Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bare Burro 5k My first Naked Win

Straight out of High School and before Junior college I went to school to become a massage therapist.  While I was interning I had the opportunity to go  to Olive Dell ranch (nudist resort) to  give out  free massages during National Nude Weekend.  

Sure why not.

I even lined up a cute girl to head out there with me but at the last second she chickened out (Oh Well).  My buddies girlfriend wanted to go (awkward) but he cool with it. (so was I) We had a great time,  I think I only gave one massage (thats what happens when your working tips) and spent the rest of the trip enjoying the specticle of humanity.

That was my first and last foray into the world of nudism 
(other than the occasional skinny dip in the Pacific or streak around the block)
People come in all shapes and sizes and no place is that more evident than at a nudist resort.
(we are all animals)

Fast forward to last summer.  While trolling through some Barefoot forum on the Runners World website I came across a link to a website that contained a list of all the nude races across the country. Obviously it was the natural next progression of my career as a runner.  The only race within 500 miles of me just happened to take place at the Olive Dell Ranch.

I did not want to miss this opportunity.

I could have preregistered but just in case something happened at  ragnar I held off.

Race day sign ups started at 8:00 a.m. The the actual race began at 10:30 a.m.  I woke up early in the morning the weather perfect and I made the 90 mile drive to Colton C.A. (Near Riverside) and arrived by about 8:05.  

I think I was the first non regular to show up.  I parked my car off in the boonies and was not sure if I should strip down or if I should wait?. 
I decided to stroll up to registration in my board shorts with my backpack on carrying my sandals and a towel.
As I was signing up I noticed some chick painting numbers of people's right thighs.  
(Nowhere to pin a bib.)
Time to get Naked I thought.
I stripped down to my birthday suit and next thing I knew I had a naked lady bent down in front of me painting my number on.
(If only every Sunday could be so glorious)

I still had about an hour and half to kill before the race.  The sun was shining bright and parts of my body were feeling it's rays for the very first time.  I started to lather up with sun screen. ( it felt a little odd touching my junk in public but I really did not want to get burnt.)  The paint was still wet on my leg which kept me from putting any protection on the top of my thigh.  I thought I would later but I forgot. 
 (more on that at the end of this post)

People were starting to show up and I began to size up the competition.
 (Not like that)
Get your mind out of the gutter!
I wasn't there to sword fight. I was there to run.

About 100 or so people showed up to run and about 15 to 20 looked like they could give me some competition. Astoundingly out of this small group of people about 12 of them had also just run in the Ragnar relay.

I recognized one dude from some ultra races and then minutes before the race started up strolled my buddy Eric Clifton , one of Southern California's best Ultra runners and former winner of Badwater. He had just come from Ragnar as well.

I hadn't really planned on running into anyone I knew at this race. For about 30 seconds it was awkward talking to my naked friend but life's way to short to worry things like that and it was nice to have someone I knew there.

As for the ladies in the race. There were lots of lovely human beings,  some lovely than others ;) .  The presence of even just one beautiful naked woman can bring inner peace to so many. 
 (probably pretty therapeutic for my health as well)
In no way was their any kind of sexual vibe going around.  But that's not to say I wasn't walking around with a smile on my face.

The Olive Dell Ranch owns a 126 acres of land

The course took place on an old burro trail created by  herds of wild  burrows, descendent's on mining animals long ago. 
The terrain was pretty much 1.55 miles straight up a few steep hills and then back on gravel filled trails with a  single back trails on the steeper parts of the course.  

I had wanted to run barefoot but my legs were pretty fatigued and the course was somewhat technical.  Because I was tired my reaction time to adjust my weight if I stepped on something uncomfortable would be much slower.  I decided the smart move would be to lace up my Luna Sandals figuring I'd have a greater chance regretting being barefoot than in Huaraches. For this race I wouldn't even wear a watch.

Can you find me?  I'll give you a clue I think I am the tannest and also the most butt white (literally) runner in the group.

I'm pretty comfortable being naked around others but that's when I have my own personal space.  The stating line was a little strange as we all corralled in tight like a package of hot dogs.  I couldn't wait for the air horn blow and I stormed out of the pack behind 2 other runners.

