Boys and Girls Club Turkey Day 5k – Columbia,SC – 11/24/11

This race is the third one in Columbia this week, following the Shandon Turkey Trot 8k and the Sleigh Bell Trot 5k in Saluda Shoals. I did the first two last year and decided to sit this race out so this was my first time at this event. Its not on the Tour de Columbia, but is on the Palmetto Grand Prix, so it draws a big, very competitive crowd.

This race was the first chance for my brother Ben and I to run a race together, as he made a goal of doing this race after coming back from years of back trouble preventing his running. He was a pretty good cross country runner for Dutch Fork back in the mid nineties, with a 16:45 PR I think. I’m pretty sure he could beat me then, with my grueling training regimen of quiz team practice and working on the school newspaper.  That and eating a lot. He was my unofficial coach when I was starting running,  and he’d usually be the first person I’d text with each new PR.  So the least I could do is help pace him to a 21 min 5k. He has been training pretty faithfully since he started again when we had our family vacation at Folly Beach back in July, though he has to be careful with the back trouble. I knew he was getting back in form because he raced a trail 5k  a few weeks back and managed to run 22 minutes and place 2nd overall.

A 21 minute 5k is 6:46 pace, but this course would be difficult to pace with its big hill taking up a good part of the first mile, and the same crashing downhill 3rd mile.  The course is mostly an out and back starting at the Colonial Center, going up the hill into the USC campus on Pendleton St, turning around just before 5 points then heading back on Senate. There’s a little loop that takes you by Longstreet Theater, Hunter Gatherer and the old Nickelodeon before heading back downhill to the Colonial Center again.  I knew even pace wouldnt work out with the change in elevation, so I figured a good 21 minute estimate would be halfway between Lady McGaha and Crazy Legs Schmitz.  Shoes were triple knotted this time around to avoid last Saturday’s fiasco.

The start was crazy at this race.  Ben and I were just standing around when all of a sudden Selwyn says go and the pack takes off.  I usually start first or second row, and rarely do races of this size (650 runners) so the first quarter mile felt pretty chaotic. I was dodging kids, strollers and the median and trying not to lose Ben behind me. Luckily the hill started to thin out the pack a little, especially the brutal stretch leading up to Assembly.  I knew Ben was laboring a little so I tried to rein in my tendency to blast up hills as quickly as possible to shorten the pain. Schmitz was just ahead and I told Ben that we would try to catch him and hold his pace for a majority of the race. He also is the only person large enough to provide a draft for us two saquatches.  As we approached the first mile, I panicked a little, as I saw we were way off the  7 minute split I had hoped for. Had to pick it up just to hit 7:17.  Guess Crazy Legs was slacking. The course finally leveled out and I could tell Ben was feeling better, so I tried to gently press the pace a bit.  The turnaround had a quick steep hill, where we finally caught William.  I had lost track of Trophy. Heading back on Senate was rolling but slightly downhill and Ben was able to keep right on my heels.  Thought we were back on pace at mile 2, but saw a disappointing 6:56 split. Told Ben we were going to have to crush it to get 21, to which he surpisingly said OK. I really started to ramp it up on the first part of the loop down sumter st, and Ben faded a bit, but as I turned the corner he was right by my side, and dude started throwing down a brutal kick.  He started surging ahead and I really had to lay the hammer down to pace ahead of him.  We were picking off roadkill left and right, and  by the time we hit the downhill stretch I was basically pulling my 5k race pace. I could see Trophy and he was in danger of getting blue and yellow shoed for awhile, though he did respond with his own kick to prevent this. Near the arena I caught the garmin split at 6:17, which I honestly thought I misread. The finish seemed to be a bit far away though, and as we rounded the last turn, 21:10’s were on the clock. I tried to time an exact simultaneous finish, but it seemed Ben wanted to give me the glory, so we crossed at 21:22 and 21:23. Ben was happy with the time, which was the goal. My Garmin had the certified course at 3.16, and exactly 6:46 pace.  The race was a lot of fun for me, and it also felt great not to feel like I was going to pass out or puke at the end.

