Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Wet and Wild 5k. Another win for Luna sandals

Every once in awhile I get in one of those moods where I want to race every weekend no matter what distance or what type of event it is.  Right now is one of those times.

After last weeks win at the beach I was thumbing through one of those freebie local running magazines and came across an ad for the Wet and Wild 5k which was taking place the following weekend at Knott's Berry Farm and it's adjoining water Park Soak city.  Where you must finish the race by running 1/3 of a mile through waste high water in their lazy river.
How could I resist?
Really horrible T.V. commercial I saw way too many times between my after school cartoons during the 80's
Stupid trivia:
In case you didn't know Knott's berry farm is an amusement park in SoCal with Snoopy as their mascot and there are no berries growing there anymore although back in the day it was the first farm to successfully cultivate the boysenberry.

For years I have going to the gym pretty much for the Sauna only!  Each day I stare out the window and often times I see my favorite Iranian HypnotherapisParvrese running laps in the pool.  He has had a debilitating spinal condition that would keep him bound to a wheel chair if it weren't for his daily water run  he has done for the last 20 years.
He's a real interesting dude and every once in awhile I'll join him in the pool for a few laps and full of bizarre conversations.
The Wednesday Thursday and Friday before after doing my Hermosa 24 soft sand training runs I headed over to the gym to run in the pool and put in about .5 miles each time running back in
forth trying to get feel for how to best move my body.  I even tried taking my Luna's in the water realizing that barefoot was the best way to go.  Running in the pool is an arduous task,  it's pretty damn boring, you move at snails pace and you look pretty stupid doing so.  I don't think any other runners in this event will be dedicated/stupid enough to to train in the pool 
 (a whole three days whoop dee doo)
If I win Parvrese will be very proud but if I lose I'll have to make water running part of my daily routine.
. By the way the dude is about 50 and can seriously kick my butt in the pool.
This on'e for you buddy
As usual  did some "Cado Loading" the night before
(maybe I went a little over board for a 5k)
Whole wheat dough rolled out on Masa corn flour, Onion, eggplant 3 types of tomato (homegrown cherry, greenhouse celebrity and organic grape) carrot, radish, kalmata olive, asparagus, red pepper, yellow pepper,jalapeno, on full bulb of garlic (cooked and raw) rosemary, flax seed, cooked broccoli stems, raw broccoli tips, cilantro, raw sweet corn, avocado topped with a bunch Sriracha .

Race day
 I arrived at the race ridiculously early.  I had woke up at 4;00 a.m., well before my alarm and was ready to go.

Instead of wearing my Original Luna's traditionally laced (which are my favorite to race in) I decided to go with a proto-type pair with a tactile goat leather foot bed (It should be available to the general public very soon)  with the ATS lacing system that I could easily slip off once I got to the water.
Although I may want some extra grip on the bottom of the lazy river the decrease in drag by being barefoot was the only way to go.  I pondered the idea of wearing Vibrams but even that would create too much resistance. 

Once at the race I finally got a chance to check out the course map. There sure are a lot of turns! I really hoped they had the course well marked.  Also it looks like there's about 1/4 mile of running once you get out of lazy river. Looks like I'll most likely finish barefoot.

While perusing the expo I found out that the race's main sponsor was local ministry and then when I looked in my goodie bag there were fliers for a Christian clothing and a Christian sticker company
(Holy Guacamole)
How will this play out in the race for a  Pastafarian such as myself?  You always see on T.V. when a dude hits a home run, wins a race,  or beats another guy nearly to death in a boxing match they always point to the heavens or thank god verbally.
(Although I don't wish to use any of there services thank you for sponsoring the event)

The Flying Spaghetti Monster on the other hand does not ask for any praise.  Would he intervene and help me run faster?  Hell no! I'm not that important and besides he considers that CHEATING.  For that I totally respect him.  The faith I have in myself is all I need.

There was'nt anything good on T.V. that Saturday morning perhaps the Flying Spaghetti  Monster would come out and watch.

I hadn't been to Knott's in a few years.  The last time I was was there I met a couple of hot chicks who I think are regulars? Maybe even Professionals?
I wondered if I'd get a chance to see  them again?
My nephew ended up getting a little too fresh
 And Snoopy Locked  him up in Jail.

Enough with the Shenanigans
It's time to race

 After being corralled near the starting line I  noticed a few fast runners. I stuck a conversation with up with a kid who ran the race last year and now runs for a local JR college.  Last year he said he got lost while in third place near the finish.  (yikes) He also gave me some sound advice about running in the water.  Basically he said to find a steady pace, and that trying to push yourself too hard won't get you to the finish any faster.
He told me  that he was prepared to run around a 16:30 5k but what that translates too this course I don't know.
He was a nice kid I thanked him for the advice, wished him good luck and then lined up to race.  
Was I gonna get my butt kicked by a bunch fast high school and college kids?
I had lined up right in front at the starting line 
Seconds before the race began a couple of furry costumed sponsors and about 10 high school track kids jumped in front. A  moment later a genuine fake cowboy Started the race with a blast from his authentically real shotgun shooting blanks.

After looking at the map and hearing the story of this other kid getting lost I knew I needed to stay near the front of the race (plus it's pretty hard to win if there's people in front of you).  
We took off from the water park down some side alleys scarring chickens along the way (yes there are wild chickens in suburban Orange county).  Because so many kids snuck in front of me I was having a hard time spinning my legs as fast as I wanted to.  Two kids jumped way out in front and I had to catch them before they disappeared

The course had one bicyclist leading the way.  It seemed like every 90 feet or so there was a confusing turn.  Now if your running in a pack of 100's of people your not gonna make a mistake but if the leaders got out of sight figuring out which way to go may get a little sketchy?

