Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hermosa Beach Ironman 2011 plus a little bonus run

What better way to celebrate our Independence than with  a little debauchery and friendly competition.

It was one of those mornings where I woke up already needing a nap.  "4th of july already?"  The trip to Seattle was rather taxing and I din't get home until about 11 p.m. the night before.  By the time I got most my stuff together and ready for the 4th  it was already the 4th and I was asleep before my head hit the pillow at about 2 a.m.  When I awoke my newer running  sandals were nowhere to be found and neither were my racing shorts or my calf sleeves.  (perhaps my evil twin had another race to run)  It was about 7 in the morning and I was signed up to race in a 5k at 8 a few miles from my house.  For the 4th time this year I would be running in 2 races on one day.  Why you ask?  Why not?

I wanted to run this race but didn't want to spend the 30 bucks to enter.  Randomly one day last week I got an email offering a free entry.  I couldn't say no.

I guess it's time to put the Sports kilt back on and take my original Luna Sandal's out of retirement.

.  I set forth to see what I could do.  Fueled by some sunflower butter  and a strawberry banana smoothie. I headed out optimistic about the first race of the morning.  

I arrived with pleanty of time chatted with a few friends and then made my way to the starting line.  

The race had a small purse witch drew in some fast runners. I figured if I wanted to have any chance at the podium it would take a sub 16 minute performance and if I wanted to win it would take  a time closer to 15.
  Out of the gates I jumped out to the front of the pack (some day I'll figure out the whole pace myself strategy) It  was relatively flat and simple there and back course.

I ran hard but was pretty slow.  I'm not sure if it was fatigue from my trip or that I'm just plain out of shape but as hard as I tried I couldn't spin my legs fast enough.  Quickly I was out of lead pack struggling to find a groove.  The first mile should have been around a 4:50 but instead it was a 5:12 (yikes). 

New goal, beat the first place woman.  In many a races I have had the first place woman breathing down my neck (sounds kind of hot, lol) .  The crowds on the sideline always enjoy pumping up the leading lady.  I kept waiting for the cheers but they never came.

On the way back I saw some familiar faces out the course.  First it was 15 year old Alex Mendoza gliding over the pavement in his Luna Sandals then it was (My best Friend ) Dan Westergaard who gave me a big cheer and high five. After Dan came Jake Rome it started to feel like a Hermosa 24 reunion. (I was a little surprised I didn't see Mr. Burke out their running as well. 

 I even saw another mystery dude running in Luna Sandals (sweet).
 As people grow tired with their Vibram's it will be real interesting to see how many of them will convert over Luna Sandals,  they are the kind of footwear that make you never want to wear your Fivefinger's again.

The second mile I finished 5:29 and the third in 5:33.  I finished the the race just before the clock struck 17:00 in what felt like 30th place but ended up being 13th. Maybe I was holding back a little to save energy for the Ironman? (My ego's getting too big)  Stupid Ego I was just slow no excuses. 

Enough with this, time for the Ironman 

I took about a 2 minute rest after crossing the finish line to congratulate the other runners.  After that it was jog back to my car.

I missed sign ups for the Iron man since I was in Seattle .  Lucky for me my good buddy Dilg signed me up.  For the second year in a row I got put in a group with former and future winners.  My judge was also slated to be a long time friend of mine Christi Mccaverty.  

My surfboard is a big brown sponge that only a kook would ride on a non blackballed day (big pimp'n) it was over at Dilg'shouse.  He lives about 3/4 of a mile from the starting line had a truck and handy capped parking because of a knee injury and I figured I could get the board down the beach pretty easily.

The day before I made plans with Dilg that I would come straight to house after the first race.  To make sure I was early and ready for the race.  I called him while I was on my way. I think I woke him up.  He was at his girlfriends house and tried to convince me the race didn't start till 11 a.m. It has always started at 10 a.m I explained.  (we were both wrong).  

To his credit he agreed to meet me at his house at 9:05.  Along the way he phoned me at 8:40a.m. saying that the beach was dead and that he was probably right about the 11 a.m. start (he doesn't like to be wrong)  I wasn't buying it.

Parking sucks on the 4th and dilg didn't want to give up his spot. (so I guess were walking to the race DOH!) My wussy arms were beat from Yoga the day before.  Now I got to carry this giant turd of board down to the beach and then paddle for a mile.  I better start moving.  After lollygagging for about 15 minutes we were out the door with what I thought was time to spare. 

At about 9:20 we hit the strand at 8th st in Manhattan.  From there I could already see the menagerie of buffoons already gathered.  In years past a congregation this big would not assemble until minutes before the event.  

Dilg stopped to talk to some dude and I kept walking I could hear him laughing at my accelerated pace. (he thought I was being way to apprehensive)
I was getting worried.  I entered Hermosa at 9:25 1/4 mile to go I started into a jog wearing a heavy 9ft poop hat.  All the boards were already lined up by the strand.  9:28 I found  a spot on the wall and sprinted to find my judge. Looks like the race is starting at 9:30 this year.  I messed up I should have relied on myself rather than others and double checked what was going on.

The race officially starts when the ex mayor Bergie finishes singing the national anthem.  Each judge is supposed  to hold up I a big number on a stick (I was looking for Number 3).  

