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.

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