Last week I ran the first Hero Rush LA. This was a 5K race planned by firefighters, donating to a good cause, so I figured I would give it a try. They touted the catchphrase “More challenge, less mud” so I figured the obstacles would be awesome, I was wrong. Maybe I am just getting biased after running Tough Mudders and Spartan Races but I think this race could have been so much more. It was littered with first time mistakes both logistically and during the race, which confirmed my philosophy of skipping first time races. I am going to take a cue from my friend Adam Daniels and do a what worked/what didn’t setup for this recap.
The last wave. I signed up for the 1pm wave which was by far the smallest so there was no wait for any obstacle. It also helped that the final wave often has the slowest people so I was easily at the front of my group which aided in the lack of wait time for obstacles.
The cause. The event raised money for the fallen firefighters foundation and paid homage to the 343 firefighters who died on 9/11. You can’t really argue with that cause and I did not mind paying what I consider a high price of registration to support it. I hope that a significant portion of my registration fee actually went to the cause.
The partner obstacle. One obstacle was a two person event. You had to work with your partner to put a person “Tire set” on a stretcher, carry it over and under some walls, under barbed wire, and through a tunnel. I’ve never done an obstacle like that and it was pretty cool.
What Didn’t Work?
The bag check area. For some strange reason, they had the bag check area set up by registration. The problem with that was that registration was not anywhere near the post race festivities. Additionally, the changing rooms were in the post race area and not near the bag check. This meant that in order to change, dry off, or get money for food you had to walk back to the bag check area, but once you got your bag you were closer to the parking lot so it was easier to just leave. I ended up changing at my car and leaving. This was probably a huge loss in revenue not to mention it was just annoying.
The “Hero Dinero”. After the race you got five dollars in race cash to be used on food and apparel. The problem was that this money got you almost nothing because the food costs were ridiculous. And since I didn’t have my wallet all I could get was an awful microwaved pretzel and a bag of Doritos. At all other race I have ever done you at least got a free beer, but not at the Hero Rush, no beer cost $9. Ridiculous.
An abundance of tires. This race boasted eighteen obstacles, yet four of them involved carrying or pulling one or more tires. That is not inventive, it is boring. I could think of a lot of other things they could do but they must have gotten a deal on tire rentals. I’m sorry but connecting two tires together does not create a brand new obstacle.
False advertising. If you go on the website and watch the video you see people climbing through obstacles filled with smoke, riding down zip lines and, jumping over multiple fire pits. Awesome right! Definitely, if that is what really happened. This race had none of that so I felt completely cheated. I was so excited about the zip line and the smoke filled obstacles because they were very unique but all I got was traditional mud run obstacles without any mud. Even the fire was a joke. We just ran around a large campfire, no jumping at all.
This race was not built for regular adventure racers, it is really a way for firefighters to get together and run a race. I felt very out of place, almost everyone I met asked me where I was a firefighter. I could also tell the tone of this race by the lack of competitiveness. I put in a minimal effort because of my knee issues but still finished 33rd overall. There were a ton of beginner errors that could easily be fixed but the big issue was the lack of the obstacles touted on their website video. I felt ripped off and hope that they can make the races more consistent in the future. I do not think I will run this race again and with just stick to what I know and like.
Race Grade: C
After four months of training marathon weekend had finally arrived. We drove out in the pouring rain to stop by the expo and get my race bib. The expo was huge and it was cool to be right outside of Dodger stadium but we arrived late and it was cold and wet so a long stay was not in the cards. I checked in and got my bib but then went over to the store to have my number ironed onto a new technical tee. This was a really cool option because it allowed me to leave the paper bib off my clothes in order to avoid chaffing. My mom also bought me a birthday present, a frame to hold my medal, race picture, and engraved finishing time. That would be a really cool addition to my office if and only if I finished under my goal pace. Before we left I found my pace time starting area to take a before picture.
