Friday, May 11, 2012

2012 Boston Marathon, So hot at least one elite runner drank his own pee!

If you asked me a few years ago if I had any desire to run the Boston Marathon my answer would have been "NO."  Qualifying was never an issue and I don't really consider myself marathon runner but then again other than a dumb ass.
I don't know what I consider myself?

Two years ago when  Boston sold old in 10 hours it triggered something in my brain that running in this race is a privilage that I shouldn't pass up if given the opportunity.  When sign ups opened this time around I filled out the application but was reluctant to pull the trigger. It was the 116th running of the race and my birthday 1/16 perhaps that was a good omen?

Eventually the little devil on my  shoulder jumped off onto my mouse and pressed and pressed submit.
That suit makes my legs look chubby.

Running Boston is kind of like doing your taxes.It's someting your supposed to do and you may get something out of it but it's kind of hassle.
What am I gonna spend my $8 tax return on?  (If you answered avocado's your probalbly correct)
This nonsense of a paragraph is brought to you
 the race was held on tax day.

I had pipe dreams of being in the best shape of my life by race day.  I only ran one marathon in 2011 which was my debacle at L.A. in the rain.  It turns out my time was one minute off landing me in the front coral of the front wave. "Well Whoop Tee Doo" Signing up for Boston now meant I had to run another marathon in order to start off in front.  This was back in October so on a spur of the moment I ran the Long Beach Marathon finishing as 10th male  (First in Sandals) and 9 minutes ahead of the time I needed.

Two weeks later a series of injuries began to occur that have been lingering to this day.  Best shape of my Life?
No so much!
What shape was I?
 Round and lumpy.
It's been very difficult to find any type of training routine I could sustain.  I can usually get through a race okay and maybe get lucky and win but I have only banked about 1/4  of the miles I would have liked to have run. Just enough to keep me sane

Alright done with the pity party preface.
 Off to Boston.

After taking the Red Eye from Los Angeles the Thursday night before the race I arrived in Boston at around 6 a.m. and  met of with my of my favorite Lunatic's at the airport.

Hey Bookis Long time no see.  We had some top secret official business to conduct for the Luna sandal company.  Shhh!
We jumped on bus went the wrong way, Got another bus.  got on train  and then
we arrived At the Barefoot Book Store? 
Where ever you go there you are
They didn't have a single copy of Barefoot Jason  (I'm quoted in that one) or Barefoot Ken Bob's book for sale. They did have 20 copies of Michael Sandler's book clearanced for $.99

Eventually we made it to our real destination.
VIbrams USA Headquarters in Concord Mass.
We were there to check out some special new tread patterns to use on future generations of  Luna Sandals. and what we found was pretty sweet.
Vibram does make some good shoes but Instead of trying to score a pair Five Fingers I was able to fanagle  a new Disc Golf  Putter instead.  Later they did send me a pair of  Five Finger See Ya's which I really like.

Everyone at vibram was real nice and supper helpful and out of the 30 or so people I saw wandering around their offices nearly everyone of them had on a pair of  Five Fingers.  I was told that they were even encouraged to go running at lunch time which I thought was pretty damn cool.

By the time we left vibram I was running on fumes (minus the running part) I was still dragging my luggage around and didn't get much sleep on the plane.  Bookis and I jumped on the train and then a few subway lines before finally checking into our hotel near Boston Commons.

We were both pretty hungry and figure we could have a free meal of cliff bar samples if we headed over to the marathon expo a couple miles away.
Right down the street from our Hotel was a shuttle to the Marathon Expo. There were only two other people on the bus, not the most efficient way to travel. :(
sometimes a little laziness is called for.
I lost all respect for St peter when I saw he was wearing sneakers at the expo, that's why I stole his keys. I figure they could come in handy someday if I need to sneak out of heaven to find more interesting people to hang out with.
Pork Power?
One of the strangest sponsors of the race was this booth of obese people handing out bites of pork.  Bookis and I were  hungry but not that hungry.

The Expo pretty much sucked!  Unless your their to spend $100's of dollars on marathon apparel that you
 can clearanced the day after the race.
I did however win some measuring cups on the wheel of rice.
I picked up my bib, tagged up the wall and we got the hell out of there.
That night my friend Micah True AKA "Caballo Blanco"  was supposed to speak at an event for Saucony.

