Columbia Downtown Triathlon – Columbia,SC – 3/25/12

At the Columbia Marathon a few weeks ago, a woman standing next to me handed me a flyer for this race, the Columbia Downtown Triathlon. I initially disregarded it, because I’m strictly a runner. I used to bike and swim a lot as a kid and teenager, but nothing competitive. I hadnt ridden a bike in years, and I dont think I’ve ever really swam more than a few laps. Still, as I was holding on to this flyer, I thought – why not give this a try? The people I know who do tris absolutely love them, and I’ve always watched Ironman:Hawaii growing up. It looks like a lot of fun, and hey, I’m in good shape and surely could at least respectably complete the swim/bike of this event, since its a sprint distance (500 meter swim/ 10 mile bike/ 5k run). Right?? I’ll get back to that. One problem was that I don’t actually own a bike, but William Schmitz gladly loaned me his mountain bike. I made the plunge a week later and signed up.

Schmitz had me do a brick workout the weekend before the race and get acclimated to the bike and run course. Wasn’t too bad, though we were definitely doing a leisurely pace. The bike course basically encircles the USC campus, starting at Blatt, going up main to green to pickens, then plunging down Mt Gervais from the Columbia Marathon and into 5 points on Harden. Right on Blossom and then back to the PE Center. You do this 3 times to equal 10 miles.

Schmitz told me to get in the pool sometime that week and do a few swim workouts, but smart guy here decided to just completely wing it. I did sign up for a pretty slow swim time that put me 255th out of 276 in the swim order.

Another less than smart move was running the Rosewood 5kthe day before, but apparently my athletic grandiosity knows no bounds. Greg and Laura did give me some useful advice at Tigs wedding Sat night, and they agreed to help me with the prep/transition area the next day – which was awesome.

I woke up this morning pretty scared but excited. I had to go over logistics of the race a hundred times in my head, because I was deathly afraid I would forget something. I got there about an hour and a half early, and was immediately intimidated. These tri guys/girls were hardcore. People were milling about in spandex tri suits, hauling in their very expensive looking carbon fiber bikes and carrying all kinds of gear that I was completely clueless about. Almost everybody was pretty ripped, even my fellow novices in the back of the pack transition area. I struggled just to figure out how to reassemble the brake mechanism on my front tire – Schmitz showed me how but now I was freaking out about making sure it was right and working. One does not want to hit 30-40 mph on Gervais and not be able to brake.  Luckily Greg came later and fixed it so the front wheel actually moved freely. The last thing I needed was anything making me slower.

PART I – THE SWIM

I finally made it into the natatorium for the swim. I was almost at the back of a very long line, where people started the swim 10 seconds at a time. I had to wait what seemed like forever, stewing in my anxiety, watching basically the entire field start ahead of me. Some of these guys definitely fudged their  swim times – I saw a lot of people stopping and walking, and I was half worried I’d get stuck behind a whole pack of people. Turns out this was not a problem. Swim course was just 10 lengths of the Olympic sized pool, swum in a snake like pattern. Finally I got my chance and dove in. First 50 meters was great, though it did seem longer than I imagined. I got passed right off the bat on the second lap by the girl behind me, but hey, I was pacing myself, right? First sign of trouble was literally less than 100 meters into the race. This was getting WAY tougher REALLY fast. Apparently working your upper body in the gym means exactly jack squat in the pool. Third lap in and I’m getting passed like I’m standing still. The sheer magnitude of my suckage has begun to overwhelm me. I soon discover the pool has an 8 foot deep end, but gets  6 feet and shallower about half way.  I’ve resigned myself at lap 5 that I’m going to have to do some pool walking to get through this. My arms have turned into useless spaghetti like appendages. Google “Roby” from Yo Gabba Gabba and you have a basic idea. I start doing little pool walking jaunts in the shallow end, but feel obligated to move my arms like I’m swimming, as to avoid any unknown penalty. I don’t think I’m fooling anyone with my synchronized swimming routine .  I dont remember much about the last few laps. I did manage to pass the 82 year old with the snorkel, but even he looked like a stronger swimmer than me. A middle school girl passed me near the end, but by this time my ego was so completely out the window that it couldnt get any lower. The fastest pace may have been the last 25 meters, because I was so desperate for the torture to end.  I had a hard time even lifting myself out of the water. 16:

