Guardians of the Night 5k – Village at Sandhill – Columbia,SC 7/30/11

At the start...I'm the beast in the red shirt


This is another 5k benefiting a police department, in this case the k9 unit for richland county PD. Its also another first time event, using the 5k course from the Palmetto Half Marathon/5k held in April. There was no reason for me to do this race, as its not on the Tour de Columbia and certainly not a unique distance or venue, but its 5 minutes from my house, so how could I pass that up? Race time was 730, thankfully a little earlier than most races, as the high today was supposed to be in the high 90’s. Temp was hovering around 80, humidity was sauna like as always. There was a fair size crowd for this event, totaling almost 150 people. As it was not tied into a race series, I didnt see a whole lot of regulars. However, Code Brown was there, as well as Angel, so I knew my best age group showing was probably going to be 3rd. The Howells and Eric McMichael showed up, and Ryan Plexico was there to assure that no one else had McGaha-like fantasies of winning this thing. It was good to see Chrissy Barrickman and her husband John, both of whom I havent seen in awhile.

Course started at the Plex, wound through the Village at Sandhill mall, then went out on Clemson rd. The 2nd and 3rd miles were going to be tough, as you had to climb the bridge over two notch, descend down the offramp, then go right back up a steep onramp back onto clemson and finishing at the VAS fountain. With the gun, everybody did their best Kenyan imitation and of course I got caught up in it. First mile was almost completely flat, slowed only a few turns. Immediately evident was the police helicopter hovering overhead, which apparently was taking pictures of the event. Many of us were wondering if the cost of operating the helicopter might of wiped out any profit form the event, but I’ll leave that up to Sheriff Lott. The helicopter was actually kind of annoying, as I felt like one of those police chase criminals running from their car after they blew out the tires. First mile split was just short of masochistic, 6:03. Given the heat definitely being in play, I was afraid I might of overheated the engine. I purposely let off the gas a bit, and an older guy in a singlet passed me. By this point I could tell that the field had thinned out a lot, as it got pretty quiet (I guess helicopter guy decided to give it a rest). Singlet guy helped me pace the rest of the way, as I tried to keep up the 20 meter gap he had put on me. Second mile was pretty tough, with a long steady climb up the overpass bridge over two notch. Sun started beating down and famously hot columbia started making itself known. Downhill on the off ramp was definitely a relief and I hit mile 2 at 6:20. Felt good to still be banking seconds against 20 minutes (6:26 pace), but ahead of me was the on ramp. It was steep, and hot. Started sucking wind pretty bad and form went to crap, arm flapping and head bobbing commenced. Apparently it was taking its toll on the rest of the field even worse because I creeped up on singlet guy and another unknown guy. Code Brown was visible but too far ahead to take down. After cresting the bridge, it was all downhill and flat the last half mile. I started slowly releasing the blue shoes at this point and pulled up even with singlet at the last turn. Passed him there and could make out the finish clock turning over to the 19’s. Tried to catch the other guy but he had gapped me just a little too much. I never looked at my mile 3 split, but I imagine it was a little slower than mile 2. Was able to sprint to the finish at 19:38 officially. 7th place overall, 4th in age group. 35-39 is just ridiculous in this city.I had to bolt from the race to leave immediately for Folly Beach to beat the weekend crowd, so I missed the awards. This turned out to be good, because they only awarded 1st in each age group, which is pretty lame really. Of course I wouldnt have even made the usual three deep awards. Still pretty happy with the time, considering that tough middle section of the course and the heat/humidity.

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