As you may may know Micah tragically passed away a few weeks prior while doing what he loved running in the Gilla mountains of New Mexico.
(I'm getting teary eyed as I type.)
In honor of the life he lived, the people he touched and the message he spread Saucony payed him a very loving tribute

Saucony Tribute to Micah:

Two weeks ago we lost a dear friend of the brand, my friend, and a friend of runners everywhere…

He was special to all of us at Saucony—he became part of our family because he was like us, inspired by running and by runners and had an infectiously positive outlook, fueling himself through his giving to others.

The world first came to know Caballo Blanco, the “White Horse,” who’s real name was Micah True, with the publishing of the best-seller Born To Run.

He was a mythical hero who ran in and out of the Copper Canyons of New Mexico like a ghost, helping the Tarahumara (the running people) in their fight against extinction.

Caballo loved Copper Canyons so much that he built an adobe hut for himself by hand.
Many said it was the story of legends, but just like his name--it was all “true.”

And the biggest truth of all? Micah was a humanitarian. And he had one focus: to save his running friends and their running culture.
Caballo had fans all over the world, but the Tarahumara were his ideal companions: they ran a lot, didn’t say much, and never said no to a cold beer.
And, oh, was he charming!, kind and full of wonderful stories. The pure act of running was his passion—easy, light and smooth-- caring less about how far or fast you ran-- summarizing both running and his life in two words: 
Run Free.

After which they played a beautiful montage of his life before having his good friend Luis Escobar speak on his behalf.

I never knew much about Saucony as a company.  I do remember Micah once  talking about how they donated to his charity Norawas De Raramuri anonymously and that meant the world to him.

  They had flown in Micah's sole mate the beautiful La Mariposa (Maria) along with his agent Scott and Luis to be there for the event.  Their tribute was very loving and sincere.  I could tell that both their President Richie Woodworth  (seen above with Maria) and their VP of PR Sharon  Barbano cared deeply  for Micah not only as a visionary but as as a friend.

 I won my first 100km and ran my first 100 miler in a pair of  Saucony's so at one point in my life I was a big fan of their products.  Now I am also a fan of the company.

After Luis spoke they had a panel of inspirational speakers talk about "finding their strong"  including 2 time winner of the Boston and New York Marathon Bill Rodgers.  He was a pretty down to earth goofy dude and I felt like I had made a friend.
Seasoned Badwater veterans 

After the speakers talked we mingled around for bit drinking some free booze.  My best friend Dan Westergaard also showed up to the event.  Later this summer Bookis and I will both be crewing him as he's runs Badwater for the sixth year in a row  Luis I believe will be crewing former winner Pam Reed.
Fellow Mas Loco Ellis, Maria and Scott.
Stories of Micah were shared, with more smiles than tears and it turned out to be a pretty special night.
Eventually the stopped serving drinks and Maria, Luis, Scott, Bookis and I ended up at some Pizza place for a few more rounds. 
At about 1 a.m. Bookis am I found ourselves in the middle of nowhere, a few miles from our hotel with a serious case of the munchies.  We split a burrito and then took off running burrito in had back to our hotel.

1st place finisher of the 2012 Boston Marathon Bookis Smuin. We ran so fast Bookis eneded up beating every other runner of the race by at 54 hours.

Boston Commons
The next morning we were off for some exploration.

The place was pretty darn beautiful and the weather was a perfect 75 degrees and sunny.
We picked up some  awesome baked almonds cashews, and peanuts

There we saw some kids participating in America's oddest pastime Quiddich 
(you know that game from the Harry Potter books?)
Perhaps they were practicing for the World Cup?
So much history in the city,  I give my respect to the lady in the center who stuck with her dude even though he lost his head.
We. even stumbled passed Paul Revere's grave
But I liked this one better 
That afternoon both Bookis and I found Girlfriends.  And they were really hot!
(you know,cause they were plated in a dark metal and the sun was beating down pretty good)
but I don't think they were too into us
All they wanted to do was just sit there!

So we decided to move along
Later we found a girl that could defy gravity.

There's a lot of interesting juxtaposition between new and old through out the city.  

