I had started to post about this race this weekend but I got distracted and lost it. This was a fairly small race (122 entries), which was rescheduled from March when it conflicted with the Cooper River Bridge Run. However, it is on both the Tour de Columbia race series as well as the larger, South Carolina wide Palmetto Grand Prix. Thus, there was some serious competition showing out for race points. Race temps were hovering around 80, pretty humid but there was a bit of a breeze. This course starts off with a brutal hill about a quarter mile long, does a relatively flat loop and then plunges back down the same hill. I did a 2 mile warm up, which left me drenched in sweat even at 9:30 pace. This was my first race in 3 weeks, which is a rare dry stretch for me. The races get more spaced out here in the summer given the oven like heat of the Columbia summer. Our tourism slogan: “Famously Hot” – I’m not kidding!
I started out at what I thought was a strong pace, probably low 6’s, but the hill just sapped my strength immediately. I’ve been doing mostly treadmill training, and I’ve been slack about using the incline, so this was a rude awakening. My garmin showed me slowing to around 7 min pace near the top and just after. I was able to pick it up a little as the course flattened a little, though there were some definite inclines before hitting the true flat section. Right away a huge gap developed between the top 9 runners and the rest of the field. Behind the “elites” was me and one other guy, a good ways back. We exchanged positions several times in the first mile, which I beleive was 6:36. I was pretty dissapointed in this, as I thought I was going faster. Unfortunately, I didnt think I could push the pace much, as I was already wilting in the heat and breathing hard. The second mile was pretty even for me, just kept at the same pace, definitely starting to hurt. The lack of big hills certainly helped. I was bummed again at my 2nd split of 6:34. At this point I knew I was going to have to really push it to have any hope of keeping my sub 20 streak alive. I picked up the pace a little, and was able to drop the other guy. It became really hard to gauge pace at this point as I was completely alone. I could see the elite pack way ahead, and I couldnt hear anyone else behind me as I approached the last half mile. I was really dying there towards the end, just sucking wind like it was going out of style. There was an incline right before the big downhill, whcih unfortunately neutralized my plan to really burn it on the decline. I just couldnt catch my breath adequately to push it. I saw the clock in the final tenth, painfully watching 19:40’s give way to 20 minutes, just no way I could get there in time. Actually took a look back to make sure other guy wasnt sneaking up on me but there was no one. Kicked what I could and finished in 20:09. I was very happy to take first in age group and 10th overall (8th male), but couldnt help being a little dissapointed. I shouldnt expect great times in the heat and hills, but I had hoped to continue the sub 20 streak.
Good to see Mr and Mrs Sig out there!
2m : 11:50 7/3/10