We left the expo and headed over to the Millennium Biltmore hotel to get checked in. After a few minutes waiting we dropped off the car and got up to the room. It was really nice to be at such a high end hotel at a much cheaper race rate. Even the parking was discounted for people running in the marathon. A few hours later we headed over to Scarpetta for my prerace carbo load dinner. Take a look at my most recent review for info on that amazing meal. After dinner we settled in to get a good night sleep but of course adrenaline and anxiety took over. I spent the next seven hours having my trademark weird dreams followed by an accelerated heart beat which only allowed me to sleep for a few hours. Completely expected but still really annoying.
At 5am I got out of bed and began to get ready for the race. We left to drive over to Dodger stadium and I made my first of two tactical errors. I listened to the guy at check in and tried to take the side streets right to the stadium. To my dismay every access point was closed so after 15 minutes of driving around we were finally forced onto the highway like all the other idiot drivers. Traffic was ridiculous and it took us almost 45 minutes to get through the one open entrance to the stadium. I even had to get out of the car and let my mom park so I could get in line for the bathroom. Next year we stay at a hotel closer to Santa Monica because the shuttles were able to get in a different way and the travel time was much shorter. The second tactical error was not filling up my water bottles at the hotel because the bathroom lines made it impossible for me to leave and get that stuff ready. I had to send my mom on an expedition to find water or else I would have been in a bad way. Last note of prerace, they did not have nearly enough bathrooms. I spent thirty minutes waiting in line and came dangerously close to missing the start of the race.
In an uncomfortable hurry up offense, I made it to the start with five minutes to spare, no real stretching this race. The starting area was jammed with people and there was no way that I would made it to the 9:00 pace time so I just started in the back with the goal of catching up. The good thing is that this allowed Virginia to get some final pictures before the race began. Finally, it was time. The gun went off and I got ready to run. But, wait, seventeen thousand other people had the same idea so after a very slow ten minute walk I made it over the start and we were on our way. I guess I did have time to stretch after all.
And I was off! Marathon #1 here we go! A note on the weather, it was beautiful. Everyone was so fearful because of last year’s run and the fact that it was cold and pouring on Saturday. Somehow it all worked out and it was 55 degrees, no wind, and a mix of cloudy and sunny. You could not ask for better running weather, thank god I didn’t try and layer or I would have been a mess. The first mile was just me getting the nervousness out and finding my pace time. At mile two things went a little awry, a guy bumped into me and messed up my runmeter app (stupid me for not locking it). It took me a little bit to fix it but I wouldn’t notice the real impact until mile 25 so I will talk about that later.
Here was the next issue. At races they generally have pace leaders who hold signs stating the pace and finish time. I came upon a group of people with balloons of the number nine. A few of those people had shirts that said “Pace Leader” so I made the stupid assumption that this was the nine minute mile pace. I settled in with them but after a few updates from my phone saying that I was pacing at ten minutes, I realized that something was wrong. I decided to speed up and spent a few miles running at my own pace. About 45 minutes later I came upon a person holding a real placard as an actual pace card holder. It turns out the people I was following were just a team and that was group number nine. Frustrating! Well, this person was the 9:30 pace leader and I had to average 9:09 to hit my pace time so at this point I was already a few minutes behind my goal. This meant that I had to pick up my pace progressively as the race went on. Not ideal but I was determined.
As we all settled into the race things got pretty smooth. Most of this race was slightly downhill which was very nice and allowed for me to set in a pace and cruise along. The amount of support for this race was amazing. Almost every mile there were dozens of people giving out a variety of snacks, drinks, and encouragement. I tried to stay away from these things because you never know how they will impact you and I had all my supplements in my waist belt. One thing that I was all over were the Vaseline boards. Yes, people were standing every so often with post board covered with Vaseline. You could just run by and swipe some off and use as you needed. I learned my lesson in Seattle so I made sure to hit these folks up quite often. Awesome!