Our site seeing was pretty much done for the day.  The marathon was a a day and half away  maybe I should get some rest.

Held the day before the marathon

Preston the dude in charge invited me to come and run in his 5k, also slated to be there was Jullian Romero (barefoot marathon superstar) Barefoot Ken bob (the guru) along with Michael Sandler who was giving out his book  (thank god I didn't waste the $.99 at the barefoot book store) plus a whole bunch of random facebook friends such as Trisha, Brad and Heather.

I told Preston if he could promise some girls in Bikini's I'd be there.

Well done My Friend.
Hello Barefoot Ken Bob
It all sounded pretty fun but I didn't know how smart it would be to run a fast 5k the bay before the marathon but there is only one way to find out

The race started at 1.p.m. The course was mostly on an asphalt path looping around the Charles river. About 100 people showed up

Group photo
Off and flying

Out of the gates Barefoot Jullian took off but then faded  a few seconds later to save his legs for marathon.  Initially my ego led the race I decided to push the pace for the first 1/2 mile running in the low 5's.  I was hoping that would put me all by myself and that I could let off the gas bit but that was not the case as two other dudes kept up stride for stride  

I wasn't gonna keep this up for long.  I started to get a hot spot and I did not want to be running the marathon with a fresh blister on my foot.  So begrudgingly I slowed down and settled into 3rd place running closer to a six minute mile.  

The course was fine for a casual stroll barefoot but for racing I found it to be a bit abrasive.  There were patches of grass you could run on but it was never discussed if that was encouraged or if that was cheating? 
Part of the beauty of Barefoot running is the ability to enjoy all the different  textures the world has to offer.  running on the same surface the whole time is boring.

I ran on the grass a little  but stayed on the path for the most part wondering when Bookis or Jullian were gonna pass me?

The leader of the race opened up a commanding lead by the time we were on the third mile but the guy in front of me was starting to slow down.  I picked up my cadence a little bit trying to close the gap but at this point with another race looming it wasn't worth the effort.  I ran harder than I expected and finished the race in 3rd.
Not too bad for barefoot but nothing special

As soon as I crossed the line I sprinted over to my back pack to get my camera
Bookis finished 7th in just over 20 mins

Bookis Is a pretty awesome athlete.  He loves his Luna Sandals. This dude can make magic happen but racing barefoot is not yet on of his forays.
 I presume this was longest and fastest he ever tried to run barefoot and it came at a price.
Eventually Jullian came strolling in as well.
Dude I totally kicked your ass!
If you wanted to wear shoes it was okay.  This 9 year old girl was flying in her trail gloves.
It was fun to see so many people running barefoot

Word of dogmatic advice from yours truly .  The most important thing to know about running barefoot is:
You should always and I stress always do it with a smile on your face!

Even though I kicked Jullian's butt he was still able to seduce the ladies.

But at least I got an award.
What a funny looking dude.
I had to pay these nice people $5 to have my picture taken them to look like I have friends.
Thanks Preston for putting on such a great event.  I hope to make it back next year and maybe I'll see you in New York this September for their barefoot shindig.

It turns out Barefoot Jullian was staying at the same hotel as Dan Westergaard.  Bookis had to bail that night so being the poor vagabond that I am I found a spot on the floor of Dan's room to call my own

 Free pasta dinner and all the free Sam Adams Marathon beer (brewed specially for the event with less alcohol)  It tasted worse than Milwaukee Light.
It deffinetly was no Stone Ale.

Race Day
You sure had to read a bunch of bs to get this far.
One of the good and bad things about the Boston Marathon is that it doesn't start at the crack of dawn.  Because 20,000 somthing people have to be bussed to the starting line, logistically it makes senses for the race to start 10:00 a.m.  This allowed me to get some some sleep however we did have to be at the buses by around 6:30.  Lucky for us it was only about a 10 min walk from our hotel.  I decided it best to stay in my pajama's.
Lining up for the busses was quite a fiasco. When I arrived it was only supposed to be runners from wave one but I think a lot of people were worried they wouldn't make it in time so they took the buses not specified for them.  
Although it was early in the morning temperatures were starting to rise
as race day approached predicted temperatures rose about 5 degrees each day.  By now the forcecst said it may reach 90 degrees.
We had about a an hour to kill and the marathon village was freaking zoo.  I spent most of that time chugging water and waiting in the porta potty line which took about 30 minutes.