Ben’s wife Cindy also ran this race, and ran a strong sub 36 just 5 weeks out from giving birth. Crazy. Code was very proud of not getting chicked by Amy for once, though both of their times suggested a slightly long course. Greg didnt care about the long course and rocked his first sub 20, finishing in 19:59 and taking his age group also by a single second.  This was after 10 Bodourov style miles yesterday, I believe. Anton took 1st easily in his age group with an 18:10.

Shandon Turkey Trot 8k – Columbia,SC – 11/19/11

The Shandon Turkey Trot is a combined 4k/8k that is one of the oldest races in Columbia, celebrating its 30th year this year. It has prize money and usually attracts a pretty competitive crowd.  Looking back in the results, the 4k has usually been a walk with only a handful of people actually racing it, and the 8k has had some super fast winning times – the race actually offers a 100 dollar bonus for anyone beating the course record (held by both Selwyn Blake and Eric Ashton) of 24:15.  Thats  4:50ish pace, so I think their money is safe.

I’ve done this race only once before (in 2009), as last year it conflicted with the Colonial Cup. It was my first 8k then, and it was one of my better races at the time with a 34:05. I had only tried to break seven minute pace, but the course is so PR friendly I had done a lot better than I thought. I do distinctly remember, however, getting outkicked in that race by a guy pushing a stroller and talking in full sentences to his toddler. Running has a way of reminding you that “fast” is a very relative term.

This is definitely a “fast” course – a simple rectangle in the relatively flat Shandon neighborhood that is repeated twice for the 8k. Start and finish is next to Hand Middle School, the same finish line that is shared by about 6 other races. It is a sacred place for the blue shoes, as this is where the first pair made its debut in Feb. 2010 and instantly produced my first sub 20 5k. That being said, this is not my favorite type of course. I just cant stand the “two loops”.  Psychologically this makes me feel like the first loop is just a way of tiring you out before the race really begins, and it definitely sucks to pass a finish line youre not allowed to cross yet. Its one of the main reasons I havent been excited about trying the Kiawah marathon, which is also a two looper.

Race time was 8 am, got there my traditional hour in advance, and did a warmup with Amy, who used to run the same times as  me but now has become a blazing machine of speed. Temps were chilly but had warmed up into the 40’s by race time, no real wind. This is the first race that I’ve done in forever without the Code, which actually left the age group a little more open, though Angel showed up to make sure I had no hope of taking first.  I usually become Angel’s and Code’s biggest supporter during their races, because if they can take an overall 1-2-3 placement than I can get my consolation prize age group win. A critical award factor is that the top 2 age group finishers get a much-coveted turkey trophy, while 3rd place gets you a tiny “running man” one. I still have the running man from my 2009 3rd place. A lot of people showed up this year, but I was surprised to see no super elite guys (i.e. Ashton or Striggles, or even Plexico or Dimery). I figured Angel or Brandenburg actually had the best chances of winning this race when I was at the start.  Women’s side was easily Amy for the win and Megan, Amanda and Tigs fighting it out for the rest.   My goal in this race was to PR and possibly pull a sub 32 (equivalent to a sub 20 5k pace through 8k).

