Thursday, December 1, 2016

Red Rock Trail Run 2016 California Edition

Thank you for coming to read this blog post and Thank you for being my friend.

Black Friday
I packed up the PatCave for a two hour drive up the coast  to the
Red Rock Trail Run.
The two hour drive took 4 hours I arrived around 3 PM.  I was hosting a beer mile 4ish so it was time to find a course?
Run out to the carins and turn-a-round.
 The course was rocky, single track, uneven, longer than a mile, with blind turns and a bit confusing.  In other words it was perfect.
Let's get it on
My buddy Frankie  (who is about to get knee surgery) had his son Drew run for him.  The little dude was tough to catch.
As we were holding our  fearless leader Luis Escobar up for the finishers pic he joking mentioned that  his shirt should be off. 2 seconds later it was ripped open.
Congrats to Jubilee  of (Aravaipa Running) on being F1.
Huge thank you to Tracy Thomas of Marvelous Mud pictured centers above for making these beautiful  amulets
I don't usually take the first place award at the Beer Mile
 It would have been rude to say no.
The next few hours  are kind of blur. filled with good friend's, good times, and a very adult version of the hokey pokey.
It's cool that there is race and all the next day but I was here to hang out with my friends more than anything else.
Trolling through Ultra sign up a few days prior.
 I saw that their were a few good runners in the 1/2 marathon.  I have never ran a half marathon on trails before. Usually in an Ultra I have plenty of time to lolligag. But on this day I would have to go
"Balls to the Wall"
"Bo Knows"

5:45 a.m. Race day
I woke up thinking what the heck did I do with my keys? Did we finish that Lechugilla? Where is my cell phone? I was hoping to get lucky poop out but that was not to be..
Despite the lack of mental clarity. I knew what I had to do.
I actually felt surprisingly good.  I put some shorts, slipped on some sandals and  had a few Mas Korima Korimalitas for breakfast as I stumbled over to the starting line.

6:00 AM
Current Temp about 35 degrees with 100% chance of rain in the forecast
All there distances (50 mile, marathon and 1/2 marathon) started together and would run out an back.

 I came out like a wrecking ball.
 The song was actually stuck in my head at the start although I only know 1 1/2 lines I sand them for  a good 5 minutes straight and then each time I started to charge on a downhill.

The first mile was on the road and I quickly jumped out into an early lead.
Next time i'm bringing my TEAM TROT floaties

Almost immediately after leaving the road their was an 80 foot wide thigh high water crossing.  It kind of sucked and was kind of fun.  I was thankful for my Luna sandals which would dry out pretty quick. I crossed the water before anyone else go there but I was still close enough to hear both cursing and laughter as other runners got wet.

I have rather poor circulation and. I had forgot to wear gloves.  As I type this now a few days later I can still feel a lingering  tingling in my finger tips.
My hands went numb.  I took off my singlet and began rotating  it from hand to hand.
I was pretty sure blood would start circulating to my finger tips shortly.  If it didn't I was in trouble.
It looks a lot warmer in the picture?

The next two miles were a steady uphill climb. I was working hard and would guess my heart rate got up to to 200.  As I neared the top I was passed by the runner behind me

Damn it!
I thought I was doing better than that
Oh well, on the bright side my hands were starting to warm up.
It's very rare that I try and run fast downhill on single track.  The combo of running in sandals and only running trails during races hasn't really built my confidence up over the years.
Since this was only a 1/2 marathon I had no choice. Running as fast the trail would allow me I retook the lead during the third mile.  Knowing that I could run faster than the other dude downhill I needed to put as much distance in front of him  before the turn around..

Getting a little bit full of myself I got to the turn around point in first place. What I thought may be a two minute lead however was only about 30 seconds with other not far behind. It was tough trying to keep a good pace while dodging the 200 or so other runners going the opposite direction while I climbed back uphill.
 However I did receive a ton of encouragement from both friends and strangers
(thanks for that)

 I held on to the lead through mile 10. While on a steep climb, I started to run out of gas and my legs were cramping. I was soon  passed and with in a few minutes the new leader was out of sight.

I charged hard down the hill for the last 2 miles of trail with little hope of winning giving it all that I had. I needed a miracle?

What I got was Mr Hanky..  I had no time to take a dump. I hoped some of that cramping in my legs would got to my sphincter
(My friend Erica taking a plunge at the water crossing)
I crossed the water with no sign of third place behind me.
I had at least a minute lead on whomever was behind me and the dude in first was at least a minute in front of me.

One mile to go.
Now the only question was can I beat 2 hours. It was gonna be close.
The course ended up being about 14 miles with close to 3,000 feet elevation gain.
"The suspense is killing you I know."
2nd place 1:58:42

I crossed the finish line congratulated the winner on running a better race. Even though I got second I felt no shame it grabbing a blue ribbon off the table.

It was delicious.

I gave it all that I had which isn't nearly at much as I would like.  I am happy with my effort. My left Achilles heel is pretty messed up and although I can fake it through a race I can't fake it through multiple days in row of training hard. Lack of quality training showed it's ugly face.  Whether I take a week off or month off I can get a very limited amount of quality running before pain sets me back another week.

At this point it's not a rest issue it's pain threshold VS getting surgery issue which I have needed for over 4 years.  Right now my training consists of daily 4-8 mile soft sand trots.  The rarely break a 13 minute mile unless it is during a race.
Suck it up Buttercup!
life is pretty damn good and I'm thankful that I can do what I can and second place aint that bad. Plus  I won the beer mile.  Since breaking my ribs at Leadville in August   I have a Marathon win, a second and a third at the 1/2 marathon,  a win at the 10 km and  a second place finish at the 5km.
2 beer mile wins and 2 second places.

I'm going to stick to shorter races for the month of December and reevaluate my status come the new year.
I had lost my cell phone during the prior nights shenanigans. So I don't have any more pics from that day.  While the weather held off for the 1/2 marathon it started dumping rain as the first marathoners came in.  As for the 50 milers?  They were in for a long day and I was so glad not to be out there.
I spent the rest of  the afternoon hanging out with some of my favorite people.
Woo-hoo found my cell phone.
It was still raining the next morning when I woke up.
I packed up the Patcave and hit the road early to avoid the Sunday traffic.

I am collecting Medals for the Caballo Blanco Kids Race coming up next March In Urique Mexico. The event is free and we expect over 1,000 Kids. I put the word out on Facebook last week and received about 140 at the Red Rock Trail Race  It's a good start but i'm along ways away from 1,000.
Since then many people have said they want to help. I am pretty sure I will reach that Number but I would rather deal with the problem of too many medals than too few. Any extras will got to the 2018 Kid's race.

I am collecting "Medals" "Please do not give any that are ceramic or breakable" They are going to Children and I want them to last.

f you want to help Please send medals to:

Patrick Sweeney
3408 Pacific Ave
Manhattan Beach CA 90266

Or you can give them to me in person at:

12/4 High Desert Ultra Ridgecrest CA
12/10 Brazos Bend Houston TX
12/26 Operation Jack Marathon Los Angeles CA
12/31 Across the Years Phoenix AZ

More dates to come.

If you have any questions Please email me at


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