Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My name is Mud

After the two races last weekend I was pretty spent.  I wasn't smart enough to relax.  I trained hard on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday it cought up with me and I bonked during my beach run.  My body needed a rest so I cut the run short.  Thursday I decided not to run.  If you read my blog before you know what do if i'm not running. I headed out to El Dorado and played 5 and 1/2 rounds of Disc golf and my body felt great.  Friday I decided t o take off as well so that I could have freash legs for the L. A. Mud Run.
In order to accommodate as much people as possible their were 2 separate races held right after each other.  I wasn't quite sure which one would be the better option for me.  I had never raced in a mud run before so I had Jamba Juice sign me up for the later run which would give me an opportunity to watch and learn from the earlier racers.  I was planning there being a lot of mud, figuring the less clothes, the better and was hoping the course would be barefoot friendly.

The race took place at the Rose Bowl and would consist of a half mile obstacle course followed by a 5k loop around the stadium and adjoining golf course.  I had ran this loop before in the Stand for Hope 5k Charity Run and done very well. I arrived at about 7:30 a.m. the early race started at 9:00 a.m. and my race wasn't until 10:30.

Before scouting the course I checked in with my team and downed a couple of smoothies. It turns out there were just two mud pits.  Not at all what I expected.  Thre rest of the obstacles consisted of sliding on a wet tarp under barriers, going through a giant inflatable ball pit, hurdleing pylons, crawling through hula-hoops, running through car and inflatable tires and climbing over a stack of hay bails.  It was not at all what I expected. I had envisioned mud everywhere and it didn't even look like you had to get dirty. 

 My family met me out at the course at about 8:30.  My younger nephew Lucas was running in the kids race at 10:45 .We were all pretty excited and looking forward to a fun morning.  There were a lot people there.   Most of them were there just to have a good time about 5,000 people showed up to race and many of them wore costumes.
and I thought I was funny looking
The family and I found a good place to sit where we could watch and learn from the early racers. The guy who was in first place 1/2 way through the obstacle course was also a team Jamba Juice member.
They just kept coming it took about 15 minutes of non stop crawling action before everyone finally came through.  The plan for me was to get way in front of the crowd and use the tarp as a giant slip and slide.

We were having agreat time watching the first race.  I was amazed at the volume of people competeting.  They came in droves and it seemed like it was never going to end.  The weather was starting to heat up and I was starting to get fatigued just sitting around in the sun. I pounded a bottle of nuun and then headed to the finish line to see if Team Jamba could pull through.
Felipe Acevedo finished 3rd overall in the first race in 28:56
I went and grabbed my third smoothie and was ready for my turn on the course.
On the way over to the starting line I met some nice girls who were all wearing sockwa sand sock's (I was impressed).  I was still barefoot at the time and had not yet committed to wearing my vibrams.  I told them that I was there to win.  They told me they were there to get dirty. All of them were very sweet, we wished each other good luck and went are separate ways. 

I really wanted to go Barefoot but eventually I decided to error on the side of caution and use my Vibram Kso Treks.  I had also brought my standard Vbram Kso's.  I figured I would have better grip over the wet plastic man made barricades if I was shod.

  If you have any hope to win an event like this starting in the front is a necessity. I chatted with some other runners about my Vibrams and what they thought about Mud runs in general.  The race was seconds away from starting an I was still looking for pointers.  I figured I could probally hold my own in the run and needed to be aggressive in the obstacle course.

