Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Reflections from The Boston Marathon

First off this is not my race report. (If that's what your looking for please go here) I have got such an overwhelming amount of heartfelt messages and over the week I feel that I should tell my story about what happened after the race and how it has affected me.
Recap of Events
I finished the race in 2:52  and soon met up with my friend Julian Romero in the finishers coral. We stayed there for about 15 minutes  on Boylston St waiting for our friend Alex.  The weather was sunny but cold. I was still warm from running and my body was starting to seize up in cramps.  I saw a few friends come through and we shook hands, exchanged high fives, smiles, and congratulations. It was a joyous moment. (the kind found at the end of any race)

One of the things I don't like about Boston and most big marathons is that it is very difficult to walk back and watch others finish the race.  It is somthing I very much wanted to do  but you are channelled a few blocks  away from the finish  so that their is room for the thousands of other runners yet to cross.. 
(Something I became grateful for on this occasion.)
My core temperature was dropping it went from warm to to teeth chattering very fast.  Julian and I proceeded to go get our drop bags full of clothes Cell phone etc. Waiting for us block away inside assigned school busses. From their we went family/runner reunification section. about 1/4 mile away from the finish line
Soon after we found Alex's mom and  In came Alex with a big  hug for her.

 I had my cell phone and checked in on facebook to proclaim that I was not broken (meaning my injured foot had held up) .  My plan was to wait around for my friend Brad whom I expected to finish around 4:30. and then maybe go to a few post race parties to celebrate. When I went online someone had posted that Brad finished at 4 hours 2 mins.
(he had started about 10 mins after the official start)

All of a sudden I heard a really Loud "Boom"  and then a second one.  I wasn't close enough to blow out my eardrums  but it was loudest thing  I had heard in a long time.

My initial thought was "Bomb" and then I thought maybe a set of grandstands fell? (which would have been equally bad.) The most rational thought however was that something went ary  at a construction site?  Thats what I wanted believe (but it was Patriot day and there were wasn't any construction going on downtown.)

 I never saw any smoke because of the skyscrapers surrounding the area. I didn't feel in danger at the time, yet I decided to start walking away from the noise.  At this point nobody really knew what was going on?  The street was  packed with exhausted runners reuniting with their families.  Some people even shook off the noise as if nothing happened,  there was a lot of confusion with a bit of panic but no hysteria.

As I walked away eastward down St. james avenue  I passed a police officer who was listening to his radio.  About ten others had gathered around to find out what had just happened. His radio was going crazy but he didn't let on to us what was really going on (probably to avoid a panic).  In a way this made me think maybe it was nothing? But then came a flock of police officers running and screaming  towards me "Get out of the road, Get out of the Road".

A steady stream of gurneys followed by ambulances were now headed down the street towards the finish line. My heart rate spiked  "What the hell had just happened?"  It was a very scary surreal thing to see!

I texted my sister to get some info? (but news of the bombings was not yet reported by the press) Obviously there were injuries, but from where I was a few blocks away from  there was no communication as to what had just happened.  The sidewalk and streets were packed with people trying to find their loved ones.  Thousands of people were still out of the course.

I walked around rather aimlessly for a bit trying to find my friend Brad as word of mouth news of what had just transpired had just trickled in from person to person.  I thought about jumping on the first Subway I could on to anywhere but when I passed the station it was being shutdown.  Runners were being evacuated away from the finish line and then my my cell phone started buzzing non stop with calls and text messages

 Obviously what whatever happened was on the news and my friends and family were very worried.  I had just switched phones before going to Boston and did not switch phone books.  I tried to respond to everyone but it was overwhelming.  I still wasn't quite sure what was going on other than it was infact a bomb.    I was pretty sure Brad was safe along with another 10 or so friends but  there were probably 30 people I knew in the race?

As soon as I could tried to post online that myself and my friends were safe. (But it didn't go through)   Even though it was half truth I really didn't know the outcome for all my friends (They did end up being okay)  I didn't want people back home to be worried.  I little while later I was able to repost the message and never have I received so many likes on a status update.  