PART II – THE BIKE

As if my shame wasnt already complete, I realized that all that futile kicking in the pool had also turned my LEGS into quivering jello too. I tried to jog to T1 but I think it was a modified shuffle. I was already toast. I got to my bike and toweled off a bit, though Wes was already harassing me about this being a race or something. I was trying to maintain some semblance of urgency, but the  damn spaghetti arms made it tough just to tie my shoe. I finally jumped on the bike and of course the first part is straight up a hill. I’m actually feeling slightly better though, because I’m not having to employ my useless upper extremities. I grabbed my Garmin, but now realize I lack the coordination to put it on, so I just hold it against the handlebars. I’m thinking I’m going up the hill at a decent pace, but I’m soon being passed left and right by everybody. It doesnt help the gears cant seem to lock in and im pedaling about 1000 rpm to go like 10 mph. I realize near Sumter st I havent actually started the Garmin, so I push it here. I struggle a little until finally I get to Gervais and get to fly down the hill. I’m still getting passed, though. I hit the second loop and get a boost from the fam and friends but its getting harder this time. I do manage to pass one other guy when he actually gets off his bike and walks the hill. People are getting sparser by this time, but a group still passes me on the hill. A woman asks me which team I’m on, and then if I’m racing? Between my neon shirt , mountain bike and overall slowness, I think she thought I might be a race marshal or something? I give her a “yes, I’m racing, thanks for that”. Another struggle but then reprieve on Gervais. Third time its looking like a ghost town out there. I’m actually hoping the police dont open the course to traffic, thinking no one could be this slow. I pass one dude really struggling on the hill, but then ride the rest of the loop completely alone. I figure I must be almost last.

PART III – THE RUN

I finally finish lap 3 and I am wiped out. When I dismount the bike I’m just hit with some epic glute and hamstring soreness, like two king cobras jumped up and bit me in the ass simultaneously. I dont even bother to rack the bike, which Greg luckily does for me afterward to avoid the penalty. I do manage to take my helmet off and strap my number on but forget my hat. The start of the run is just brutal…so sore. Plus zero energy, so my race pace coming out of T2 is maybe 8 minutes/mile. What’s worse is having to run up that damn hill I just biked up 3 times. The course goes over the USC footbridges near Strom, out to the convention center, then back to Blatt, out to Bates West and a turn back to the field just below Blatt for the finish.  There’s no one in sight except for a steady stream of people coming back to the finish, and tons of people walking around, obviously already done.  As I head out on the course, I see a lot of people with higher numbers than me already heading back.  Some people are walking…but still a mile ahead of me. I personally feel like I’m crawling but jello legs are still not responding. Can’t believe my first mile is actually sub 8, 7:57. Finally, at the turnaround, some of the soreness starts to abate, and I’m able to pick up the pace on the ensuing downhill. To this point I havent seen a soul on my path, but suddenly I catch up to a bunch of people and start passing. Hey, I found something I’m actually good at! Yay for me. Hit mile 2 in 7:15, and looping back near the finish makes me really pick up the pace. Actually manage a 6:30 pace for the last 0.8 miles to save a shred of self respect, though being announced as the president of the Columbia Running Club and finishing near last is a little rough. At least Rudnicki told people it was my first tri. Finished the 2.8 miles in 20:23 officially. 174th male out of 196, 1:19:56 overall. Was 191st in the swim, 185th in the bike and 66th in the run.

