Wild Race Weekend Part 2

San Diego Blood Bank 5k – August 3, 2014
Alright, alright. 4th race in 4 weeks. I learned from the day before and wore appropriate race attire knowing full fuckin well that it is beyond my mental capabilities to go easy in a race. Fuck it. I only know how to do things one way: hard.

I went out smooth and strong knowing that I like to work to the back half. A mile into it, I hear enormous feet gaining on me. Motherfucker. What horse is in the race today? “What’s up (gasp), Ryan (breath)?” It’s my Ragnar teammate Andy.

“What’s up dude?” I reply. I fuckin hate talking during races.

“Why aren’t you (breath) up near the (gasp) front?”. I’m running in like 15-20th place.

That’s all the motivation I need. “I don’t know. Let’s go.” After that my pace goes down and I start picking off runners one by one. Andy rolls with me for a bit but I manage to drop him. Even friends are enemies on race day. At the turnaround point halfway through the race I think I’m running in 10th or so and the race is thinning out so passing pickings are slim. So I go to work and move the legs as quickly as they’ll go. Never one to shy from throwing down a massive kick, I throw down in the last 400m for one of my favorite race pictures ever:

Sorry #2512 but you've just been caught.

Sorry #2512 but you’ve just been caught.

This race picture would only be made better if I didn’t look like I have a pair of socks in my short pockets. Because I’m vain I was inspired to start racing in short shorts to show off my beautiful legs.

I finished in 17:12. The race is labeled as a 5k but I think it’s a 3 mile race. So while this would have been a PR, I’m not claiming it. The real show of the day as usual was the beer garden serving Stone. After slamming a few I swear I start hearing my name from a speaker. Yeah, totally hear my name. What the what? Turns out I had placed 5th overall which got me a call to the awards stage. I run out the garden to claim my winnings and I revel in the looks of other beer drinkers as I exit: “The drunk guy is fast?” After a surprise placing, I hurry back to drink some more delicious beer (why is it so good?) to end a wild weekend of racing. Next up was a well deserved recovery week.

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Wild Race Weekend Part 1

One weekend + two races = bad ass. Let’s recap where we are. The weekend before I competed in Solana Beach Tri. Two weeks before that was Vineman Half Ironman. This weekend was Balboa 8 miler on Saturday and San Diego Blood Bank 5k on Sunday. My legs were done-zo so I decided I’d turn Balboa 8 miler into a easy effort. The only reason I was doing it was because all my friends were there and I wanted to drink beer with them.

So I lined up way in the back so I’d force myself to go out easy. Of course when the start gun shoots off, I immediately panic. What the hell are you doing back here? You have to pass EVERYONE! GET YOUR ASS IN GEAR! I must have an additive personality disorder or something. I cannot go easy. I just cannot do it. By the time I reach the start line, I’ve already passed hordes of runners dodging in and out of traffic as I work towards the front. The lead runners are completely out of sight already but I have plenty of work to do.

This race is a cool show case of Balboa park with some decent hill and trail running. Rumor has it this is the oldest race in San Diego and was created so that a half marathoner and a 10k runner could compromise on a distance and race head to head; hence the wacky distance. The nice thing about running a distance you’ve never done before (as was the case for me): you are going to set a personal record. My day was fairly uneventful after the first couple of miles as it became harder and harder to pass people. I finished 15th overall in 55:20. Based upon my start position, I’m claiming victory of passing the most people.

The real story this day is about Old Man Dave. You see, Old Man Dave is apart of the unofficial running club I’m in. This club is basically our Ragnar team and whoever else can run and drink beer. We get together on weekends for group runs, sign up for the same races, etc. Well Old Man Dave is our 55+ member (note that’s not old) who pretends to be grumpy even though he’s not. Thus, he is lovingly referred to as Old Man Dave. And don’t let the grumpiness fool you, the dude can beat your ass in a race. Anyway, I pass Old Man Dave at mile 2 and then 3 miles later I pass a guy who I assume is in Old Man Dave’s age group (I make this assumption based on the fact that… well, he’s old). Let’s call this guy Old Man Asshole. Aww too bad Dave won’t win his age group  I think I pass Old Man Asshole.

