Friday, June 1, 2012

Born to Run in a Skirt, Salsa, Hula Hoop, Sling, Ball Race, Get Drunk and win an Ultra Marathon in Luna Sandals

  So many of us have been brought together thanks to the our friend the late Caballo Blanco.  
This years race was desitined to be  special ocasion.  Friends from all over the world would converge on a private ranch in the middle of Santa Barbarba county.  It wasn't just a race it was celebration of the spirit we all share, a  mix of bufoonery and endurance.  Yes there was a also run but really that was just a facade to facilitate a beautiful weekend full of love and shenanigans.  It was also a time for us to remember our friend  and  run our asses off in his honor.

This is what Ultra Running is all about!

Last year I headed up the race with Barefoot Ted and my buddy Christian Burke.  This time around Ted was running a race in Japan and my Buddy Christian was living in Spain. My fellow Mas Loco Caleb Wilson was flying in from Florida as well as my Mas Loco Flint from Montreal.  It's only about a 2 1/2 hour drive to Los Olivios from my pad.

Nobody was supposed to arrive at the ranch until after 2p.m but the weather was beautiful  and I had been looking forward to redeeming myself at this race for a long time
Working the gate was buddy Chris Rios.  Chris is famous for pounding down beers while he runs. (sound Familiar)  As if seeing Chris wasn't good enough a really cute girl pulled in right behind us.
This is gonna be a fun weekend.
This looks like a good Spot.
Useless trivia about me.
I won that tent at the 2000 Masters Cup playing Frisbee gold in Santa Cruz a tournament that happens to be going on this same weekend.
(fascinating I know)
Soon after we arrived we were joined by Krista Cavander and some boy toy Alex whom she picked up along the way.  
Krista was worried he may be an ax murderer and Adam was worried he might get raped, neither of which came to  fruition as far as I know
Time to  relax, have a couple of beers and wait for my friends show up  
(It's tough to be me.)
The race directors Mistress
The one person I was most excited to see was Maria Walton.  I couldn't wait to give her a big hug  and pet the head of the famous ghost dog of the Sierra Madre
Maria presented Luis with a very thoughtful gift.  
Fellow Lunatics Bookis and Eli
Both of them would be running in the 100k the next day in Luna Sandals  
(not like that wimpy Sweeney dude who was only running the 50k)

At this point in the early Evening you had choices of what to do next Ball Race?
Get tattooed?
(Chris got Mas Loco tatted across his left bicep)

Hmm, tattoo's cost money and involve pain?  Bring on
Video by Vanessa Runs
Go Bookis!
The Wednesday before heading up to Los Olivios I went over to one Sport Kilt's secret lair and pick up a few new Kilts. Among them was one of their original models that I had never tried out before. I put it on for the first time shortly before the ball races began and as stood there waiting for my turn, when it downed on me?
This kilt was super comfortable being nice and warm while at the same time allowing for excellent mobility and ball shriveling airflow to keep my core temperature down.

Free Ball Racing
Notice the sideways angle of my foot?  The Tarahumara do not kick the ball.  They roll the ball on to the top of there foot and flick it .  I tried my best to use theier method 
but for this race you didn't need distance but rather a controlled  soccer style dribble.

That 5 minute ball race sure made me parched. 
Thankfully the Stone Brewing Company was kind enough sponsor the race with a bunch free grog.  My buddy Randy packed his car full of Ale and Drove up from San Diego to help facilitate some good old fashioned lasciviousness.  Oh yeah did mention Randy would be running in the 10mile  race wearing a pair of Luna Sandals?  Way to go dude!

Race director Luis Escobar was very pleased with the newly arrived libations 
"Here's to Micah True!"
Also joining the tribe was a fellow Lunatic Anthony
Caleb, skirt guy and I.
The locally world famous Skirt guy was back. Although I tried to give him a run for money by wearing a shorter skirt.  Once again he won the coveted prettiest dude award.
The Stone ales were doing there job nicely and I had to be careful not to lift my leg too high
The Paparazzi were everywhere
The whole scene was a really good vibe. It seemed everyone had friend to hug or a crotch to sniff.
Luis and his Beautiful wife Beverley.  Why did she marry him?  Answer she new the wedding photo's would be awesome.
Since I had picked up an extra Sports kilt earlier the week just in case I couldn't find my original I decided to loan it to Anthony for the race.  I think he was pretty stoked.