Wow. All I can say is that I’ve gained a huge amount of respect for triathletes. This was just a sprint distance and I felt better after the marathon in Jacksonville. Major thanks to William for lending me the bike and the Howells for helping me with the logistics. Good to see the support of Jennifer Reeves, Wes Spratt and Katie Hines out there. Derek Gomez rocked 11th place and took home 2nd in his age group. Team Spaghettios/Hudgins finished 5th in the relay and way ahead of me.

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/161503005

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/161503051

http://www.setupevents.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=event_results&id=2804

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=3607687434727&set=p.3607687434727&type=2&theater

Many thanks to Laura and Greg for taking the pics below:

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Rosewood 5k – Columbia, SC – 3/24/12

This is the second year of the Rosewood Eagles 5k, which is held to support Rosewood Elementary. Last year this race fit the Blue Shoes standards for trophy hunting – a first year race with limited publicity and competition from other races. Sure enough, the stars aligned and I was able to score a 3rd place overall. They had great awards, and my framed art from one of the Rosewood kids was probably my favorite piece of race bling last year.

This year the race was more publicized, and being a second year event was more well known to the running community. Still, March 24th appeared to be a day every race director in the city decided to have a race. Columbia is pretty unusual for a small city in that there’s basically a race every weekend. However, the 24th had no less than 5 races in the area. Lexington had the Colon cancer 8k, Swansea had the Special Olympics 5k (the one which Trophy won in 2010 and earned him his nickname), Riverfront park had “Where the Wild Things Run 5k”, Columbia High had the Healthy Capital 5k and Rosewood had this one. I had decided a while back to do Rosewood again because of my experience there last year, though some part of me wanted to go trophy hunting. My best guess would have been the Swansea race, given it was the most rural and not on any race series.

Showed up about an hour early and got in 2 warmup miles with the Code and Ted. Last year the Code was all psyched to win the race until Angel showed up last minute and crushed his hopes. This year Angel was there early and John Charlton was there, which completely wiped out anyone else thinking they would take this race. I was already sitting 3rd in my age group (behind Angel and the Code) even before the start, so my overall chances were definitely done. Eric Allers showed up with Tigs a little later (on their wedding day no less) , so it was doubtful Code could repeat his 2nd overall performance last year either.  Tigs and Amanda were the main competition on the women’s side.

Although this course is not certified, I do remember it being pretty accurate by Garmin at least. It has a 2 loop configuration – one big loop that is about 2 miles, then a smaller loop that shares part of the bigger loop but shortcuts back to the start/finish area. First mile is mostly downhill, 2nd is almost all uphill and the third rolls up, down then up again. Temps were warm, probably mid 60’s, and humid – not the best.

The start was fairly calm given the small size of the race. There was an immediate separation of John and Angel, then Code and Eric in a 2 person mini pack, then myself, Amanda and another guy . This other guy passed me about a half mile in, but I made sure he didnt get too far ahead.  My paranoid age group radar told me this  dude was probably one of those random sub 20 5k suburban 35-39 dads that just pop out of nowhere. After an initial bump, the course turned downhill for a half mile stretch. Amanda and I kept passing each other for most of the first mile, and we hit the marker a shade under 6 minutes, though my Garmin had the mile a little further at 6:07. I felt pretty good at this point, so I thought I would try to hold this pace as long as I could.  However, the second mile of this race just sucks. You take a right onto the road parallel to Owens Field airport, which you would suspect would be flat, but is actually a very long slight incline. I passed unknown guy but I started to hurt a little in this long slog out in the open. I could hear Amanda drafting behind me, which was probably a good plan for her since she’s half my size. Mile 2 ends in a right turn with a nastier incline. I felt I had maintained my pace pretty well, but I forgot to check my Garmin at the mile marker due to the kids cheering at this point. It should be noted that this assumption of constant pace turned out to be very, very wrong. Mile 3 continued with an even steeper hill, which felt like a kick in the stomach. Form went all to hell and it felt like I limped over the top. The second loop shares the half mile downhill of the first loop, and I was able to get the whole oxygen exchange thing working again. Picked up the pace here and I could see the Code and Eric starting to get reeled in a little. I was actually fairly close to the Code at the bottom of the downhill, but then the course turns right back up an incline and that pretty much neutralized the emerging blue shoes kick. I could tell Code was hurting, but he was just out of reach. As I crested the hill I expected to see some 18’s on the clock but was shocked to see 19:20’s. Here I was thinking I’m a total badass for most of the last mile, and just a shade behind two 18 min 5kers, and now I’m already slower than my less than great race last week. I mustered a mini kick over the crest of the hill and was just toast after crossing the line at 19:39. 5th overall,  2nd in age group (Angel took 2nd overall and took himself out of the AG). I immediately checked the Garmin to figure out what went on. Course was 3.10 miles, so not long. On further inspection, my mile 2, which I thought might have been 6:10, was actually 6:36.  Nice pacing by feel, hero.

