Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Patrick Sweeney Sets Guinness World Record with a 24 Hour Performance

The Hermosa 24 2011

It took forever for the day to finally come.  An event that was tailor made for me.  I had told the press this my event to lose here, here and here.  Friends new I could do it and even the former world record holder and race director was already talking about putting my name on the trophy.  The preassure was building.  I tried to psyche myself up the best  I could.  "It's just a fun day at the beach doing what you love with friend's." I kept telling myself.  I'm a fairly optimistic dude but I knew 24 hour's on soft sand would be relentless.  But if I could run at least 84 miles I would set a new world record

In case you don't know the Hermosa 24 is a 24 hour endurance race through the soft sand of the South Bay in Southern California between the Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach piers.(my home turfless territory)

 Last year my good Buddy Christian started this event as a solo mission to show what one man was capable of.  Raising money for his daughters cash strapped school, Christian ran  by himself, raised a lot of money and set a world record beach for most miles ran on sand over

In the weeks leading up to the event all I wanted do get into the sand and and run like theirs no tomorrow but my body wouldn't let me.  As always goal each week is to run around 77 miles barefoot in the soft sand and I planned on bumping it up to close to 100 mile in training for the Hermosa 24.  My plan's never seem to take the path I expect and honestly I enjoy living my live from day to day excited.  In the 2 months leading up to the event I had ran 8 races and it's tough to find groove training with that kind of schedule.

A couple days before the race I picked up a bunch of garbage precessed foods and energy drinks in case I had weird pregneant lady like cravings in the middle of the night.  The only things I ended eating was the dark chocolate (day before the race because I'm a glutton) The smoothie and a couple pop tarts.

Well the race started at noon which had both good and bad.  It was an ice to have leisurly moring and not feel rushed but I rarely sleep past 8 a.m. so this meant I would be  awake for an additional 4 hours or so.  I Kept to my usual breakfast, a peanut butter sandwich a few cups of coffee and a big old smoothie adding  a little extra chia and flax seed and in instead of taking 3 Sportmulti vitamins I took four.

My  sister made a huge mistake telling  me should do whatever I needed .when I asked if she would help me out. A few days before the event I realized that in order to qualify for the Guinness record I needed to have the start and finish of every lap recorded (uh oh)I'm not the best at planning things out. I wanted to break  Christian's record and din't really care if it made it into the book or not, but it would be silly not to record the event if if I could find the right help.  A lot of people said they would be there for me over the weekend  but there was one person I knew I could count on.

Big Sister of the year award goes to
Kirsten Pollicino
She was  their for every lap didn't sleep a wink.

Prior to the race I ran into some familiar faces.

My best friend Danny Westergaard (he likes it when I call him that)
My friend from the Copper Canyons and fellow Lunatic.  The Sweet beautiful free spirit Jess Soco 
Mickey's Winners
Denise Winner my Ragnar Relay Captain assembled a rag tag team of athlete's.  Since neither Christian or I could compete in the relay we were replaced by her son and Dr. Dan.

The Sun was shining  everyone's spirits were high and it was time to run.

Let's get it on

The first lap was kind of awkward I never run on the beach without a bottle.  The only time I don't run carry water is when I run shorter dsistances (26.2 and less) and I want to go fast.  I think this messed with my psyche and I finished the first lap  about 7 minutes faster than I wanted to.   There goes my plan o start out slow.
I wasn't killing it by any means but my planned starting pace of 12:30 miles was out the window and I was cruising effortless at at 10:15 clip.I was the first one finished with my lap by a hair, then all of sudden some show off relay runner bolted out in front of me.

You mean I have to follow this (the Beautiful and talented Annie Seawright)
Of course I'm  gonna run faster if she's running out in front of me after all Annie is a great runner, she only has to run one lap at a time, she's gonna haul ass,  she's pretty nice to look at and even nicer to talk to :)

Side note I choose my number to be three in tribute to sunburn that still faintly remains a little bit higher on my thigh from the Bare Burro race earlier this year.

I could'nt catch her. (doh)  but I knew  we would cross paths many times before the day was done.  I was still going too fast and had not yet started drink water. I needed to get my bottle and slowdown to a smarter pace.

