Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Santa Monica Mountains 50k 2011

Last Wednesday I was thinking ouloud via Facebook.  My body felt decent.  I had no plans for the weekend and wanted to find a race to run in.  I put the word inquiring to see if their was anything local under 40 miles and less than $50.  
I did really think much ofit at the time, maybe I'd be ruinning a 5 or 10k.  
With my friends I should have known better!

My friend's Vanessa and Shacky Whom I had just spent the prior weekend with at Doughnut race were running a Pacific Coast Trail Run in  the Santa Monica Mountains.  They had both garnered entry from friends who couldn't make it.  Vanessa offered to be my sponsor for the event.
I wasn't looking for a hand out but I also don't believe is saying no to a free lunch.
I checked the weather for Saturday and It looked like a perfect day for a race.
I had ran the course before back in 2007 it was my second Ultra ever and I had a great time..

Late Thursday night
 I was checking the race website for driving directions only to find out the the event was on Sunday not Saturday.  (doh) Also that same night my friend asked me if I had ever ran a beer mile? 
I was ashamed to answer No. since the race was 2 days away there would be no harm in having a little fun Friday morning

My first attempt at the beer mile 4 Stone ales 4 Laps.  Piece of cake!

The extra day also gave Mother nature more time fill her bladder.
(i think she may have drank a few Stone ales herself)

Sunday the forecast 100% Chance of Rain! (damn) 
Yet on the drive up highway one cruising through Malibu I witnessed a pretty awesome sunrise. It's hard to take a picture and also a stupid thing to do while driving!  The question is did the RV ruin the shot or is it what makes it Awesome.  Clark Grizzwald would be proud to drive such a vehicle.

That was the only sunshine I saw all day.  The farther North up the coast I drove the darker the clouds would become.  Yet in the midst of this glomy race day Apocalypse.  I found myself headed straight to the heart of fading rainbow.
Minutes before I parked the skies began to pee. 

I had brought with me 3 different pairs of Luna Sandals along with me along with my sketchers and a pair of Vff' Kso Treks.  Which i had not run in since Mt Dissapoinment 2010.  I could survive a little rain in Luna's but the course was covered in mud and the rain was to be relentless they might not be my best option.

Among the first people I saw when I arrived were Vanessa and Shacky

Why are you guys looking at me so funny?

Earlier in the week Vanessa asked her friends what she should have her sponsored athlete wear for the race?
Suggestions ranged from Borat's swimsuit to a Deep sea diving helmet. 

I think I got off relatively easy?

Vanessa brought me a Glam runner Tutu, well she brought 2 one green 
and one pink but really, what kind of loser wears a green tutu? I know you may find this hard to believe but I had never worn a tutu before, unlike the other males in my family (should I be proud or ashamed to admit this?)
However, I got a long way TuTu go before I reach the legendary Badwater status of this Dude.
Aint gonna happen?
(well probally not.)

I guess its time to Race?

When we lined up at the starting a few cute girls asked to have there picture taken with me.
Maybe I like this tutu?
Last week the guy who beat me wore one, perhaps it will make me faster.
(yeah right)
The funny thing is I felt more uncomfortable wearing a shirt and stupid vibrams on my feet.

On your Marks, Get Set,  GO!
Out of the gates did I jump out in front?  Not even close about 5 dudes jumped out at about 8 minute pace up the first 3 mile climb.

It had been along time since I had worn shoes on my feet and the vibrams felt pretty awkward.  The rain was coming down pretty steady but this first part of the course had yet to show it's saturation. Did I make the right decision not to wear sandals?  

After the first 30 mins of racing I could still see the leader and figured I was about 3 minutes back.  This did not bode well for me to be  in contention on this day. I was running apprehensively.  My amplitude as a trail runner is pretty low.  I only do it a handful times a year and lack the confidence that comes with experience..  I am capable of doing well if the situations are right but on this day.I was more concerned about falling over than going fast.
My feet were a little banged up with blood blisters from the last week's barefoot race  I could feel each time I pushed off on my forefoot.  It wasn't causing me too much grief but  forced subtle changes in my stride.