Time to find my tent and go to bed
Hey guys you got room in there for me?
Whoops that's not my tent? Wait a second that is my tent? Oh I brought two tents?
the weather was getting chilly I had plenty of room in my other tent.  so I was joined by Guadajuko, La Mariposa, and Randy to get a couple winks in before the sun rose.

Race Day
Driving up to the race the day before I pondered what got awful music we would wake up to this year?Last year we woke up to this at 4:45 A.M. (it still haunts my dreams but I kind of like it). I guessed that this year it may be "VIVA CHIWAWA"  Then at 4:45 A.M. just like last time the music blarred and my guess wasn't far off the mark.  It sounded like a mariachi was right outside my tent and they weren't gonna stop till I gave them 10 pesos.

The race didn't start until 6:00 A.M.  I figured that would be more than enough time to get ready but I underestimated my ablility to procrastinate.

Probbaly the funniest thing I saw all weekend mwas my buddy Flint from Montreal.  The weather was about 55 degree's and he was dancing around like someone put a Popsicle up his butt.  Hmm I always thought it was cold up in Canada? (I guess you can't believe everything you read in the news) All of sudden he dissapeared  and then I found him sitting in my car on the heated seat with the motor running.  What a strange little dude? (love ya Flint)
If your ever at a Luis Escobar event and someone offers you a Popsicle you have the right to SAY NO!

I was out of the tent by about 5:10 made myself and Flint a cup of coffee theatlooked and tasted like motor oil with my French Press.  Everyone was suppossed to line up at the starting line by 5:45 and it was now 5:30. Doh!
 Normally I eat a bunch of food but I had lagged too long and was only able to shove a few dates and tortilla  with peanut butter down my gullet.  I threw on my Sports kilt Hiking model over a pair short running shorts (to Prevent Chaffing) my Stone ale singlet and hat I then strapped on my  Luna Lead Cat Sandals with out taking the usual care to get the laces set perfect.  I didn't even realized I forgot my compression sleeves till I got to the starting line.
When I got to the line about 5:50 there I saw Luis dressed in a full Mariachi outfit
Last year I had wanted to run a  barefoot 100k, I ended up wearing my Luna's but while running fast in the lead I missed a turn and a had to disqualify myself from the race after 33 miles.  This year I made sure to check out the Map.
but instead of garnering useful information all I could think about were boobs with tiny nipples.
(Yes I really am that immature.)
Here's what the course actually looked like.

Time to get on with the race.  Well after the the Famous Micah True oath which is said at the Copper Cnayons each year.

If I get hurt lost or die.  It's my Own damn fault!

This year my body has been pretty banged so I thought doing the 100k or 100 miler would be a stupid idea.  The course really isn't that tough and I felt I could put in a decent 50k performance.   I had won my last two races (Rangnar and Bare Burro) so my Ego was once again getting over inflated and although I knew there are a lot better runners out there than me but I wasn't here to lose or get lost for that matter.

Not my video 
As soon as the race began I jumped out in front running a sub six minute mile.  The air was brisk and very humid with a thick marine layer of fog that would burn off shortly.  I figured it would get hot by about 9 a.m. so if I ran well that wouldn't be factor.

During the second and third mile I slowed down a little and was passed by a few kids running in the 10 mile event. Part of me wanted to race them but that really wouldn't be smart thing to do. (Am I actually making a wise descision? Ahh, plenty of time to be stupid later)

I was feeling pretty good although I straped my right sandal a little loose.  I could stop and take about 30 seconds to fix the problem before a blister developes or I could just see what happens, perhaps a little pain might make me run faster.

I carried two bottles for the first lap of 10 miles but since the air was cool I hardly touched them.  I drifted past the first 2 aid stations. Up about a 1 mile climb at mile 7 where I past a few ten milers.  There was probably about 3 more still in front of me as flew downhill the final 2 miles of loop one.  Upon entering the parking lot I was fast but not at top speed and a couple 10milers  zipped back passed me presuming I was in their race.

I thought I was in the lead but then I noticed one of the dudes who jused passed me was turning back to start the second loop. I still had afull bottle so there was really no reason for me to stop at the aid station and I jumped out in front of him to regain the lead.   As I passed my tent I ditched my shirt, kilt and grabbed my mp3 player so I could blast some tunes on it's little 10th of watt speaker.
Loop 2
 is little tougher than loop one after a short climb away from base camp it meanders back onto loop one going in the oppisite direction.  It was nice to see the other runners and I got mix of encouragement and yells of "Dude your going the wrong way."