John Charlton won easily in 16:41, Angel took 2nd in 18:18, while Eric and Code finished quite a bit off their usual times in 19:15 and 19:30 respectively. Amanda took 1st overall female in 20:03, which is relatively slow for her as well. Tigs is still in recovery mode and way less than 100 percent, but still managed 2nd overall. Sure enough the unknown guy (Kevin Croxton) was 35 and finished just over 20 minutes. Burgess and Ted both won their age group, along with Alex P and Rocky. 79 finishers. I think the warmth, humidity and that hillacious mile 2 contributed to the slower times . I ran 19:21 in 2011, but it was probably 20 degrees colder.

Got a sweet pic of me with the Rosewood Eagle after the race.  Almost as good as my classic Chick-Fil-A cow shot from the 2009 Going the Extra Mile:

Oh, and that Swansea race…20:12 won the thing. DOH!!

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/161046857

http://www.strictlyrunning.com/RESULTS/12ROSEWOOD.TXT

Get To The Green 5k – Columbia, SC – 3/17/12

The Get to the Green is the ever expanding 5k associated with the St Patty’s Day festival in Five Points. This is the 10th anniversary of the race, and I see they originally had less than 300 participants in 2003. This year they had over 1800, and were billing themselves as the biggest road race in the Midlands.

This is my fourth year doing the race, and I decided to run it fairly last minute, since the Columbia marathon was a bust for me. The 37.50 was the most I’ve paid for a 5k in a long time, but at least you get a pint glass with the entry. It also included the $15 St Patty’s fest fee, so I guess it was a good deal is you went to the festival.

I considered not running the race though, because I’m not a big fan of huge races. As mentioned before, I usually seek out the smallest mom and pop events, because 1) Possible overall glory with potential trophy action! and 2) Considerably less stroller dodging. This race in particular has a bottleneck less than a quarter mile from the start, so unless you are up at the front there’s going to be serious traffic. On the other hand, the first few rows are going to be subject to a total stampede.

Last week’s illness decided to extend into the first half of this week too, so I had no idea how this race was going to turn out. My last speedwork was over 3 weeks ago , and everything had been pretty easy since, so I knew 5k race pace was going to be a smack in the face.

Got there about an hour early, did a mile warmup with Spencer and Greg. Felt kind of rough – humidity was high, temps were already high 60’s, and pollen was everywhere. Got to the start and there were noticeably less elite types there, maybe an aftereffect of the marathon last week? The Ashtons, Allerses, John Charlton, Alejandro Arreola, Drew Soltau, Frank Clark , Drew Williams and Kenzie Riddle made sure there was still no shortage of fast. I had to line up right behind these guys to assure I wouldnt get caught up in the impending quarter mile cluster. I was standing next to Greg, who I hoped to use as a pacer, and Will Brumbach was talking about pacing off me, though I told him this may not be a good idea today.