 The marathon village is about 1/2 mile from the starting line. and you are not allowed to head head down till a specific time.  It was almost time for Jullian and I walk down.  Earlier he had finished his jug of water and didn't want to wait in the bathroom line so he covertly filled his bottle back up he still had another small bottle in his hand but he was use to drinking from the large jug..  He told me that he almost accidentally took a sip. I told him he better ditch that jug.  Then a few minutes later he spoke  in a soft spoken voice and a sour look on his face "I did it."  "Dude your well on your way to becoming just like Barefoot Ted" I laughed.
Pretty funny that the photo people caught Julian ditching his pee.
It was so hot runners were drinking there own pee and the race hadn't even started yet.

Looking at the map the course looks pretty damn easy  the first 7 or so miles are downhill.    My pipe dream of 2:30  was pretty much out of the question but a 2:45 seemed realistic.  My game plan really doesn't change much. I figured I could run close to a 5 min mile on the downhills and hopefully run as many sub 6 minute miles as possible. If I stay under 6 I'd have a new P.R.

about 5 minutes before the race started the elites about 30 of them were about 50 feet in front of us.  I couldn't wait for the race to start and I really had to pee.

On your marks get set go.
Within the first mile I was waving good bye to the leaders.  A mix of adrenaline and pee was flowing through my veins.  I tried to find a groove but even at the starting of the race I was barely breaking a six minute mile.  Sure it was hot but that's no excuse.

It wasn't so much my injured leg that was the problem I just felt lethargic.  In no way was I running light on my toes.  I felt more like a lead Slinky going down the stairs than runner.  Through about 4 miles I was under a six minute pace but I was going downhill, (that should be easy) I still really had to pee, there was still no signs of porta potty anywhere and the sidelines were so packed  with people finding a fire hydrant or bush seemed out of the question.
I could tell  chances of me coming out of this funk were not very good.  I would just have to try my best to keep spinning my legs as my brain was working overtime calculating my splits to a higher and higher projected finishing time.

At mile 6 I was  passed by my buddy Jon Mcgeff  and then at Mile 8 I finally found a porta pottie.  When I came out of it I could here the crowd cheering on some Barefoot dude.  (Hmm that must be Jullian).  He was about 100 yards in front of me.  It took me awhile to catch him and I really had to work hard to close that gap..  We ran together for only about mile.  It turns out he wasn't feeling to great either but his not great was better than mine and he left me in the dust.

There was something very strange about this race too that I didn't like.  The elite woman probably about 20 or 30 of them started a half hour before the men.  That meant that there were no women in the front coral of wave one.  It wouldn't be until well after the half way point 90 minutes into the race that steady stream of them began to pass me.

Enough whining about how much I sucked etc..

Now for what I liked about the Boston marathon.   Sure the course is Historic and all and they have been having this race for a long time but for me it was the people of Boston that made it special
 It was absoulutely amazing how many people showed up up to support the runners.  Nearly the entire course was lined spectators screaming at the top of their lungs.
And to top it off at one point passing some sororities there was a row of girls it seemed like about 200 of them holding up signs saying
 Are You Kidding Me? I was a little apprehensive at first but I soon picked out the prettiest girl and moved in for a smooch.
Every part of my body felt like crap except for my heart.

And then too my surprise I  saw about 5 people I knew I on the sign lines cheering me on and then another 20 or so people who knew me?

I'm a pretty easy  dude to to spot and the cheers of "Go Pat Go" and  "Yeah Bourbon Feet" resonated deep down in my Flying Spaghetti monster soul.

There were also and handful of runners (I think most of them past me) That saw the Luna Sandals on my feet and could figure out who I was pretty quickly.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support, it was unexpected and really meant a lot to me.

Now back to the race.
This is by far the easiest course I have ever ran on.  It seemed like the whole entire thing was downhill and the weather was absolutely beautiful.  I kept waiting for the Famous Heart Break hill but I was up and over it before I even knew I had gotten to it.  I guess when your already going slow you don't need to slow down to go up hill.