A lot of the trail was single track and My tutu gave me somewhat of a Ghetto Booty.  I kept getting  fondled by shrubbery as trail  reach out for a few cheap thrills at my expense.  I thought about ditching the Tutu after the first 8 miles but I was man enough to keep my skirt on.
By the end of the loop I realized the vibrams were the right decision. by now the course was starting to fall apart.  The weather sucked but it was kind of fun at this point skipping around in the mud.  

I carrying 2 water bottles and had only drank a few sips.  I upgraded one of them  to a bottle filled coconut water from my drop bag.  At which point I decided to ditch my rain soaked shirt for the rest of the race.
  (weather was in the low 50's)

Up the climb on lap 2 I passed a ton of runners from one of the other races going on .  They were all on their decent and I got a ton of smiles along the way. Everyone was super nice and positive and I did my best to return the favor with some encouraging compliments to each of them.

Not too sandal friendly
The course was getting ugly.  On parts that should be a sub six minute mile going downhill I my pace was closer to ten.  I still felt good during the climbs but downhill I had nothing.

Third loop (a repeat of the first) 
For some dumb reason I was carrying a full water bottle that I did not drink from thus far in the race. (That's kind of Stupid!) I decided carrying too bottles was unnecessary and went off with just that one  It turns out when I was cleaning it the night before I forgot to wash the soap out.  Delicious it was not.
By this point the body wasn't feeling that great.  The changes in my stride were causing some top of the foot pain.  I got I grouchy and even walked a little bit of the uphill. (lazy bastard)  Quickly I realized it was warmer if I ran so sucked it up and finished the loop. I got out my funk when I saw some friends going the opposite direction, once again the dumbass in the tutu made someone else smile which intern made him smile and everyone lived happily ever after.

Well not quite yet I still 9k left to go.

Congrats Birthday Boy Chris Price had just won the race in an amazing time of 4:12.

I still had to run theFinal loop 4.5k straight up and back down. I ditched the soapy water and decided to  haul ass up the hill and get this thing over with.  On the way up I was passed by my buddy Dom (the Ac100 winner) He looked great and I was proud of the dude, he works hard and does it with a positive attitude  which I totally respect. 

A this point I was in 5th place and I didn't really want anyone to pass me.  I held on the entire way up. At about mile 29 I hit an embedded rock and went flying.  If you hit right part of trail you could have lot of fun sliding in the mud. (all I hit were rocks).  I only had a few miles left and they were downhill I ran them the best I could and maintained  my position.

Perhaps an even scarier site than seeing Bigfoot come out of the forest
Tired, cold, bloody, with a mud soaked tutu
I finished the race with a smile 

Why did myself and  a bunch of other crazy people go through such an ordeal you ask ?
For a freaking coaster!
Are Ultra Runners tough?  YES 
Are Ultra Runners smart?  That's up to you to decide.

By the way that coaster is from the first time I ran this race back 2007 I have used nearly everyday since for my morning coffee.

After the race I met up with Vanessa and Shacky.  They were both pretty stoked I had finished the race Ballerina style.

Thank you guys for your support and thank you all the volunteers and to everyone who gave me a smile out on the course.

I hobbled over to my car which was a bit sumberged in water and got the hell out of there
(sorry I'm getting board writing this report)
When I got home about an hour and half laterblood was still flowing from knee. It was time to lick my wounds fill my belly and inebriate the pain.
After some warm food Hot sake and some Stone ale.

Artists rendition of me carrying my sponsor Vanessa seconds after crossing the finish line.

Life is good.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Krispy Kreme Challange West 2011

Run two miles.  Eat one dozen Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.  Then run two more miles.

