This is the second year for this race to benefit the Blythewood middle and high school orchestra programs. I missed the race last year for some reason but I was psyched to run the new pretty flat 5k course they certified for this year. The 10k course is brutal, pretty much unrelenting hills. I’ve run it in training many times but opted not to suffer the course at race pace. I had an excuse of the Blue Ridge relay next weekend but I probably would have done the 5k regardless. Why is this? Because the Blue Shoes doctrine states that you should always run the “undercard” race in order to boost your fragile running ego, and possibly weasel your way into an overall placement. The holy grail of Blue Shoes racing theory is to find the most rural, poorly attended race possible, and take home the overall win. The stars have aligned only once for this, a win at the Race to Read 8k in Lugoff last year, though this race did have at least 50 people. I also scored a second in the Lexington Kiwanis 5k last year with exactly 24 others racing. Ive found you can also get away with doing the 5k in a race that also features a 10k. All the really fast runners go for glory in the longer race, while, as a running friend recently told me, I go to battle against the “kids and old ladies”. The truth hurts. That being said, I couldnt hang with the top 10 of the 10k runners in this race. Some of the top road racers in the area showed up for this one: OJ, Plexico, Angel, Anton, Kevin Kelley were all there, and all doing the 10k.
The 10k started first at 730, with the 5k ten minutes later. After watching the 10k start, I looked around and saw few familiar faces from the Tour. Conspicuously absent were Trophy and Captain Marathon, who both said they would race here. I was hoping for a possible battle, but I think Trophy saw a 10 percent chance of rain and got scared. Diesel was on daddy and photo duty so Mrs. Diesel could race. She was also following Blue Shoes tactics and doing the 5k. She was accompanied by the Race Whisperer, who shall remain nameless to protect his reckless banditing. I had a nervous few minutes thinking I may be forced to win this race, but luckily Team Allers showed up to crush any dreams of an overall win. I felt pretty good at the start, despite waking up at 4 am and not being able to go back to sleep. Temps were in the 70’s but really humid. It actually rained most of the way en route to the race.
With the gun, two kids shot out like a cannon at about 4:30 pace, but soon crashed at about a tenth of a mile. I had a few steps of front runner glory before Eric Allers blew by me. I decided to at least keep him visible but he gapped me so bad it was really impossible to use him as a pacer. In the first half mile I heard footsteps and assumed it to be Tigs (aka Mrs. Allers) but it was some very serious looking high school kid. He flew by me but then suddenly slowed and remained about 10 steps ahead for the whole first mile, split was 6:18. I thought I was going faster but the lack of any other runners around was making it very hard to gauge pace. I was still feeling good until I saw the Gurgarious St sign and the ugly hill in front of it. It didnt seem so bad when I previewed the course yesterday at 930ish pace, but amping up the pace 3 minutes faster made me start sucking some serious wind. Luckily the hill killed the kid too, and by the time I reached Langford Rd I was able to pass him. Strangely, this course had 2 water stops at 1.3 and 1.7 miles, so I guess you cant blame dehydration if you suck. Eric was getting pretty distant at this time, so I tried to push it after I hit mile 2 at 6:31, over 20 min pace. The turn on to Trading Post was a welcome relief , as I knew it was all flat to downhill. Started dying after I surged in the first half of mile 3. Cujo from yesterday had apparently just woken up and only weakly barked at me to let me know I was at 2.5 miles. Seemed like forever on this long straight road, but finally saw Eric turn way ahead on Round Top, and I followed about a minute behind. I was really hurting at this point, but I had no idea who was behind me, so I tried to blue shoe it the best I could. As I approached the last turn in the Blythewood middle entrance road, I let myself take a look back, and luckily no one was there. I relaxed for a second but then saw my sub 20 was getting away from me, so I burned the last 100 meters to get 19:52ish, 2nd place. Eric won in 19:05 I think. Tigs won top female in 20 something. I didnt see where high school guy finished but he at least got passed by someone else. Jen had the Race Whisperer guide her to a new PR in 25:20ish, though painfully missed out on the overall awards, finishing 4th female. After my race, it was nice to be able to watch the rest of the 5kers and the top 10kers start coming in. OJ blistered the field in 35 something, Plexico was second. Kevin Kelley and Anton Bodourov apparently had an epic home stretch, battling it out for the masters race, which Anton won. Code Brown, OG and Greg all said the course was brutal and finished a few minutes off their typical road times, though they all placed in their age groups.
Awards were very nice, with medals that actually had the name of the race on them. Top winners got hand painted wooden violins and cash awards. I didnt get a violin but scored thirty bucks for the 2nd overall in the 5k. Not bad for a days work.