Race starts are always crazy fast, but this one seemed particularly ridiculous. I paced with Greg ,Tigs and Geary, and the Amanda/Megan tandem was already leaving me for dead. There were a lot of strong age groupers in this race, and I felt a lot more back in the pack then my ego liked. At about a half mile in, disaster struck – I felt a loosening of my left shoe and sure enough the  long, thin, hard-t0-tie laces were completely undone. I immediately thought I would have to stop to re-tie, but given the competition in this race, and my goal to PR, I might as well have dropped out, so I kept going. The constant whipping of the laces on both my ankles sucked and made me wish I wasnt so ridiculously, maniacally competitive. Hit the first split at 6:19, which, as Greg would and did say, was “a little loud”. I was thinking of 6:30, negative splitting to 6:20 and hitting 32 on the mark, but as usual all strategy went to hell with the starting gun. I tried to keep up with my pack, but the second mile saw Geary and Greg start to gap me. I dont know if it was the laces or not, or whether that’s a convenient excuse, but just wasnt feeling it like last week.  Second mile was about 6:34, which wasnt too bad. The loop is roughly 2.5 miles, and as I came upon the end of the first loop, I saw the clock turn over to 16 and probably hit the 1st loop split at about 16:20ish, certainly well over the sub 32 goal and a little worse than my PR. Tigs was still at my side, and I thought she was laboring a bit, but as soon as the first turn of the second loop ended, she threw down a burst of speed and abandoned me on the side of the road. It suddenly got very quiet, and I could tell there must of been a huge gap behind me, which made me feel like I was in last place. The sag wagon of the age groupers. Hit mile 3 in 6:30 something, and I was hurting pretty bad, trying to get over the mental hump that this was not a 5k. It was approximately a mile and a quarter left as I circled back toward the finish line, and I could see the whole group ahead of me – Some unknown guy who seemed very late 30ish a few meters ahead, Greg about 20 meters ahead of him, followed in succession by Tigs, Geary, Megamanda, and the same dude (Matt) who latched on to me on Devine St at Gov Cup (also in my age group. By mile 4, 630ish again, I had pretty much given up on my goal, my PR, or really even passing anyone else. Stopping to tie my shoe was reentering my mind as a nice excuse instead of the reality of just getting beat down. After a brief incline, the road shifted and gave way to a distant view of the finish. Somewhere back in my obsessive race memory, I remembered this as the same finish to Race Judicata, where Blue Shoes 1.0 debuted, a 0.37 mile straightaway to glory. So I threw down. Not a surge, not even a kick, but a balls-out, lung blasting, headless chicken blast off. Burned past age grouper dude, and caught Greg just before the last cross street. Anton’s going to ride him even harder this week. Then I saw Tigs just ahead and the clock came into focus at 32:20ish. Pace went into the 4:30’s as I saw a PR and roadkill possibility in the last 20 meters. Went flying past Tigs, who blurted out some English curse or something, with maybe all of 10 feet remaining, and hit the finish mat right at 32:34. PR by 3 seconds. Had to suck wind for at least half a minute to breathe again and not to give up my breakfast, a classic blue shoes finish. Pictures on Strictly running’s photo site preserves the moment for posterity:

Not a pretty finish, but then mine never are. Thanks to Angel winning the whole thing (in an awesome 29:59) , I managed 2nd in age group and got my turkey trophy. Matt took first. Turns out the other guy near me was like 50 and I was just having 35-39 hallucinations.  Aubrey Johnson, a kid who finished behind me in 2009, took 2nd, and Eric Allers took 3rd. JB took 8th and 1st in AG. Amy took the womens race and chicked Brandenburg, finishing 6th. Meg apparently outkicked Amanda and they finished 3 seconds apart. Geary had a very strong race and gapped me just enough to fend off the blue shoeing. I took 14th overall, followed by Tigs and Greg, who took 1st and 2nd in thier age groups, Sarah by over 10 minutes.

Colonial Cup 5k/10k – Camden, SC – 11/12/11

The Colonial Cup races are held in conjunction with the horse races of the same name, held in Camden at the Revolutionary War site. This is my third year doing this race, and Ive done the 5k every time. I’ve heard the 10k course is pretty PR friendly as well, but I can’t get away from the fact this 5k  is pancake flat.  Actually not quite – course is out and back, and the outward route is a very slight incline with a decline all the way back  home. But basically flat. Flat enough to skip a golden chance to break my very soft 10k PR. Ive done the undercard 5k so much that Ive competed in only a handful of 10ks in my 80+ races. It also helped that I cyberstalked the code’s strictly running profile and saw he was doing the longer race, leaving me with the “kids and old ladies” and a wide open age group in the 5k.  That being said, my prep for this race could have been better. I’m in the middle of marathon training (Jacksonville Marathon Dec 18) so I’ve been jacking up my mileage and had 40+ miles already this week. I did take Friday off, but couldn’t pass up the Pixies concert in Charleston, so several beers, a philly cheese steak,  and a 1:30 am bedtime were part of my “rest day”.

