Thursday, May 19, 2011

Born To Run Ultra Marathon 2011

3 races one day
May 14th
Palos Verdes Marathon, Bare to Breakers, or Born to Run Ultra
What to do?
Look Mom,
I'm finally in one of them fancy Luis Escobar running photos that all the top dogs have taken of them.

Did I want run for glory  (too many autographs to sign),  Did I want to run for attention (might make some children cry) ,  or did I just want to have fun?

At Palos Verdes I would have a good a chance to defend my title.  The Race would be short,  I would have family support, it wouldn't cost much money and I could sleep in my own bed.

If I ran Bare to Breakers (bare to breakers Naked) I would be part of history the "100th anniversary"  I could work on my sun tan and get damn #3 off leg.  (maybe go to jail for indecent exposure) I'm not as unihibited as I would like to be and running in a race like this I think would help me grow as a person.  I would have to spend money on travel. and what happens when I finish the race naked in the cold?  Would I end up wrapping my junk in newspaper and buy a $5 I love San Francisco  t-shirt? (how would I carry $5) Whatever Perhaps I'll figure this out next year.

Born to run (barefoot)
A barefoot friendly 100k was hard to resist.  Held only a few hours from my house on private trails how could I say no.  The pictures of the course looked beautiful.  My fellow Lunatics would be running. Friends from all of the world would be attending. Cost would not be an issue and this would be a great oppertunity to do something I had never done before.  From a social aspect this seemed like the logical choice.

 I offically signed up 3 weeks ago

10 days prior to the event my body was feeling pretty damn good I had come off a nice 100 plus mile week barefoot and was ready to go.  On this particular day I only had a few minutes to go running  so hit up the track and busted out a barefoot 10k in just over 33 minutes without really trying (Stoked)
the next morning my right foot was pretty damn sore (Doh)

I had planned on putting in about 100 more miles over the next 7 days but all running had to be immediately sidelined..

In the mean time I took a few nice ladies to a baseball game

Mothers day.
(we got some pretty awesome hats I must say)

My sister and the boys came came to

(you see theses photo's really have no reason for being in this post, I use them as a way of balancing out my stupid antics by showing you I'm really a family guy at heart)
Do you buy it?

And then I was back at the stadium 2 days later for a world record
Most dumb asses wearing wrestling masks at one time over 40,000.  I think the previous record was 17.
(if ever there was a day to streak the field and get away with it that was the day.)

After about 5 days with little to no running I needed to test my foot and I was also fiending for some Disc golf. 
I figured jogging a few rounds barefoot at El Dorado would give me a decent barometer of where I was at.  Less than 2 hours later I finished my 7th round and I felt pretty good.
Until the next morning


When I woke Up my right lower calf was throbbing when I put any weight on it.  Not sure of the severity I through some ice on it  and bumped up my intake of anti inflammatory fruits and vegis.  I also wore a brace for the next few days and decided to not to run again until the race.


Time to relax.  As comfy as I look I would rather be running on the beach.

I started off reading Infinite Jest on my Kindle but that meant I had to keep my eyes open.  Instead I turned on the speaker and passed out to the stupefying sounds of the Gogol Bordello.

Evetually I was woken up by my neighbors friend.  She joined me in the Hammock for a little while and even gave me a foot massage (sweet girl) In exchange for her kindness I promised her FREE BEER,  under one condition  she had to drink it at my place :)
(I am such a nice guy)


Barefoot Ted and his girlfriend Leah flew in to LAX.  It was my plan to pic them up at the Airport but at the last second my buddy Christian decided he wanted to be the designated soccer mom and offered to to shuttle us around. (thanks dude I hate driving)

Once we got Ted and Leah we jammed straight up the highway to the starting line.  Ted and a few other Barefoot and Born to Run celebrities were supposed to give a talk around 4 p.m.

after getting through the front gate
 were greeted with some delightful people

I was totally jealous of this dude's skirt.
(did I really just type that oh well, C'est la vie)

This dude was really enthusiastic he told me that after finishing the book Born to Run hew headed straight outside for his first barefoot run, 13 miles.
(right on)

. What now?  I only brought a limited amount of Stone Ales.  I guess we should drink what what he have and see where it takes us.