Running Naked felt good and I quickly found a rhythm as I ran out of the resort and to the hills in 2nd place.  I theorize that because I am a forefoot striker my twig and berries stay at that same pace as my feet. when I strike the ground my feet are directly below my torso resulting in very little floppage.

As for the the shoe wearing heel striker I cringe at the thought.  When the foot lands way in front of the body. a dudes dangling participles gain inertia,  they begin swing out of control in a pendulating motion. Eventually their nads dangle so far they may  slap the runner in the face.

Perhaps I had an unfair advantage running is huaraches.  What do you think of the new slogan for Luna sandals I just  came up with.
"Footwear for dudes that don't like nads slapping them in the face."
(I'm guessing thats a pretty big market)

my fans were everywhere :)
This is how I choose to remember it.

About a 1/2 mile in I took  the lead and there was no turning back.  I expected my legs to be more tired but they felt great.  I ran exhilarated by the freedom my nakedness.  By the time I got to the midway point (the highest point on the course) I had a 1 or 2 minute lead.  I ran smart and steady on the way back.  The return was pretty fun passing all the Naked people climbing the hill.  I think many of them were surprised that the dude in sandals was in lead.  It was just a 5k and the race was over in what felt like 5 minutes.  I crossed the finish line in first place a few minutes in front of second place establishing  a new course record by aout 4 minutes.
(only the 2nd year of the event)

My first win of the year.

Here I am Posing with one of the female winners. 
 Good thing I won an award.

The womans winner with her Husband

They were a really cool couple and both ran the race in Vff's they both ran the L.A. marathon and doing their 1st Ultra next month.  They recognized me from the Naked Tour event  that we both attended the week prior.
(Its a small world aint it?)

Pretty classy huh?
We were at a nudist resort, might as well document the day a ridiculous photo.

After the race they had a short awards ceremony.  They opened up the bar, I grabbed a beer and then went for a short hike.
This was one one of the hills we climbed during the race

View back down 
It was a tough path to navigate.

At places like this it's easy to go primal.
Is that Bigfoot?

I think this dude got stuck in quicksand during last years race

I was even lucky enough to come across a herd of wild burro's.  They were well aware of my presence, I was on their land and although I wanted to go say hi  I let them be.
I'd prefer the award to have some naked people but it is kind of cool that it has a foot in sandals. 

Everyone I met at the Olive Dell Ranch was really nice!  When you shed your clothes you get  rid of the pretentiousness that we all carry  (some more than others)     Everyone is defenseless.  And when you let your guard down  It's easier to embrace the kindness and positive energy that unites us.

I think I could of put that more eloquently but I hope you get may drift.

The whole day was a great experience and I think everyone could benefit from shedding their inhibitions once in awhile.  

I hope to do Bare to Breakers next year.

I said I'd come  back to this later
the only part of my body that got burnt
For the next week or so you can refer to me as #3

In 2012 I came back to defend my title 

Southern California Ragnar Relay 2011

A few months ago I got a call from my buddy Mr. Burke asking if I wanted to run in the Ragnar relay.
I had never heard of it. Hell I had never even pondered running in any type of relay event.  One of his friends was putting a team together and she wasn't sure if she could get enough people to run.  Christian was game and I thought I'd throw my name in the hat as well.
 (not really knowing what I was getting myself into)

Mickey's Winners

Our Capitan was Denise Winner a real spunky Manhattan beach mom who once a top Ultrarunner in Chicago.  Her and her father Mickey had wanted to do this race together.  Sadly he passed away too soon and we ran the race in his honor.
thus our team name.

Over the next 8 weeks our team was assembled and we exchanged a ridiculous amount of emails. (I stubbornly ignored most of them)  Most ragnar teams are either 6 people called and Ultra, or have 12 people.  Our team had 10?  3 ladies 7 dudes.  It turns out out that the Anchor of our team would be none other than my best friend (inside joke) Dan Westergaard.

