This is my third year doing the Jingle Bell, which is a small 5k held by the Fitness Zone in Lugoff. Its been on the Palmetto Grand Prix since its inception and this year its on the Tour de Columbia courtesy of some lobbying by Mrs. Diesel. The best thing about the race is that its flat – probably 2nd flattest of all the 5ks in the Columbia area behind the Colonial Cup in Camden. That being said, it seems to be a touch long, despite its certified course status. This is based on my highly scientific method of asking a few people what’s on their Garmin. Basically a loop, first half very slightly uphill, and the reverse on the way back.
I thought I would make a PR attempt here last year and ended up with a bonkapalooza, coming absolutely nowhere close. I will say the 2010 race came in the wake of me shredding my IT band at the Richmond marathon a month earlier. I cant talk about Richmond due to my PTSD about that race, but just ask Trophy or Team Schmitz, they’d be glad to tell you about it.
I have been fighting a nasty cold all week, which has already led to me catastrophizing about being sick at the Jacksonville Marathon next weekend. I even thought about bailing on this race last night, and would have, had I not already registered. Luckily I woke up feeling OK and decided to run it as a race. I thought about possibly running it at tempo pace, but my ego cant handle being Trophied.
Got there an hour early and ran 2 miles warmup with Trophy and the Code. Diesel did the last bit with us before exiting to Chernobylize the Fitness Zone bathroom. Anton, Greg, Geary, Teo, J-Reeves, Buckleup, Team Diesel, Karen and her Sweet T, Ted, Billy Tisdale and Team Howell were all present. I think the start was running a little late because the RD shouted go about a microsecond after we all toed the line. Kevin Kelley missed the start and blasted past me about a quarter mile in. Pace was nuts in the first half mile – a bunch of kids went out in sub 5 pace and then crashed and burned, but all us old folks had too much pride not to follow. I hung on to Greg and Billy like a fungus, and I saw Billy keep looking back to see what wild animal they allowed in the race. Hit mile 1 in 6:17, which is a little slower than I thought, but the whole way is slightly uphill. After mile 1 Greg started to give me a case of the dropsies, and Billy surged ahead too. This was too much for my fragile ego to take, so I surged ahead against my better judgement. I caught back up to Billy, who by this time was probably really tired of being harassed by a panting grizzly bear. Greg blasted even further ahead. There is one decent hill at the turnaround, and I was able to pass Billy, but he passed me back on the ensuing straightaway. They dont close the roads on the backside of the loop so I had to carefully calculate curve tangents and potential death from speeding pickups into my race strategy. Hit mile 2 in 6:26, which is about 20 flat pace, so I knew I had to pick it up to hit my low 19 goal. At this point the course starts a very slight decline, so that helped. Passed Billy again right after mile 2. Greg was remaining strong despite the fact I was started to throw in a dash of early blue shoes. Finally at about 2.5 miles in, I started to gain on him some, which was all the motivation I needed to blast the kick. I had 2 days off leading up to the race because of the cold, and the legs were feeling very strong despite my lungs begging for mercy. I then threw down one of the most vicious kicks unleashed in blue shoes history. Passed Greg with about a quarter to go, and was running like a headless chicken all the way home, scared to death of Billy coming back, since he usually beats me. Made out the clock at 19 flat at the last turn and crossed in 19:27, 6th overall, 2nd in age group behind the Code. Garmin had 3.16, informal garmin survery all had 3.16-3.18 miles, so probably a shade long.
Jaz Greene, a 15 year old kid who won Springdale, took 1st overall with Anton a mere 7 seconds behind. K. Kelley ended up 3rd despite the late start (18:24) Code took 5th in 18:59. Greg had a big PR with a 19:41, with Billy 10 seconds behind him. Geary finished a shade over 20 and Trophy is on the comeback with a 20:15. Sharon Cole took overall female and Mrs. Diesel managed a 2nd overall, just short of a PR.
Awards were a little chaotic, as they initially excluded the 2nd and 3rd overall male and female winners completely. Diesel must have threatened to break some legs because they eventually corrected themselves and got Anton and J-Ward their medals. I did have them pose for their “first losers” championship picture though.
Next week: JACKSONVILLE!