The Velocity Distance Project Get Your Speed On 5k is a first time race at Lake Carolina that looks like the 2nd event in a number of running/bike races set up by Dave Hale of the VDP. This race popped up on my radar about a month ago – it met Blue Shoes trophy hunting criteria with its first year status, competition from another major race, and being well outside of Columbia. Of course, with the CRC presidential duties I promote the Tour de Columbia races, so I’m no longer able to stealth my way into these smaller events. I also knew the Code would be here anyway, so my chances at the overall win were slim. Slim to none as it turned out, because as you see above, Plexico and Joe Tomlin showed up right away, followed by a stealth Brandenburg sighting. I’m thinking JB was headed out to take this race from me and the Code, but even his trophy hunting got foiled.
As expected, this was a small event, though 50 people ended up showing up. This was actually more than I had thought with the Bridge Run going on. Conditions were pretty nasty – warm and very humid, and the rain started well before the race. I got pretty soaked on a two mile warmup with the Code. Felt like crap on the warmup – I’m thinking my body has become allergic to water after the extreme trauma suffered in the Blatt pool last Sunday.
I didnt get a chance to preview the whole course before the race, but I know Lake Carolina to be a veritable roller coaster of hills. My only hope was that this race managed to avoid some of the worst inclines that were on the other side of the neighborhood. The course was mostly out and back, with a small loop in the Harborside subdivision. The website does note the course to be “fast” but I’m thinking Selwyn must of put that part in there. Its fast if a brutal half mile hill just before the finish makes you all speedy. This is the same course as last years Poochalooza 5k, Greg Howell’s shining trophy moment.
The start felt like a group run with the small crowd, and the immediate thing I noticed after the gun was that this course was anything but closed. You’d think early Saturday morning would not be a big time for traffic, but suddenly everybody and their mom was out for a freaking joyride. Not more than a half mile in and some lady is drafting on me with her volvo and giving me little toots on her horn. WTF. Sorry to delay your Starbucks run. The rain starts really coming down soon after this, and I’m starting to wonder why I do this to myself every Saturday. The newest Blue Shoes (adizero Feathers) are amazingly light when dry. Not so much supersaturated with rain water. Feet feel ridiculously heavy. On a good note, I’m able to separate from my small pack of guys who are obviously pacing themselves and calling out Garmin times. The Code is not that far ahead, and Brandenburg is about the same distance ahead of him. Plex and Tomlin are already in another zip code. Hit mile one in 6:21, and I’m already pretty gassed.
Right after the mile mark is a climb up to the main roundabout of Lake Carolina with the fountain. Some landscaping truck appears suddenly, as if its hellbent on getting that mulching done today. One of the volunteers luckily stops the truck, but soon its bearing down on me in the circle. I’m glad this means no one is near behind me, but also not so glad that I might become roadkill at any moment. I strike a Heisman pose as means of warning I’m going to throw myself across this truck’s path, and luckily he yields. As I barrel into Harborside, I notice myself inching closer to the Code, though JB is leaving us both for dead. The Harborside loop is pretty short and mercifully flat, and by the time the course is headed back home I’m right behind the Code. The end of the loop is right at 2 miles, and its 6:34 or something. All that slogging in the rain is definitely slowing me down. There’s a sharp decline right after the 2 mile mark and the Code suddenly stops at the bottom of the hill. I ask if he’s OK, but it appears either his shin splints are acting up or he’s suffered a severe pride injury from getting blue shoed. Perhaps both. Either way, I have no way of telling if he’s going to rest up and blast up the ensuing hill, so I’m trying to push it. There’s about zero motivation though, because I soon realize he’s stopped and possibly dropped out, and JB is too far away to catch. I’m running completely alone by this time. Alone, if you dont count the suburban moms texting in their SUV’s ready to take my life. The long hill is also doing a wonderful job of sucking any life spirit completely out of my body. I keep having finish line hallucinations, but Lake Carolina drive has so many turns, and another roundabout I completely forgot. Finally I hit the last straightaway and I’m already seeing 19:30’s. I try to kick it in, but I’m sucking wind like its the third lap of my swim at Blatt. I see my first 20 minute mark in months and cross in 20:04. 4th overall and first in age group. I’d normally be thrilled at the placement, but the over 20 min time and feeling like complete death kind of ruin the moment. No one is in view for quite a while until I finally see Code, who crosses in 21:18, which is about his slowest time ever – but did include a brief walk in the park. He was real happy about that.
Plexico won easily in 17:14, followed by Tomlin in 17:57. JB was all alone in 3rd at 19:19. I dont know many of the other people in this race, but I believe Carolina Crossfit had a a team that did pretty well overall. Ted Hewitt did a successful trophy hunt, taking the overall masters, and Alex Ponamarev finished 3rd in masters at 62 years old!