I reached the halfway point feeling good but I was still three minutes behind my goal at 2:03. I knew that I could not sustain a faster pace to make this time up so a new game plan was needed. What I then decided to do was to run a nine minute pace for 25 minutes and then accelerate to a seven minute pace for 5 minutes and repeat that for the rest of the race. It was my hope that this would get me back under my goal pace by the time we hit Santa Monica. This would allow me to activate different muscle groups and have time to recover.
We ran through Hollywood and past the stars and street artists and soon hit Beverly Hills. I waived to Scarpetta and ran through Rodeo drive. This was really cool and they had a huge screen that people could use to send messages to their friends running the race. As we reached mile 20 it started to get a little rough and I was running out of water so I had to spend some time refilling at water stations. Throughout this race people were sending me messages over my apps and it was at this time that I needed their support the most. I thank them all for sending me encouragement throughout the day; I was empowered and energized by the outpouring of support from across the country.
After mile 22 and getting into mile 23 my knee started to ache and I was getting winded. I was struggling to conserve water and I was out of gels so it was time to abandon all plans and go for the support on the sidewalks. I started shoveling in gummy bears, pretzels, fruit, and PowerAde until I made it to the one Clif Energy Shot station. I still can’t believe that they only had one station, some half marathons I’ve run had three or more so this was the one part of the race that ticked me off. I grabbed two shots and finally all the sugar and carbs kicked in and carried me to mile 25.
At this point my phone had been telling me that I was on track to finish under my goal time but then the phone issue from mile 2 came back to haunt me. A few minutes after I passed under the archway claiming “Mile 25!” my phone spoke to me and said, “You’ve made it to Mile 26!” It was at this time that I realized that my tracking was off by 8/10 of a mile. Now, though my phone said my pace was on track I was actually still way behind. I had been running much slower than I thought so now my goal was at major risk.
In a complete panic, I picked up the pace. Soon I was crossing under the seven minute per mile pace and continued to speed up. My phone soon told me that I was done but I had yet to hit mile 26. It was now time to focus solely on the actual elapsed time and it soon hit 3:55. I had five minutes left and the mile 26 archway was in view. I blew by that marker and rounded the final turn to Ocean Ave in Santa Monica. At this point I was in a full sprint with only a few minutes left. I took the side of the road to avoid on the hobbling and tired people passing dozens every few seconds. People were reaching hands out for high fives and I was ducking under them in stride. With less than a minute left I was a few hundred feet away from the end when I heard my mom yell out “Go Steven!” I looked back real quick and then pressed ahead.
I crossed the finish line at the fastest pace all day with my arms held high in victory! The clock read 4:06 but I knew it was not my chip time because of the bottleneck at the start. I looked at my phone and it said I was indeed under four hours but still unofficial. I walked through the finish, received my medal, ate some snacks and made my way to my mom and Virginia. Soon we were on the way to the car but I was still wondering my official time. Finally, the texts came in and my time was official 3:59:33! I made it and my goal was realized. My last mile was completed in 6:30 and that last sprint was the only think that pushed me over the top. Tired but filled with endorphins it was time to shower at the hotel and head over to our victory dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago. The LA Marathon was a great race, well planned, with a beautiful course. I will be back next year with a goal of 3:45!
This year I ran in the Tough Mudder at Vail Lake Resort in Temecula, the same location as the Super Spartan Race just 11 miles instead of 8. I was worried that the course would be very similar but luckily it was not. I arrived in the morning, paid my $10 to park, and was on my way. The set-up and check in was very easy and I was ready to race with thirty minutes to spare. This year they set up a wall climb on the way to the start line which was funny because a lot of people struggled significantly with that initial wall. They were in for a very tough time. As the announcer got us ready he let us in on a little secret; this year there would be not one, not two, but three electric shock areas. Awesome.
