Crooked 5k – Chapin, SC
This is a small 5k tied in with the Labor Day festival in the small town of Chapin, SC. It usually competes with a very large 15k on the same weekend, so turnout is usually sparse. I placed 4th last year out of 50 some-odd runners with a 22:04 time. I expected quite a few more this year though, because the 15k was cancelled for 2010. Turnout was actually was about the same though, about 50-70 people. This race is hurt by being old school – stamp and mail entry only and no chip timing. Weather was OK, about 70 degrees and sunny. Course winds through a county park – a fair amount of small inclines on paved trail and 3 sections of open grassy field. I was not feeling well yesterday, and this continued today. Dealing with a head cold, cough and some muscle aches yesterday. I felt a little better today but tired. I saw 2 people ahead of time that would beat me for sure and there were 3 military guys (ended up being a group of guys fresh out of west point who ran cross country for them) that looked like they would crush me too. So despite the small group, I knew I had no chance of placing overall. The top female from our running club was also there (amy) whom I’ve been trading places with all year, usually right together with our times.
The first and last half miles were in an open grassy field. With the start the west point guys and the 2 others I mentioned quickly jumped out to the lead, and I was in fifth. By the end of the field I was already breathing hard, so I knew this was going to be a rough one. After the field we plunged into the winding trail portion. I got passed by an older guy near the first mile marker, and I was really gassed as I passed it in 6:22. I actually considered dropping out soon thereafter – I just felt bad and my legs were feeling a lot weaker than usual. Sicne I had driven all that way and had never dropped out before, I instead decided to back off the pace a little. I let Amy pass me as she had been drafting and I knew she was going to beat me today. Backing off the pace just a little seemd to help a lot, and I felt I could make it after that. Second mile featured a long lap around some baseball fields and some tricky footing with gravel, dirt and grass. There were two very small open loops toward the end of the second mile which gave me a chance to assess the field. My friend Tyler and another guy were closer than I would have liked but I still had a decent gap. Hit mile 2 at 6:36. Older guy that passed me in mile 1 started fading a little and I was soon right behind him. I drafted him for about a quarter mile, then passed him as we headed back out into the open field starting area. Saw military guys cross the line (they finished together at 17:57) as I began the last grueling stretch, where you can see the finish line but have to complete a lap to get there. I was really hurting by this time, not much left in the tank. A third military guy passed me around the 2.75 mile point, which was rough because I always pride myself on finishing strong and never letting any passes in the final mile. I was closing in on Amy but there just wasnt enough room to catch her. As i hit the final tenth, I heard footsteps and I knew it was older guy. I burned it as hard as I could to the finish and finished maybe a step ahead of him. 20:30ish, I think, maybe faster – I really couldnt tell because I was dead set on making sure this guy didnt outkick me. Finished 7th overall and 1st in age group. Happy with the result, especially given the way I was feeling and the cross country-esque course. Won a coffee mug – which was a nice break from medals. Did a 2 mile cooldown on the course with some friends.
They also finally posted the Chapin 5k results. I was at a full on sprint the last tenth with that dude on my heels (thigpen) so I never saw the finish time. It was actually better than I thought – 20:15.