Jailbreak 5k – Lexington, SC – 5/26/12

The Jailbreak 5k is a race held by the Lexington County Sheriffs department that starts and ends in front of their building on Gibson Rd. Its now in its 6th year, and continues to grow, with over 600 entrants in 2012. I havent quite figured out why, but this race brings out a crazy competitive field. Yes, there is prize money (150/75/50 for male and female overalls) but I’m still surprised how every dude capable of a sub 18 comes crawling out of the woodwork for this one.

It is a cool race, figuratively of course, because with its late May date its usually famously hot. It does seem to be run really well, with plenty of volunteers, no course problems and timely awards. It probably helps that the whole police department is out there monitoring the route. And dont forget the picture opportunity with Sheriff James Metts. I used to think he ran the race, but apparently the man just gets hot.

Speaking of hot, it was definitely that again this year. Probably high 70’s with sauna like humidity. When I got to the race my previous plan of just showing up and taking pictures seemed like a lot better idea. But somehow I’m just lost without a freaking race bib on Saturday mornings.  To add to my general demotivation, one of the three disease vectors in my home (albeit cute, little,  disease vectors) had given me a nice head cold.  I ran a super slow mile warm up and basically had worked myself into a nice negative funk by the time I strolled up to the start line. I usually try to line up first and second row, but there was a whole host of big dogs in singlets , so I backed off the start line. There was a start mat too, which is always cool.  Ashton, Justin Bishop, OJ Striggles, Plexico, Drew Williams,  Angel, Amy and Kenzie were just a few of the people I didnt want to get run over by. Team Schmitz, Meg , Jen Lybrand, Trophy, the Diesels, J-Reeves,  Billy Tisdale, Teo,  Amanda and Joel Pierstorff, Flicker, Geary, McMichael,  Mike Ufford, Thomas Tapp,  Ted Hewitt,  and Jeanna Moffett were just a few of the faces I recognized before the start.

I tried to develop a race strategy before the gun, but I was feeling so underconfident I wasnt sure what pace I could hold on this particular day. The course I knew well – flat to downhill for the first mile and a half, then some rolling hills, but generally a near constant rise for the last 1.5, with the last tenth a flat straightaway.  One thing I had told people on the Columbia Running Club newsletter was: don’t go out too fast. I tried to keep this in mind when…

The gun went off and this crazy fast field took off like jackrabbits on cocaine.  My ego was already getting bruised as random jokers were out there crushing it and passing me like I was out for a jog. Usually the pack thins out considerably for those going at blue shoes pace at about a half mile. I populate a no mans land of a few that are faster than the main pack but a lot slower than the leaders.  This race had plenty of 19 min 5kers though, and I was actually having to jockey for position.  Pretty much hating life in the first mile, and wondering how I could be breathing this hard at this slow a pace. Meg and Billy Tisdale, who are always a good measure of where I should be,  were leaving me for dead. I seriously debated pulling out and just taking pictures on the side of the road when my Garmin spat back a 6:03 split. Well that at least explained why I was sucking so much wind. Way to stick to that race plan, hero. Damn that Meg and Billy!

The start of the second mile has a nice long slightly downhill stretch,  so I tried to relax and run more controlled rather than the bat-out-of-hell posturing I was doing previously. I started to feel a little more comfortable, and I actually passed a few people who probably also got caught up in the stampede. A half mile into mile 2 the hills started.  The worst one is actually first. I had built this up in my mind as being some horrible mountain, but in reality it wasnt quite as bad. Still, the wind sucking commenced again. I passed a couple of scrawny teenagers who were probably wondering how some old man sasquatch with a ridiculous nickname shirt was beating them up the hill.  Mt Sesqui and Hope Rd. have their benefits.

Then I felt a loosening of my left shoe and realized my freaking laces had come completely untied. Really? A hundred plus races under my belt and I still cant remember to tie my shoe properly? Damn bib timing strips  made me forget! Oh well, I’ve already put in too much effort to just bag it now.  And I ran the last 4 miles of the Shandon Turkey Trot (see November 2011) with a shoe about to come off, so I just tried to forget about it. Luckily the lack of oxygen to my lungs and the suffocating heat were making an adequate distraction. I didnt look at my Garmin split for mile 2 but heard a 12:30 for the 2 mile mark.