The start was delayed several minutes – I think they were still registering people at the last second. Finally Ben Tanner got the race going, and the start was crazy. I went out pretty hard but there were still people dodging me, then me returning the favor. After the bottleneck area (festival gates jut out into the road), I tried to keep up a strong pace, but this is where you begin a long climb from Five Points all the way to Hand Middle, more than half a mile. At the top of the first hill I was laboring pretty hard, and by the school I was really slowing. Greg and Spencer had left me for dead, and Will Brumbach, Whitney Keen and Amanda Charlton were a good bit ahead of me as well.  I usually use people I know as a gauge of pace, but this was hard with so many other people in the mix. I hit mile 1 at 6:26, one of my slowest first miles in a long time (25 sec slower than my last at Judicata). Started panicking because I felt pretty terrible despite the pace. Wanted to pick it up, but wasnt much there. My only solace was the fact the rest of the course was pretty flat. Mile 2 was through Shandon, using Duncan St, which has to be the common street for about 10 races since I know it like the back of my hand. A nice surprise was the turnaround, as it was a lot closer than I had thought. I think I finally acclimated to 5k race pace by the time I hit the Ott St turn back towards Devine, since I began to actually get some oxygen back in my lungs. It was also great to see Ken Lowden and company manning a water stop/inspiration station, and Teo going nuts. I looked down and saw a 6:21 split, so it was going to be tough to even get sub 20 at this point. Passed Whitney just before the 2 mile mark.  I hit Devine St and the Code comes blasting out of nowhere and starts verbally whipping me like Seabiscuit on the home stretch. So I kicked it in, hard…and probably way to early. The finish line is visible from a long, long way out, and this just sucks you in. I was going faster though – the field started rolling back towards me. I was able to pass Will,  Amanda and Greg, and Code kept giving me new targets. But i was dying..big time. Praying for that finish line that kept seeming farther. Wanted to crawl into the fetal position and die a sweet death.  By the time I hit mile 3 I was starting to worry about about falling off that fine line between pushing it and puking. Damn that Code. Finally made out the clock switch to 19’s , but really couldn’t muster a finishing blast. Crossed just under 19:30.

Not one of my best times but could of been much slower. After the race I finally looked at mile 3 and saw a 6:02. Code said he was trying to keep me under six. Finished in 33rd place, which is pretty good for me in this race. Ended up 5th in age group, won a “tubular cooler” for placing (they went 5 deep this year).  Official chip was 19:28.  Eric Ashton won overall 30 sec clear of the field in 15:47, and John Charlton completed the masters domination with a 3rd place 16:46. Second was Jonathan Eggert, whom I’ve actually never seen race before. Jourdain apprentices Frank Clark and Drew Soltau had strong races, finishing together in 18:09 and 18:17 respectively. Eric Allers and Drew Wiliams were just behind them in 18:21 and 18:25. The women’s race was super close with Ashley Evens beating out Kathryn Ashton by just a few seconds (18:30 -18:37) Kenzie Riddle finished a close third in 18:47. Brian Kistner, who finished 2nd in the marathon, came back and ran a sub 19. Nice. Spence continued his sub 19 streak with an 18:54.  Heather Brumbach, Will’s wife,  continued a comeback to racing and beat me at 19:15.  Amanda, Greg and Will all easily went sub 20 as well.  Whitney ran a strong race but just missed his sub 20 by four seconds – ouch. Other local age group winners were Rocky Soderberg, Henry Holt, Patti Lowden, Alex Ponamarev, Cheryl Outlaw, Mike Wainscott, Pete O’Boyle, Ken Sekley, Jeff Burgess, Shannon Iriel, Ken Cobb, Theresa Penney and Erin Howie. Tigs won her age group too, even though she was “just out for a jog”. Wish I could do that.

