Since returning home from Badwater I have been training pretty hard last week I had ran 117 miles (I think the most of any week this year without a race) and over 175 miles in my first 12 days back. The weather has been nice at the beach and I've been pushing my body pretty hard. My feet are raw and I have blisters on top of blisters underneath my toes from the scorching sand.
Yesterday I remembered that a local running club might be having a beer this weekend? Hmm that sounds like fun. I sent out a few emails before I went off on my run that afternoon to find out if it was on.
Just as finished a pretty grueling 15 mile soft sand run I bumped into Annie Seawright (local running starlet) It turns out the Beer run wasn't till Wednesday. Probably a good thing because my legs and feet were pretty beat up.
Later that evening one my buddies whom I emailed earlier Jon asked if I was running the 2 mile sand run Saturday morning?
"There's a 2 mile sand run you say?"
After doing a bit research I found out there was 2 mile run starting at the Hermosa Pier on the soft sand it heads North 1 mile to Longfellow Ave where you go around the lifeguard tower and the return down on the hard packed sand down by the ocean.
It was just one event out of many being held in the South Bay as part of the International Surf Festival
The event was only $25 and raised money for My old High School's Cross country team.
How could I resist?
It seems I have gained so much notoriety in the South Bay they gave me my own sunscreen tent. Pretty amazing that I didn't even know about the race until yesterday and they were able put this together is so little time. Good job people.
I went to bed early but didn't sleep to well and was up before 5 a.m. (something that only seems to happen on race day) since I had time to kill I decided to check the results from prior years.
The winner usually ran between a 12:15 and 13:15 and I kept seeing the former Olympian's Jeff Atkinson's name either on top or very close to it.
Sub 13 minutes seemed pretty doable if my body was well rested but honestly I woke up feeling like crap.
"You get what you get and you don't get upset."
From my experience I have found running a sub 7 minute mile to be about the same degree of difficulty as running a sub 5 min mile on the track. I was hoping to be right around if not under 7 mins and to be below a below a 5:45 mile on the hard pack. They seemed like reasonable goals if the race went well and hopefully would give me a chance at the win.
The race started at 8:00 a.m. I was there before 7:00 a.m.
A steady stream of familiar faces showed up for the event. Including Annie Seawright (whom had mentioned nothing about this event to me the day before) Natalie Highley (the South Bays top woman's runner for years) and Jeff Atkinson.
Jeff coaches a High School track team and is also the race director for the Manhattan Beach 5k I raced in last month. At that event he ran the first mile with me keeping without a problem. He seemed to be in good health and I knew I was in for some competition.
Right before the event started I asked Jeff if he had any advice?
"Run in the holes."
I figured I would jump out in front and try and make the other runners work harder than they wanted to
right off the bat some yoked up cross fit dude took the early lead and it didn't even look like he was trying that hard
He would fade and after about 3 blocks. I rarely run fast in the soft sand and I had forgotten how tough it can be. The beach had just been combed and the sand was perfectly flat(I guess I can't use Jeff's advice if I'm in the lead) I dig the flat sand if I'm doing a slow training run for now it was a pain in the ass.
I looked at my watch and I was under a 7 min pace for the first mile but I was starting to slow. To make matters worse I could hear some dude breathing heavily down my back.
Then I heard someone yell from the beach "Go get em Jeff."
Atkinson was right behind me and I figured he was probably running in the prints of compacted sand my feet had just made.
At the Hermosa 24 we only had to stay East of the towers but here we stay East of the trash cans. Between trying to use any bit of tracks made by life guard trucks while hugging the trash can line I was running all over the place but I was still in the lead
(also happens to be where the Hermosa Ironman starts)
At the turnaround point Jeff was still right behind me. I ran my first mile slower than I wanted to in a time of 7:14 The good news was that 3rd place was nowhere close.
Now down on the hard pack I figured my only hope was to blow Jeff away with my blistering speed. (too bad my feet were already blistered) I took off running at a sub 5 min pace which I could only keep it up for about 200 yards and then Jeff was right on my ass again.. I wanted him to pass me but he didn't. I even thought about slowing down but couldn't bring myself to do that intentionally.
Jeff was running closer to the water than I was and even though I wanted him to pass when he got closer to me I would veer towards him so he would either have to step through the tide or go around me to my left. (each time I heard his feet splash it felt like a small victory)
As we got to 22nd St (1/2 mile to go) I was running out of steam and wondering when I should put in my final kick? I started talking to Jeff told him "Good Job" and asked when he was gonna kick into gear? (not really expecting an answer. At 19th st I still had the lead but by the time we reached 16th Jeff began to pull away. I yelled out "Go get it Jeff" I had no speed left and he ditched me during the final 3 blocks to win.
I ended up running the 2nd mile in 5:34 and finished in about the pace I expected. It would have been nice to get a victory but on this day I simply did not have physically nor did I really seem to want it bad enough mentally. On fresher legs maybe the outcome would have been different and next year for sure this event will be marked on my Calender.
Congratulations Jeff you ran a great race and if there was anyone there I was gonna lose to I'm glad it was to you. Losing to former Olympian aint so bad I guess. Too bad he din't make the team this year lol.
Time to sit around and wait for the awards
Was Stone Ale really a sponsor? Shouldn't it say Stone Brewing Company? and look at all those people wearing Luna Sandals?
Jeff's wife Allison on the far left finished in second in the woman's division. Here she is standing next to Annie Seawright and some lady I should knows name but I can't remember.
(The pictures kind of pointless but I only took a few so this is what you get)
The dude who finished behind me at the Manhattan 5k is also the dude who finished 3rd today. He also use to be coached by Jeff Atkinson.
Look at me I'm Kelly Slater
The nice thing about losing to a dude a that is a Million years old is that I won my age division. and technically the only awards were for age divisions so uhh? I got first place.
No prizes but I did score some tasty vegan gluten free snacks.
After the race was over I started to drive home but then felt lazy. I then parked my car and went back to the soft sand for a ten mile run.
(A very slow 10 mile run)
There I found all sorts of treasure.
It just so happens that the Ankylosurus is my youngest nephew's favorite dinosaur (he's gonna be stoked). I also found a wood chip shaped like a heart which I was hoping to give to some babe I came across but because the marine layer had not yet burned through the clouds I never found my true love.
I'll be back on the sand tomorrow and maybe my luck will change.
Life is good.