A quick scan of the surrounding environment and I could tell this course would not be Barefoot friendly.  It seems that the when the race director thought going barefoot might be feasible the course was lush with green weeds.  By now the weeds had turned brown  exposing a trail covered coarse rocks.

My original plan was to go out Barefoot carrying my sandals.  I had hoped to run at about an 8:30 pace barefoot for as long as could and only use my Luna's if my feet were getting too beat up.  On this terrain even 8:30 mile would be tough. Maybe it was time to reevaluate my game plan.

The Guru of Barefoot running  "Barefoot Ken Bob"spoke a few words.  And signed copies of his book

2 of my best friends.  El Mono and Cerveza

Then it was Barefoot Ted's turn
Race instructions from Luis Escobar 
 "The course is two 10 mile loops  each with 2 aid stations, first loop follow Pink ribbons second loop follow yellow ribbons.  Ribbons should on your left side except for when they are on your right."

Luis was an awesome race director who provided the race with it's own vibe  unlike any ultra I have ever run in. I had never met Luis before he had very Avant-garde approach to things which I totally respect.

The most important thing he had to tell us was:

"No Pooping on the trail!"
Repeat after me
"No Pooping on the trail!"

Oh well
(sticker on the back of mannequin at starting line)

The Stone Ale was doing it's job and dissapeared in a heartbeat.  It's a good thing Stone does not advertise.

Soon after I ran into Mariposa (looking good grandma) and Barefoot Benny who traveled all the way from Israel 

The Beer was gone (I saved one bottle for after the race)
I was still thirsty

Time to get out the Boozenoculars
(beer goggles are for light weights)

What is that I see?

Eureka!  Free booze :)
Uh oh!

Caballo, myself, Burke, Ben, Mariposa, Jen, and the Coyote
What a slut!  I'm talking about the mannequin of course.

I met a lot of cool people that night. Most of them I don't remember their names (I blame the alcohol) everyone pretty much went to their tents at reasonable hour.  Christian I were still sitting around drinking some libations when we realized everyone was gone. 
 (I guess sleep is important before running 100km)

I went to bed feeling good, and optimistic about the day ahead.  I woke up about every half hour  to the sounds of wild animals outside (a certain El Mono snoring in the tent next to mine) .  Then at 4:45 a.m. Luis Escobar our race director was kind enough to blast music on the P.A. system  so loud you could'nt hear yourself fart.

This song song has been filling the void between my ears for the last week eating away at what little brain cells I have left.

Bookis and I bright an early in the morning minus the bright part.

Time to get this show on the road.

Spiky Flora

As much as I wanted to go barefoot, on this course there was no reason for it.  My pipe dream of a sub 10 hour barefoot 100k would be nearly impossible Unless I was being chased by police K-9's
I pretty had made my decision the night before.  If I laced up in my Original Luna's I would be faster than in My Equus's which I had only planned on using because the Elastiszed leather allows them to go instantly on me feet.
I registered for the Minimalist division but technically I don't think I qualified do to the fancy gps watch I was wearing.

Doh a deer.
Spotted 10 mins before the race
I think the dear were laughing at the few runners who attempted the trail barefoot.  The ground seemed much softer up where they were grazing, less rocks and more weeds to step on.

After a few words from a drunk chicken and a blast from a shot gun .

 the 1st Annual Born to Run Ultramarathon
was underway

From the starting line I jumped out to about a 7minute pace the course was pretty flat with a few hills.  I think about 4 or people went out in front of me and I was fine with that.  62 miles is along  way + there were four different races going on at once and I figured they were probably ll in the 10mile or 50km division.  The weather was cool and I kept relaxed pace as I tried to get my blood to pump the numbness out of my finger tips and toes.  The scenery was beautiful and my legs felt good.  I was hoping Christian would run with me but he was hanging out about a minute behind.