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/158857902

http://www.strictlyrunning.com/RESULTS/12GTTG.TXT

Columbia Marathon – Columbia, SC – 3/10/12

The Columbia Marathon marks the return on the marathon to Columbia after an 11 year hiatus, finally giving the capital city a 26.2 again. I’m not sure about the history of the original race, but a recent State article said the race was run 1977-2001 and then scrapped because of other marathon competition and focus of the Carolina Marathon association on the Governors Cup and Heart and Sole. We also hosted the women’s olympic trials in 1996 and 2000. I lived in Columbia all the years of the race, but I have no memory of the original marathon, outside of a vague recollection of the olympic trials when I was in college. I was certainly not a runner then – my main running/walking exercise involved weekly trips down to five points and back. I was able to track down a 1999 carolina marathon results page. Winner was Eric Ashton. Complete shocker there. CarMar1999a

This edition of the marathon is the brainchild of Dan Hartley, who seems to have thrown his entire being into bringing this race back.  I always have  an admiration for race directors – they possess organization skills that far exceed my own. But putting on a 26.2 mile race through a city not used to an event this size is quite an undertaking. Major props to Dan for tackling this immense project.

I first signed up for this race about a year ago when the first rough draft of a website was up and the original point to point course was introduced. The course was originally set to start in Ballentine,  go near Irmo,  run across the dam into Lexington, and eventually into Columbia. There apparently was a major obstacle to the approval of this course with the Lexington police dept, who would not allow 378 to have a lane closure? I dont know the full details, but if NYC can shut down half the city for a morning, you’d think the metropolis of Lexington  could help us out.

Anyway, this resulted in the current 2 loop course which tours much of the same areas as the Governor’s Cup, though differs in the roads used. For a detailed course description, see the Cola marathon preview run post. I was less than thrilled with the course change, though this actually saved me on race day.  I had debated back and forth since the course change about dropping down to the half, since I really hate the 2 loopers – I’ve avoided Kiawah for this reason. However, I think I had eventually decided to go ahead and do the full at way less than 100 percent effort. I had trained hard and peaked for the Jacksonville marathon in December, but my focus in the spring has been back to improving speed in the 10k and 5k. I always do 10-15 mile long runs, but I hadnt done any of those critical 18-22 mile marathon specific workouts. I thought I could still wing it until this past week, when either my kids or patients decided to give me a nasty  cold virus. I was out of commission Tuesday night and Wednesday. Recovered some on Thursday, and felt pretty good on Friday. However, Friday night I felt more run down – so I was really in a panic about what to do on Saturday morning. I woke up about 2 am and eventually convinced myself just to throw in the towel and save it for another day. I might have drifted off for awhile, but the thought of missing out on this race was killing me. I finally decided to at least show up and see how far I could go, but to definitely go no further than one loop. I  knew there was no race day registration and there had been a 20 dollar fee to transfer races late, so I figured I’d just have to miss out on an official time and/or medal.

I got there about a half hour early. With a little tylenol and sudafed on board, I actually felt OK though nowhere near a hundred percent. My legs felt great – they hadn’t seen this much time off in months.  Really nice turnout for this event, and almost every Columbia area runner was there either running or spectating.