I walked by Boston Commons to the other side of Boylston ST. the streets were still packed sirens were blazing and nobody was celebrating.  I saw a mom who had just ran the race who was crying hysterically as she runited with her crying small child and husband.  Scenes like this were common and I don't want to imagine what it would have been like to be still out on the course wondering about the safety of family at the finish line or vice versa. 
(this street would normally be packed side to side with runners)
 I got a hold of Brad on the phone he was fine.  I turns out He finished the race about 100 yards in front of the 1st explosion.  He was very fortunate to be unscathed but seemed a bit shaken up.
By the time I found him, Brad  had found another friend of his who was gonna give us a ride out of town.  I'm not sure how much time had passed by now since the bombing Maybe it was an hour maybe it was two but as we walked to the car there was still a stream of ambulances as far as the eye could see waiting to get the finish line.

Brad's friend turned out to be a crazy aggressive driver which was a good think on this occasion.  The streets were still blocked for the marathon and the city was in chaos everywhere people were driving the wrong way down one way streets.  Barricades that would have probably been removed earlier in the day were left standing as police had more pressing concerns.  It took about three hours to get out of town and think we're lucky to get out that fast.


Well  It's been just over a week since that tragic day.   The reason I was back in  Boston again this year was not because I love the marathon or the course.  What I love most of are all the amazing people whom line the streets in support of  the runners.  They are the reason that the Boston marathon is special to me

 I feel horrible for the victims and their families.  My heart goes out to them and I am sure your does as well. I am not a religious person and although I don't think praying hurts I feel we need to do much more than that to help heal and to prevent tragedies like this in future

How can we help?

We can start by being more loving to one another. The way way to fight Terrorism is not with a gun?  It's with our hearts.
 We all have basically the same DNA, feelings and emotions and I whole heartedly have faith in humanity.  If you see someone sad give them hug. Maybe if we spent  more time loving strangers as brothers and sisters of humanity people wouldn't resort to such heinous acts of violence.
The bombings in Boston made me realize how much I am loved by friends and family.  It sucks that it took a catastrophe like this for me to acknowledge this.  Thank you so much for any kind words and your concerns about my safety.  I love for all of you and I will try my best to express my love through the actions I make in my everyday life

In an effort to aid the victims I have put my Medal from the Race up on Ebay.  With 100% of the proceeds going to Eastern Massachusetts Red Cross (I originally wanted to donate to The One Fund but Ebay would not allow it) .  If you are one of the thousand's of people that were stopped short of achieving their dreams at the Boston Marathon here's your chance to receive a medal that you deserve and help out some people out in the process.

UPDATE: 4/24 1 p.m.
 Ebay Cancelled my first auction saying I was trying to profit from Human tragedy? (Which couldn't be further from the truth!!!)  I called and defended my case and they said my auction was valid and should be reinstated in the next 24 hours. (they did no reinstate it! I listed it at $.99 and the last bid I saw was $635

I just put the medal up again hopefully ebay does not take it down.

In all honesty I would give my medal away to someone who wasn't allowed to finish but if it could even raise $20 for  The One Fund every little bit helps. So that being said I really don't know what to do.  I guess I just have to wait and see what happens.  If things fall through with ebay and you want my medal please email me maybe we work somthing out where you can show me you made a donation of say $500 or whatever you can afford and  I will mail it out to you.

If you want to find out more or donate money for relief
Please go here

Monday, April 8, 2013

Run About With Your Junk Out. A Bare Burro 2013 5km Preview

What's a dude to do when he is too gimpy to run on his own two legs?
Find a race where he can use on all three.

Time to run about with my junk out 
(warning link may not be safe for work)
Online Entry

My plan was to be running back from Boston starting next week after the marathon but a last my foot is too screwed to begin that ambitious of an undertaking right now.  Throwing a pity party isn't gonna put a smile on my face. But running around naked sure as hell will.  Hopefully I'll be able to run fast enough that the only smile my competition sees is my sideways one.
The Bare Burro 5k takes place in Colton California (near Riverside) in less than two weeks on APRIL 21/3012.  SO I guess you got a few days to go train,  tan yourself naked on the roof or do anything else you got to do to prepare.