The sunshine felt good and thought I was hydrating pretty well. )At one point I did pound a beer that some frat dude handed to me) but every time I tried to increase the pace to something respectable my left leg would seize up in cramps causing me to move even slower till they subsided. The last five miles I would drink nothing but Gatorade.

Around mile 22 Speakers were Blasting Sweet Caroline a song sung by all Red Sox fan's in the 8th inning of every home game.  The crowd was going nuts singing, runners looked like they were dancing and the vibe was unparalleled by anything I have ever experienced in a race (although the kiss earlier was pretty cool too)

With a little over a mile left to go I decided to run hard.  In a five minute span I felt like I passed 100 runners adrenaline started to flow and I felt good  as I came around the final corner for about 1/3 of a mile sprint to the finish. My whole left side seized up and I stumbled my way to the finish.
(At least I didn't fall)
It was the toughest marathon I ever ran on the easiest course and my slowest 26.2 in in 12 years.  My banged up leg didn't flare up to bad but rather the lack of preparation it had allowed me was the real problem.
It turns out Jullian beat me by just a few minutes. I found his picture in the paper the next day.  But if you add our times together from the two races my margin of victory was larger in the 5k. giving me the title
What title you ask?
"Most pompous"

Oh well.
At least I have a pretty easy time to beat when I return. I had some experiences I'll never forget, and my body wasn't totally broken.  My feet felt great and my Luna Sandals preformed amazing as usual (no blisters). I'd be running 42 miles in the Ragnar Relay in just four days, and then the Bare Burro 5k the day after
If you keep reading or have already seen those race report you'll know both of the races turned out pretty good for me.
After the race I posed for some pics with my fans. (Well just one)
Great to meet you Ramon and thank you for the kind words!
 That night after the race the city of Boston invited  Dan and I to Fenway park to give out us our awards.
Who knew they were giving out out World Series trophies to the first person to finish in sandal's and another one just for being that person's best friend.
B.B. King trapped in  blue carbonite
After which we partied at the house of Blues for a little while. before caling it a night.

Most People return home the day after the marathon. but the plane ticket was twice as expensive so I decided to spend one more day exploring the town by myself.
I took a walk along a bridge to nowhere
Found a park full of babes in Bikini's
Ate some grub Turkish food
Saw the best hat throwers I'd ever seen.
 I came across both Paul Revere
George Washington
I even got to to go to Bill Rodgers running store where he had on display his shoes that he won his first Boston Marathon in.  His shoes were zero drop and had very little wear on the heel since he was a forefoot striker.  The  sole was about 6mm thick with a little bit of tread on the bottom.
Almost exactly like
"Original Luna Sandal"
Except a sandal doesn't have all the useless fabric on top for your toes to smash into
Eventually I made it back to Boston Commons where I found I nice spot on the grass and took a little nap to the sounds of a street performer playing the sitar like there was no tomorrow.

I'm a big baseball fan and that night I was gonna get a watch a game at Fenway Park and although the Red Sox are one of my most hated teams. I was really excited.

I figured I'd save a few dollars by having a drink before heading in.  I bought a beer but had no way to open it and the bottle openers cost $.80 hmm?  Using my quick wit I also bought a small flask of bourbon for $3 and used the top off it to pop the cap off my I.P.A. 
"Mama Didn't raise no dummy."
(did I really just write that?)

Preston and Barefoot Todd were kind enough to meet me at the game.  We had a great time and the Sox got smashed 18-3 by the Texas Rangers.  The Red Sox fan's that annoy the hell out of me when the come to Angel Stadium were all pretty cool.  To show my respect for the how the treated me during the marathon and at the game I even joined in on few "Let's Go Red Sox" chants something which I thought I would never do.

Preston was kind enough to let me crash on his couch and the next morning at 5a.m. he gave Barefoot Ken Bob and I ride to the airport.
Can you spot the Lunatic?

Things don't always go your way but you might as well make the best of it.
All and all going to Boston was  a beautiful experience.  Thank you to the people of Boston, the friends I made and the friends I already had for making it such a special trip!

As for the Marathon I'll be back and I aint giving up on that dream of sub 2:30.

P.S. to the Hot Sorority girl who gave me the kiss.
Thanks ;)