Thant may have been the case last year but this time I successfully found the turn I had missed in 2011.  Then all of a sudden I came around a bend where there was ribbons telling me to go every which way?  Hmm?  I took what seemed like the logical choice and sprinted about .4 miles down a hill.  That's when I began to second guess myself and turned back.  (Arrg) About 200 yards behind me was the dude in second.  I told him that "I think we went the wrong way".  But it turns out he was Brazilian and didn't speak a lick of English. He joined me as we headed back to the questionable turn. Once there I realized I had taken the right path (Dumb ass)  I felt bad that this dude had followed me but it did allow him to catch me, and whomever else was behind us had to be closing in fast.

No point in crying about, back to running.  Back down the hill again  It was probably the fastest I ran the entire race.
 After a few miles it was time for big climb and my left leg was not feeling good.
The other dude was right on my ass as I climbed up the most technical part of the course.  My shin began to bug me and I began to get seriously worried that this may knock me out of the race.
I let the other guy pass. I wasn't feeling so hot an took it pretty easy over the most technical  part of the course.

The dude had about 1/4 mile lead as we approached the next aid station..  He took off to the left right as I approached. I only stopped long enough to fill half a bottle. (about 10 seconds) The aid station is used for both loops of the course.  Now going left seemed like the right decision since we went right on the first loop.  However I was supposed to follow the yellow ribbon which had been placed next to the pink ribbon leading off to the right and their was no ribbon to be seen on the left?
I was a bit frantic and not as friendly as I could of been to the aid station workers as they sent me off to the left.  Are you sure? Why then is there yellow ribbon to the right? Aid station worker Bill's answer "Because I put it there"   "Please take it down and are you sure I go left."  I asked one last time as I sprinted to catch up to the leader.  "Yes"
It turned out left was the way to go after all. I was in such a hurry I should been nicer to the volunteers.  I get one last time to see them during the final lap and hoped they weren't pissed off at me..

I regained the lead but then began to hit my low point for the race.  My body was failing and the desire to walk crept in. That's when I saw a peculiar site up ahead on trail.  What the hell is that lying down on the trail?

Judging by the 12 or so vultures this was not gonna be good site.  Then I saw what I think was the animals last kick of life. It turned out to be large female cow.  The vultures had the vultures had already eaten its eye and were ripping out a baby calf from it's back side. (yikes) Unlike this photo that was taken maybe an hour later by another runner hen I passed the was still inside the cow I wanted to help but there was nothing I could do.  (circle of life I guess).
 Note to Self :
Give mom a big hug  for squeezing me out in one piece.

The whole scene kind of through me off a bit.  The course began to climb and my shin was still hurting.  I stopped to pee and then started to walk as the Brazilian took the lead.  I got back to a shuffle up the hill.

I needed to get out of this funk! During an Ultra you have plenty of time for your thoughts to drift. I started to think about my friend Caballo Blanco.   Life's too short to spent it walking.  I have a chance to win this race.  "Suck it up Pat."  I then began to Fly.

Down a two mile stretch I got back under a seven minute mile.
I entered the parking lot feeling revived.  I was gonna stop at the aid station before the final lap to fill up my bottles but as I approached I saw the Brazilian taking off.  (no time to stop)  I still had a half a bottle of water.  The weather was getting warmer and thus far in the first 20 miles I had only drank about 50oz of water and no food.

Loop 3
Within the first  1/2 mile of the final loop I took the lead.  I was running strong and decided to increase my tempo.  My strategy was to make the other runner push harder than he wanted to so that he not have a final kick to beat me at the end.

 At the first aid Station the one that I felt I had been rude to earlier Yelled out some pleasantries as passed without stopping and they responded with  nice loving cheer.

At around Mile 26 I ran passed a couple friends Vanessa Runs and Caity McPherson.  Vanessa was planning on doing the whole 50k barefoot.  Prior to the race I wished her luck but told her it would be a good idea to bring her Luna Sandals just in case.  It was now over three hours into the race and they had only cover 6 miles (I think I pogo stick faster than that).  Neither of them were prepared to run or walk the course barefoot.  I was stoked to see them smile as I passed.  I could tell they that were proud that I was in first place.
 But by how far?
I will not look over my shoulder to see how far a runner is behind me.  I think it shows weakness and when I am chasing someone and they keep looking back I tend to feed off of it. However when I make a turn my eye may wonder to sneak a glance.