I got up at 6 and pounded some coffee to try and wake up. Got to the race site an hour early and warmed up with the code, trophy, diesel, JB, and the OG. I was hoping the 5k would be well marked this year. Last year the leader, Coach B, couldnt find the turnaround point of the 5k course, and the race became a free-for-all, choose-your-own-turnaround-point event. I finished third overall in that race in a blazing 18:24…for 2.9 something miles. I was pretty upset at the time, because I would have been close to a PR even with a full-length course. This year they had sent out course maps, and mentioned the turnaround point at the race start, so I felt pretty assured they had addressed the situation.

My goal at this race was to PR, given the peaking of my training recently. I felt less than confident though, given my “suboptimal” race prep. A stretch goal was to pull an 18:59, which I’ve been tracking down in earnest since this summer. I would need to pull 6:06 pace to do this, which is no small feat for a beast like me. With the gun, I went out with my usual sprint out and settle down, but I decided to kick the first mile a little harder than usual. I moved up in the crowd past the Code and several others until it was just plexico, anton, JB and maybe 3 or 4 unknowns ahead of me. I knew JB was doing the 5k, so I knew I was 2nd at best. After 2 early turns, the course is completely straight out and back, and I settled into the middle line of the road, which keeps me going steady straight, and for which Trophy mocks me. The first sign of trouble in this race was the first intersection, which was completely unmanned by police. Managed to jaywalk at 6 min pace without getting mowed down. A short guy who looked about a buck twenty of lean muscle latched on to my side and paced with me to mile 1, which felt like 6 flat but was a disappointing 6:15. Mean and Lean then decided to drop me like a bad habit and left me for dead. Whats worse, ends up he was doing the 10k.  The crap split deflated me a bit, and I admittedly faded a bit until I could start to see the turnaround. The turnaround point is always interesting in this race, as you never know exactly who you are racing against until you see people start splitting off the pack ahead. I saw a kid go first, followed by JB fairly far behind. Tall very lean dude then turned. I was next to hit the turnaround, except there were just cones on the side of the road designating the area. Unfortunately joe pickup truck comes barreling down the other side of the road at just the right time, then slows to a crawl. Suddenly I faced a decision to either risk my life and run out in front of the truck, or run longer behind him. Im all for “PR or ER” but decided the family I solely support would prefer the latter choice.

With the turn, I could see that the three ahead of me had gapped me more due to the “truck incident”. Its a little demotivating to see three guys far ahead of you with less combined body fat than the load I was carrying. Gotta lay off those philly cheese steaks. It is nice to see exactly where you are in the field, though. Trophy and Teo were far back enough to hopefully not challenge me, but I didnt know what might be lurking directly behind. I hit mile 2 at 6:20, which I figured completely sunk any sub 19 or PR thoughts. I made an effort to try and really push in mile 3. I started to gain on the three in front of me, surprisingly. Since there is a slight decline in the second half, I figured gravity was more my friend than theirs. All of a sudden there was a commotion and a bus pulled into the intersection right in front of JB and the kid, who were now about even. This was not a school bus or a greyhound, but a huge cross-county charter bus, randomly heading down a back street in Camden. I could see JB ranting ahead with a bunch of WTF hand gestures, which I thought was funny until I realized the thing wasnt moving and I was about to plow into it too. Luckily, a cop was able to get the bus out of the intersection just in time as I came through. I thought I heard some footsteps at this time, but I wasnt sure.  I was inching closer to 3rd place as we entered the dirt road of the park. Mr. Tall and Lean was kicking it in though, and every time I surged near, he seemed to have a response. The sand on the path was kind of sucking the life out of me, and of course my heart and lungs were having a contest of who could bust out of my chest first. I didnt see my 3rd mile split but I didnt quite kick it like I usually do, which may come back to haunt me.  The finish clock is partially hidden on this course until the last second, and when I did see it, there were 1850’s. Then suddenly I was able to find an extra gear and crossed the line at 19:06, a PR by 4 seconds. I dont know how to count this, as my garmin had 3.06 miles, but this is also a certified course. Took 4th overall, another painful 4 seconds behind 3rd. 1st in age group. JB won in a battle with the kid, Walker Comer, who is only 13 years old. Tall and Lean is a tri guy, Robert Taylor. Amanda Charlton said she was those footsteps, winning the women’s race in 19:37.