All  week long I dreamt of doughnut's.  It had been over 18 months since I last had one.  On that ocasion we made grilled Krispy Kreme bacon cheeseburgers and chicken sandwiches,  by slicing the doughnut  down the center and grilling it on the frying pan before using it as a bun .  After eating a  Krispy Kreme bacon cheseburger plain a  Krispy Kreme bacon chesee burger with all fixings and a  Krispy Kreme chicken sandwich I wasn't full. There was room for one last sandwich! At some point long after midnight I decided to simplify things,  still using a grilled Krispy Kreme bun  I added six strips of mouth watering bacon and nothing else.
*  Hallelujah  *
It was one of the greatest things I had ever eaten.
(tangent time)
I don't really miss doughnuts all that much but I do miss bacon.  Now that I eat a vegan diet my relationship with bacon has gone astray.  Bacon represents some hot exgirlfriend that I am still in love with whom has gone on and married my best friend. Forbidding me from her succulent goodness ever again.
(to stray away from anything pertinent even farther)
The Mc'Rib Is kind of like a regrettable one night stand.  You wonder what the hell you were thinking.  The Mr Rib disappear's And then some some how, some day it's back?  Although you already no it's realty not gonna be that great the temptation still remains.

Back to reality.

 The Krispy Kreme franchise did not come to Los Angeles until long after I had given up having the munchies.  I have always been a glutton and I deffinetly have a sweet tooth.
 Surely a mere dozen doughnuts would be no problem right?.
It's just 2,400 Calories!
(That's not even half a days worth when training hard)

I would have to temporarily give up my laurels on eating a Vegan diet, but in the spirit of competition  I would make the sacrifice.
The cow pus lactated into the milk used in each doughnut probably wasn't more than a drop or two, Right?

I found out about this event two years ago and was realy dissapointed to not able to participate in it.  Last year I completely forgot about it until pictures showed upon on facebook.  I did not want to miss out on the fun this year.  Lucky for me I was too lazy, poor, and banged up to run in the Javelina Jundred held on the same day.  Might as well head down to San Diego and eat some Doughnuts.  And If I wanted to go out and pace at Javelina that night I could drive out to AZ after the race.
(my car would be packed just in case)

Well if I'm heading down to San Diego I must stop by the Stone Brewery, and if I'm heading by the Stone Brewery I might as well play some Disc golf along the way. I decided to drive down south the Friday before the event and have a little fun.

First stop Goathill, my buddy Jeff was supposed to meet their at 10 but he had over slept so I got an extra 90 minutes to practice my putting (losing whatever false sense of confidence I had brought with me). I did however nail this birdie putt on the 17th a 796' par 4.  I through a crushing 550' roller that left me with an easy thumber up shot and about 30 feet left to the basket.

I was running late and got to Stone about 2 hours after  I planned to arrive. The place was a zoo and they had about 30 people in line at their Store.

Plans of filling a growler of Old Guardian and schmoozing with the staff were out the window,  the sun was setting fast, this line was gonna take forever and I wanted to get another round of golf in..

I filled my trunk of with beer and headed down to  Kit Carson Park in Escondido.  I didn't have much time to spare and I ended up finishing my round in pitch darkness.

My friends  Shacky and Vannesa were both competing in the Krispy Kreme Challenge and offered to let couch surf at their house in San Diego. It was great to see Shacky again and I finally got to meet Vanessa whom had been an online friend for the past year.  After a few hands on Monopoly deal and a couple 22's of Arrogant Bastard. We all called it a night at a pretty early hour.

Shacky and Vanessa I had both signed up for the Doughnut Man Division.  Instead of running 4 miles and eating 1 dozen doughnuts.  They would have to run 6 miles and eat 2 dozen doughnuts.  I had thought about this option but seeing as only one person accomplished this feat last year.  I  wanted to go up against stiffer competition.  I was serious about this event and was there to win, if I could..

The weather forecast predicted rain the morning  of the race.  Some people may never think it rains in San Diego.  I however have been cursed and knew it was inevitable.  Of the last 20 trips I have made it down there it has probably rained 15 times.  I am cold blooded and also I sun worshiper I dig rain about once a year. These were not ideal conditions.
I wasn't sure what the terrain of the course would be like.  I had brought a couple pairs of Luna's with me and also my sketchers Go-Run's. If the rain was coming down during the race or if the course was saturated with puddles I would be sacrificing time by wearing sandals. If the course was rocky it may be uncomfortable for bare feet.  As for the sketchers although I had packed them with me the idea of wearing shoes seemed a bit extreme.