As I neared the final aid station I did just that and noticed the Brazilian about 1/4 mile back with 4 miles left to go.   My bottle's had been empty for the last three miles and my legs were cramping. Reluctantly I stopped for about 10 seconds (it felt like an eternity) as the Gatorade Jug dripped about 12oz of fluid into my bottle.

I had 1 mile left to climb before a 2 mile decent and then an extra 1/2 mile out and back to the finish line.  As I ran out of the aid station the volunteer tried to chase me down with some ice.  I thanked her anyway  but I had no time for such extravagances.

My body was on the verge of seizing up.  If I pushed to hard I would cramp but I didn't I might lose the lead.  Before I knew it I was already at the top of the hill and sprinting downhill.

I got to the final check point and was out on my last mile when I saw Bookis and Eli just starting mile 21. They wanted to run with me but my pace was a little fast.  I got to the half mile mark and turned back.  Now  I would see how big my lead was but the Brazilian was nowhere to be seen?  Over the last 3 miles I had gained about a mile lead.  My strategy had worked.

(Only to later learn the other dude wasn't even running the 50k he was in the 100k and would end up finishing second.)
Photo by Luis Escobar
You think Ryan Hall's feet never looked so good
Photo By Luis Escobar
I crossed the line just over 4 hours in first Place.
and finally got to pose for some Fancy Escobar glamour shots

I believe I am the first Chabochi ever to win an Ultra Marathon in Huaraches but I could be wrong
Photo By Luis Escobar
I was spent!
But at least my forehead wasn't too tired to crack a smile.
Photo is from later in the afternoon but you get the point
Within one minute of finishing My buddy Randy approached and I had Stone IPA in hand.
And the coolest one of kind finishing medal's I have ever received, hand crafted by Luis Escobar's buddy from Hawaii.

Time to sit around and drink beer, I mean cheer on my friends. My camera was nowhere to be found and I was too lazy to find it
Go Ed!
Ed was running in his 4th 100 miler in 4 weeks and would go on to finish 2nd, well under 24 hours. He would also go to run another 100 the following weekend  all while wearing his trademarked Jester hat on his head and Sketchers on his feet.  What a stud!
It was great to see Maria and Guadajuko out there with a big old dorky grins on their faces :)
As for me I just kept on doing what I do.
(almost looks like I have muscles in this pic?)
Chilling with Mike Miller the weather was  heating up and pillows were scarce.  Ginger was forced to improvise.
Eli decided to drop down the 50k claiming his It Band had tightened up, But really I think he just wanted to hang out with me.
Caleb also could not resist the allure of cold beer and nice chair.
While some friends were forced to quit others kept grind away.  By this time Flint had ran 40 miles.  The Copper Canyons (i'm still working on that race report) was the longest race he'd ever ran and he hoped to finish the 100k by dark.
 After about 3 days Vanessa and Caity came in from their 10 mile adventure.

Vanessa's exact words "is that a stand up tent?" "Yes Vanessa and it's made for vampires but be very quiet because they are nocturnal, don't you know."
Also running in her first 100k was Krista. here she is crossing the 40 mile mark nine miles farther than she had ever ran before.
Life is good!
 What a beautiful day full of beautiful people!
Early in the evening up strolled Bookis with a big smile on his face.  He only had 2 miles left and I decided to join him.
Anytime spent with Bookis is a good time.
(ask him that same question about me and I bet you get a different answer.)
Nearly 61 miles in he was hard to keep up with
It wasn't until he stopped for a little loving that I was finally able to catch up.
 Well done dude.
Bookis showed his appreciation of everything Luis Escobar had done as race director in the Customary Lunatic fashion.
Immediately blowing a snot rocket onto his feet as a sign of respect.
What to do now?
How bout a little Hula Hooping with Mas Loco Jess.
I had no idea she was gonna there and yes she ran the 50k in Luna Sandals
 Maria decided to immortalize her love for Caballo Blanco with tattoo
(What will her Irish Daddy say when he finds out)

Anthony Sanders
along with a few other friends were also getting inked up.
Mike Miller
Lynette McDougal
(Guadajuko Approves)
 Skirt dude Had made some slings and gave a few lessons on how use them
Nice form
"See if you can hit the Luis Escobar's Tahoe parked over yonder."
Good form Caleb but not quite as nice as the little girls.

