Friday, September 10, 2010

No Pirates Allowed on the Bridge

There is so much wrong with picture that I totally dig it.  I like to imagine a world where girls have posters of this monstrosity above their beds.  Makes me laugh just thinking about it.  Pretty amazing that this actually made it in the paper.

Cliff notes of this weeks buffonery:
Disc Golf Record, Scarring and inspiring children, Killing the Pirate, Conquering a bridge in sandals, Hermosa 24,

Last wednesday I found out my friend Jimmy Dean Freeman would be running Thursday night from Brentwood all the way to Corona roughly 100k or 62 miles.   He was doing this so that he could inspire kids at the charter school for the 100 mile Club in 2 assemblies he was giving the next morning.  Jimmy was looking for a driver.  I told him to count me in as a back a plan, (knowing that Jimmy has a very strong network of friends,  I could offer a good deed but most likely not be held accountable.)  I had some bussiness to take care of Thursday in Long Beach and I needed to get some Disc Golf in.
Slow mo drive at Eldo
Slow mo Putt
Thursday morning I set the current speed record at El Dorado Disc Golf course while running barefoot.  I'm not sure what exactly the old record was but I had it.(I'm pretty much the only one stupid enough to be sprinting around the park).  The course was set up pretty easy. I was using some new plastic and couldn't get into a groove until the last 3 hole which I birdied to end up -4 in 10:38 running 1.52 miles in the process.  I got stuck behind a few groups which added some time. Being Barefoot definitely made me faster, it also gave me the ability to recover my stride when I would misstep on the numerous gopher mounds and tree roots through out the park.  If my game was on and few baskets were moved in a more direct line of the next tee I could see myself going sub 10 minutes, even closer to 9. Late in the afternoon I got a text from Jimmy saying my services were not needed but he invetied me to come meet the kids at the school anyway since I was running in a race to raise money for them in October.  Part of me was a little bummed I would not be part of an all night adventure but I ended up playing about 5 rounds of golf and would have been a mess by morning time.  I rarely act out on my good intentions and figured today would be no different.

When I got home from Long Beach, I was still pondering heading out to Corona.  I had no idea where I was suppossed to go.  I emailed the Kara Lubin the founder of  100 mile club I asked if she could please call me and give directions to the school and gave her permission to call me back at any hour.  It was only about 10 P.M. and I was beat. I went to bed with phone sitting about 1ft from head. (Sadly I forgot to turn the ringer on) I woke up thinking I was off the hook again. I stumbled downstairs to the coffee maker and saw the message light blinking on my Ooma (strange). It was Kara and she had called about 5 minutes after I passed out.  I returned her call instantly, got directions and was out the door showered with breakfast and coffee in hand in under 10 minutes. It was already after 7 and the first assembly was scheduled  for 8:15 and I was about 60 miles away.
 I got there as fast I could.  Laced up my Luna Sandals and made it to the first assembly about 5 minutes late, just as Kara was Finshing up  describing the 100 mile Endurance Challange that I would be participating in.  Next up was Jimmy.  After running all night to get there, it was amazing how well he interacted with the children.  He asked how many of you love running and nearly everyone of the Kindergarten to 2nd graders raised thier hands.  These kids looked fit.  The 100 mile club had been part of the culture at this school and it showed.  Jimmy got the kids all rilled up, he is an awesome motivational speaker and this kids were psyched to be part of the 100 mile club.
After speaking for a little while Jimmy introduced myself as well as Sally McRae (a super fit mom) who would also be running in the race.  The kid's loved Sally.  As for me I'm not sure the kids knew what to think.  I was still sporting my black eye and quite a scruffy looking beard.  I got some wide eyes when I told the kids I loved to run barefoot and would be running 100 miles in my sandals for them.  I explained that running should be fun and that keeping shoes off my feet makes running fun for me.   Jimmy asked the kids "Do you think Pat's gonna win the race?"  (decent applause) Then he asked "Do you think Sally is gonna beat Pat?" (roaring applause).  Seeing the kids was really cool.  I found out that the first mile of the race will take part at their school and will consist of 5 laps around it's field and we will be running with the students as they get closer to 100 mile goal for the year. (very cool)

About 15 minutes after the first assembly the second one began this time is was 2nd to 5th graders.  Once again Jimmy was on the ball  and these kids were digging everything he had to say and once again  Sally was definitely the crowd favorite. (I was cheering for her as well.)
While the other's slept Kara introduced me to her Horse.