What to expect in case you want to give it a try?

Going to the the Olive Dell Ranch or any Nudist resort  is kind of like going to the zoo? If you're like most people you may have a personal preference of what you want to see, maybe it's the koala bear, the monkees or even the two headed snake  (if you're weirdo). What happens when you get there?  You find out the Zoo is full of kudus, gazelles and wildebeests.  It's full of all kinds animals of all shapes sizes  plus a few koalas and monkees. Who knew an alpaca could be so cool. 
 I'm rather immature (I bet you can hardly tell from my writing) and I probably will giggle a bit when I first arrive(never in a disrespectful way) but after a little while it all seems pretty normal. as if you were born naked.  Imagine that?
The fun part about being in this human zoo is that you are also one of the animals .  What kind of animal are you?  That's me the bastard child of the animal kingdom

Nobody is there to judge its all about having a good old stupid fun time.

How to run Naked
Just do it, Your running form will adjust to counter danglage of your parts. Are bodies are not to designed to run in clothes but I guess lifestyle choices have allowed to develop some very interesting shapes. If you are extremely top or bottom heavy you got two empty hands feel free to use them.  If there is no way you can run without support it is allowed.  .
Video of the course
Runing wise it's a tough 5k course.  As silly as seems to wear shoes at a nudist resort I would not recommend going barefoot although Luna Sandals have worked pretty good for the winner the last 2 years

Will naked pictures of you show up on the internet, Will your friends or coworkers find out and will this ruin your chances of becoming President ?

It's interesting that in this day and age that some people need to hide the fact that they went for a run at nudist resort from  the rest of society.  The people at the Olive Dell Ranch are very respectful of this and this respect is expected from all the other runners in the race.  If you don't want your picture taken or your name showing up in the results, it won't happen.  If you want me to take your picture I probably will.

Even I am bit weird about asking friends to join me at this event.  
"Hey buddy you want to come run naked with me" is a bit awkward?" although it's not so bad asking someone of the opposite sex.
Strange :)

I have ran into people I know the last 2 years and it's actually more funny than awkward and after a couple seconds who the hell cares. 
As for the Presidency?
I'm not 35 yet so I'll have to wait and see.

 I have ran in  Bare Burro 5km the last two years and had a really good time.  It's not an experience you will regret doing. I know running a race naked is on a lot of people's bucket list, so now's your chance.

If you want to find out a little bit more here our my race reports from the last two years.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Fuego Y Agua 100km Race Report, Damn Pterodactyls?

Valentines day had passed and judging by this flyer the race was just a day away.
"Kids staying hydrated is very important!"
(maybe I will listen to myself someday)

Febuary 15h 
Packet pick up? 
Survival runners were told to meet at the docks at 8:00 a.m. for packet pick up, little did they know they would have to swim a few 100 yards to get their bibs.
We watched from shore as?
One racer almost got hit by a boat and another almost drowned.  and this seemed like one of these the least dangerous parts of the event?  Yikes
At least nobody got eaten by sharks.
There was no time limit and it seemed like  racer come leisurely come to shore with a big smile on their face
(until they kicked a rock which most of them did)
If any of the women entered in the event were to finish the race I this chick would be the one I'd be betting on. Plus she is super cool.
 God luck to
I don't think that guy died?
Let me introduce you to our friend Johnson.  He is a local hero on the Island of Ometepe and one of nicest most upbeat dudes you will ever meet.
He won the 50km last year and both Tyler and I were hoping he would win the Survival Run this year.  The dude is pure scrawny muslce,
(kind of like me minus the muscle part.)