I ran a cooldown back on the course to try and seabiscuit the code home. Plexico had a huge lead and took the overall 10k, followed by a high school kid and Anton, who crushed a sub 6 pace 10k (37:07). Code was 5th, and said he was dying in the end, but pulled out a sub 40 by the slimmest of margins (39:59).

Other notables: Double Diesel PRs: MR (22:37) and MRS (23:48 and 2nd overall). Trophy and Teo both scored low 20’s, Laura Howell took 4th female. In the 10k, Brian “El Capitan” Clyburn PR’d with a 41:56. Both Schmitzes and the OG scored age group places.

I was bummed about the 4th place finish, as the overall plaques are really nice at this race. For some reason, though, they decided to go FOUR deep in overall awards this year, which is the first time I’ve ever seen this. Good timing for me to be fourth I guess.

Governors Cup Half Marathon and 8k – Columbia, SC – 11/5/11

The Governors Cup races are the oldest and most competitive in Columbia, this being the 39th year of the event. It usually brings out some of the biggest crowds of the year and basically all of the competitive runners in the area. This year had some competition from the Savannah Rock and Roll Half and Full marathon, but there was no shortage of blazing fast people out this morning.

Personally, this was my first half marathon in 2009, where I endured a world of suffering as I hadn’t trained over 9 miles prior to the race. Trophy left me for dead in that race as I was reduced to a death march from mile 10 onwards. I vindicated myself in the Palmetto Half  the next April, PRing by 13+ minutes when I had actually committed to training for the distance. That race had been such a perfect combination of peaking in training, race strategy and conditions, that I hadnt gotten close to the 1:31:55 since. I missed the 2010 Gov Cup with my Richmond Marathon debacle, and my second Palmetto half  in 2011 was a bust, where I was a full 5 minutes slower. However, I had pretty high expectations for this race, since I’m in the middle of training for the Jacksonville Marathon and have been running some of my best times in the 5k- 12k this fall. Goal was to make an attempt at the PR, pacing as if I was going to sub 1:30 (6:53/mile)

This was a pretty grandiose goal, as anyone who knows the Gov Cup knows that this is a pretty brutal course. You can read the Gov Cup preview post (August 2011) for a full description. Basically a big loop, rolling hills throughout, but 3 main hill segments:  Millwood hill (gradual but long), Kilbourne (long and spirit crushing) and Blossom (infamous and noted for inducing puke and/or walking).

I got to the race over an hour early, mostly because I somehow had gotten in my head the start time was 7 am (actually 8). I was about to leave at 5:30 when I found out this critical bit of info. Nice job, champ. When I got there it was dark, 40 degrees with a nasty wind, not exactly a motivating situation. Picked up my packet (long sleeve tech shirt and hat were very nice) and did a slow warmup mile with Trophy and the Code. It should be noted that the Code opted to race the old ladies and kids in the 8k. He just told me he was “pulling a blue shoes”.

