Run for Her Life Downhill Mile – Five Points/Columbia,SC – 4/20/12

This is the second running of the Run for Her Life Downhill Mile, which I really wanted to do last year but was out of town. I love the mile. I’ve only actually run a mile race once before – actually a 1600 m in Strictly Running’s summer track series last year. Ran a 5:34 there, though it was crazy hot and I had already sprinted a 200 a few minutes earlier.  However, my dad used to watch the millrose games and the wannamaker mile when I was growing up, and there’s just something cool about this most basic of distances. This race is crazy fast – starts just off the intersection on rosewood and harden, and follows harden straight into 5 points. Its basically a slight roll over the first 0.75 then a very sharp downhill and flat sprint to the finish.

I was kind of nervous before the race. I really wanted a good time in this race, as I feel like it should be right up my alley. Basically 5+ minutes of pure blue shoe kick. My goal is to at least sub 5:30, maybe get 5:20.  I was feeling like crap most of the day though, as I’ve been nursing a cold. Between 24 hours of riding in a van with 5 others last weekend, using a million port-a-potties, having 3 cute little disease vectors in my home and starting a new job at the forensic psych hospital, I dont know where I might have picked up a stray virus. Got to the race about an hour early and ran the whole course forwards and backwards. Wasn’t really feeling it, and I was starting to dread the pain I was about to put myself through. Pretty small crowd at this race. Its put on by USC medical school, and apparently my students need to learn something about advertising. Strictly did help them out in the last two weeks, but I wasnt aware of the race until about then, and I am actively searching for races all the time.

Team Allers, Amanda, Jen Lybrand, and Eric McMichael are the only ones I know from the crowd. The start makes 5k starts seem tame. People are just hauling from the get go. Which is basically what you need to do in a mile, but I’m pretty sure there arent 20 sub 5 milers in this group. Eric Allers pulls ahead then is passed by a kid in an orange shirt. McMichael is showing his “King of the Quarter” speed and burns by me like I’m standing still. A quarter mile in and the field has settled down to orange kid, Allers, Kenzie Riddle, McMichael and myself. Pace feels crazy, but I start to settle in a little by the half, and I begin making up some ground on Eric M. The middle of the race has a little incline and it just hurts, but right at 0.75 is that freefall into 5 Points. Which kind of sucks for me, because I’m no good at downhills. I had gotten right behind McMichael but he’s gapped me by the bottom of the hill and just blasts out that 54 second quarter speed. He passes Kenzie with about 50 meters to go . I can make out the clock at 5:07 or so, and I’m in a full out sprint at this point. Hit the mat at 5:25, which I’m not disappointed about, if not overjoyed. I feel like I could have gone faster if I had felt better, but it was the best I could do on that night.

Orange shirt guy (Bryan Brooks) won the overall at 5:03 with Allers at 5:12 and McMichael at 5:20. Kenzie wins overall female at 5:20 and gets a 100 dollar bonus for breaking 5:30. Men’s 100 bucks was for 4:30, which was actually won last year by Tim Jeffreys (4:29). No one close this year of course. Amanda and Tigs take the 2-3 at 5:43 and 5:47 respectively. I finished 5th in the 62 person field.  I’ll be back at the Strictly track series in the summer – would like to be in the 5:15 range by then. I dont think they had age group medals in this race. There was an afterparty at Jake’s but I had to take off.

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