I jumped out to early lead as I approached the mud pit I somehow when the wrong direction and had to double back I only lost a couple of seconds but this early in the race it allowed about 4 runners to get in front of me.  The mud was only about 6 to 12 inches deep.  The correct strategy to get through is a bear crawl where your knees dont hit the ground.  For some dumb reason I pretty much did a belly flop straight into mud (the sub contious could'nt resist getting dirty) and judging by all the cuts on my knees I was not doing a bear crawl.  The consistency of the mud was not good, it was full of gravel and I was happy I had chose to wear the five fingers. .  You are suppossed to crawl but you can easily walk through it.  Its kind of on the honor system people are yelling at you to get down. whether you do it or not Is completely up to you.
Mud pit prior to the race
I was more than happy to get dirty in the mud but my efforts to get through it were far from graceful.  Once out of the mud there was about a 200 yard sprint where I could gain some ground.
After a short crawl through some hula hoops
I was back in the lead.
The ball pit was pretty easy to navigate since I was I the only one in it.  I flew through it in a couple steps and leaped out.
I had the tarp all myself. (This pick was taken before the first race.)  During the first race there were a bunch of staff pouring water on the tarp keeping it slick.  For my race nobody was there.  I ran, I dove, I hit the tarp where I saw a little moisture, slid about 10 feet and stuck. (I was hoping to go about 60 feet but at least it didn't burn me.)
The race was very unorganized.
The inflatable tires were pretty simple to get through.

At the second tarp there was pleanty of water.  I got through the 80 foot tarp in one massive slide. I was all smiles at that point. (I would have been content to spend the whole day there slipping and a sliding.)
By no means was I even close to perfect during the obstacles.  I charged as aggressively as I could but was very sloppy.  In between each impediment I was able to make up ground with my speed.  By the time we exited that part of the course I was running neck and neck with another runner.  My feet were very soggy in my Vibrams but could easily handle the 5k ahead of me.  The weather was warm (somewhere around 85).  I wanted to take the lead outright but this guy was really pushing the pace and there was a third guy right on our butts.

We exited the Rose Bowl in a 3 man group with me slightly in the lead.  The rest of the runners were nowhere to be seen.  I didn't wear my Garmin so I don't know the exact pace but it felt like we were doing around a 5 minute mile maybe faster.  There was a golf cart driving out in front of us carrying a couple guys filming the event. From the looks on their faces I could tell they were enjoying us duking it out.  

We held together for about 2 kilometers before one of the other 2 guys broke away from the pack.  I did my best to hang close with him but during the next 3 kilometers he gained about a 200 yard lead.  I was steady maintaining a sub 5:30 pace i'm guessing and was able to gain a comfortable lead over the 3rd guy.

The second time through the obstacles the course was in pretty bad shape.  I was probably a little slower than the first go around but was happy with effort I put forth.  This time I new not to slide on the first tarp and once again went flying on the second one. (with an even bigger smile)

I was able to gain a little bit of time on the leader but fell about 30 seconds short of the win, finishing in second place.  The winner was faster than me and ran a great race. My finishing time was 24:28. It was the second fastest time for the day out of around 5,000 participants (mostly people there just to have fun not race).  Because the three of us had pushed each other so hard during the run our times were all much faster than the first race winning time of 27:16.  
At the finish line my family was there rooting me on.  I ran with in about 5 feet of them, they were screaming my name and rooting me on.  I was focused on the finishing strong and didn't even hear or see them.
Luckily for the rest of my family I inherited all the funny looking genes
About a 1/2 hour after finishing the race I heard some people yelling at me.  It was the sockwa girls and they wanted know how I did.  Instead of being disappointed in me not getting first, they were impressed with my second place finish (which helped raise my spirits a bit)  They even stopped in the middle of the race for a photo. Earlier they told me that were out to get dirty and have good time. (It looked like they were succeeding at both.)