Well our  Captain  was pretty anal about making sure everything was well organized (love ya Denise) On April 1st I was talking to Mr. Burke on the phone.  He was planning on sending Denise an email claiming he busted  his toes on a curb and would be off the team. (How Cruel).  The little bastard in me also sent her an email saying I too busted my toes and could not run.  Denise was freaking out and it wasn't until I sent her a 3rd email saying that Dan had also busted his toes that she realized it was an April fools day joke.  I wasn't sure If I should be playing tricks on a lady I had never met but Denise was a good sport and I think it brought a little laid back unity to the team.

In an effort to help endear myself to our captain I told her I would run any distance during the race it didn't matter how long or how short, I wouldn't complain.  I think this got me back on good terms

The Course

Huntington Beach to Coronado

Vangina members - Juan

The night before the race we met over at our Captain's house to get acquainted in person and have some grub.
 It turns out  I would be riding in Van 2 with  the 3 girls, otherwise known as Vangina (a name we stole from another team.) The van consisted of myself (the dumbass),  Denise (our Captain) Megan (the Teacher) Barb (our rock) and Juan ( the Mayor / Villaraigosa )

Van TestosterOne
Consisted of Dan Westergaard (Mr.poof) Christian Burke (Creepy mouse You'll see later) Gordan (the hippie) Thomas (the Doctor) and Michael (the Attorney)

While TestosterOne had to be out in Huntington to start the race at 6:45 a.m. Friday morning. Vangina didn't have to be at the van exchange until around 10:30 a.m.

So this is Ragnar

We got there pretty early, avoided the long line and were were ready to rock N' roll.

The usual attire

Luna sandals and cep sleeves on my calves

I was first up for Vangina.

Me trying to spot my teammate who I have never seen before.
(Kind of pointless Huh)

Ragnar has a staggered start.  Usually the slower teams begin the the race first.  Starting at 6:30 in the morning teams were sent out 10 to 20 at a time until well in the afternoon.  I believe there were close to 500 teams in this race.

Eventually my team mate Thomas came in.  He was the 10th person to do so and slapped me with the bracelet (instead of a baton)

I really don't get out much to go running but low and behold my first leg happened to be on a trail I had ran before but in the opposite direction. It was part of the
100 mile Club endurance course.

 I look like I went shopping during my run

My first leg was pretty damn easy, I had wanted to run at about a 6:30 pace but there was a stiff head wind and I averaged maybe 6:40. I passed 9 runners and there was only one team left in front of us

I slapped the bracelet on to Barb and she was off to run a 5 mile uphill leg While the sun beat down on her.  My buddy Christian decided to join Vangina for the next 5 legs.

Barb grinded through her miles as we did our best to cheer her on.

Why we let him in our van I don't know.  I think Christian got bit by some radioactive mouse along the way.

Juan was next.  He was so fast I could only get pictures of his back.  During his stretch we took the lead a position we would hold for most of the race.

Go Juan!
Megan was next.

I think she wore black on this hot day to intimidate the competition with her toughness.

 Our Captain

Denise kicked but in her leg but was passed by some yoked out marine dude.

Christian ran leg 12

within minutes we passed the Marines and were back in the lead.  However he ran too fast.  If we finished leg 12 before a certain time we would held for 2 hours. (maybe we should have read the rules).  Christian arrived at the check point 20 minutes early.  Instead of  crossing the line and being corralled  he waited the 20 minutes before taking his final step.

It was about 5 p.m. by now and it was time for Vangina to go get some lunch.  We ended up at some place in Lake Elsinore.  I had a vegi burrito, it was happy hour and they had Stone Ale on the menu (YES PLEASE) but the were sold (THOSE BASTARDS)

After dinner we caught up with TestosterOne and dropped off Mr. Burke

My second leg

For my night leg I slipped on my kilt and slipped off my shorts.  I figured some free balling would be good practice for my nudist run planned for Sunday and if the kilt blew up who cares I'm running down  some highway in the middle of the night

After about 3 miles my support van drove by.  They asked
 "Hows it hanging."
My Reply

"Down to my knees."

Running at night is always fun and the brisk air flow kept me fast.