After about 1/2 mile I had finally broken out from the pack while they buzzed behind me like a swarm of killer bees pissed off that I stole there honey.

My legs were feeling good and the two kids in front only had me by about 50 feet.  I was running next to the dude who I chatted with before the race. I held back  for a little while watching the two kids in front duke it out. They were running hard at about 5:15 mile.  All the turns were driving me crazy.  I'd get my legs spinning real fast and then have slow down just to accelerate again.  When you run barefoot, in a sandal, or a vibram, you need to really slow down while cornering.  Modern running shoes have so much support they can allow you to turn at high speed by transferring the torque to your knee's. (something i'm willing to avoid) Most 5k courses have 1 or 2 tight turns, here there was one every ten seconds.

 The two kids kept looking back over there shoulder.  I decided  to push the tempo by getting right on there asses making them speed up out of their comfort zone and I could tell they were getting tired.  As for me I felt great.

I was running fast but my time was nothing spectacular due to all the turns.  I finished the first mile in about 5:20.
At this point I knew I was gonna take the lead sooner or later.  I let off the gas a little and dropped back again by 40 feet.  As the two kids pushed each other one of them soon ran out of steam and dropped back and I quickly passed him.  
Now there was just one kid in front.  He was running scared, looking over his shoulder every chance he got. Enough fooling around already it was time to take the lead.  at about the 1.5 mile mark I put my body into another gear passing the kid with ease.  I had plenty enough energy to run a fast 5k and would have felt invincible at this point if it weren't for the run in the lazy river coming up.

I finished my second mile in 
What I had looked so forward to before the race was now the only thing that could prevent me from a win.  Sure I had practiced a little bit in the pool but I was slow, perhaps some hot shot swimmer was gonna blast past me?  I really had no idea what to expect
When I hit the water I thought I maybe had about a 100 foot lead? I ungracefully removed my sandals it felt like forever but only took a second or two as a frantically got to my feet and started running in slow motion. 2nd place  was nowhere to be seen.  I settled into a very short stride trying push off the ground as many times as possible.  Going Barefoot was 100% the right call It turns out I didn't need any extra grip what so ever.
I felt sorry for the poor bastards who wore their shoes into the water,.

I kept a steady pace hugging the walls trying to take the very shortest path.  It was difficult but I knew it would be over soon.  During a few of the switchbacks I could see the runners behind me and my lead was growing?  
It was such a relief  to be out of the water.  Running in the water is like have a parachute tied to your back. Now the parachute was gone and I was running faster than any other time of the race. The race was mine to win if I can make in in one piece a measly 400 yards barefoot.

I had totally forgotten what my Mom and every other mom has yelled at her children since the dawn of Suburbia???

"No running around the pool!"

About 20 steps into my sprint to the finish line my left leg slipped out from under me knocking into my right leg. I thought I was going down for sure but somehow maintained my balance.  I banked around one final turn and flew through he finish line in first place about a minute before the next runner.
After the race I was really hoping to get my picture taken with Snoopy but sadly he was nowhere to be found. I decided to get my picture taken with the Road Runner Sports Shoe Dog instead.

 Snoopy was sleeping in and did show later for about ten minutes.  I have been more of snoopy fan than Woodstock guy but because Snoopy did not stick around for the Kid's race or the awards I'mjumping ship 
(and you thought my other artr work was bad)
Woodstock you are now my homeboy and hope we get to share a few Stone Ales very soon. 
Perhaps a sandal will be named after you someday????
People couldn't wait to see how the fared against me. 
Over 2,500 people participated in the race.  Part of the reason I ran as fast as I did was too get out of the Lazy river before it turned yellow.
After the race I sat around and chatted with a few runners including one kid named Richard whom had just recently ordered a pair of Luna Equus sandals.  His excuse for not wearing them in the race "My dog ate my laces."  
When I told Richard I run for Luna Sandals he got all excited and asked me if I was the dude who loves Avocado's?
This is what comes up if you try to find out about me from the Luna website.  Yo Dudes at the factory if you get an order from some kid named Richard for some new laces see you can hook him up for me he's a pretty cool dude.  Thanks
It was almost time for awards but first came the kids race.  (sadly they didn't get to go in the water)
About 100 or so kids ran the 1/2 mile lap I had blast watching them finish and cheering them on.  This little dude was the only one to run it barefoot.
At the ripe old age of 33 I was older than the second and third place finisher combined.
It's the first time I ever got 3 medals for one race. 
(1st place age division, 1st place overall and just for finishing.)

And was was the prize for finishing first you ask?

I had to right down my address my address so Road runner Sports can send me a free pair of shoes.
I sure hope it's a pair of these

I rarely run faster than ten minute mile while training and almost never run faster than an eight minute one but I've been running so many short races of late I think it's become a good supplement to my long distance soft sand running.
I have a 5mile race this Thursday night in Long beach at El Dorado Park and the then a 5k on the Beach on Saturday before heading off to the Grand Canyon at the crack of dawn this Sunday. I will return home the following Friday just before the Hermosa 24. Today will probably my last run over 3 hours before the event. I am not yet at full strength but my confidence is growing every day.

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