Saturday, May 29, 2010

Manhattan Beach 5k My first Barefoot win

Photo by John Maioriello
This week was to be my last week training hard before San Diego.  During my Wednesday beach run my good leg totally crapped out on me out of the blue, with no warning it just felt like it had nothing left and became super tight.  Was my body playing tricks on me or was this something to be concerned about I had no clue.  I planned on running the Manhattan Beach 5k on Saturday and would have been pretty bummed  to miss it.  My body needed a rest a little earlier than expected.  Time for some Ice, some sauna, and some rolling on the floor with Layona (my foam roller)
Wednesday night I gave myself a 20% chance of running Saturday.  Thursday I didn't run and still felt really tight, yet my chance increased to about 40%.  Friday brought another day of being frustrated by not running, although my chances increased to 80% feeling a little looser, what the hell it's only 3.1 miles. I went to the Village Runner our local running store where I could of signed up, picked up a entry form but did not turn it in.  That night I contacted a friend of mine John Maioriello of  to see if he wanted to come photograph the event.  He was down and now so was I.
Race day I felt medicore at best but I was ready to run.  My sister was also doing the 5k and both of my Nephew's ages 6 and 7 were going to run in the kids races both barefoot and I knew they would be disappointed if I did not participate.
Photo by John Maioriello
Last week I received some free gear from USTAF for wearing their hat at P.V. They sent me an email asking for me to send them a pic while dawning their gear, or even better while winning another race. I didn't think there was much likelyhood of that happening anytime soon yet I wasn't ready to rule it out.  However I definitely was not going to wear shoes, sock's or a t-shirt for that matter while racing.  The weather was beautiful and the race was to start at 7:30 a.m.
The Manhattan beach 5k is a pretty unique event, it is held the beach during a somewhat low tide on the hard pack.  It starts at the Manhattan Beach Pier and runs 2.5k  North towards El Porto and back.  About 500 or so people participate with maybe 10% running barefoot.  I put more miles on the beach of the South Bay than anyone else.  This is my home turf. Although I never run the hard pack (only soft sand)   I felt extremely comfortable at the starting line and although my body did not feel 100% my mind was ready for a good race.
Can you spot the winner?
Photo By John Maioriello
Lets run.  At the start I jumped out to nice 4:30 pace which slowed down pretty quick about a 1/2 mile in.  Although  I got out to an early lead I figured that a bunch of High school track stars would pounce on me soon enough.  I held on to the lead till Roscerans ave about 1.3 miles, when some fast High school kid in running shoes jumped in front.  My calf was feeling real tight but I was in a good position and new could at least hold on for a strong finish.  At the turn around I was about 50 feet behind the leader and was very surprised to see the rest of the pack another 150 feet behind us.  I became pretty confident that I would finish in 2nd or even better 1st place.  The etiquette in this event is to stay to the right.  So on the way back you run closer to the water (sometimes in the water).  Last year the tide was higher, I was barefoot I took a real aggressive path through white wash passing many runners who were scared to get their feet wet.  I think this gave me a phycological  advantage over the kid who was in first this year.  I charged hard and by the 2 mile mark I was back in the lead.  I took a path very near the waterline dodging wayward runners going the opposite direction.  I used the encouragement from my competitors to gauge how far the kid was behind me.  At first when we flew by the shouts of encouragement were "way to go guys" which let me knew that he was still close.  Pretty soon it was just  "good job" slight pause then another "good job"  I was distancing myself and just needed to hold on for a few more minutes.  When I got to the finish I wasn't looking at the clock I was charging hard.  I wanted win and I did.  My body was not at it's best but I was able to grit it out and hold on.

I dashed up to the water table grabbed a few bottles for myself and the 2nd and 3rd place finishers. We quickly exchanged some kind words about the race and I was off to root on my sister on with my nephews and mother. My Sister gave me the usual "Go Pat Go" cheer when I passed her on the course. Later she told me she was worried when she saw me, because I was'nt smiling like usual, as I pushed my body into the lead. When she approached the finished we cheered loudly for her but she was more concerned about how I did.  In the picture you can see her pointing and asking if I had won. I was proud to tell her that I had.

The Race was over but the part of the day I was looking forward to the most was yet to come.  The Kids races.  I got my my nephews to do a little yoga with me in preparation as we had done the year before.  First up my 7 year Nephew Thomas was running a 1k in the 7 to 12 year old division.  He came out flying.  Thomas runs with reckless abandon, absolutely no control over his body just pure heart.  He was trying so hard it looked like he might flip over forward.  I think the race was farther than he expected.  On the way back he had nothing left but he kept on pushing.  He was running against kids much older than him yet he was  able stay in the mix and hold on to 5th place overall.  I had never seen him so exhausted.  He had done his best and I was  a very proud uncle.  Next up was my 6 year old nephew Lucas running in the 4 to 6 year old division.  Lucas runs with completely different style than Thomas.  Lucas has real straight posture His arms are held in tight with total control.  He's got a quick cadence and a lot of potential if he decides he wants to run fast.  The race was only 400 meters for these little guys.  I knew he had plenty of energy to run a good race but would he use it. The first 1/2 he seemed very reserved, he was looking around every direction trying to figure out how to go faster, as he neared the finish line he heard us cheering him on and kicked it into another gear passing a boy that was in front of him the whole race.  I think he got 3rd overall. I love his potential the race was over and he wanted to go run it again.  We ran a little bit together ans then came back and gathered for the awards.
I am very thankful for the support and love from my family,  they mean the world to me.  I sincerely treasure ever moment I spent with them.  
One of the best things about the Manhattan Beach 5k is that they give out edible awards.  Instead of your traditional medals, Becker's bakery of Manhattan Beach (I've gone there since I was a kid) makes special cookies  with your place written in frosting.

The sweet taste of success.  Time to get healthy and ready for San Diego.
race report in the news


  1. Awesome job winning the 5k!
    That dang Gin and Juice came up on your playlist and now its super stuck in my head. Not one that I can just sing around the house with the 4 boys hahaha!

  2. Awesome job Pat. Sorry to be a rash, but I enjoy following your running on facebook and now on your blog. You inspire me to improve.

  3. Nice job, Pat! I enjoyed reading about your race. Good luck training.

  4. Nice W. Beating high school kids NEVER gets old. Really want to know if that cookie really was tasty??