 K walk (you are not allowed to run during this event) that I did two times. It also includes the finisher's medal from the 4 Days Force March at Nijmegen as well as the finisher's medal from one of my favorite runs of all time - the Belgium Death March. This little gem is a 100K run/walk in, well, Belgium. The final medal is from Germany and it represents the 82 K two-day Fulda Gap Mil

Each of these events has left memories and more then a few mental, as well as physical, scars. The Z-to-Z run was where I experienced severe butt chaffing and why I now insist on using cream and compression shorts to help reduce the problem (I used to use Hydropel, but it is no longer made which provided me the incentive to formulate and produce Trail Toes: Phenomenal Ultra-Extreme, Anti-Friction Foot and Body Cream). Z to Z also taught me what the term "hitting the wall" truly meant. My friend, Mark, and I were about a kilometer from the end of this arduous adventure and I was just spent: mentally, physically and metaphorically. In reality, we were so close to the end I could actually see the finish line, but I was to the point I didn't feel I could finish. Heck I was having a hard enough time just keeping my eyes open, let alone find an once of strength somewhere inside to propel me to the finish line. However, after much cajoling, and more than a little yelling, by Mark, I found a residual reserve and was able to get up, somehow summon the power to put one foot in front of the other, and cross the finish line. In retrospect though it always seems that I am never prouder of my accomplishments then when I do so in the face of severe adversity. While I really like Z to Z, The Belgium Death March, or the Dodentocht, is one of my favorites. It is a 100k run in 24 hours. What is interesting about this run is that there are about 9,000 people running and all of the towns on the route turn out to support the participants. This is very similar to what happens during the four days force march, just on a smaller scale and this one is done mostly at night. I think one of the primary reasons I like the event however, is not just the format, volunteers, aid stations, and overall ambiance which are awesome, but because two of the rest stops are at two of Belgium's best breweries. So not only do you get to relax, get some food, and refit, but you also get to sample their beer for free. Free beer is always and added bonus in my book. No matter how far I have to walk for it. The Fulda Gap March on the other hand is not as elaborate, but instead, has its own unique charm. Like Nijmegen though a lot of the various military forces throughout Europe participate. I did it just after getting back to Germany from my second tour in Iraq. It was a time for me to get to know my family again, especially Lena my dog. She and I were able to bond over this two-day event as she completed both of them with me. Finally, the Nijmegen adventure is a trip and one that needs to be on your bucket list. This march includes 40,000 people doing 40 k a day for four days. It is a great time and like all the events that have come and gone since, this one also taught me something. It was during those four days that I learned the true meanings of tenacity and perseverance. My running mate Mark (who helped me through many runs, not just the one above) is an absolute animal and the epitome of fitness, strength and endurance. Unfortunately however, during the first 40 k day he developed significant blisters on both of his feet and by the fourth 40 K he was bleeding through his shoes, but he never quite. Not only did he not quite, he never even mentioned his feet were hurting. However, when he took off his shoes afterward, he had significant skin damage and I can only image the amount of pain he suffered through. I often think back to that time, especially when I am feeling sorry for myself, and the memory of what he endured is enough to help me cross the finish line.itary March (you don't have to be in the military to do it though).
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