Lined up a couple of rows back and went blasting out of the gate with the start (’84 Olympic marathon champ Joan Benoit Samuelson was the guest starter). Greg, who I thought would be good to pace off, instantly dropped me. Trophy and I were running together at what seemed like a crazy fast pace for the first mile. I felt pretty good until I looked down at my mile 1 split: 6:51 – basically what I would have to do for the next hour and 23 minutes. I could think of more fun things to do. Millwood hill is pretty much right after that, and Trophy got dropped as I took down some roadkill. Pace definitely suffered some though and I fell off to a 7:03. Greg was already out of sight. Got to the first water stop and the volunteer kids had no water out. Apparently they thought we would come strolling up and get our own. Next couple of miles were fairly flat through Shandon, basically on pace with a 6:53 and 6:58 splits. Finally got some water when we hit the church on Kilbourne and decided to take my Espresso Love GU. I was having trouble figuring out my pace as I had been by myself for quite awhile. Two women and three guys then roadkilled me,so I figured I was getting slower. To add to my dismay, I looked back at a turn and saw Trophy tracking me down. Pace splits showed I was pretty steady though – 6:50, 6:59, 6:57.   This was all in the Lake Katherine neighborhood, rolling hills but a gradual net decline. I knew I was very close to 1:30 pace at mile 8, but then I turned the corner and met the 4 tiered Mt. Kilbourne – a full half mile of pain in mile 9. Started sucking some major wind, plus the course really doesnt entirely level out until almost mile 10. Mile 9 effectively trashed my 1:30 hopes with a 7:24, and set into motion a world of hurt. Mile 10 was faster with a return to the flat Shandon area, but couldnt get back to that 6:50ish pace – 7:02. At least I wasnt bonking like 2009 though. Halfway down Devine Street I started to pass a guy, but he then latched on to me and ran literally inches from my side for the next half mile. I actually ran into the guy at one point. Having him and a kid nearby helped me push the pace a little, though the fatigue was really setting in, 6:56 mile 12. There was a mile 12 clock, saw it turn over to 1:24. Turned onto Blossom and started a blue shoe kick, blasting out low six pace, dropping my shadow but entering a new world of pain and suffering.  The fuel tank was officially empty as the hill began, though painfully I could now see Greg  up ahead. Unfortunately there would not be a Howell last second takedown today, as the last bit of Blossom hit me like a truckload of bricks. Code met me for the near the top of Blossom hill and tried to Seabiscuit me to a strong finish, but I would have rather crawled into the fetal position and cried. As it was,  two guys near me were reduced to walks of shame, one appeared to have just puked, and just a quarter mile from the finish. I thought I was barely moving, though Garmin showed 7:41 at the worst. Finally got to the top of the hill with the turn on Sumter st and made out low 1:31’s on the finish clock. Somehow found another gear and was able to manage a sub 6 kick on the last 0.17, crossed the line at 1:31:42 and a new PR!  A little disappointed not getting the sub 1:30 but very happy to set a new PR on this very tough course.  Nowhere near an age group place, got 6th in 35-39.

Notable performances: Ashton crushed the field with a 1:11. Anton posted a crazy fast 1:21 and took male masters. Amy continues to get faster and faster, taking the women’s race and an impressive 8th overall with a 1:23. Brandenburg came back strong with a 1:27 after only managing a blue shoes 5k time last weekend. Trophy and Brian “El Capitan” Clyburn both got PR’s with 1:34’s  Longcreek training group’s Nathan Ward got a big PR with a 1:41, Buckleup and Freight Train also crushed  1:49 personal bests. Diesel had a bad case of the walksies in mile 3 after Ty tried to Seabiscuit him to a sub 8 pace. In the 8k, Tigs had an epic showdown with Joan Benoit Samuelson , where she white shoed a finishing kick to take the female overall win. Hedgecock , Mr Allers and Code took 3-4-5 overall in the mens race.

Guest Blogger: Diesel – Poochapalooza 5k – Lake Carolina 10/29/11

This is a post of the official Tour de Columbia event last weekend, the Poochapalooza 5k. Diesel wrote a report after I harassed him enough about it. Supposedly Trophy is his copy editor. The above photo references the fact that if the temperature is zero to 65 degrees, the black jacket will be on.

The Poochapalooza 5k is a first time race that is designed for runners to enjoy a race with their four legged companion.  All of the proceeds benefit PAALS and the Heartworm Project.  This race was part of the Columbia Running Club Tour de Columbia schedule.  The race ran through what I would consider a very hilly Lake Carolina .  Luckily for the runners that course bypassed a few of the bad areas of Lake Carolina .    It was pouring rain when we left for the race and it rained our whole ride there.  Over and over I was asked why I signed her up to run and the continuous questions gave me the opportunity to use my favorite running line on her.  SHUT UP AND RUN.  Once we arrived the rain went away and the temp warmed up just a little. 

Mrs Diesel is on a mission for a  black jacket of her own. Apparently Trophy has been coaching her attitude though. That being said I was very glad my race started later that morning with the cold and rain.

 As some of you know, I am not an animal lover but it appeared that the majority of the 51 runners were serious dog lovers.

Not an animal lover” – understatement of the year . Diesel needs a Valium every time a dog barks at him on our marathon training runs. 