After the second assembly Kara treated us to lunch.  We then headed over to her house where Jimmy and his crew could get about a 40 minute nap in before the final assembly of the day, which consisted of meeting the parents.  Needless to say once Jimmy was great and the parents were eating up everything he had to say.  The 100 mile club is not just for kids, it is for of everyone!  It invites parents of all athletic conditions to be active and choose a lifestyle that helps encourage their kids to achieve their goals.  It was really cool hearing testimonials from a few parents whos kid's had been in the program before.  They said it was life changing for thier kids.  Not only were they more confident, and more athletic the kids were excited about going to school and excited about running.

If you want to help Donate to the 100 mile club please click below.  
Me, Jimmy, Kara and Jimmy's crew after the last assembly

I got out of Corona at about 3:30 I had to head straight to Road Runner sports  to pick up some custom printed Sol-id  shirt's (my sponsor) and my racing bib for the Conquer the Bridge race to be held on Labor Day. Being docile all day made me a bit stir crazy. I did'nt need to get in a workout in but when I got home I could'nt resist doing a few fast miles at the track.  I sprinted out the door barefoot and shirtless for a nice 10k with a few sub 5 minute miles sprinkled in.

I went out and partied that night with some new friends from out of town that lasted well into the next morning.  Around 4 a.m. I shaved off my beard   (the pirate had walked the plank) in an effort to stupefy my sleeping guest.  The puzzled look on her face when she woke up was priceless. :)

Not Much happened Saturday it was supposed to a day of relaxation and getting all my faculties in order.  I  headed down to the beach for run but was all fogged in, so I decided to hit the sauna for a few hours while the sun burned off the marine layer.  By the time I left It was beautiful outside and the beach was packed.  My calves were a little tight from the fast miles the day before, so I ended up just cruising for an easy 5 mile soft sand run.  The weather was beautiful and I wanted to go farther but I was trying to save my legs for Mondays race.  These short races drive my crazy.  My weekly mileage drops in order to have fresh legs, and I usually don't make up that distance on race day (tapering sucks!)
Christian looks a lot taller on these billboards.

I had a leisurly Sunday morning.  My friend Christian Burke was attempting to break a Guinness record for most miles moving forward over sand during a 24 hour period.  The current record was 62 and Christian had put this event together to help raise money for the Hemosa Beach Education  Foundation.  Christian would be running on some of the softest sand in the world between the Hermosa and Manhattan Beach piers. (Bonus Fact:  In the 1920's the sand from Manhattan Beach was imported to Hawaii to help construct it's famed Waikiki beach in Honolulu)  He would start running at 12a.m. on Sunday and would not stop till 12a.m Monday and he would be doing it all barefoot.   When I first found out about Christians endeavor I was jealous.  I put more steps on that beach than anyone else and would love to have an adventure like this.  I orginally planned on running about 50k with my buddy but that was before the whole Conquer the Bridge oppertunity prsented itself.  I would only allow myself to do one lap with him on Sunday (about 3.5 miles). There is a chance that this may even become a competition next year and I if does you bet I shall be ready for the challenge

 Just as I was about to hit the beach to go join him I got a phone call from Barefoot Ted (the craftsman behind Luna Sandals) It was great to here from him.  We share a lot of the same philosophies and I have a lot to learn from BFT.  I wasn't prepared for his call and Ted has a way with words that doesn't cease.  I was eating it up but had too get down to the beach sooner than later.

Manhattan Beach Pier

I didn't end getting to the beach till about 3:30  and ended up pacing Christian on his 5th lap.  He was in good spirits as he tried to find his groove starring at the back of my ankles while stepping in each footprint I made in front of him.  We had a nice conversation running and giving back to the community.  Even If  you can not  donate to the Hermosa beach school's, Christian hopes to inspire others to think outside the box and to do what they can to help people in need.
Why is Johnny Depp in this picture?

I only ran one lap with Christian that day but told him I would be back after my race. I headed to the sauna for an hour and then home to make dinner and get some rest.