So at the finish line, I’m waiting to see how everyone finishes and I see that Old Man Dave has passed Old Man Asshole for the victory. Sweet. Let’s party. There is no official beer garden but my buddy Miah has a cooler of Modelos so we settle in on the grass to talk shop and wait for the awards ceremony. My friend and #1 nemesis Rory was 7th overall and won his age group so he gets a trophy. And then Old Man Daves get SECOND!? Yeah, apparently Old Man Asshole’s chip didn’t work so they let him use his GPS watch time as his official time. And with his fake time, Old Man Asshole has won the age group. Miah confirms he also passed Old Man Asshole while he was stopped on the side of the road. (Quick back story on GPS watches: if you blow the fuck up and stop moving, they will auto-pause the time).

Old Man Asshole knows he didn’t win this award and I know he knows because he jokingly tells Old Man Dave they must had made a mistake. No Old Man Asshole you made a mistake and gave them a time you knew wasn’t true. But he’s keeps the trophy? That’s classless. Ok, no biggie, it’s just some local race no one cares about. I slam a couple of Modelos and I’ve completely given up on joining the conversation with my buddies (who have all moved on) because I’m pissed about Old Man Asshole’s actions. This is wrong and I don’t like it. I watch him take pictures of himself, “his” trophy, and anyone willing to come close to him. I see Old Man Asshole take a step to his car and I spring to my feet and take Dave’s second place trophy. He looks at me with a plea not to do what I’m going to do.

I’m moderately buzzed and moderately dressed with no shirt and no shoes but I walk up to Old Man Asshole and point to his trophy and say “You don’t deserve that.”

He looks at me like I’m fucking mad.

“You got second. I saw it. I beat you and watched my friend beat you too. You were second.”

“Well according to my time, I won. They might have made a mistake,” he replies. He knows he’s in the wrong but if he loses his trophy now his Facebook posts won’t hold the merit he desires.

“Your time was wrong because you told them the wrong time.” I point to Dave across the parking lot. “He beat you. You know it. I brought you your second place trophy. Congratulations.”

He’s stammering now. “I-i-i-if you want me to give him this trophy, I will do that.”

“That’s what I want.” I take his trophy and give him his well deserved second place trophy. He can’t believe what is happening and I can’t either. I immediately turn and run back to my friends and give Old Man Dave the first place trophy he won. He’s understandably embarrassed but to everyone else I’m the hero of the day for righting a wrong. It feels good.

Back story on me: I’m usually very passive and stay out of people’s business. But sometimes I regret not being more active in the lives of others. I have regrets that stick with me forever for not taking action. Like when I was checking into a hotel late at night and a distressed mother and daughter were trying to pay for a room with cash and the clerk wanted a credit card they didn’t have. Why didn’t I pay for them to have a room for a night? Or the time I saw a guy at the beach covertly recording teenage girls playing volleyball at the beach. Why the fuck didn’t I slap the video camera out of his hands? This day I corrected a wrong. In the long walk of life, this specific event was inordinately insignificant. But it was a step for me: from now on, all injustices I see will be responded to with action. I will put myself in uncomfortable situations to make wrongs right. I promise.

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Solana Beach Triathlon

After not doing a sprint triathlon in more than two years, I decided to sign up for Solana to remember what it was like to only race for an hour. Also, I love Solana Beach. Good food, good beer around there. Finally there is the real reason I had signed up: I had made a new training friend at my masters swim class named Dan and he had signed up and I wanted to go head to head with him. Dan crushes me in the swim. I crush Dan in the bike. We are very evenly matched in the the run. This had the makings a of great duel.

Since Dan is 12 years old (not really, child molester police; he is 25) and I’m 35, Dan’s wave was much earlier than mine. In fact, his race was done before I even started so he came down to the beach after he was done so I knew what the time to beat was: 52:57. Are you fuckin kidding me? I’ve never even broken 60 minutes in this distance. Well, after dropping that mental bomb, it was time for the poor bastard to go to work and me to PR so I had a chance of beating him.

Of all the triathlons I’ve done, this was my first race in the ocean. I’d only raced in bays, lakes, and rivers previously. This was fine by me since I practice in the ocean weekly and I’m good at surf entries and surf exits. I wanted to go out hard in the water because Dan was going to kill me in the swim and needed to limit my losses. I swam harder than usual and came out of the water in 12th after a time of 7:49. This is really good for me. Dan was going down. Coming out of the ocean is nice 100 foot climb so I put my running skills to good use and picked up a few spots. I had a solid T1 and was prepared to crush a short 9 mile bike leg.

Some may think I'm taking off my swim cap but really I'm just thinking like Winnie the Pooh. Think, think, think.

Some may think I’m taking off my swim cap but really I’m just thinking like Winnie the Pooh. Think, think, think.