Alex Mendoza age 15 was within striking distance all day long.
I was really excited to see what  Alex Mendoza could do out on the course.  He has the perfect body for running on sand, super light,strong legs and no extra weight on top.  I had to keep my this kid If I got lazy he had serious chance of beating me.  By the way Alex recently ran the Palos Verdes Marathon in a pair Luna Sandal's.  A few month's he asked me If I knew of any Ultra's someone under 18 could participate in. I mentioned the Hermosa 24 he signed up and the rest is history.

Dan Pat Dan
 Pat, Dan, Dan
Flash back photo Leona divide 50 miler 2010

"So Dan, It's only gonna be about 40 degrees hotter when I'm pacing you at Badwater in 3 weeks."

Although the weather was supposed to be in the low 60's it heated up pretty nicely the beach was sizzling and the hot sand blistered many of the runner's on this very first lap.  Almost everyone started the race barefoot but now over half the field was either in a sock a shoe or a Vibram Fivefinger

Cute girls were everywhere and it was nice to get some cheer's every now and then.

About six hours in I hit the Marathon mark.  I decided to reward myself by stopping for the first time to take a leak at the Hermosa Pier.  Less than 2 minutes later I was back on the course.  I have never been the type of person to stop for very long at an aid station during an Ultra.  I would much rather eat on the run and sitting down in a chair to catch my breathe is NEVER AN OPTION.

To make things a little more interesting the course at least in Hermosa was covered in Kelp flies.  These little black flies don't live very long and cause no harm.  Every once in awhile  I'd looking at some girl in a bikini unaware of the swam in front of me and the next thing you know I look like Pig Pen from the peanuts.  Normally I just trip over the sand to impress the ladies.

Photo by Jake Rome

Along the course Christian had placed 25 giant red bouncy balls as markers.  Throughout the day beach goers had a blast using them for their own pleasure. . By the end of the race I think only 3 remained while 22 of them were stolen.  I vaguely remember sometime around 2 a.m. seeing a group of bar hoppers (not stumbling) but bouncing their way home down the strand.  I wonder if anyone has ever been arrested for a BUI?
While I was out there my sister sat at this base camp.  Tunnel vision set it.  Every lap I came in she was their with the Flip camera camera recording.  She never missed a beat and fueled me with some positive vibes each time I saw her,
Each time I came in I made I would ask for different food including:
 about 5lbs of watermelon, baked sweet potato, a peanut butter sandwich, 2 avocado sandwiches,a smoothie, some deglet dates, 2.5 bagels, rosemary and vinegar chips, a few whole wheat pop tarts (they are healthy because they are whole wheat lol), NUUN and pleanty of H20.

In homage to Christian's ridiculously bright orange shorts he wore last year I decided to decorate a pair of Moeben's for the race

Woohoo I finally caught Annie (I think she sowed down for me)
By night fall I felt better than expected, sure the body was pretty damn fatigued but nothing felt broken.  My top speed had definitely slowed but I was trucking along at comfortable pace and that's all I really needed.

Vigilante justice was in the air.  Mild mannered Dan Lehnberg became
The Kilted Crusader 

At one point I felt like I was watching a Chris Issac video.

After midnight there was a lot of love being made on the sand as the bar patrons gave into their carnal desires Perhaps a future Hermosa 24 winner was conceived that very night.

Running through the night was a trip.  My muscles were deffiently feeling fatigued but I was never tired in the sense that I wanted to sleep.  I had my tiny Creative mp3 player rocking some Bob Marley on the speaker and I never once felt lonely  as  I was Jamming through the night. That is if you call a top speed of a 14-16 min mile jamming.

Around 3 a.m. my buddy Jerry came down and paced me for a few laps. It was nice to have some company Jerry shared some good stories about what Christian in the middle of the night the year before. I hit the the wall a few times during this stretch I battled through it and picked up my pace around 5 a.m.

I only needed four more laps to break the record and had 7 hour to do it.  A task like this would be ridiculously easy on fresh legs but by now I was moving at snails pace and it was becoming increasingly difficult to do that.  All though the night I kept trying to mathematically figure out what kind of pace I would need to break the record.  It wasn't until now that I knew I had it.  I just had to grin and bare it and make sure to keep moving forward.