 I entered the coral of competitors Hearing  "as the banner yet waved."  Frantically I searched for the number 3 but it was nowhere to be seen F**K.    "and the land of the"  There she stood all 5ft 3" of her without holding her # in the air.  I checked in and jumped out on the course behind about 90% of the runners.

Run A Mile

I wasn't mentally prepared to start racing that quick and I had to pee real bad (i'd be in the ocean soon enough).  I took off with my sunglasses still on (whoops).  Last year I made sure I was the first one finished with run. This year I was stuck in the middle of the pack as we raced on the slanted high tide, hard packed sand.  I passed as many people as I could but their wasn't much wiggle room. By the time the run was over I was about a minute off the lead with about 100 people in front of me with my buddy Darren was in the lead.  I sprinted up the soft sand to my board and got back to the the water pretty quick. 

Paddle a Mile

I think a lot of people hate running soft sand and tend to dog it when they get their board.  Now in the water I only saw about 20 dudes in front of me.  Time to see my board still floats? It's got a few holes and reads Sweeney across the top of it so nobody mistakes it for trash. 

I paddled out on my big turd of a foam surfboard (sunglasses in my pocket).  Flailing my arms the best I could while my yoked out competion sailed past on giant 12 foot boards barely dipping their fingers in the pacific.  The last 2 years I borrowed a nice board from a friend but this time I was back on my P.O.S. (literally) Strangly the paddle seemed less grueling than years past.  I sure as hell wasnt blowing away the competition but I was holding my own respectively (odd)
Just before the halfway point I was passed by Chris Brown (the 3 time defending champ).  I figured he was way in front of me by this point.  (this meant I was still very much in the race) and Annie Seawright was behind me (she blew me away last year).  

I couldn't pee while on my board and was worried about this effecting my beer drinking abilities.  As I paddled in I jumped off my board and took about 20 seconds to make it happen to no avail.  I was losing valuable time and  I needed to get to my beers.

Chug A Six Pack

I still had a chance at winning when I got to my six pack. If only I had a few minutes of prep time before the race. I could of lined up my beers to warm them up slightly  and open them up just a little to avoid excess carbonation

In case your wondering did I drink Stone Ale? NO.  Rules of the event state that beer must come in cans which is something Stone does not sell.  I would have got pretty nice buzz if were Arrogant Bastard
What Beer did a choose you ask?

By the time I got my beer Chris Brown had about 2 minute lead  and was on his third beer.  I fumbled through my backpack opening bag inside bag to find my beers still ice cold. I knew I was a faster drinker than Chris but this would be tough.  1 down (little brain freeze) 2 down (frozen head) 3rd one down (finding a groove. 
Groupie's watching the the Chug

Chris was finishing beer 5 when I started my fourth, it was his race to lose.  I was making a charge but needed him to slow down.  

As he finished his sixth beer he was suffering pretty good and I thought he might puke. I pounded my final beer and finished a minute behind.

I had done just about everything wrong but was still in contention to win.  If had either arrived a little sooner or competed with a better attitude perhaps the outcome could have been different.  Maybe this was just a slow year because I felt like my performance pretty much sucked but in actuality it was okay. Who knows if some Dark horse from a different group would kick butt and take the win.

I kept my eye Chris to see if  would puke It looked like a possibility but I knew he wouldn't.  Then a strange thing happened in the middle of his suffering he pulled another beer out of six pack cooler and began to drink some more? (odd )

Time to grab my camera and watch the spectacle as they tabulate the results
The lifeguards on duty had the same idea
Weather forecast 
Sunny with a 100% chance of canned beer

MY awesome judge Christi with her equally awesome dad.

I wasn't drunk enough yet to ignore warning label.  
As enticing as it may look I kept my distance

Can you guess who's butt this is?  Clue she's a 4 time defending champ!

My buddy Dilg and his girl

Other competitors

Seasoned Veterans 
Seasoned with Vomit that is.
Local Lifeguards
My buddy Darren was the first one into the water (that was me last year) He kicked ass paddling but he was still finishing his beer long after the race was won
2nd place finisher Annie Seawright
Here's a picture of me taking the prior picture

Although Annie lost her title.  It didn't faze her and she showed exemplary class by partying with the winner
And the 3rd place dude is 
My dumbass. Nobody cares lets get on to the winner so the band can play and mosh pit can begin.

It's a tie for first (sounds rigged)
Between Chris Brown and some other Chris

Congrats Dude.  My day will come!
Ex mayor in the center holding up the Declaration of Independence. That former mayor also tried to make Hermosa a topless beach  (I love that Dude)
I could'nt resist the temptation.

Trying to slam dance through the mosh pit drunk while drinking a beer in one hand and filming it with the other is areally dumb thing to do, but somebody's got to do it.
By noon the recycling vultures swooped in cleaned up the mess and their was no trace that the Ironman had ever happened. Some money was raised for a good cause. I saw no fights a ton of smiles and whole lot of puke.

This was my 4th consecutive Ironman It was also the 4th time in about 6 years I have been on surfboard.  So far I have finished 7th, 2nd, 4th and  now 3rd.

FSM Bless America

What's next?

Today I'm headed to the Stone Brewery then some Golf followed by some Angel Baseball
(life is Tuff)

I'm headed out to Badwater on Friday I'm hoping my runner will do a double and that I can crew him on the way back as well.  I plan on doing the whole thing in my Luna sandal's and would love to get in at least 100 miles of pacing.

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