Everyone in Vangina ran good through the night.  Nobody got lost and the next team behind us was nowhere to be seen.

We decided to drive up to the next major exchange just passed Torry Pines where we could get some sleep    at about 2:30 a.m.   We were not allowed to start are next leg till 5:30 but really didn't expect are team until 6:30.  I was running the next leg so I had to make sure I was ready in time.  I made myself as comfortable as possible in the front seat of a mini van (seat reclined and feet up on the windshield).  After a nice 2hour nap I felt pretty good.

I was pretty much ready by about 6 a.m as. I was walking over to the aid station to grab a cup of coffee., All of sudden Thomas came striding into the exchange (shit). I quickly filled my water bottle sprinted to the exchange and was out on the course carrying 3 bananas an orange and trail mix bar without losing even a second.

La Jolla

My legs were a little tired but I was running well.  for the first 3 or 4 miles I was running on the course for La Jolla 1/2 marathon that was happening the following day. 6,000 people would running on these streets in a little over 24 hours but for now it was only me.

As the sun rose I cam down this beautiful botanical trail to the Coast line.  I was at the end of a cove Looking back at the city of La Jolla as the sun crested the horizon over the beach community.  The site was breath taking. 

I snapped this photo near the beach in La Jolla after my leg

 It was the most spectacular   Sunrise I have ever seen.  I really lucked out getting to run this stretch of the course.  The coastline was majestic and I felt serene. During the next mile I passed about 50 seal ions barking up a storm, of course I barked  back at the top of my lungs.
Eventually my path took me away from the coast and into town I had ran pretty strong but some of the elite teams that started much later in the day were right on our tail.

Barb was next and I wasn't sure if she could hold on to our 1/2 mile or so lead. 

When I got back to the van.  We decided to change up our running order.  Juan's knee was bugging him, his leg was next, it was 8.3 miles and we decided it would be best if I ran it instead and he took a shorter one.

It turns out Barb got lost on the course but quickly found her way.  She was pissed at herself and was running with passion.  We wanted to cheer her up but maybe that could wait till after her run, because she was hauling ass and easily held onto our position in the lead. 

Back on the course less than an hour after my last leg.

My muscles were tight but I knew this was the last of my running I would be doing at Ragnar and was ready to give it my all.  I left the exchange flying like a cat dropped in water.
I was ready to distance myself from field.  

At Ragnar you are given a map and told to study it before your leg.  At every turn their are small signs indicated what to do.  Sometimes it can be miles in between signs and if you miss one you are screwed.  It's easy to second guess whether you are on course or not.  So far through out the race I had been very lucky and found my path with ease.  This brought on a false sense of security.  About a 1.5 miles into this leg I hit a dead end with an option to turn without a sign posted.  (doh) I didn't want to but I turned.  I ran like Pee Wee Herman searching for his bike, desperately seeking a ragnar sign.   I was lost and had no clue which way to go.  I'm not sure if I missed a sign, there was no sign, a sign got moved or fell, or I'm just restarted.  (probably retardation) But I claim that I was so fast I beat the beat the sign placer.  

What now?

Well I'm not totally retarded, early in the race I wrote down our team captains phone number on a small piece of paper an stuck it in my pocket.  Feeling like a lost kid at Disneyland I flagged down an Adult borrowed her phone and got back in communication with Vangina. "You're Where." "How'd you get there? they asked  "Yeah Yeah Yeah,  I have no freaking clue."  After some vague directions I sprinted back the opposite way.  About 10 minutes later.  My team flagged me down and I was back on course after running about 1.5 out of the way.

For the next few miles Vangina stayed right at my side making sure I found my turns.  At one point a team behind us came out of nowhere from off the course and joined in on the race.  They too had missed a sign but instead of running extra this allowed them to cut a few miles off the course.  The dude was nice but I was I wasn't looking for a running buddy and I quickly ditched him during a long climb.