Time to go pick up my Bib
I didn't have to swim but I did have to be nice to Josue's Machete wielding sister
"No you can not borrow my pen Adam."
Posing with the dudes that should beat me in the race.
That evening we were supposed to have a pre race meal but I had time to kill so might as well have a couple beers with some survival runners
Plus a little frisbee with some kids
Sometime before dark
 (I remember that because it's not dark in the picture) we all piled in chicken bus to the other side of the island for dinner
Hey look there's a volcano behind me
Nice shirt dude.
 (If only there was some kind of portal to bizarro Ometepe where Stone was a sponser of the race and he had on a Tona shirt. Now that would be cool)
After a humiliating defeat at the beer mile Ian Sherman decided to withdraw from the race and become a sideline reporter instead.
 Free Tona's kind of match my shorts.
Maybe I should go get some sleep
or maybe I should party with these ladies?
They do have on some pretty cool sandals!
Tyler's double checking to make sure Josue didn't switch him to the Survival run
I really hope that blonde in running in front of me when I climb the volcano.
I totally agree  Go ANGELS

 Race Day
(It only took 4 and 1/2 blog posts to get here)
The race started at 4:00 a.m. so that meant we had to get up by  3:15
At least we didn't have to do much to get ready
Roll out of bed take off my jammies throw on a pair of shorts
Tyler was going for a more technical ninja look.
Nothing to it but to do it!
Course map
That doesn't look to tough?
Prerace thoughts.

I got suckered into running the 100km instead of the 50km so that I could see the whole island. Health wise my body wasn't in great shape I had been nursing a Bad foot since November which may or may not crap out on me?  My main goal was to be able to finish the race without hurting myself so that I could run the Caballo Blanco Ultra Marathon 2 weeks later. Plan go out easy and see what the body wants to do?  (Sometimes I stick to the plan and other times I see a Squirrel and the next thing you know I'm chasing it up a tree)
On your marks (we don't have marks) Get set (huh I haven't done three point stance since freshman football in high school)

Where's my Chicken?

All the runners start off together but the Survival runners had to carry a chicken the first 5 miles.  I thought maybe I would go out with Tyler for a little bit but he took off .  It's 4 a.m and quickly I found myself out of town and on dusty trail singing the chorus from "The Passenger" over and over in my head

I was using a pretty a shitty headlamp and don't have much confidence running in the dark, and  my speed was closer to a 9min mile when it should have been around a 7min pace.  I passed Tyler maybe a mile or 2 in, he had already turned on his Ipod so I gave him a high five and wished him good luck.

There is really no significant climbing for the first 18 miles of the course the weather was gonna be warm and I should of been using this time to bank miles but I was just cruising. I'd been in vacation mode all week and  didn't feel like I was in a race yet.

"Man there were awake on the Island in the middle of nowhere going about their chores before dawn."
"Buenos Dias Muchacho's"
All alone on the trail I come around the corner to see four local kids brandishing machetes.  It looked like they had been working all night.
 can you guess what song was stuck in my head for the next few hours?
I'm usually singing much worse 
Through the first ten miles course markings were decent enough but a little tricky. to find.  I was lucky that each time I missed one it seemed someone in front  me had already made the same mistake and was turning back to to get on track.  
In trail racing finding the trail or the right way to go can be an adventure.  Getting lost sucks but might as well try and embrace the challenge of finding your path  as another element of the race rather than complain  about my own mistakes afterwards.
(Easy for me to say I didn't really lost)
About 10 to 15 miles into the race (I don't know) I hit the beach. "Hallelujah" I had brought a few pairs of "OSO" prototype sandals with me for the race, one with the new "Traditional Ribbon" lace (My Favorite) and another with the easy on/off "ATS" (EHH) lace.  I decided on the pair with ATS laces in particular for this stretch of sand that we would  run twice. 

I slipped them off my feet and I was happy! Running on sand in shoes is kind of stupid if you ask me.  The soft sand here wasn't all that soft and I ran with my feet going in and out of the water invigorating them with each step.  It wasn't until now that I realized how slow I was running  (maybe I should've worn a GPS to keep me on my toes ) Once on the beach I started flying it was only about three miles but it felt  good.  It was nice to not be confined by a trail. Running on a single track trail makes me feel like i'm in a coral on the way to being slaughtered but on the beach I can run free.