Dinner :
added a little heat 4 types of spicy peppers including Habanero's plus 3 types of hot sauce.  Yum

I set my alarm for 5a.m.  I thought about driving to the beach to check on Christian but it didnt happen.  It was my time now and I needed to focus on the race at hand.  I had a couple cups of coffee, 2 peanut butter and honey sandwiches and guzzeled down some NUUN.  I ended up getting to the race at about 6:45 (race starts at 8:05) the first person I saw there was my roomate.  I new I could pull a few strings with the race director and got my his entry compt.  It was his first race ever, he was real excited and I was stoked for him.
The race starts in San Pedro on Harbor blvd, from their you run about 1/2 mile to the Vincent Thomas Bridge.  It's about a 2 mile trip to other side, then it's straight back to the start.  My plan was to stay around a 5 minute mile on the flat and downhill portions and try to stay below a 6 minute mile during the climbs.  I figured I could beat last years winning time of 30:11 and really wanted to finish in under 30 minutes.
the Pic I got of the bridge stunk so here someone else's. 

Fortunate Dude
My family is awesome, they try to make it to as many of my races as possible and it means the world to me.  Thank you guys for coming to cheer me on.
While meandering around before the race I was approached by a bare footer (will call him, hmm) Barefoot Kenny. He was a real cool guy and was considering buying a pair of Luna's.  It turns out he new a little of racing history and we also shared some common friends. 

I was approached by about 30 or so people asking about my sandal's.  A few of them new I had won the P.V. marathon and some were even readers of my stupid blog.  I even had a whole running club of old ladies pose for a picture with me, things then got weird when they started rubbing my back for good luck. (whatever I'll take any loving I can get.)

About 2000 people showed up for the race.  I made my way up the front and was ready to go.  One of the news stations was filming the starting line, (normally I try to seize to oppertunity for tv coverage but I was there to race.)  After a few words from the race Director the the light turned green.

I jumped out the the starting line to a quick lead.  I stuck to my plan to stay below a 5 minute mile until I had to start climbing.  Through the first 1/2 mile I was cruising at about 4:30 pace.  I could here a group of High school kids behind me babble somthing like "Must catch Sweeney"  When I got to the bridge I felt good and was running the exact race I had envisioned, my only problem was there was another guy running stride for stride with me.  We took turns taking lead and on 2 seperate ocasions he accidently bumped the back of my feet, we were running so close.
I thought I could shake him on the climb but I could not.  Surprisingly on the decent I was able to stride it out for a very minimal lead.  Before the race had started I looked forward to enjoying the View off the Vincent Thomas, however my eyes never left the course.  (The road could have been lined with topless women and I never would have seen them)  
When I picture a bridge I think flat not hills.  That is not the case with Vincent Thomas.  It's just one big arch, and by the time you get to the top of it you are already running down the other side.   When we got to the 1/2 point I was only about 20 ft in the lead with the next guy a few 100 yards back.  It was time to climb right back up.  I was still running exactly how I planned I was doing my best, my body was proforming well and my feet in the luna sandals could not of been happier, but the dude in 2nd place was tenacious.

.  We were both well on pace to beat last years winning time and as we crested the top of the bridge and at about mile 4 I was no longer in first place. (doh)  I was spinning my legs as fast as could but not quite fast enough. When we came off the bridge he was a few hundred feet in front and I started closing in on him a bit but not nearly enough.  I gave it my best and came through the finish line in 2nd place with a time of 28:44

I found the winner shook his hand and congratulated him on running a great race.  I then waited for the the third place finisher and shook his hand as well.

A few minutes later my nephews came running up to congradulate me.  I love my family more anything and am always more than happy to give them a big hug.
The dude on the left is my roomate Jason.  He has only been running for a few months now.  So far he has lost about 45 lbs and plans to keep it going.  He finished this his first race in about 56 minutes.  I couldn't be more proud of the guy.  He was on cloud nine the rest day.  Way to go buddy.

People were very enthusiastic about my finish in Sandals.  My sister gets a kick of walking behind me and hearing all the strange comments made about her deranged brother.  As I was walking around after the race.  I saw my ex roommate Meghan, it turned out the guy who came in third was her Husband.(who I had met in the past but I did not recognize) He is a very accomplished tri-athlete and it was good to see both of them.  Sychronicity in action.
Luna Sandals
I found it interesting that the winner of the race was a guy from Mexico City wearing $150 running shoe's while the guy in Second place was some dumb ass from the beach of Southern California wearing traditional Mexican running sandals.  I really enjoyed the course and encourage anyone to give it a try next year.  I will be back next year and I will be faster.

