Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Hermosa Beach Ironman 2013 If You're Not Cheating You're Not Winning

.  Can I run? Check! Can I drink? Check! Can I paddle? 
Each year I have one more day  practice under my belt. 
Wait a second I don't wear a belt?
Damn it!
I've now paddled 6 times in the last 15 years.
(all in competition at the Iron man)

I sure ain't no Jack Kahuna Laguna
You never know unless you you try.

The Hermosa Ironman is the only event I have competed in 4 times or more and have not won.
*2008 7th*, *2009 2nd*, 2010 4th, 2011 3rd, 2012 4th
(asterix on the two years that I was not in the elite group)

Two years ago I had arrived home from Seattle late the night before  and ran a 5k race the same morning and then showed up late.  last year I had just finished running barefoot on the beach for 24 hours straight (setting a world record for distance at the time) less than 72 hours prior and still had  blood and puss dripping from the blisters on my feet.

Maybe this would finally be year?
I had fresh legs and am running out excuses.
(don't worry I'm sure I'll figure out some before this blog post is over)
To win this event you must know how to cheat and you must be in the elite group or your time probably won't count. I'm not trying to single anybody out because every  person in the race cheats to certain degree.
You gotta do what you gotta do.

Competitors are separated into smaller groups of a 10 or so each with their own judge who watches over the beer drinking at the end of the event.  I'm not sure if clocks are synchronized but each judge has thier own clipboard where they record finishing times.  Results are turned in and tabulated in secrecy (it's not really a secret but I've never seen them posted after the race)  The winners are announced and every year it comes from the one elite group of contenders regardless if it seems that someone from another group finished first.
How to Cheat:
see diagram
The course is a there in back North to 4th Street in Manhattan.  There is no marker to go around rather you turn around when you think it's appropriate.  If you suck at running don't try to go out fast! The slower you go the sooner you can turn back early after the fast guys have past you.  If you are in the lead  or near the front you pretty much have to go the whole way (but whoop dee doo it's just a mile, if that) I am usually near the front so I don't cheat during this portion.
This isn't cheating advice just strategy when you get 4th St. turn back on the water side of people running towards you, it makes for a much easier run than going through the cantered soft sand.
Where you place your surfboard is key! Boards are supposed to be placed on the wall of the strand by the starting line but with over 250 competitors there is only room for so many boards?  Since you go straight from the run to your surf board you want your board on that wall as far North as possible.
Once you get your board you want run with it diagonally  down to the water
If you suck at paddling you do not want to be the first person to get to their board!  I made this mistake a few years ago.  I blew everyone away in the run got my board and took a pretty honest approach down to the the sea  What Happened?  The people I lost to whom were all better paddlers than  me entered the water  entered much farther North and were now in front of me before they had even paddled a stroke.  Lesson learned.
The paddle like the run their is no buoy or hot babe on surfboard to go around.  When you think your at 4th st you turn around on your honor. If your the leader (I never have been) you pretty much have to go all the way.  After that each subsequent person  seems to judge the distance a little shorter.
When paddling in try and catch a wave or just wipe out really early and drag you board on the shore that last  block or so.

I have no advice for you. it's where I draw the line.
I guess you could drink Michelob Ultra if you really wanted to?
But who the hell would want to drink a Michelob Ultra?
The only beer more disgusting or girly is a
"Blue Moon"

On to this years show!

The day before the event I arrived at sign ups relatively early. Instead of a two hour soft sand run I only did one and the body felt good.  I saw Annie Seawright at sign ups and made sure I was  in the contenders group as I had been the last 3 years.  If you were new to this event you would have no clue a contenders group even existed.

I had wanted to run in the Redondo 5k that morning but the start time of the Iron Man which was once 10:00am was now 9:00am.  making nearly logistically impossible to ever do again.
4th of July  
(Race Day)
I was up at dawn and found primo parking spot at about 7:30 a.m.
I went for a little jog and then came back go put my board on the wall
Just after leaving my board which I thought was pretty far North I saw last years champ place his board (the blue one in the pic)  all alone about block farther than any else had.  It looked kind of funny at the time but it was smart move.  I didn't want to cheat that much but I moved board a little farther North as well.  By the time the race started there were maybe 40 boards North of mine and 4 North of his.
 Organic Dates, Organic Almonds, Organic Vanilla Rice Protein, Organic Dried Blueberries*, Organic Chia Seeds, Sea Salt.
(I needed to save room for beer.)
As expected I found the beautiful forever 21 year old  Annie Seawright and checked into my group.  Annie is one of  perennial favorite and always in the elite group. But where was everyone else, I was surprised and dismayed that last year's defending champ was not in my group?
Where are the other contenders?
The only competition in group seem to be this guy?
Oh well.
( at least I was with some cute girls)