If it were raining I would go barefoot and tough it out.
Sure enough when I woke up the next morning  and the weather sucked.
Race Number on Barf Bag
I dig it!
The hole vibe of the race was pretty cool. It wasn't all about having stupid fun, it was also a toy drive for needy children, of which I brought a bag full.
 (toys not children)

Scouting the course before the race. I noticed that much of the terrain was flooded and there was also an area of thick mud.  Both would bode well for going barefoot.  However most of the course was was on asphalt with  countless rocks washed up upon it from the storm.  This could  be a problem?
Shacky and I
Minutes before the race was about to start.

Vanessa and Shacky 

Let's Race
Photo by Ana Valle
When we lined up the competition looked pretty damn fast.  I lined up next to a dude wearing a diaper  it turns out he was the defending champ I didn't want be starring as his soiled pampers the whole race. My plan was the same as usual take early lead run like Pat out of hell and deal with consequences later.
Photo by Ana Valle
I went out pretty fast.

Photo by Ana Valle
 Although the terrain was not ideal for barefoot running. I didn't feel a single rock.  
My pace was right where I wanted it to be  finishing my first mile in 5:17.  I was at about 90% max speed and diaper dude was right on my ass the whole way.  The laps were tracking a little bit short and I got into the doughnut coral in 9:30 about 5 seconds in front of second place and another 5 in front of third.
It was now a three person race between myself,  Diaper dude and some dude wearing a Tutu.  Running wise were all pretty close.  

It was anyone's race to win at this point.
It would most likely come down to who could finish their donuts first.
What did I get myself into?

I had looked forward to this section of the race thinking I would enjoy the first few doughnuts before hitting a wall.  My  plan was to flatten the doughnuts and stack them like pancakes.

When I got into the coral I sat my box down and started work on my first doughnut.  Maybe the first bite was enjoyable but that was about it.  The mindset I had gone in with was completely wrong.  This was work not play! Mind over matter I thought. It was  no  "cake walk",  This was a 
 "Doughnut Run!"

I ate my first 2 doughnuts way slower than expected, eating them one by one.   I looked over my shoulder at diaper dude and he was already on doughnut 4 and  then to the left of him tutu guy had been already finished 4 and had 4 more smashed and stacked in his hand.  

Why wasn't I stacking my doughnuts? I had to get my ass in gear.  My box still looked nearly full while Tutu guy's was nearly empty.  I immediately grabbed 4 doughnuts flattened them on top each other. (to make my box appear more empty).  About a minute later Tutu guy was done with his second stack (unbelievable!) he had his remaining four donuts in his hand and his box was empty.  I was barely half way done with doughnuts 5-8, this guy guy was in whole nother league! I grabbed my remaining 5 doughnuts flattened them down the best I could and the added the 4 half doughnuts still in my hand
 It was the size of a 4 by 4 from In and Out
Packing 1,400 calories of fat and sugar

My box was now the only other one that was empty but I was way behind.   I wasn't even halfway through my stack when the crowd erupted. Tutu guy was done and out on the course. (before some people even finished their first 2 miles).  The times on the official results say he finished his doughnuts in 4min 38 seconds but he may have been up to 30 seconds faster according to my clock.

If I could focus and just get these damn doughnuts down perhaps I could make up some time during the run.  I did the best I could.  Nobody else was close to finishing and maybe I could make a stellar comeback?  Once I got my mental game down the final few doughnuts were surprisingly easier than the first.

The dude working the coral exit turned out to be one of my Ultra running friends Tracey Moore after 6 minutes 45 seconds of eating I told him I was done and I was off and running.  I looked at my watch and had over 2 minutes to make up.  It was nice to be running again.  The rain was still falling but at the present time it wasn't that heavy.  Surprisingly the doughnuts didn't seem to affect my ability to run, I was flying at sub 5:30 pace and it wasn't taking much effort. I felt like I was making up ground but how much?. Eventually I caught sight of  Tutu guy,  he was well over 1/4 mile ahead of me and his legs were also spinning fast.

