This race is a “festival 5k” tied in with the Viva la Vista event, in which the 5k starts an hour before the party starts and lets the runners in first. Similar to the Get to the Green 5k and Crawdaddy Dash 5k , which I believe are also run by Eggplant Events. I signed up for this race on an impulse a couple of months ago, because I saw there were no other local races this weekend and that the entry fee ramped up from 20 bucks all the way to 40 on race day. So, I got in for 20 bucks in July. This would actually be a good deal, since they give you 6 one dollar tokens for the festival in your race packet. Alas, as a suburban dad of three, I knew the chances I would go to Viva la Vista would be minimal, because 3 year old Drew has yet to share my passion for live music and good beer. He will learn.
A major wrench in my racing this weekend was the long run. It was on Saturday. Fourteen miles. Eight minute pace. I followed this up by stuffing my face with grilled chicken and sausage on the grill and drinking beer during the gamecock game. Excellent race prep, for sure. Consequently, when I got to this race I was feeling less than raring to go. Did a mile warmup and my legs were giving me a major WTF? reaction. Ten minute pace and could feel every bit of yesterdays half marathon plus slog through the rain. I looked around and didnt see many familiar faces – this race was not on the Palmetto Grand Prix or Tour de Columbia, so I think a lot of the regulars decided to (wisely) take this weekend off. Jennifer Reeves, Drew Walker, and the Allerses were there. Most of the crowd just seemed out for a good time before the festival. Imagine that. Weather sucked again – temps were back in the mid 70s and the humidity was terrible. At the start there were a few fast looking kids and Nedrick Rivers, who torched the SR track series and runs 18 min 5ks. I didnt have a whole lot of motivation for this race, so I tried to look at it as an experiment of what I could do on tired legs.
The course started at the Columbia Convention center, ran across Blossom into the USC Greek village, and right back in the first 1.5 miles. The way out was slightly downhill, and with the gun, I got caught up in going way faster than I had planned. I didnt expect so many people to be ahead of me so fast, so I pretty much burned it all the way to Blossom. Some kid who looked about 14 blasted out at Eric Ashton pace and appeared to keep it up. Tigs and I were running pretty much stride for stride. After the Greek village turnaround we started back towards the convention center and I was really starting to feel the pain. Garmin beeped to alert me exactly why…6:05 first split. Way to go, hero. The “slight” downhill on the way out was feeling more like a mountain on the way back after that ridiculous mile. Tigs surged ahead when she saw the two girls in front of us slow down, putting her into first female. I passed the two girls too, but considerably slower. Finally passed the convention center and I was actually going slow enough to grab some water. Total death march. At this point, dropping out or jogging the rest of the way in sounded pretty tempting. However, the leveling out of the course gave me a little energy, and I started to gain on Tigs again, so I kept going. Course went past the Flying Saucer, over Gervais and turned left on Lady. Tigs burned me again as we went downhill for several blocks, gapping me by about 20 meters at one point. Mile 2 was nicely marked and hit this at 6:49. Holy slowdown. Surprisingly though, the downhill section and getting a couple of miles in seemed to lift my legs out of their lactic acid bath a little bit. Turned the corner at Pulaski and Gervais and headed right back up the hill we had just come down. I was able to really start gaining on Tigs and a kid in fornt of her. At the top of the hill, I was able to pass both and saw there was just a little over a quarter to go. We detoured back to Lady street then turned right on Lincoln for the final stretch. I was sucking some serious wind but knowing the torture was near over propelled me to a low grade blue shoes kick. Made the last turn right at 20 min and crossed in 20:15. Last mile was 6:34, last 0.15 was 5:33 pace. I have no idea where I placed overall or in age group, since most of the field was unknown to me. Probably around 10th overall as a guess. Pretty happy with the time given the way I felt. Tigs won first female. I think the kid won overall, but he was well out of sight by the time I got anywhere near the finish. Had a cooldown mile with Team Allers then had to jet home for daddy duty. Got to surprise a random couple with some free festival tokens. Hopefully the site will post some pics and results soon.