At the starting line I ran into a dude who  tied  for  first a few years ago (when I had come in third)   he told me that he was switched from my group to another group with Chris Brown  (3 time champion) and last years winner.
The race hadn't even started yet and my chances of winning were now next to zero.  If you're in the elite group they can't cheat you out of a win pretty easily.
 I was demoralized before the race even begun
As soon as the former Mayor "Bergie Von Björn Borg Bergeson" was done singing the national anthem we were off and running.
I know better than to go out super fast.  I ran the out in about 30th place.  This year I made the turn to my left toward the water (I accidently took the high route last year) and I nipped off another 20 runners on the way to my board.

As I got to my board  last years champ was just grabbing his.  The dude who I saw at the starting line had has just taken off and I chased him down to the water.  I decided to enter just a few feet South of where he did to justify myself.
I was 5th to 10th place when I entered the water. I paddled hard just barely past the surfline, much closer to shore than most of the competition.  Maybe a block before 4th st I was past by Chris Brown.  I decided that to be fair I would turn around where he did.  My paddling isn't pretty I was getting tired but I was relentless.  I could see the leaders off in the distance with a 1 to 2 minute lead.  As I neared my way back to Longfellow Ave Annie came paddling by. (she was in it to win it)  Once again I judged where it was acceptable and headed to shore where she did.  While she ditched her board floating in the Pacific I carried mine for a little while.  She was long gone and got to our judge way before I arrived.  I was kind of lollygagging at this point and wasting valuable seconds, not running a very focused race.

Drinking a six pack isn't a difficult thing for me by any means. I arrived at 17:48 on my watch and by 20:16 I was done.  It even felt lethargic I was racing nobody but myself and felt like I could pushed harder, maybe even gone sub 2 minutes. Sub 2:30 it may have been good enough for the win.  But I doubt the "official" results will ever show up.  

I didn't think I had won and there was rumour that the winner finished in 16 somthing. But by my watch everyone was still in the water at that time.
The rest of my group was very proud of my effort and were still pounding long after I was done.
Thank you very much 
The ladies in my group were still at it and I had good time cheering them on. 

I had no chance of puking so I  grabbed a couple more beers and moseyed around 
Art Mann is pretty nice dude but I thought his show got cancelled years ago?It's nice  to see he's still alive and kickin.

What did I see you ask?
A lot of this
I'm sorry I saw this!
I'm glad I saw this 
I listened to this
I saw a lot of this
Ou oh
Oh No!
Here it comes?
(sorry I do have the action shot but I shall refrain. because I'm a gentleman)
After hurling she fell on her ass.
But a minute later she was up and dancing.
Future Iron Man?
Congrats to Anine Seawright on yet another win! 

Now time to announce the top 5 males?
I was pretty sure damn sure I was one of them.  All of sudden they switched from announcing the top 5 to the top 3  (strange) But they had prizes for the top 3.
3rd place
Chris Brown
2nd place
Dude I saw starting line
and the winner is?
Same dude as last year.
In an unofficial time of 19:32
(says the easy reader)
The dude ran a smart race and got signed up in right group congrats to him.

Where did finish it's a mystery?
Time for a mosh pit
I can't say I was in a bad mood but I was frustrated and not in mood to mosh 
I did have fun watching though

What do I need to do to win this thing?

1. Make sure I am in the elite group at all cost.
2. Not be follower? When it comes to cheating I need to set the bar and I need to set it high! (that means cheat a lot)
3. Dominate the run.
4. Stop whining and start winning!

What would I change about the race?

1. Get some washed up celebrity like Kim Kardashian or Eddie Murphy for everyone to go around at the turn around for the run.
2.Make everyone go a1l the way back to the start before picking up their board and then have them head through that same section before entering the water.
3. Have some topless babe on surfboard to paddle around at the turning point. (if I get to make the rules well might as well right?)
4. have a paddle past point you must pass before drinking the beers.

I really dislike that you have to cheat in this event if you want to win. Although these rules probably would hurt my chances of winning they would at least make the event honest. I do also realize as much as I'm whining I'm sure there is a dude who ran a more honest race than I did who deserves to whine even more.

Bonus rule:
Make the run 10 miles and the beers 12. 
This would eliminate the kooks!
Any takers
Mono Y Mono?

So there I was 10:30 in the morning 8 beers down and frustrated. Too drunk to drive I put my board in my car and took off running in the soft sand at near top speed for the next two hours. After that all was good in the world once again. 
Live and Learn.
It's  gonna be that much sweeter once I finally figure out how to get it done.

Who knows what the future shall bring?
I for one am looking forward to it!

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