I lined up near the 3:45 pacer. Had no idea how this would go, so I figured I would do 8 minute pace and see how far I could go – pulling the plug if I felt bad. First mile I took it very easy, which is completely alien to me when I have  a bib on. There is a guy named John “the penguin” Bingham who writes for Runners World and encourages everyone to have fun while running , emphasizing slow but steady pacing. He seems like a nice guy, but my exact polar opposite. I’m all for having fun and taking it easy in group runs, that’s great. But once I pin that bib, I cant help but be a complete freak. I’m actually a pretty laid back person, but switch into complete “type A” mode when racing. My finish line photos should be ample evidence of that. Anyway, I hit mile one at the top of a huge hill (aka the reverse side of Gov Cup’s Mt. Blossom) in 7:56.  I thought I was doing 8:30.  I finally caught up to Trophy around this time.  Mile 2 involves flying down the other side of Mt Blossom and then scaling what is one of the toughest hills – Saluda Avenue. Not super steep but brutally long.  Just maintaining pace on this hill will cause you to pass a ton of people. Trophy loves hills , so he got dropped here.  To his credit, he was actually committed to the full, while I wasn’t even sure if I’d make it through one.  Mile two in 8:02. Next few miles were through Shandon and pretty easy. I was feeling OK, and glad to see I’d probably be able to make it through loop one. Logged a couple of low 8 miles.  Eric Mcmichael caught up with me then faded back a little. I think I was unconsciously speeding up when people started to pass, because my fragile ego cant take it. After about 4 miles, I was warmed up enough to settle into a slightly faster pace as we left Shandon and entered into Heathwood/Lake Katherine.  It felt like there was some pretty good crowd support out there until I finally realized I was in a small pack just behind local news celebrity Dawndy Mercer-Plank.  Fragile Ego came back into play as I couldnt let Dawndy beat me, but she was motoring, definitely sub 8 pace.  The half course cuts off some of the marathon course in this neighborhood, and she blue shoed me  into one of the cutoffs and I never saw her again.  I worked on maintaining a steady pace through the next few miles, felt very nice, which isnt surprising considering I was about 30 sec off my marathon pace.  Felt good to think this was the pace that left me in a ragged mess at the end of my first governors cup in 2009.  Luckily I wasnt racing, because I had yet another shoestring incident  ( when am I ever going to remember to tie my shoes tight enough?) and managed my first in-race potty break. For some reason I still felt the need to burst out of the porta-potty like a maniac – as if 30 seconds was going to matter at this point. Still managed 8:20’s for those miles. Next started the most brutal section – the long slog up Trenholm.  Like a war zone on that hill – some people were walking, others really struggling.   This would have been really tough if I had been racing.

Once I reached the top and turned onto Gervais in mile 10, I started to briefly flirt with the idea of going ahead on to loop two. Then I thought about Richmond again, and how good I felt at the same point in that race. That brought me back into reality and reaffirmed by previous one loop decision. I would have been really happy at the start to know i would be OK at 10 miles anyway. As if memories of my traumatic Richmond marathon experience weren’t enough to convince me to stick to the plan, Mt Gervais certianly helped. Just crazy steep. I passed a girl who looked like death walking up that thing. I turned to give her a word of encouragement, but the look I got back shut me up quick. Caught up with Schmitz  at the top of the hill, and he was really moving, despite the fact he was doing the full. Ran the rest of the way with him. Hit 13.1 at about 1:45. The downhill finish to this race is amazing, especially with the huge banner and chute at the end. Because of my orange bib,  no one believed I was setting the world record in the marathon, so I had to veer off from the finish and drop out off to the side. That was tough to do, but I knew it was the best decision on this particular day.

The good part about dropping out is that it allowed me to watch everybody behind me on the first loop and then see everyone finish. Really cool to see so many people from our running community out there.  The highlight for me was seeing Amy McDonaugh  winning the overall female in the marathon with a huge eruption of cheering from the crowd (see above pic). Frank Clark and Steven Johnson helped pace and guide her, which was really awesome on their part. Greg Howell also crushed this race – ran another 3:19, his same time from Myrtle Beach a month ago on a flat course. I hope to see him and Anton rock the NYC marathon later this year.  Half overall winners were from out of town, though I see Andrew Johnson from Columbia won 4th. I’ve never met Andrew, but apparently he’s yet another 35-39 yr old than can destroy me. Code did take home 3rd in AG in the half, which his first in like 15 years. Spence posted a strong 1:33, and Brian Clyburn PR’d with a 1:34 – which probably means he can cut 3-4 min off that on a flat course. Our Palmetto 200 team keeps getting faster! Plexico won the 10k,  and if my sources are correct, also won the March for Meals rescheduled 5k earlier that morning. Well played. Another Palmetto 200 team member won 3rd in the 10k, Andy McNiece. Burgess and Geary rocked top 10 in the 10k, and Bri Hartley (making the race director proud, no doubt) and Tigs took the top 2 females in the 10k.

http://www.columbiascmarathon.com/

http://results.active.com/pages/page.jsp?eventID=2020885&pubID=3

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/156787277