But I could not get my bike going. Call it fatigue two weeks after a half Ironman, call it a mental lapse, call it going out too hard in the swim, call it what you will: I could not get out of the red zone on the bike. The entire leg was an uncomfortable oxygen debt mess. Two weeks after averaging 22mph on a hilly 56 mile course I averaged 21.5 mph on this 9 mile flat course.#wtf?

Get your ass in gear, son.

Get your ass in gear, son.

My legs came back to me in the run and I dropped a 18:35 5k which was tops in the age group so I was happy with that. So if you do all the math I finished in a whopping 55:31. A nearly 5 minute PR in this distance  but I got my ass kicked by Dan by a click over a minute and a half. He beat me by a minute in a the water, I took a big chunk back in the bike (and by big I mean one second — literally), and then that fucker beat me by 30 seconds on the run for the fastest amateur run of the day.

Hey dough boy, try wearing a shirt that fits or eat less doughnuts.

Hey dough boy, try wearing a shirt that fits or eat less doughnuts. Also, nice form. Be sure to really pound that heel into the ground.

All was not lost however. They had beer! And about 20 minutes after I finished, it started pouring. Like crazy pouring. If it wasn’t for the beer in my hand I would have started to build an ark it was raining so hard. When I started my beer, it was 5% alcohol and by the time I was done, it was 2% Utah Budweiser. So, we’re triathletes, right? We can take the rain. Afterall, we all just got out of an ocean swim. Right, guys? Right? No! Everyone books it for the exits like a fire in the theater. Fine by me, more beer for the Beer Garden Runner. I may not have won the race but I did win the “Last Bike In the Bike Rack” challenge. You go, girl.

Aye, fight and you may die. Run, and you'll live... at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin' to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take... OUR BEER!

Aye, fight and you may die. Run, and you’ll live… at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin’ to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take… OUR BEER!

 

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More fuckin races

Ok, more catch up:

Scripps Ranch 10k
I blew chunks on this race. Slowest time in three years finishing in 36:29. I was plagued by thoughts of a half ironman the next weekend. I wanted to race hard but then got tired and thought I should slow down which led to some middle of the road effort. Afterwards I drank beer of course at the world best beer garden.

Vineman Half Ironman

This was one of my A-priority races of the year and I had been putting in a ton of bike training in hopes of capturing a World Championship slot. I figured a sub-4:40 would put me in the conversation. I went into the swim nice and easy. I’d been attending masters swim at 5:30am 2-3 days a week for nearly a year. I was repaid with zero improvement in time from my last half Ironman. Fuckin fuck.

With the swim behind me, it was time to bury some souls.

With the swim behind me, it was time to bury some souls.

I wanted to crush it on the bike so I crushed it on the bike. I was fueled by rage as sissy drafters hung all over me. I get it if you’re trying to finish a race but I think it’s beyond a dick move to do this at a level where world’s spots are on the line. One guy was especially a pain to get off my ass at mile 50. So I flicked my wrist for him to come by. He didn’t so I looked back and yelled at him to back off. As soon as he did, I surged to drop him. Remember this, it becomes important later. I averaged 22.0 mph flat through the entire bike finishing in 2:32. Hills, flat, whatever. All consistent all day. I was now 10 minutes ahead of my pace from my previous race but would need a 1:25 or so to get under 4:40.

56 miles of wineries with no wine in my belly. Its a god damn travesty.

56 miles of wineries with no wine in my belly. Its a god damn travesty.

I’m a runner first so I live for this in the triathlon. But, I was fuckin done at this point. The temp was in the mid-90s and my bike effort was hurting me. I went out easy knowing I had a ways to go. At mile 3, there is a short but steep uphill and I just had to walk it. I was so fuckin tired. It only took a minute but during that minute the sissy drafter passed me. Aw hell no! I started running again and passed him back a half mile down the road. As I did so, I let him know how I felt: “Try drafting me now, bitch”.

In my head, I can drop 6:30s all day everyday. Sometimes my body disagrees. My quads were pulsing and moments from cramping. 7:15s were all I could do this day. I got into a rhythm miles 6-8 getting into the 6:40s but I lost it again. I wanted to but my body was not responding. So I finished the day with a 1:33 half marathon and a 4:44 overall time. Not what a wanted but a PR is a PR.

Hello. Nice to meet you.I would like to die now. Please may I stop?

Hello. Nice to meet you.I would like to die now. Please may I stop?