The race got underway basically running backwards from the end of the Super Spartan. A few obstacles and a few miles later we were facing the first barbed wire crawl. As I looked at the challenge I noticed that it was really low and shifted uphill at the end. Then as I started my crawl I realized that there were wires hanging from the metal barbs. After listening to my fellow mudders cry out in pain it became clear, we were crawling through our first electric shock therapy. I proceeded to get as low as possible and managed to stay under all the wires, that is until the uphill climb. At the second to last wire I was shocked, right on the butt, and my got it hurt. Actually, it burned, and hurt for about a half hour; I think they cranked up the voltage on this one.
Training for the marathon and experience really paid off. I was making good time and owning the obstacles I couldn’t complete last year. I was able to spring up and hoist myself over the twelve foot walls with very little trouble where last year I had to use the side planks and teamwork. I was feeling good, but my big challenge loomed ahead, the butter covered monkey bar steps. These were about two dozen butter covered bars with half going up and then the other half going back down as you make your way across the water. Last year I swung too much and slipped off as I made my way down to the last two bars. This year I was determined to finish and was careful to keep my legs under me. As I powered through I watched people falling all around me but this was going to happen. Slowly but surely I pressed on and jumped off at the end dry and proud!
The feeling didn’t last long though as I made it to the arctic chill. A ten foot tall container filled with ice water with a plank in the middle you had to go under. The first part was not so bad but then I went under. The second half was almost entirely ice and really hard to push through. Upon resurfacing I came up and was completely disoriented and my limbs did not want to work. It took a person at the end to yell back at me to shake off the cobwebs. My god that was cold, but it felt good once I got out. We then marched up to “Walk the Plank” where I jumped off the twenty foot platform into the muddy water below.
The next few miles for rolling hill and a few tunnel climbs leading up to the log carry and then the mystery obstacle. Apparently watching two hours of Ninja Warrior each day pays dividends! The mystery obstacle was an easier replica of the spider crawl that I have seen hundreds of times. As the other mudders were trying to figure it out I flew across with perfect form. Hurrah for TV watching justification! As we neared the end we hit the best obstacle, the slip and slide. This was a long wet slide on plastic down a hill and into water. I loved this one last year and threw myself down the hill head first.
After heading into the lake and under some tubing I reached the halfpipe or as Ninja Warrior calls is the warped wall. I sprinted up the halfpipe wall, jumped to reach the top, and grabbed on with my finger tips! I thought I was up but my arms had had enough and I could no longer pull myself up. I almost lost it but at the last minute a fellow mudder reached down, grabbed on, and hoisted me up and over. With that obstacle behind me I made it to the final electrocution, the second was also paired with another obstacle but it was almost impossible to be shocked and not worth a report. After taking a breather and focusing on the finish line, I sprinted through the hanging wires. Almost at the end and a few light shocks in, one wire lit me up on the inside of my thigh. That hurt, a lot, and I stumbled down to my knees. With a desperate crawl I made it through, stood up, and finished strong! With a great time of 2:32 and a my free beer changed and headed home victorious.
The Tough Mudder in Vail Lake was fun but I missed the mountain challenge of the one in Big Bear. Next year I will go back to that one in June. This race was definitely easier than the Super Spartan even with an extra three miles but the obstacles were a whole lot more fun. I have two major complaints that I wish they would change (Though I doubt they will). First, they charge $20 for a spectator to come and watch which is ridiculous. Basically, the spectators are paying to sit on a bench for three to four hours because they can’t get into the race to cheer you on. I really don’t understand the charge and I think it is just greed but I feel like they would make more money if the would let visitors in for free and charge more for food, drinks, and apparel. As someone who does these alone, it is really frustrating that I’d have to pay $20 for Virginia to come just to take start and finish pictures of me.
My second issue kind of goes alone with the first. This year they took almost no pictures of individual participants. Last year I was able to get a few and search by my bib number but this year they went to make money in a weird way. At a handful of spots alone the race they had photographers staged to take pictures. The issue was that they didn’t take pictures of everyone, only a select few. They also then gave you a card that you would need to keep to find your pictures online. That was just ridiculous, what the hell am I going to do with a paper card when I am in the middle of a race. Stupid! I didn’t get one picture taken, so my race is undocumented. And, since Virginia wasn’t there because of their outrageous spectator fee, I have zero photos of the entire event.