Number 2 stinks (Like my attempt at some bathroom humor) I'd rather do my best an finish say 15th . I have been fortunate enough to have some success this summer and since I've started winning  it's hard to get excited about second place. (which has happened in my last 2 races)  All I can do is train harder and smarter.  I know I have plenty of room to get faster more efficient.  The silver lining of second place meant I didn't need to stick around for a trophy.
I took a few photo's with Race director slash friend Micheal Hogue and Daily Breeze reporter Jim Thomas.  After that I jogged to my car and it was straight to the beach to see how Christian was doing in the Hermosa 24.

I arrived at the boarder of Manhattan and Hermosa 30 minutes later at about 9.50 a.m. When I got to the strand I couldnt tell which direction Christian was.  I asked a few random people and they told me to head toward the Hermosa Pier.  My calves were extremely tight but I started to run south on the strand. No sign of Christian, eventueally I got to the pier and learned I had got some misinformation, oh well time to start back the other way.
By the time I found Chiristian  he was on mile 78.  He had set the world record at around 3a.m..  The entourage was growing and he was exicted that I had returned.  I told him all about my getting butt whipped at the Bridge as we made our way back to the pier.  His spirits were high and amazingly Christian seemed even fresher at mile 80 than he did at mile 15
Although behind his smile you knew his legs were killing him and the sand was taking it's toll on his feet.  The positive vibes from his friend's and the community were keeping him strong.

About 30 of Joined him for his last lap (including Batman).  As we crusied down the beach people stopped what they were doing to applaud Christian's effort.  Watching children thank Christian for punishing his body in order to raise money for them was very touching  (it makes me feel good inside just thinking about it).  The weather had been very good to him. The marine layer had kept the sun off the sand and the tempertures realtivly mellow.  It wasnt until the last mile that the sun poked it's way through, just in time for an awesome finish.
As we approached the Hermosa Pier for the last time.  The entourage dropped back, Christian sailed into the record books completeing over 83 miles in 24 hours.  Champagne was uncorked and finished before I could even turn my camera on. 100's of friend's, fans and press were their to congratulate him,  But all Christian wanted to do was hug his daughter.  She had ran one lap with him on Sunday,  had hardly slept that night, and  had gone out to do the the last lap with her father.  She was still out there running, on her way back from her dad's final lap.  The crowd parted and cheered her on as she ran into her fathers arms
What a special moment to witness!

I was truly proud of my friend.  If he aint the apidomy of a hero I don't know what is.

Kid's (and Dumb Ass'es) were lining up for his autograph
Yep I got one

what a good morning. The after party was just one hour away.

I had some time to kill and felt like punishing my body for getting 2nd in my race. (not really I love running and want to get faster)  I decided to gout for a fast 6.5 mile soft sand run in the sunshine.  My legs were gone but I managed to finish in under an hour.  Along the way some dude was hollering me "Smitty,  Smitty"  Who the hell is Smitty? I wondered.  The guy had read the article in the paper that day about me and got the names mixed up. (I think I'll use that name next time I check into a hotel to throw all the groupies off, lol).  After the run I hit the gym for a real quick trip to the sauna Jacuzzi and to shower up.  While there a buddy of mine said he saw cross the finish line at the bridge on the morning tv news.

Christian had been awake for over 30 hour's and after a few drinks he still had more composure than I did.  The after party was fun.   A lot of positive vibes were being shared and money was still being generated for the Hermosa's School's.

All in all it was another good weekend.  I'm not sure what my next race will be.  I'm the best man at a wedding on 9/11 so no racing this weekend but I am considering a last second entry into the Chimera 100k on 9/18.  It's probably not a smart decision but I am not exactly known for making rational choices.



  1. What a great story! I'm supposed to be doing some work but got hooked and had to read 'til the end! Well done in the race - my Luna sandals should be arriving any day soon and after reading your various posts I really can't wait to try them out! Everybody should run - running makes you want to help people and that's such a cool thing :)

  2. Awesome story Smitty!

    I wish I could do #2! :)

  3. Good writing on this blog!

    On the CEP calves sleeves that you wore, is that brand better than say, 2XU or SKINS?