This cat was manning the first aid station.  
(we had done trail work together a few years ago for the AC100)

I was cruising no reason to stop one bottle of water was perfect for the first 10 miles.

What the hell is that thing on chest?
(gotta make them sponsors happy)

I clocked my first 10k at about 44 minutes which felt like a safe pace for the time being.  Perhaps there were a few hills that I may walk late in the race but the course was not technical and pretty easy to go fast on.

The terrain was absolutly horrible for barefoot running I had made the right descision to lace up my Luna's

It was a lonely road. In general it sucks to be out near the front. The course is less defined by footsteps and there are fewer people to follow when navigation gets tricky.
A few minutes later The biggest hawk I've ever seen with over a 4 foot wing span swooped down on the trail picking up a large grey squirrel for breakfast
 (better him than I thought)

I went straight through the 2nd aid station and was fast approaching the parking lot where the race began about a 1/2 mile away.  On my way back I saw one runner coming back up the hill I wasn't sure if he was in the 50km or the 100km but he was about 5minutes ahead of me.  I figured he was going the right direction.  The path had both yellow and pink ribbons on my left side but they were on his right  (strange).  I past a photographer and a few other people as the parking lot neared.  There was a bunch of yellow flags on the ground showing telling me to turn into the lot but I was on the pink lap and their were no flags of that color. (arg) Perhaps there was another path  a ways down the path I didn't know.  I yelled back at the the people I had just passed asking "if I turn or not?" but got no answer.

I gambled by heading into the lot without a pink flag and was right.  First lap done.  From here nobody told me where to go.  Since I had seen the dude in front of me coming from the way I had just came and their were yellow flags along the path I retraced my steps.  Now the yellow flags on the the ground leading me into the parking lot made sense. They were their to lead me back the way i came on the start of the second lap, I thought (Big mistake I would find out later).  about a 100 yards up I saw a race photographer. I wanted his confirmation that I was going the right way but he was as unsure of the course as I.

I cruised up the hill passing the other runners as they descended to the aid station.  Eventually I got to a junction with Yellow flags on the left and proceeded to climb.  I was running well and feeling good.  This part of the course contained some great single track trails.  Not the greatest for sandals but I enjoyed it none the less.
(me going the wrong way p they hill trying to get directions from the camera guy who had No idea where to go)

at the 10 mile mark I only had a couple minute lead on the dudes behind me But now I was all by myself.  I was attributing this to my Hermes like speed (lol) but in actuality I had unknowingly cut 2.5 miles off the course.
I had no clue we would be using the same aid station's on each lap and eventually I found myself running past the old bearded guy again.  at about the 7 mile mark of the second loop the trail looked very familiar.  I was headed back down to the starting line.  That's odd I only passed one aid station?  Was my GPS not tracking well in the hills?  Maybe I was running 6 minute miles not 7.  Anyhow I got down the hill and and to the aid station 2.5 miles sooner than I expected.

 Unsure of the path I had chosen I asked Luis if the I was supposed to head on the second lap the way I came in.  He told me "Yes"

This gave me a big boost of energy it turns out I wasn't lost and I was off and flying.  The course was tracking short and delusions of grandeur danced through my head.  I got passed the first aid station and was quickly  approaching the second one.

In the back of my head I had remembered seeing yellow flags near it which I never passed during the second loop.  When I got their I asked if they were supposed to be the first aid station of the second lap? They weren't sure but I was.  I asked if they had a map of the course I check out but they were not provided with one. They were real nice and one of them even offered me a banana from their private stash

Darn it

I climbed a short hill then headed back down to the starting line finishing Lap 3 about 5 minutes slower that I did the first time around.

