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    Sunday, October 16, 2005

    2005 Long Beach Marathon

    Joe Seeley 33-M 1779 Marathon 3:45:42 click for photos
    Ken Saxton 50-M 1753 Marathon 4:08:00 click for photos
    Barefoot-Rick Roeber 49-M 1674 Marathon 4:14:30 click for photos
    Barefoot Ted 41-M Unofficial Marathon 3:35


    Crazy day. Looked like rain, but rain didn't come til late.

    Got up at 5:30am. Typical for Sundays. Running time. Left house at 6:00am wearing my red, Los Angeles City Lifeguard Shorts. A run at the beach deserves no less.

    I was late to the race. Not because of poor planning. Parking was awful. I was in traffic coming off the freeway for nearly 45 minutes! Found a possibly illegal parking space up on a pebble-filled embankment next to a full parking lot. No signs were posted, and I hoped that they would be understanding. No damage done. Got out of the car not knowing where or how far the starting line was, started running with a mini insulated backpack filled with nearly a 1/2 gallon of Gookinaid®, and a bunch of unnecessary food.

    Ran into a few other panicky runners trying to find the starting line for a race that had already started! One guy was removing his warm up suit while running down the street. We ran down a steep street, through a parking garage, accross a parking lot, and through a little park overlooking a huge pond before we even saw the starting area. I was loosing it.

    When I arrived at the starting area, the race was already five minutes old. Fencing prevented me from crossing over the road to drop my bag off at the Snails Pace tent. I finally got across, I found the tent, dropped off my stuff, and started running. No time to stretch, no time to use the restroom, no time to eat or drink. Adrenaline. The first barefooter I ran into was Barefoot Todd who was coaching a group of runners. He said that the rest of the group were ahead about 100 yards. I was so happy that I was going to be able to catch up with them.

    Caught up with everybody. Decided that I was going to run with Barefoot Rick to help him get a Boston Qualifying 3:35 marathon. Off we went, swerving through 1000s on narrow, but very barefoot friendly, streets and paths.

    At around mile 6, BR said that it was feeling too hot for him to do a fast race. For a inland living Southern Californian, I was not hot at all, at least as we ran along the beach, right next to the sand.

    I was feeling good, comfortably maintaining a 3:35 finish pace and then some. I figured I would hold it as long as possible. Trying to learn more about how my body handles the marathon.

    The marathon is a medium through which a man can express and test the depth of his soul and body, his very spirit.

    I was now running with Ken and Joe. Ken was looking real good, but he kept insisting that we were going too fast. Joe was working very hard to keep up. His form was getting a little rough, but he made up for it with strength of will.

    At around mile 16, Ken started to slow, mostly because he was having conversations with friends who were everywhere. For Ken, a marathon truly is a party, saying hello to old friends and meeting new ones for the entire 26 miles!

    Since I was unofficial, I was doing my best to thank the volunteers for all they were doing. The last 10 miles were lonely for me. I decided to start walking and wait for a barefoot runner to cross the finish line with. I stopped running halfway to the 25 mile marker at 3:14. I was experiencing some cramping, but nothing serious.

    At around 3:35 near mile 25, here comes Joe. He was working it, fully determined to do his best. He was very happy to see me. I was feeling fresh again from my walk and got up with him and paced him in. We came down the last hill together in lockstep. They announced two barefoot runners, and the crowd cheered.

    As we crossed the line, I quickly made a left to avoid being handed a medal, and walked over to the Snails Pace Tent.

    Had a post race talk with Joe. I am sure he will have better marathons in the future as he perfects his form. Both of us had family engagements that prevented us from attending Ken's party, but I am sure they are still having a good time now.

    Really wish I could have spent more time with Rick. In the end, I ran the race he wanted to, and who knows, if he would have caught up, it would have been even better than a perfect day.

    Read Barefoot Ken Bob's Race Report here.

    Read Barefoot Rick's Race Report here.

    Best to All, Barefoot Ted

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