Wednesday, November 23

If you're going to be in San Diego... (and guest post)

Hammer Fest (n): An event of serious endurance activity. Example: "Bob, are you ready for today's workout? It's going to be a hammer fest!"
HAMMER FESTival 2010
Alternative example: The HAMMER FEST(ival) is my favorite party of the year, but this year I'm not going to be able to make it!

So... instead I'm going to tell you why, if you're in San Diego on December 9th, you should go!

Seriously San Diego readers, you know I don't "plug" things just for the sake of PR. Last year's party/gala/charity-fundraiser was incredible. (Yes, that is me front and center in the photo. It's my best side!) We stayed out dancing 'til midnight on a Tuesday night and raised thousands of dollars for the American Liver Foundation. This year the party moves to a Friday night, and a bigger location...

Hmm...I wonder if I can convince Hubby that we should fly back to San Diego for a weekend so we can go play with our friends? Maybe I can talk him into an early Christmas present...

In the meantime, I am going to let my good friend MZ explain the event:

Endurance athletes in San Diego spend a lot of time together and often in strange places. We meet at locations like "The Runners' Bathroom" (the WHAT?!) in Mission Bay, the vaguely menacing "The Cove" in La Jolla, the parking lot of a local coffee shop or park, sometimes in very remote areas of the city.

At 5am.

Then, we spend countless hours suffering together, be it a 2.4 mile swim in rough ocean waters, a 50+ mile bike ride up and down the steep local mountains or a long, long, looooong run on the trails or the pavement.

Or all three. On the same day. Not always in that order.

And then, there is food. Lots and lots of food to restore any kind of energy that one can get. "I only have two states: when I am eating and when I am hungry" - says local triathlete, Peter Blomgren.

Going through these self-imposed ordeals with the same people sure creates a new sense of camaraderie and support. Endurance athletes are a tight-knit group of people, united in the misery of training, the pleasure of overcoming their personal obstacles, achieving athletic results and, sometimes, simply reaching the finish line.

But let's be honest: majority of the time we are together, we dress in a very peculiar way. Visors, helmets or swimcaps, wetsuits or high-tech shirts and shorts, sunglasses, and running shoes. All are great and comfortable clothes, assisting us in our training. Think moisture-wicking clothing, for example... it is fantastic for staying dry and transferring the moisture off skin and into the air.

In other words, most of the time we see each other, we STINK!

Then there are the awkward situations when we see our training partners for the first time wearing jeans and t-shirts and don't recognize them. "Hi, nice to meet you! I am... wait" is not an uncommon greeting at all.

Meet The HAMMER FESTival.
The event is a holiday gala conceived by Dennis Caco who also produces and organizes it along with a group of volunteers from San Diego Running (SDR) - the city's largest premier free running group.

The HAMMER FESTival is unique in many ways: it is the city's only endurance athlete event organized by volunteers from the athletic community.

It is a rare chance to dress up, enjoy exquisite food, drinks, award presentations, video production, live music and dancing together.
It is also an important fundraising event supporting The American Liver Foundation, complete with local and national sponsors, silent auctions, raffles, thousands in prizes and donations.

It is a fantastic opportunity for San Diego's endurance athletes to get to know each other outside of their typical meeting places: on the run, on the bike, or in the water.

Last year 200 tickets sold out in 3 weeks. This year demand is so strong that we anticipate 300 guests, and the tickets are selling fast!

What better way to further existing friendships and meet new people, united by similar goals, interests and activities?
It is a chance to put the strength of our solid athletic community to support a great charity.

And finally, it is an opportunity to relax and have fun.

As hard as we train...
...let's face it, we deserve it!

The 2nd installment of The FESTival takes place on December the 9th at 6p at the San Diego Hall Of Champions. The event is open to everyone and tickets are on sale now at
For more information, please contact

Have you ever not recognized a running buddy when you saw the person all dressed up? (This totally happened to me at least year's party. Sorry, Peter!)
Have you ever been to a charity gala? If so, what was it like?

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