Time to go climb a volcano
The first volcano in the race was " Vulcan Maderas"

It starts out pretty easy and very runnable, as I had seen earlier in the week.  But after a few miles each step become steeper.   
I wasn't moving very fast but I was passing people.  Trudging along I picked of a walking stick to help brace me when I would slip in the mud.  As I climbed higher into the cloud forest (the top of the volcano is almost perpetually in the clouds) the mud grew thicker and tree roots were prehistoric looking.  I found myself  throwing the walking stick out in front of me so that I could use both arms to climb through the jungle.

The sandals were actually up holding better than I thought (the grip on the OSO was great) That is until I got a layer of slippery mud on the top of them (which was inevitable).  If I planted my weight even the slightest bit off center they would slide off to the side pulling my feet in directions they didn't want to go.  I was worried that I might even lose my sandals in deep mud, so I had worn anklets that I could tether my sandals too with string if need be.( but in this respect the ATS laces held fine.)
Climbing down into the crater of the volcano I took a slide and branch practically ripped my shorts off, not that I really mind running naked but I was glad to still have my shorts. Other than that I remained pretty much unscathed. 
Photo by Jess Soco
Center of the Volcano
I've heard on most days you can be standing right next to the lake and not see it because of the clouds.  We were very fortunate to have this view.  I wanted to go for a swim but was told the water was gross so I didn't  
(I regret that decision. )
On the hike out of the volcano I was struggling.  The sun was intense and although the scenery was amazing i was having trouble finding my happy place.  I asked some dude who had run the race last year  if the other side of the volcano was less muddy?  
Rather than answer my question honestly, I think he was trying to be nice and told me that this side was much drier?
At that point I sat down for a few minutes and using one of my bandannas tried to wipe all the mud off the top of my sandals.  It took forever but if meant I wasn't gonna slip it would be worth it.
The Jungle Gym
The dude's info couldn't have been further from the truth.  within a few minutes I was in mud well over my ankles.  
The way down from the volcano was both fun and grimacing.   I found myself swinging my body from branch to root trying to avoid the mud and not slide off my sandals or the side off a cliff. I had thoughts of going barefoot but did not pull the trigger. It was nerve racking and painful  but I got through it and found myself finally running again near the bottom of the volcano.  

By this time I was almost to the 50km mark of the course where it would be very easy too drop out the weather was scorching and an Ice cold Tona sounded really good I ran pretty hard as I neared the beach I saw Jamil Coury who had finished the 50km already along with Ian Sherman. They gave me some words of encouragement but I was still contemplating calling it a day.
I grabbed a beer (it wasn't even close to Ice cold Doh!) took off my sandals and jumped in the lake.  It was nice to be mud free I grabbed a fresh bandanna from my drop bag and took off running, for the second half of the race.  At least for a few miles

The next 15 miles were pretty exposed and the temperature was probably in the low 90s.  I thought I was on top of my hydration but I was far from it. The sun was taking it's toll and my body wanted to shut down.  Each time I tried to run I would have to pee then when I tried to pee I would get an excruciating pain and only a drop or two would come out.  I was pretty miserable

When I crossed the beach on the way back I went for two swims over the course of three miles. trying to lower my core temperature and get my kidneys functioning properly.
About a mile after that I went for swim here at "Ojo De agua".  It was not my day.  I was trying to keep a positive attitude and really wanted to run  because of the urinary issues I was having very difficult time even sustaining a steady jog. I probably tried to pee at least 100 times totally about 10oz of liquid.