I kept running hard I was tired,  I figured at least one team had passed me while I got lost and wanted to get back in front.  Vangina was now gone when I came across a sign that said "Run on the Grass?" There was was no grass to run on but a small running path near by!  At this time another support vehicle was driving by and they told me that the path was where I should be.  Well after about a mile the path turned right and the street stayed straight. (Hmmm) I passed a walker on the path and asked if I continued would I meet up back with the street. She said  "yes" but she was wrong.  I doubled back adding at least another 1/2 mile to my run, by now I was frustrated and wanted to be done.  

I kept running through some harbor and saw some pretty cool boats including "The Black Pearl" (from Pirates of the Caribbean) a big old Cruise ship and a submarine.  The boardwalk was pretty packed but somehow I found my way to the 1 mile left to go sign.  I charged hard for what seemed like 2 miles (gps was dead) and came to a fork in the road.  I chose what I thought was the logical path (wrong again) and veered left when I should have gone right with just a few steps left to go.  Lucky for me the exchange point was only a few hundred yards away I heard some screams off in the distance beckoning  for me to come their way.  I made it too the exchange just as they sent a volunteer out to mark the turn I had missed.
I was done running at Ragnar and it was time to root on my team for the final 3 legs.

Sign along the way
Sorry Dude the sign told me not to.

Juan took off on the next leg and although his knee was hurting he toughed it up and ran his stretch admirably.

Next up was Megan.  She had seen the mishaps I had run into and decided to run with a map and her Iphone in case she got lost. We hat only 11 miles left in the race Megan had a 4 mile stretch before our captain Denise would bring us home.

 Lumberjacks were right on our heels.

At this point TestosterOne joined Vangina along Megan's stretch. I drove in Vangina to the next checkpoint to get Denise ready to run (she had the jitters) while TestosterOne waited at the 3 mile mark to give Megan support but she never showed up (uh-oh). Eventually we got a call from Megan. She had missed a turn and was miles off course.  TestosterOne and Christian Burke found our lost runner and got her back on course.  What was supposed to be a 4 mile run ended up being closer to 10.
(Such is Ragnar)

We were proud of Megan, she was delirious with exhaustion she didn't give up and persevered her way to the exchange.

Only 1 leg to go
And it's Sponsored By Stone

Denise was running fast and we couldn't wait to join her at the finish line.

The home stretch

Good job Denise your Father would be proud! 

By the way that loud ass noise is a little toy I bought for $1.50 from big lots called a  Mega Blast. everybody should own one.

We came through the finish line at the beach as a team.  Everyone was in great mood and it was real cool moment to be apart of.
(and that was before I noticed the cute girls in Bikini's lying just step s away)

There's only one thing that could have made that moment any better?

Free Beer

Every runner was entitled to one free beer courtesy of the Stone Brewing Company (one of my sponsors)
Never has a Beer tasted so good.
(I have a short term memory)
I'll probably be uttering those same words tomorrow when I'm at the Brewery.

All in all it was areal fun race and I would definitely do it again. I ended up running around 35 miles and my body felt pretty good. 
Thank you to my team for running hard and for putting up with my Shenanigans.
and a special thanks to our Captain
for bringing us all together.

The Good

1. We had a pretty cohesive team everyone was mellow and we worked together well

2. We were always on time to our next stops.

3. we got 2.5 hours of sleep which was plenty.

4.  Everyone ran their miles well and nobody complained about their duties.

5. I thought our mini van would be cramped but it was fine.

6.  The mega blast toy, brought me a lot of joy.

7. I carried water which made things much easier for myself and my team.


1. We started to early which contributed to a manditory break, lack of teams to follow in case we were lost and not as much commrodery with others because no teams were around us.

2. We did not study our maps well enough.

3. We should of always ran with a cell phone.

4. A mounted gps for the van with all exchanges programed in ahead of time would be a great idea.

5.  Team member not carrying water who got thirsty on the course made a dumb decision.


Dude the metal we got is a bottle opener. Sweet!

Shortly after the race the race we piled into our vans and headed back L.A. I had another Race planned for the next day and needed to get some rest

While teams pretended to be naked at Ragnar.  I'd be running in the buff for real

The Bare Burro 5k
The Olive Dell Nudist Resort
Race report coming soon.