All week long my nephew Lucas was pumped up to be running in the kids race.  I was really excited to have my family there. This was the part of the day that looked forward to most.  Lucas is six years old and would be racing in the 4 to 8 year old division.  They would run the exact same 1/2 mile obstacle course that the adults raced on.  My nephews are the most important people in my life and anytime I get to spend with them I cherish.  Awhile back I asked  Lucas what he wanted to be when he grew up? His answer "an Uncle!" ( I love that kid with all my heart, I even love his brother (although his aspirations arent as ambitious, lol).  Lucas decided to wear the same uniform as his Unlce Pat, only difference instead of the vibram Five Fingers we taped a pair of van slip on's onto his feet.
Psyched up and ready to go.
I was stoked that they allowed me to run the course with Lucas, although I would forgo the mud and obstacles because I was on camera duty. I was also happy to be barefoot this time around.
I thought maybe he would belly flop like his uncle.  (Lucas is way too smart for that.)
Perfect technique 
Lucas gave it his all.  I ran along side telling him how great he was doing. He never quit and passed a ton of kids near the finish.  I had never seen Lucas this intense before.  He giving it everything he had and I was very proud.
totally spent!
(brother Thomas is still full of energy)

But quick to smile

I thought it was kind of a bummer there was no real finish line for the kids and no awards.  It didn't faze Lucas.  He was quick to point out at the he got 4th place.  I'm really not sure how he came up with that number since there were a lot of other kids that finished in front of him but it didn't matter, I gave a high five and congratulated him on his fantastic 4th place finish.

Time to get festive and wait for the awards Ceremony

Do I make you Horny
(because I sell horns)
Yes I am a dude with a horn.
( I never claimed to be mature.)
Life is Good!

While waiting for the awards ceremony I ran into Feleipe, he informed me that
 being a member of team Jamba gave us access to the VIP tent with FREE BEER!

I snuck away from the family,  five minutes later I had drank 2 Stella's and ate a Vegetarian California Pizza Kitchen sandwich.  I grabbed my sister a BBQ Chicken salad and I was out of there before my family new I was gone.

The awards were still lagging so I grabbed Felipe and headed back to the VIP tent for a Dos Equis (I mean Jamba Juice).

I snuck out of the VIP tent beer in hand (shh) and got to the awards ceromony just as they called my name as the wiinner. (huh)  The race organizers did not have a clue what was going on.  They were suposed to have special awards for the top 3 finishers which they did not.  Somehow I ended up with a 1st place medal for my age division and a second place medal for my overall finish.  One of the dude's was actually pretty nice and gave me a free shirt for the troubles.
I'm number 2
By the time the race 2nd race was over Jamba Juice had closed up shop.  This would be my last race for them this summer. Time to get Hydrated
 I like to introduce you to my new Sponsor NUUN.  Please click the link to find out more.

I also would like to thank Sportmulti for their support I've been taking taking there product every morning and  it has helped me maintain my rigorous lifestyle.

It was a beautiful day. Since this was the innagraul LA. Mud Run at the Rose Bowl I'll cut them a little slack but the race was not very well organized, the obsatcles were dangerous the event was under staffed and the mud was pretty crappy (My knees got pretty bloodied up).  I would not have been happy if I had to pay the $50 to compete.

On the other hand the race was free for me, I got couple free shirts, a couple medal's, free beer, free food, and best of all I gotta  spend some time with my family.  Watching my nephew race, and seeing his confidence soar afterwards is priceless and really made the day special for me.
A few days after the race I packaged one of my medal's in and envelope addressed to Lucas along with a letter from the L.A. Mud run congratulating him on his 4th place finish.  I told him it had arrived in mail.  Needless to say he was very excited and already looking forward to another race.

I got out  of there by about 1:30 p.m.. Instead of heading home to shower and rest.  I headed straight to the beach.  I had lost the race because I was not fast enough to win.  If I want to get faster I need to train harder. The beach was packed and I was getting a lot of strange looks (not uncommon). It wasn't until I finished my run that I realized I still had my number pinned to my shorts. (at least nobody beat me at the beach)  I had a great run and it was time to hit the sauna.

To cap off the the day My buddy picked me up in his limo and it was off to have some sushi and drinks. 

I could of ate the whole thing.

It ended up being a pretty tame night.  I saw a few friends at the bar's and was home by a reasonable hour so that I could be back running on the beach Sunday morning.

Next Up
Conquer The Bridge September 6th
A there and back 5 mile bridge race on the Vincent Thomas.

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