It was pretty cool of Christian to come out with me for my record breaking lap. (he knows I would have done the same for him.)   The channel 7 news was waiting for us at the finish line.  Christian told me that they were gonna do breaking news live segment the second I broke his record but this meant I had run faster that I had planned to make sure I made it in sometime during their 10 a.m. broadcast.
Photo by Jake Rome
It was a pretty good feeling coming in receiving accolades from other runner's including my buddy Jake

Me "Thanks Christian for only running 83." 
 Christian's reponse "Yeah  but when I was running it was a 150 degrees outside and then it snowed at night plus my legs are so short the sand went up to knees and then there was the anal probe" 
Me  "Anal Probe?" 
Christian "In the middle of the night I was hauling ass and  this spaceship beamed me up and gave me the old intergalactic prostate exam.  I took about 45 minutes and I could have totally ran another lap during that time."
 Me "Okay."
 "Yeah and the three weeks leading up the event I didn't sleep a single second, I was too busy learning seventeen different languages for the 45 different interviews I conducted with the world wide press while I ran."

Me "Wow Christian you sure had it a lot tougher than I did. The weather was nice, any spaceships flying probably thought I some sort of wildebeest and I would of kindly declined the anal probe if the were offering.  I didn't bother learning any other languages I'm still having a tough enough time with English."

Whether or not what Christian says is true (or if he even said it at all) doesn't matter. (lol) I can't wait to race against my friend next year.  It should be a good battle.

Bourbon Feet meets the press

"Hello news,  um um, I uh, ran far for a good cause took my buddies record and uh, I need to get back on the course for one more lap before I fall over,  I'd say hi my mom but she standing right behind you."

By this point even when I tried to fake having a good stride my feet were still dragging. I felt like a human plow and am a little amazed that I didn't create some kind of troft in the sand.
Mr. Plow that's my name. That name again is Mr. Plow

This is gonna take awhile

The final lap 
The final lap Mr Westergaard decided to pace me (more like make sure I still had a pace).  Along the way we were joined by my buddy Justin and fellow solo competitors Meiko and Derrick.  Everyone was really supportive and is nice to have some companionship down the homestretch.

The company was nice until my buddy Dan pointed out that I had a giant blister on my big toe. I didn't even know I had one but now that I did it started to hurt.  Thanks a lot Dan!

The first thing I did at the finish line was hug my my mom and sister.  Were not really the hugging type at least amoungst eachother but at the time it seemed appropriate.  Also they kept me from falling over until a chair arrived

 I ended up breaking the record by about 4 miles finishing with a total of 87.36 miles.

That trophy was heavy and it nearly tipped me over trying to hold it up.

The kid ended up doing over sixty miles! finishing in second place.  He looked like he could go back out and do it again.  I was really proud of the dude, he will be a force to be reckoned with next year. As for me I'd be lucky if I stumble far enough to get me Stone Ale.

That chair was so comfortable.

Literally I was stuck in that chair for about 45 minutes. People came and went congratulating me.  I just kind of sat their a nodded my head like some senile hillbilly old man in a
rocking chair.

I needed a beer Time to waddle my way over To Sangria for the awards party.

Mieko, You look great.

Posing with the woman's winner Marla Hernandez.
She's a stud.

Christian didn't get any sleep either yet he still looked pretty good. I look like I just left an opium den.
I think I need a big pirate earring to truly pull off this look.

Overall the race went a lot a better than I had anticipated.  Nothing felt injured and I would be back running on the beach less than 48 hours after the race. Things I are looking up I have now won 3 of my last 4 races and plan on building on this momentum.

Thank you to all the volunteers, runners and spectators that help make the Hermosa 24 a special event

Special thanks to Christian Burke.  He sacrificed countless hours of his time so that we could have a top notch event and he could raise some money for child's school.  He wanted me to break his record and was the first person to congratulate me when I did.

Thank you to my friends and family who helped get through the day, especially my sister who beyond the call of duty and not hating me the next day.

Next up
Redondo Beach 5k
Hermosa Beach Iron man
Both on July 4th

ABC News

Video I will submit to Guinness