Resolution Run 10k (trail) – Sesqui State Park – Columbia, SC – 1/7/12

The Resolution Run is a trail 10k at Sesqui State Park, one of two trail races  Ginger Belka puts on to support her RNE cross country and track teams.  The Run Wild 5k in August is the other.  I’ve run the race all 3 years in its existence, as I live a mile away from the park and train on the trails there fairly often.

For whatever reason though, my “resolution” at this race has usually been to really, really suck. In 2010, I started out too fast and followed that up with a near epic face plant on one of the declines about a mile and a half in. I somehow didnt actually fall, but the trip essentially knocked the wind out of me and somehow forced my shoe almost off my foot. I had to literally sit down , readjust and retie my shoe, and try to keep going.  Schmitz was right behind me at the time of the disaster, and I tried in vain to track him down,  finishing a few seconds behind the  Crazy Legs in just under 49 minutes. Last year Greg and I had our standard epic battle, except we both went out too damn fast again and died in the middle. Somehow I was able to regain some momentum in that race and speed up again, but I still finished well over 45 minutes.

I did not have the best week leading up to the race. Larry and Frank led our significantly slower Longcreek group on a crazy low 7 pace 10 miler on Monday, and I tacked on another 5 miles to that. Add on another 6.2 the next day and my foot felt a little tight.  The slightest thought of plantar fasciitis sends me into a panic, so I shut it down completely the last 3 days to make sure this didnt recur.  I felt it necessary in those 3 days to make sure the newly opened world of beer did not go out of business.

Got there about an hour early. Code was already there of course, except he  sounded like he smoked a pack of marlboros, some cold he claimed he had. Highly questionable.  Much bigger crowd this year, probably because of the race’s inclusion on the Palmetto Grand Prix and Tour de Columbia.  Freight Train showed up with the same shirt so we were the worlds biggest distance running twins. Did 2 miles with the Code, Meg, Billy, and Spencer. Foot felt good.  It should be noted I left my trademark blue shoes at home, opting for my red trail adizeros. Probably a big mistake, since their last appearance helped me blast my slowest 5k in over a year this summer.

I’m very familiar with this course. Its nice going out for a leisurely easy run but pretty tough to race. A loop that starts and ends at the first parking area at Sesqui.  The 1st and 6th miles are on the wide open firebreak trail but the middle 4 miles are all twisting and turning single track.

At the start I lined up 2nd row and apparently abandoned all strategy immediately with the thought I could hang on with Meg , Billy or Geary. Not happening. First mile is mostly on the firebreak and I kept most of the field in sight up to the point where we entered the forest.  Volunteer was shouting out times near the mile marker and told me a 6:15, which pretty much confirmed the fact that I was a dead man.  If the time didnt tell me then my lungs certainly were relaying the message.  Whats worse is a gap formed with me completely in no mans land. I could see one guy ahead of me and couldnt hear anyone behind me, so I basically felt like I was dead last. My pace started dropping off and there wasnt a whole lot I could do about it. Turns out that muscles need oxygen, go figure. I did manage to avoid wiping out on the decline in the middle of mile 2. The time guy at mile 2 told me 13:50 something, so I was hemorrhaging pace big time – over a minute slower (7:30ish per garmin).  The rest of the forest is honestly pretty much a blur. Did my best not to fall. I did pass the one guy ahead of me, but some other dude returned the favor. I saw Geary once and realized he was probably almost a quarter mile ahead 3 miles in. The trail doubles back quite a bit and I could start to see the rest of the pack ready to catch me. Spencer, from my mud run team in 2010, was definitely tracking me down.  Mile 4 bottomed me out with an 8:04. Um, didn’t I  just run a 7:39 pace marathon 3 weeks ago? WTH?  Finally reached the top of the hill after mile 4 and was able to pick up some pace on mile 5.  I was able to reconnect visually with the dude that passed me, though he kept maintaining the gap. Lots of suffering going on by this point, and I was just trying to distract myself from the death march in progress. Pretty sure Scarlet Johannsen and beer, possibly both at the same time, were involved at one point.

Finally, mercifully, the trail opened back onto the firebreak. I could make out a tall guy in the distance and tried to track him down. Unfortunately some very enthusiastic volunteers gave away my stealth move and I think he pushed it a bit more.  Got pretty close to him at one point, but the final stretch is a virtual beach and every bit of momentum was getting sucked away by the sand.  Checked my watch at just over 44 minutes, and then mustered a weak kick to break 45, crossing the line in 44:52.  JB was there at the finish line, and congratulated me with something along the lines of “why did you suck so bad?”.  Must be those damn red shoes.  The time was actually better than 2011, though I think there was less absolute torture involved in that effort. Turns out, of course, that tall guy (44:38) finished 3rd in my age group.  Fan-freakingtastic.

Omar Sharif (36:26) was a beast in this race and took down OJ, who won the last 2 resolution runs. Aubrey Johnson and Ricky Deshaw  also broke  40, Angel finished 40 on the nose and got 1st in my AG. JB and the Code pulled sub 41s. Megan took 1st female by about 4 minutes. She finished in a pack with Ken Sekley and Billy Tisdale. Geary finished a minute later, just over 42 minutes, about where I thought I’d be. Other age group winners included Freight Train, Mrs Diesel, JC, Laura, Ted, Rocky, Valerie Selby. Essentially everybody but me. The Brandenburgs took both masters titles and 100 bucks for their work.

2011 comparison:


Photos are mine and the Diesel’s.

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