When I got o the aid station I told Luis that I must have skipped part of the course during lap 2.  By this time He had figured it out to.  He was more than gracious and told me he would find away for me to tack on some miles at the end of the race to make my finish official.  But to me that meant I was running a different race than everyone else putting me out of contention among the people who ran it correctly.

Entering the 4th lap I was running frusterated. The race was over. I went from the exhilaration of being the leader to being the bone head. What did I have to prove? Why was I still running? I was still unsure of where I had taken the wrong path.  But this time when I left the parking lot the answer was obvious.

Obvious because they now had a guy navigating people and a bunch more yellow flags and ribbons added since I passed that same spot during my second lap.

Oh well time to see what had I missed out on earlier.  45 minutess prior I felt like I could run all day. Now my moral was beaten and pain began to creep into my foot.  I really wasnt tired but my foot began to feel extremly sore.  I began to hobble an old dude with a walker could have passed me at the pace I was going.  I was having my own personal pity party  and no longer felt like running (what a weenie).  Eventually the course met up with the path I had taked earlier.   I decided to cruise back to the strating line and call it a day. This way I would have offically ran the entire 50k course (slightly out of order) plus and additional mile 2 miles back and forth up the wrong path.  

Once at the starting line there was still a 1/2 mile out and back I had to run to complete the 50k.  Here I was joined by buddy Bookis who was just starting his third lap. It was the first time all day I got to run with anyone and it was nice to have some company.  The way back I began to sprint but then found that silly and coasted into the finish line.   

I had ran 2 extra miles and was the second person to cross the finish line (long after the winner had arrived.) The 50k course is extremely fast and perhaps next year I will learn from mistakes. Their were coarse maps online that maybe I should have studied prior to the event. but looking at them now I think I still would have taken the wrong path. 
Ultimately taking the wrong path was my own damn fault and I have nobody to blame but myself.  It happens to somebody at just about every race.  I guess it was my turn and hopefully my buffoonery  caused the addition of more makers so others would not make my mistake.

The only thing I could have changed my outcome would have been to run slower during the first lap to avoid being the guinea pig.
(Something I will keep in mind for future trail races)
Probably not :)

On the bright side I didn't was done and din't have to keep running for the next 5 hours.
Luis and I 

After stumbling and bumbling my way to the finish.  I thanked Luis for his hard work.
as I drank my final
Arrogant Bastard

Oh well I'll live to race another day.
Time to root on my Friends!

Leah and  Barefoot Ted

About an hour later up strolled Barefoot Ted and Leah.  They both did one lap barefoot together and then did  another lap mostly barefoot.

14 years old Ultramarathon Finisher
One of the coolest things about the whole event was this little dude.  He had come all the way from Canada to race (There you must be 18 to run).
He ran with exceptional form and completed the entire 50k course.
What a stud!

and then there's this guy

Rumor was some dude was running the race in  Shape Ups?

Maybe if Christian had ran with eyes open he would have got first instead of second?
I know that's pretty big statement coming from a dumb ass who took the wrong path (eyes open) 
This my blog and I can say all stupid crap I want.

Christian had a goal of sub 10 hours and finished in 9:45 he looked strong the whole way and I was proud of my friend.

only one dude would finish the 50k barefoot

It took him over 12 hours to do it and when I saw him out the course he looked more like a prisoner of war than a runner.  My hat goes off to the dude for his determination to get it done.

In hind sight I probably should have ran Palos Verdes.  Which I will do next year. Hopefully the dates don't over lap I will run Born to Run  and Bay to Breakers  as well.  Although things did not go my way I would highly recommend the Born to Run Ultramarthon.  Luis Escobar is one cool dude and I can't wait to cheer him on out at Badwater this summer.

Thank you to Luis, Mr. Chamberlon and all the other people who helped make this event happen.

and that is the story of how another magnet made it on the fridge.

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