 There were dogs of all sizes and seeing all the yard darts and fresh yellow puddles gave me the opportunity to explain to the Mini Diesel crew why we do not and will not own a four legged animal.  I was on camera/kid duty since Mrs. Diesel’s agent had scheduled her to race again on this nice and cold rainy weekend.  With this being a Tour de Columbia points race I assumed there would be some fast runners showing but I also figured with so many other races going on the same day that some runners may bypass this event for a flatter and faster course.  As I scanned the crowd, only a few face faces stood out to me.  Greg Howell and Teo Gamishev were there supporting the TDC, Ted Hewitt that I noticed at Bazaar Bazaar a few weeks ago and a training partner of mine Charley Clements .  Charley was there running with Winston aka Demon Dog.  I will go on record to say that this might be the world’s happiest and fastest dog.

Winston gets up every Sunday and pulls sub 8 pace with a big smile on his face, while we all complain the whole way. He is a machine.  

Sarah Blackwell and Laura Howell were the only females that I recognized outside of Mrs. Diesel.  The Mini Diesel crew have started attending races on a regular basis and they always ask me who I think is going to win the race.  I told them that Code Brown, Blue Shoes and Kong all got scared and went to the airport for a flat and fast course so my winning vote was going to Mr. Greg followed by Teo.  I also told them that their mom should hopefully come in 2nd overall female behind Sarah and her dog.  I do not consider myself the brightest bulb on the tree but that theory was proven wrong at the start of the race.

I would have thought the same thing. Greg pulls consistent low 20’s, Teo goes low 21s or high 20’s. Little did we know that Charley may have finally found his faster gear.

  I told the kids that I did not think “dog races” were smart and sure enough, at the start of the race there was a NASCAR style pileup and one runner went down.  My kids and other runners noticed it but I was too busy snapping pictures for it to sink in.  The lady was still attached to the leash and her dog appeared to be pulling her like he was a boat and she was a boogie board.  The husband circled back, took the leash handoff and left his wife for dead.  For that I give an Atta Boy.

Total Blue Shoes mentality. A similar thing happened at the March for Meals 5k – a kid bit it at the first turn. My first responder trained reaction: high step over him at sub 6 pace. Fair warning as well as to any ipod wearing older women, strollers, dogs, and walkers that line up near the front. – be prepared to be mowed down.

 At this time I noticed I had not seen Charley and Winston go by.  I knew he had gone on a warm up so I figured I had just missed him.  I was wrong.  Charley missed the start of the race and was about 30 seconds behind the walkers when he finally crossed the start line.  He did not look very happy when he passed but I think those bad thoughts passed by the end of the race. 

Ive seriously had nightmares about this same situation.

The kids and I positioned ourselves so that we could see the runners as the came around the final turn towards the home stretch.  As the cop car approached I told the kids to be looking for the PR or ER shirt worn by Mr. Greg.  Sure enough…..there he was.  Greg Howell won the race and crossed the finished line with a time of 20:12.  I assumed Teo would be rounding the turn next but it was a pleasant surprise to see Winston rounding the turn pulling Charley.  Winston crossed the finish line at 21:19 followed by Charley at 21:20.  The most amazing part of this is Charley was able to start the race about 30 seconds behind and still manage to pass 49 of the runners to place 2nd overall.  This was a PR for Charley.  Charley was followed closely by Teo with a 21:35, Ted Hewitt with a 21:41 and David Hale with a 21:50.  Sarah Blackwell took overall female with a time of 23:42 and Mrs. Diesel followed closely behind with a 2nd overall female finishing time of 24:50.  Laura Howell came in 13th and was able to take home 1st in her age group.  Congrats to everyone that pulled points for the Tour de Columbia. 

Glad to see Greg take home his first victory. We age groupers pray for a day like this, when all the super fast guys go elsewhere and leave us an opportunity for glory. A big day for Charley and Mrs Diesel as well. Charley runs faster than me in training, so I imagine he still has even more room to improve that PR. If he hadnt started late he might have given Greg a run for his money. Mrs Diesel has been pulling PR times left and right recently, so her man better watch his back. Nice report Diesel.