If they would fix those two issues, this would be a flawless race but they wont because in the end it is all about making money. Oh well, I will definitely run it again, I will just bring a disposable camera and bother fellow mudders to take my picture. Next stop, Tough Mudder Seattle with by brother in August!
At the end of January I volunteered at and competed in the Super Spartan Race. This was a 8.5 mile obstacle course race down in Vail Lake Resort in Temecula, CA. The greatest thing about this race was that you could volunteer on the day of the race and receive a ridiculous amount of benefits. I volunteered doing various tasks from 6am until my noon race and here is what I got in return:
- Free race registration including t-shirt and finishers medal
- VIP parking 200 feet from the festival and start line
- Volunteer t-shirt
- Breakfast and lunch
- Easy storage and access to my bag
I think this is a pretty great deal for a few hours of light labor and a lot of standing around. I arrived at 6am but we did not start doing anything until 6:30. Most of the other volunteers showed up at 7am so I will lock that one away as a mental note for next year. I ate some granola bars for breakfast, got checked in for my race, and then helped check in some volunteers. One thing to note, they were pretty disorganized and a little confused all around. I’m pretty sure that if I was less honest I could have just walked away and raced and no one would have noticed or been able to locate me. Good think I’m a nice guy and wanted my free lunch. After a few hours of watching the tunnel crawl it was time for me to get warmed up for my race.
The noon heat was the last one and the sun was blazing especially for January 28th. Another note is that they do not post the map of the race in advance you just figure it out as you come to it. The race started and we headed out on the first straightaway. We quickly started an uphill climb which narrowed and then slowed to a one by one walk up to the top of a ridge. I really hate it when a race like this gets to a narrow ridge before we are able to spread out. Everyone was complaining, it must have taken 5 minutes just to walk to a spot where we could get around the slow people and even then you only had intermittent spots where you could pass for almost two miles.
We finally made our way down from the first ridge to reach some obstacles which broke up the monotony. Some short walls, a log crawl, and some hay bails let to a rope climb up to the top of a shipping container. This was the first big test, a twelve foot drop into a pile of hay with an injured knee supported by a brace. I took a breath and went for it. Positioned myself so I’d split my landing heavy on my left knee and rolled into the hay. Thankfully I came out of it unscathed and was on my way. At this point the field spread out a bit as we approached the first barb wire mud crawl. Almost standard issue except for one thing, uphill! Halfway through this long distance crawl the course went up at a steep angle and yet we still had to crawl under barbed wire. That one was unique and a little complicated. No wonder I was seeing people coming back from the halfway point with cuts all over them. I on the other hand made it out unscathed.
Next I entered into the first obstacle that you could actually fail, the balance beams. At most mud runs failure means try again or move on but not at the Super Spartan. They built in penalties. Yes…penalties. You got one shot to complete the obstacle and if you failed you had to do thirty burpees. What’s a burpee you ask, just follow this link for the description. This sucked and yes I had to do them. The next four obstacles had the penalty in place and I truly did not want to do that again. I rocked the monkey bars, the rock climb, and the five foot hurdles but failed miserably on the javelin throw. This one really pissed me off, if you did not know how to throw a javelin it was really luck that was between you and more burpees. I think they should have let you keep trying and only make you do the penalty if you gave up. Let’s be honest 20, 25, 28 it all sucked.
With five miles to go I went around to the sand trap where you had to fill up a five gallon bucket with sand and march it up a hill and then back down to where you started. After that and the tire carry came the march back up and down an handful of more ridges and finally the four and a half mile mark at my post, the tunnel crawl. Two hours of watching others try this obstacle I had learned the best way to get through it and flew by a dozen people under the net in the perfect bear crawl. With three miles left to go I made it to the third and final aid station. After this was two miles of swamp running, hill climbing, and a few random obstacles. None too difficult just a rope pull of a sand bucket up a tree, a wall climb, and a twenty foot cargo net.