At that point I knew I had been beat.  I didn't slow down and charged through the rest of the race the best I could.  The final 300 yards I sprinted through at a sub 5 min pace to a second place finish 1 minute and 50 seconds behind the winner and 2 minutes and 45 seconds in front of the third place finishing diaper dude.

I had done my best and was proud of my efforts.  I can deffinetly can  improve and I plan I doing so for next years event.

Photo by Ana Valle
I was getting cold in my Sports Kilt, it was now time to change into some warm clothes grab my umbrella, my camera and watch the rest of this fiasco unfold.

At the finish I was greeted by my friend Steve Mills the Race Director for the San Diego 100 and also a pretty awesome runner in his own rights.  All the volunteers were real nice and supportive which made for a great morning.

Congratulations Tutu Guy!
His running was quite impressive but his ability to get those doughnuts down was absolutely amazing.

Diaper Dude also ran a great race. The dude is no slouch.
(I'm glad he was running behind me )

The woman's winner cruised in about 12 minute's later 
But it came at a cost
What a waste
Photo by Ana Valle
 While her competition was still reeling. She had recovered with a beautiful smile.
How were my friends doing in the doughnut man division you ask?

Well when I walked up to Shacky and Vanessa while they were on their first dozen.  It had looked like Vanessa had thrown up in her doughnut box and was still eating out of it? I was a little grossed yet at the same time proud of her determination.  I didn't know what to say to someone who was eating their own vomit? I thought she may be emotional so I snuck away puzzled by the whole scene.

It turns out she had not thrown up (Alright) somehow she had come up with some ass backwards strategy of making doughnut goulash.  It didn't work! Both Shacky and Vanessa realized they they had bit off more than they could chew and dropped down into the single dozen event.

Shacky's finish
Vanessa's finish
The Doughnut coral looked more like a mud wrestling pit by the time we were done with it.
Sadly there were no girls in Bikini's to be found.
(Except for in my imagination)

Although the race was over for almost everyone a few elite athletes were still battling it out.

They say bird's of a feather flock together.
 In this case it was
Drunken Arrogant Bastards!
Congratulations Brian!  I'll be coming for you next year :)

Rhett and I
Also competing in the event was an old friend of mine from days playing professional disc golf. The ex President of the So Cal Disc Golf Association  Rhett Stroh. 
Good to see you buddy.

and then there was Iso Yucra.
 This is one tough dude! a few years ago he ran the Brazil 135  (through a rain rorrest) The Arrowhead 135 (through snow) and  Badwater (through the desert). He's areal nice humble guy and I though maybe if I take a picture with him some of that would rub off on me.

  The weather was cold but I had a bunch of clothes on except for my bare feet which were somewhat numb.  At one point I looked down and blood was oozing off of the side of my right foot. 
"Well that kind of sucks!" I thought.

The old adage "numb foot = dumb foot." was playing out to be true once again.  Lucky for me It wasn't a cut, rather apopped blood blister.  My feet felt fine  but I was in for some grief when they thawed out.
Eventually we went in the car the warm up.  As my feet thawed they were on sensory overload. I wanted to scream.  I tried to focus on Shacky's hula girl to distract me from the pain.
The race was now over for everybody but one man still remained Long after the title of doughnut man had been crowed this determined warrior dressed in a tuxedo shirt and top hat  became the third and final finisher of the elite division. 

By the time we were ready to leave
 I could barely walk without girting my teeth.  I new this pain was only temporary and in a day or two I'd be better. Heading out to Javelina to go pace seemed like a stupid idea.
We headed back to Shacky and Vanessa's place and although it was still well before noon that had changed into their pajama's less than 5 minutes after arriving.  It was the Perfect time to Enjoy a few Stone IPA's and get in a couple hands of Monopoly Deal.

Thank you guys for the Awesome hospitality!

Although I did not win I am optimistic that myself and others from the event will make it into next years calendar.
I think I make a pretty sexy Miss April.

As for my feet.  They were fine.  The next day it was good to be back home on the sand.

The first few steps were a little rough but the next 10 miles wore a big grin.

Life is Good!