In a ironic twist, my name was called at the awards ceremony for a World’s spot even though I finished 18th in my age group. But was I there to collect? No because I was killing beer and pizza. I was super bummed when I learned about this but in retrospect it all worked out. I don’t want a spot that I “lucked” into. I want to earn it the right way — a good time and a high finish. One fine day.

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Remember when I used to blog at least every two weeks?

Me neither. But since I don’t really blog let’s put up some quick blurbs and pictures so when my old man knees are shot I can remember the glory days.

Boston Marathon
I exercised my demons and did what I know I could. I intentionally started two corrals back from where I qualified so I would be forced to go out easy. After 10k, I ran with reckless abandon going through half marathon in 1:25. The hills on the backside took something out me and my last 5k was a struggle but I came through in a solid 2:54. This was a very emotional race the year after the bombings. Best sign I saw along the way was “WE OWN THE FINISH LINE”. It was my mantra throughout the run. Post race I made friends with one of the few bastards faster than me (some dude who ran a 2:39) and drank beer until the sun went down.

Making the turn on Boylston street. 0.2 miles to go. Finish it, boy.

Making the turn on Boylston street. 0.2 miles to go. Finish it, boy.

boston split 1 boston split 2

El Moro 50k
Three weeks after thrashing my legs at Boston, I toed the line for my first ultra. I was battling an ankle that had not allowed me to run more than 6 miles since Boston and now I was going to go for 31. The only reason I was doing this race is because my friends were. I told them I was pulling out of the race that week but they were nice enough to convince me that I was a pussy. So fuck those guys, I threw down and beat their asses on the course.
I ran a 4:37. The last 5 miles or so was some run walking as my legs were cramping up. But that was all remedied by a day at the beach (and beer of course) where the race starts and ends.

It's rare to get pictures of friends in with me so this picture is special to me. Me and my buddy Miah started out our day nice and easy together.

It’s rare to get pictures of friends in with me so this picture is special to me. Me and my buddy Miah started out our day nice and easy together.

el moro 50k 009

Hey asshole, I’m trying to take a picture of the pretty flowers and you just ran through my shot.

 

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Boston Marathon Race Plan

BostonStrong-Wordmark_blackI’ve read it’s good to write down your race plans. Rumor has it you will have more commitment to your plan if you write it down. Let’s give it a shot. Here’s how I’m attacking Boston Marathon:

Miles 1-5 shall be easy. Whatever easy feels like that day. These miles are downhill but these will be my slowest miles of the day.

Miles 6-15 will be my bread and butter of rolling hills and I will get into a groove here. The effort will increase and the pace will improve but I will remain calm and relatively comfortable.

Miles 16-21 are the Newton hills. There are 4 of them culminating in Heart Break hill. I will be prepared for each hill to get progressively harder. I will not push myself on the uphills preferring to get into a pack and let someone else dictate the pace. But, I will pick it back up on the flat recoveries.

Miles 22-26: I will turn into a downhill running beast. My conservative approach to the start will turn to reckless abandon at the end. This marathon is now a race and I will pass as many runners as possible. Every mile will get faster and faster.

Mile 26.2: Spectating children will cry in shame as I pass their mothers and fathers like they are walking. No one can match my final quarter mile speed.

Post race: drink beer in a bar while still wearing my foil blanket.

Let’s do this. I am Beer Garden Runner and I am Boston Strong.

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Year in Review

Jesus. It’s been a year since my last update. I was thinking I might start blogging again. Maybe. I recently started to enjoy running again after battling injuries and sub-par race performances so the chances of more updates are better than usual. Whether or not it sticks is anyone’s guess but I should post some amazing pictures so I don’t lose them. Here is what I’ve been up to in the last year:

April 2013 – So Cal Ragnar Relay
This is an insanely hard race. 12 people pile into vans and run relay style from Huntington Beach to San Diego — a distance of 195 miles. I ran decently but didn’t meet my expectations; especially in the third leg after basically no sleep. The best part of this event was seeing Skinny Runner and getting a snap shot with her. Of all the power bloggers, she is my favorite because this girl puts in insane miles. I think she may have quit blogging but she’s still my hero.

Me and Skinny Runner just kicking it with the sun in her eyes.

Me and Skinny Runner just kicking it with the sun in her eyes.

May 4, 2013: Cinco De Mayo Trail 10k — 42:38 (there are crazy hills on this course)
I became a professional athlete by placing third overall and winning a whopping $50. I have since framed the $50 due to it’s priceless sentimental value and have used the professional athlete joke ever since.

$50!? Who wants to go to Souplantation? I'm buying.

$50!? Who wants to go to Souplantation? I’m buying.