As I marched up and past dozens of people I noticed everyone sitting under brush and looking somewhat delirious. I and everyone in the medical tent later attribute this to the lack of water offered to the participants. 8.5 miles, 75 degrees, and 28 obstacles calls for more than three places for water. It was even worse that the last three miles were in the sun and had no water whatsoever. I was lucky that I am used to running with very little hydration but a lot of other people were not so fortunate. This is the one part of the fact that I think was irresponsible and could have gotten someone in serious trouble where no one would find them.
I made it down the final slope and hit the last six obstacles. The first two were the final penalty based challenges and after an eight mile battle there was no way I was failing. I dragged a huge rock attached to a rope through a muddle course and some water and then made it to the rope climb. Just like gym class, you had to climb up a knotted rope and ring a bell at the top of the obstacle. Totally exhausted yet determined to finish I hoisted myself up bit by bit and run that bell just as my arm strength gave out. No burpees for me!
Next it was it was time to get seriously wet. Wading through pool after pool of muddy water I made it to the final barbed wire crawl. This one did not go uphill but at points the barbed wire was only a few inches off the ground. I military crawled inch by inch and made my way through only getting caught up once thankfully only on my shirt. This is where they finally had some photographers because we were back at the festival area so you get to see some pictures. I made it through and on to the fire walker. Though it looks intense this is probably the easiest obstacle with a quick jump over burning wood. It makes for a great picture! The final obstacles were in my path and I was determined to power through. Between me and the two gladiators was the tricep pull machines. Each participant had to use a real rope pull down (Like a standing rowing machine) and draw a counter down from 200 to 0. Not a fun way to finish but I made it through. Powering through the two gladiators, who missed me completely, I made it to the finish line arms raised and victorious in two hours and thirty two minutes!
I grabbed my shirt and medal and walked dazed over to the festival area. Close by was the lake and a free coconut water tent. I downed four containers of the water and made my way over to the lake. What better way to get clean and cool off then to jump into an ice cold lake. Who needs showers, not me. Just like the rest of the finishers I stumbled around to my bag and dried off. It was then that I was able to get my PP&J lunch which was glorious. Next I took off my shoes and socks and discovered my casualty of war. RIP right pinky toenail, you will be missed. A small price to pay for a great race.
All in all, this was a well put together and really fun race. Not one for the feint of heart and on par with the tough mudder, I would do it again volunteering for free next year. This time I am going to practice the javelin through while waiting for my shift so I don’t have to do the ridiculous penalty and can speed up my time. I hope that next year they add more aid stations and maybe put the photographers at some of the other obstacles so you can get a feel for the whole race. I will say though that this is the first race I’ve ever done where the digital pictures were completely free. Kudos to them for that. Now I am a Super Spartan Finisher, now they just need to have a So Cal Spartan Beast!
Take a look at the race descriptions here
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Virginia and I went up to Seattle to see the family and I decided to run the Amica Seattle Half Marathon in order to manage the overeating of the holiday. This was to be my second half marathon and only two weeks after I completed the 60 day Insanity program. We arrived in town six days before the race, had a fun Thanksgiving, went snowboarding, and picked up my race packet and map. Anyway, this post is entitled The Importance of Preparation and Vaseline so let’s go ahead and embarrass myself for the sake of future education.
For those who don’t know the area, Seattle is very hilly and very wet so for a race such as this preparation was key. Coming from Southern California and only racing in LA I had only run in 50+ degree weather, so I showed up with a cut of technical tee, 6-inch shorts and a light jacket. After my first practice run in sub thirty degree Seattle rain I realized that the clothes I brought were just not going to cut it. The next few days were spent driving around trying to find some better clothing for me to wear (Thank god I had my snowboarding gear to awkwardly get me through those days). The best we could do were my first pair of running tights from the third store we drove to. The unsolvable problem was that my shorts had an internal lining that did not fit well over the tights so it caused there to be a little more chaffing than in desirable. Let’s not talk too much about that but I will leave you with the comment that it did not turn out well. To the left is a picture of my pieced together outfit for the race.