From mile 35 to mile 50 I didn't see another runner.  Most people had signed up for the 50km and a lot of the 100km runners had dropped down to the shorter distance.  Eventually I finally made it to the base of Volcano Concepcion

I had been doing a lot of walking but as I approached the aid station I could see 2 runners in front of me take off.  Hmm "How the hell was I catching anyone? "It invigorated me a little bit"  I had been out of water for some time now and I was quite parched (the gap between aid stations was longer than anticipated)   I was given a cold bottle of water and a cold bottle of Powerade courtesy of Josue's sister.   Man was I thankful for that.  I wanted to sit but I had two runners to catch. I grabbed my headlamp from drop bag and took off

When I left the aid station I immediately got stuck behind some dude on horseback herding his 20 steers up the path who had turned up it seconds before I had.  He gave me a friendly acknowledgement but their was no room to pass.  Even the Survival runners would look like pipsqueaks next to these cattle.  Eventually I found my gap and without apprehension (cause apprehension might of got me squished) I felt like a thong on a fat lady as I sprinted through to the other side.  

Unlike the the other Volcano, "Concepcion" was not muddy at all and my sandals were working great.  The weather was cooling down and my body was starting to function properly again
Pic from earlier in the week  
(I was really hoping that monkey would be working the aid station but he was nowhere to be seen this time)

 I was moving pretty well and passed a runner as I neared the top of the volcano just after sunset.  The wind was howling and I felt like gonna get blown off the side of it  if I stayed in the exposed area too long. I filled my bottle as quick as possible and took off.  

When Tyler and I had climbed to this spot earlier in the  week we couldn't find the trail  that the course was supposed to use on the way back down?  It turns out there really was no trail other than run down the side of and exposed Volcano following tiny blue ribbons tied to the side of plants along the way.

It might have been easy to follow during the daylight but in the dark with the headlamp it really sucked. (plus you got to worry about Pterodactyls?)  My sandals had just enough grip to run with as I landed on my heels bracing myself against a fierce tailwind that wanted to topple me forward.  Frantically I tried to maintain my lead over the dude I had just passed but every few minutes I had to stop and backtrack trying to find the blue ribbons.  Mentally I was pretty drained but because of all the walking I did during the the day I still had some juice left in my legs.  I got my act together and took off.

I never did catch the other dude number 2 but I did maintain a decent pace the rest of the way down the volcano, back into town and to the finish line.
7th place with a time twice nearly twice as long as my P.R. for that distance.  It was a long day and I was happy to be done.

When I strolled back to my hotel I met up with some of the other runners who had long been finished
"Dude what the hell took you so long?"
(everyone knows the only way to defeat a Pterodactyl is too poke it in the nose)

"You see there was this babe at the top of the volcano and I totally had to rescue her from these horny pterodactyls I knew it would cost me any chance at a decent finish but I had no choice but to save her? "
"Right on Dude You did the right thing!
Cheers to Sweeney"
I think that's what happened my memory  is about as blurry as this photo
Wonder why my memory was so blurry?
After a quick shower I headed  back down to the finish line to go cheer on Tyler.  I really didn't clean up too well yet I was still irresistible to the ladies. 
While waiting for Tyler guess who strolled in?
It was our friend Johnson who was the winner and one of only two finishers in the Survival Run.  It couldn't have happened to a nicer more deserving guy.
Hey Josue,  although I had a tough day I was very thankful for the amazing experience.  Thank you so much to you, your family and all the volunteers for putting on this world renowned event.
Eventually Tyler arrived at the finish line.  "Dude what happened to you, why are you limping?" I asked
(he really wasn't limping)
"Ah man this UFO came out of nowhere and they probed me for hours."
" Strange things happen at the top of those Volcanos? Congrats on making to the the finish line, I'm proud of you brother."
Look who was there to congratulate Tyler.  It was the kid from our first hostel that said that Tyler should do the 25km instead
(he totally deserved a noogie right about then)

It was nice to finally get my medal for the beer mile.

TIme for bed.  We got a kids race to help out at tomorrow

The kids race was really special.  Every kid that ran got a T-shirt a medal and pair of shoes.
Even though Johnson had won the Survival Run the day before he still had enough energy to run the kids race barefoot with his Nephew.
(So Cool)
Things got weird at the awards ceremony
Congrats to the winners

I think it's about time to get my ass off this Island and and on my way to Mexico!!!