I had never used a sling before and it was pretty fun, not that I was any good at it.

Ball races were starting back up and skirt dude was giving away a free sling.
Losing was not an option.
Anthony  was starting the races via shotgun.
I am total pacifist I don't believe in war violence and am pretty much anti militarization.  Anthony is a platoon leader for the Marines.  I am proud to have Anthony (AKA the Tactical Hippie) as a friend and am stoked that there are people like him serving in armed forces.
 Hey there goes Flint into uncharted territory for his final lap.
  "Got Get Em Dude!
 The stakes for the ball races were increasing. This one here between Caity's son and Crista was for a pair of Luna Sandals
Tough Guys
(yeah right)
As the sun was just about to disappearing for the night back came Flint through the finish line looking real strong.
Luis decided to play some Celine Dion in honor of the Canadians amazing finish.
 Congratulations Flint, i'm really proud of you and so is Maria Guadajuko and Caleb.
Once the sun set things started to get weird. Runners who were competing in the 100 mile race stopping hula hoop.
Was this really happening?
During the whole day (including the race) I had only drank less than 70oz of water and consumed countless Stone ales.  I felt neither drunk nor dehydrated.  The atmosphere was electric
Just about everyone was having a good time
Born to Salsa
 That's when Luis invited all the ladies up to the finish line for the Chris Rios dance party
 Crista's video

I was getting pretty tired and most of my friends had already retired to bed but I still had one friend I really wanted to see finish
Congrats to Krista Cavender on her 1st 100km finish.
Well done mama!
 Now that your done running for nearly 12 hours you must hula hoop to receive your medal.
What a good sport!

Time for Bed
What a great day to be alive.
Great to see you Jess.
 The next morning we said are good byes as we cheered on the final finishers of the 100k
(We are all one.)
 I am so lucky to have all these great people as friends plus many others whom were at the event that I forgot to mention. Thank you guys for providing an unforgettable experience.
 I can't give enough gratitude to my friend Luis Escobar!!! the Born 2 Run Ultra Marathon is unlike any other race I have ever been a part of.  Thank you to you your wife and all your volunteers for all your work.  Thank you to the Stone Brewing Company for supplying some fuel, thank you to Sportkilt for the airflow and thank you to Luna Sandals for making the best Huaraches on the planet.

I can't wait to see everyone again next year.

Picture taken by Caleb Wilson an hour after coming home from the race on Sunday
Until then I'll be at the Beach.


  1. My adorable McDreamy, Sweeney, Your beautifully written story brightens my day. You captured the celebration we shared as a group of happy, somewhat dysfunctional CRAZY Ultra runners. And, now we continue to build on our lifetime of memories, and lasting friendships. I love your wit, creative writing style. And, and no once can compare to your juevenile, twisted humor. Your loving comfort and support, strengthened my soul, as I struggled to run Happy and Free without Micah by my side. However, his presence was with everyone that magical weekend. You will always have a place in my heart and home. Guadajuko and I cherish you beyond words. Peace, Love, Run Happy and Free with a Cold Stone Ale in your hands. Love always, La Mariposa Apache and Ghost Dog

  2. Such an awesome weekend! Thank you for the kind words, and the chair! (that is now my most coveted piece of furniture :)

  3. Going through our aid station there was no indication in the least that your body was giving you looked strong coming in and looked strong going out!!! Congrats on your awesome race results...See you next year. Thank goodness your mom squeezed you out and in one piece (hysterical)

  4. You know I loved this one :) Can't wait for more shenanigans next year!

  5. Great post, man. You have truly inspired this minimalist ultra newbie to get at it. This looks like an incredible race, if only for the amazing camaraderie between runners - something you just don't see in many sports. This race goes on my Bucketlist! Just curious - which Luna and lacing do you use for events like these. All the best, Patrick. Mark G

  6. Thx for sharing... Loved it! Can't wait till next year.. Run Free!

  7. What you're saying is completely true. I know that everybody must say the same thing, but I just think that you put it in a way that everyone can understand. I'm sure you'll reach so many people with what you've got to say.