Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Conquer the bridge 2011

Last year I got conquered and took 2nd place
(you can see me staggering in behind the winner)
but that was last year.
This time it would take a bullet to stop me
(more on this later)

Over half the goods consumed in the United States come through L.A harbor. Connecting San Pedro and Long Beach stands the Vincent Thomas bridge.  L.A's version of the Golden Gate closes one day year so that about 2,000  people can stampede over and back, taking in the view as they huff and puff cursing under their breath realizing the bridge is really one big hill.

I arived home from my persistant hunt (blog post coming soon) aroud 11p.m. the night before the race.  I did my best to get to bed  but I had been off the grid for a few days, one thing lead to another and by the time I shut my eyes it was well after 2 a.m. (On a normal routine I'm asleep by 11p.m.)

I have slept in own bed less than 10 times in the last month and even though my rest only lasted a few hours it sure felt good.
Up at 5:30 out of the house by 6:15 and in San Pedro with my car parked by 7:00a.m.
I had suffered a few cuts and scratches during the hunt but I was ready to run. I didn't feel especially fast but nothing really felt hurt or broken.
"You never know what your capable of  if you don't get off your ass and do something!"

Today I'll run across a stinking bridge.
Judging by the horrible heel strike running form of the guys on the banner I might have a chance to win.
Before the race I posed with the President of Sol-I.D. Tony Capozzola
In the real world Mr. Capozzola  plays the part of hard nosed big wig attorney.  But here at the bridge race he shows his soffter side promoting a product that can help save lives.I really dig Sol-I.D. and it's a product I am proud to endorse.

A couple minutes before the start i did a few short sprints. I still don't know what the hell I'm doing, I just do it  to look cool and intimidate the competition. (yeah right)   Like last year I would be running in my original Luna Sandals.

Nothing to it but to do it.

Well out the gates the dude who beat my last year jumped out in front along with a couple other fellow's.  I hung back with about 20 feet wondering how hard they were gonna push each other.  My legs were spinning decently  but once again my breathing did not feel quite right.
By the time we got to the bridge about .60 miles in I knew my chances of winning were slim.  The leaders were had about 60ft on me and I had settled into 5th place. As we started to climb the bridge I wanted to surge past the the third and forth positioned runners.  I was gasping for air and felt sharp chest pains in my right lung.

Tangent of lame Excuses
April of 2009 I fractured a few ribs during a fall at the Old Goats 50 miler and earlier this year at the Copper canyons I fell on the same spot. It felt like they had healed but I must have done something to re-aggravate them last month, probably in a drunken stupor defending the honor of a fair maiden.
(yeah that's my story and I'm sticking to it)
Anyway whenever I breath deep I can feel it and when I attempt to go fast it sucks.

Back to the Race

While I climbed the bridge (something I should be good at) I was passed by a couple of high school kids, one of them was from my Alma mater Mira Costa I had talked to him before the race, he was a nice kid but I didn't want  him to beat me. by the time I hit the crest I was in 7th place and the 2 kids were about 100 feet in front of me.
Hmm what would the Flying Spaghetti Monster do?

"Come on Pat, get it together!  the race is only gonna last about 30 minutes. Run damn it."

On the downhill I opened up my stride and passed the 2 kids by the time we made the turn around .
(back into 5th place)

Time to climb back up the bridge.  Although my breathing felt like crap I began to enjoy myself on the return trip.  Most of the runners were still on the other side of the road doing the the 1st half of the race.
As I passed them going the opposite direction I got a ton of cheers!  More than one person I didn't know screamed "Go Pat Go" and another 20 or so people yelled out my name as trudged along.
Stuff like that really means a lot to me and  I would like to thank everyone for their positive chutzpah.
(It really made my day).

The race wasn't over the third and forth place runners were still in reach, they were with in about 1/4 mile and I still had 2 miles to run.  I pushed hard and caught the forth place dude just as we got off the bridge.  Unfortunately I used what little I had left to catch him and could not hold onto that pace the last half mile.

Congrats to the winner

Not this guy,  he's just some crazy dude (with a really cool turkey hat) whom I bet will be wearing Luna Sandals next year.

Everyone was eager to check the results to see where I finished

Myself the race director/friend Micheal Hogue and the winner some triathlete dude that turned out to be a pretty cool guy.

Once my adrenaline wore down I realized I was bleeding? My boobs aren't that saggy for it to come from nipple? Did I get shot? That would help explain why my breathing was all messed up and make a pretty good excuse for finishing 5th.  I'm guessing the bullet just grazed my side, didn't even put a hole in my shirt.
It could off been that or a tiny cut I suffered a few day prior opened  up, but who really knows?
(conspiracy theorists will most likely speculate what really happened for years to come.)

Lucky bastards got to run shirtless

I saw some familiar faces at the finish line including my little buddy Alex Mendoza.  Both these dude's run in Luna sandals on regular basis but they wore shoes for this race.
(That's the only reason I was able to beat them)

My buddy Emil and I
Q and I
I meandered for a little while after the race, picked up my medal for 2nd place in my age division (whoopidee doo) As I mingled with the crowd checking out there footwear I saw about 30 people in Vibrams and 3 in Lunas, up from about 2 in Vibrams 2010 and zero in Lunas. A lot of people asked about my sandals and were pretty enthusiastic when I told them how to get their own pair. I expect to see a lot more people wearing Huaraches next year. 

Everyone seemed pretty happy and the race was a huge success.   
Although I would have preferred a better outcome my spirits were high.  I headed out of there with a smile on my face off to play disc golf and then had great soft sand run that evening before passing out just as the sun set.

Thank you to Michael Hogue the race director for putting on a top notch event.  Conquer the Bridge is a unique race that I would recommend to everyone.  It will be marked on my calendar for next year.
that may be kind of pointless as I sit here typing I just glanced over my shoulder at my Sponge Bob calendar and its still on June
"sa la vie"

What month is it anyway?
Who cares!
 I'm going to the beach for a run!

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