June 1, 2013: Camp Pendleton Mud Run — 45:35
Another trail run I did well at. My first mud run and it was so freakin fun. I want to do more. I placed 7th in my wave and beat Rory which never happens so I was pumped. I did get outkicked by some punk high schooler but he wasn’t laughing when I legally drank beer after the race.

There are a millon pebbles in my shoes right now.

There are a millon pebbles in my shoes right now.

June 30, 2013: San Diego International Triathlon (1:44:48)
15:28 swim, 1:43 T1, 46:15 bike, 1:12 T2, 40:07 run
This is where the wheels start to come off. I started getting these crazy calf cramps in June and I didn’t run for like 2 weeks before this race. Like zero running. So I concentrated on swimming and biking. I was waking up at 5am three times a week to go to Masters Swim training for this race. Race day comes and I swim like absolute shit — like minutes slower than last year. My bike was ridiculously fast and I even took down some elites but then my run just sucked. All in all, I run 10 seconds slower than last year. Big setback given the shape I thought I was in. My only takeaway from this race was realizing the bike may become my greatest strength.

It was pictures like this that made me realize my bike was just too big for me. I have since upgraded to a better sized bike and sold this one on eBay. I paid for my new bike by betting against gold and watching that floor fall out of that precious metal. Thus, my new bike is called Goldie.

It was pictures like this that made me realize my bike was just too big for me. I have since upgraded to a better sized bike and sold this one on eBay. I paid for my new bike by betting against gold and watching that floor fall out of that precious metal. Thus, my new bike is called Goldie. Peace out Cervelo P2, I loved you but I fell in love with someone else.

July 4, 2013 (35:39)
Six days after a disappointing triathlon, I ran Scripps Ranch 10k and again was 10 seconds slower than last year. However, I was very happy with this given how little I had been running and my piss poor performance the week before. I also beat my friend Yuriy for the first time ever. My brothers signed up for the race which was an amazing birthday present. The beer garden lived up to all the hype.

Cmon you savages, this is a family park. Show some respect.

Cmon you savages, this is a family park. Show some respect.

September 1, 2013: Disneyland Half Marathon (1:21:58)
I put together an amazing training in preparation for this race. All I’ve wanted for three Christmases was a sub-1:20 half and I was prepared to go deep into the teens for this race. As luck would have it, the weather was hot and humid but more than anything I just sucked for a race I was well prepared for.

November 17, 2013: Silverstrand Half Marathon (1:27:02)
Fuck, fuck, fuck. I got sick before this race and ran my slowest half since 2011.

December 29, 2013; Holiday Half Marathon (1:20:36)
A new PR but with an asterisk since this course is all downhill. I had to run this race because the start is 2 miles from my house. A good day was made even better when the wife and I immediately drove to the Chargers game after this race (my brother bought us tickets for Christmas) and we watched the Chargers sneak into the playoffs.

The Holiday Half was run on the 56 bike trail which I ride all the time so I was super familiar with the course.

The Holiday Half was run on the 56 bike trail which I ride all the time so I was super familiar with the course.

Post SD Half, it was a Chargers playoff party :)

Post SD Half, it was a Chargers playoff party 🙂

February 9, 2014: San Dieguito Half Marathon (1:23:50)
I decided not to care by racing drunk. It turns out to not work so well. Still, I placed second in my age group (15th overall) and won a killer jacket.

March 15, 2014: St Pattys Day 10k (37:15)
I ran six miles before the race since I was marathon training. I was pleased to run this well in a tempo effort. Another second in my age group (9th overall) which won me a pint glass and in my estimation I was the best dressed.

Cutoff shirts = sexy. Next year, I'll add tassles.

Cutoff shirts = sexy. Next year, I’ll add tassles.

April 4, 2014: Ragnar So Cal
So this post begins and ends with Ragnar. I was in the same van as my best friends and I ran really strong so this was an amazingly enjoyable experience. Our team took fourth overall.

I was supposed to go easy since I was training for Boston but some dude at the exchange wouldn't shut the fuck up about how good he was so I turned his 2 minute into a 10 second lead. This is me at the tail end of Leg 1 trying to pull that bastard in.

I was supposed to go easy since I was training for Boston but some dude at the exchange wouldn’t shut the fuck up about how good he was so I turned his 2 minute lead into a 10 second lead. This is me at the tail end of Leg 1 trying to pull that bastard in.

4th place team looks like a bunch of dweebs.

4th place team looks like a bunch of dweebs.

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