We arrived bright and early on the day of the race thanks to a ride from my brother and I started to get ready for the race. As we walked up to the starting line there was a booth with Vaseline covered slips of paper and a box of safety pins. I thought about grabbing the Vaseline at that time but I also needed to pin my number to my leg. I grabbed four pins and said to myself that I would come back for the chaffing assistance. After spending some time pinning my number, stretching, and standing in the long line for the porta potties the start time was almost upon us. I tried to get back to the table with the Vaseline but the crowd was too think so instead I rationalized. “I didn’t need it for 13.1 LA so I’ll be fine, screw it”….big mistake.
I said goodbye to my support team (Virginia and my mom) and got in the corrals. This was where my lack of planning for a hilly run came into play. I picked a slower starting pace 2:15 because I thought I could do a slow speed build and still end under 2:00. As soon as the starting gun sounded the sky opened up and it poured for 4 hours straight (At least I only ran the half). The first mile was OK but then I started feeling a weird sensation under my right foot every time I stepped down. Now this was not pain, it was something in my shoe or as it turns out under my shoe. I stopped to look and, of course, a part of my shoe was peeling off. Now every downhill stride the rubber would fold under itself and make the step awkward. Thankfully the uphill parts were fine.
Overall the race was really cool, beautiful views of the city, terrain transitions from city to highway to woods and a lot of rolling hills. One highlight was that they closed part of what I think was the 5 and we ran on an actual highway even through a tunnel. That was a first and pretty cool. My plan to start slow and have a slow build was just plain wrong. I realized that when I hit the first mile of uphill climb and spent the rest of the race playing catchup. One funny note was that at the halfway point, Virginia called me asking if I was finished. I replied with “No, a 1:08 half marathon would be cool but highly unlikely”. Apparently the tracker app was not worth the 99 cents and told her I was finished. Another great thing was that they had GU gels throughout the race which kept my energy up.
The biggest incline was the first half of the last 5K but I was determined to go faster. I started playing a game where I would look 100 feet out, pick a person, and pass them. Each time running a little faster. By the last mile I realized that a sub 2 hour may not happen but I was still going to try. We were all downhill by now so I started sprinting. I was running on the wrong side of the road, yelling at people to get out of my way, and just being an overly unpleasant person with a goal in mind. With a half mile left I finally paced the pace runner for the group infront of mine and just kept going. I finished at an all out sprint, when you look at my splits I ran that mile in 6:45 but it was too little too late. I finished the race in 2:04, feeling like I could have run more which means I did not run hard enough. Oh well, now I know what this race looks like when I run the full marathon here in the future.
Since it was still pouring we decided that hanging around was not ideal so we headed over to the McDonalds where I got a victory egg mcmuffin (Yes it was only 10am!). So you are probably wondering “He talked about Vaseline a lot in this post, I wonder why”. Well I will tell you why. During the race my pectoral region started to hurt a bit (Yes, my nipples). The combination of rain, t-shirt, and jacket were just too much without some petroleum jelly. After a while though the pain subsided and I thought we were good to go. That is until I took off my jacket at breakfast. The look of shock from my support staff was enough to make me concerned. It turns out that the pain stopped because my body realized that a good substitute for Vasaline was my own blood. The red streaks down the sides of my white shirt spoke volumes and I zipped back up pretty quick. The pain for the next few days was also pretty awful so I am now the poster boy for nipple protection.
As I said in the title, preparation and Vaseline are key components to a good race. The Amica Seattle 13.1 was a lot of fun and a beautiful race but not for the faint of heart. I will leave you with the most embarrassing picture of my short racing career and hope I inspire you to race smarter in the future.