Started trying to kick it in, but wasnt getting a whole lot in return. Definitely slowing down some, but apparently the toxic mix of heat, humidity and hills were laying waste to the entire field. Started to reel Meg back in and managed to pass her with about a half mile to go. Finally caught Billy with a quarter mile to the finish, just as the course started leveling out. He looked to the side and saw me , and started really kicking it in himself.  We ran side by side for a while but I was really on fumes at this point. I was blasting away at 150 percent effort but he managed to hold me off and finish just ahead of me. I did notice we both took down one guy in the last 50 meters or so. I finished in 19:34, which is a PR for this course (previous record 19:47 in 2011). Unbelievable given the way I was feeling, so I definitely happy with the time. Managed a 3rd in age group too – turns out the guy Tisdale and I took down in the final stretch was 37, so I definitely thank Billy for making me push it.

Crazy fast times at this race despite the conditions. The winner, Scott Wietecha, pulled a 14:47 (4:46 pace) – just incredible. I checked his blog to see his training schedule and its really unbelievable. Dude definitely earns that time.  Ashton finished second in 15:47  and Judson Brooker third in 16:20. Justin, OJ and Plex had their first age group medals in years probably. The top twenty all broke 19 minutes.  Danielle Crockford took 1st in the womens overall with a smoking 18:21, Shawanna White and Kenzie also  placed in 18:31 and 18:33.  Billy  ended up taking 2nd masters behind Jim Coombes, Scott Brewer 3rd. Female masters was won by Laura Stepp, Heather Alexander and Sarah Donley. Grandmasters places were taken by regulars Francisco Mora, Albert Anderson, Pete O’Boyle, Jeanna Moffett,  Carol Wallace and Lynn Grimes.  You know its a fast race when all of the female grandmasters went sub 26.  Age groups in this race were insane. 30-34 males saw third place (Gregory Jones, Jr. – who I assume is related to the Gregory Jones Sr that can churn out 18 min 5ks at age 50 something) at 18:15. Talk about competitive. I’m just fortunate that Code , Randy or Steven didnt show up to take my precious third. Angel took 2nd.  Other familiar age groupers were Claudia Nunez-Lopez, David He, Kristin Schmitz, J-Ward, Amy , Meg,  Jackie Key, Pam Griffin, Geary, Mike Ufford, Thomas Tapp, Lisa Smarr, Pete Poore, Jack Keunzie,  Valerie Selby, Alex Ponamarev, Jan Hardwick, Peter Mugglestone,  Rocky Soderberg and the Holts.  Crazy Legs won 3rd Clydesdale, which has apparently been upgraded to 2nd. Some guy who was originally awarded 1st Clydesdale looked like a buck 25, so I’m pretty sure that was a mistake.

Oh, and Trophy ran a good race. He is ever fearful he will drift back into the 21’s and re-earn his “blackjack” nickname, but he managed a 20:25.  Could there be a sub 20 Lady McGaha soon? Diesel has been race whispering his son, who eked out a sub 30 with a 29:59. There was some crying involved, so I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.



See Spot Run 5k – Earlewood Park – Columbia,SC – 5/19/12

See Spot Run is a 5k put on by the Humane Society, now in its third year. It is a race close to my heart, given it was my first overall placement. It was originally held at Riverfront Park in its first year, in June. All I remember was it was hot…brutal.  It was run on a cool double bridge course, which was scenic but unfortunately took you right by the chicken plant in 378 – not the best smelling area of Columbia. I was trying to chase down Amy McDonaugh in that race and was failing miserably, but somehow managed to pass a then unknown Ken Sekley in the final half mile to take 3rd overall male in 19:47.  For my efforts I won free entry into the next years race. I managed to unearth this photo from 2010, in which I appear to outweigh the other overall winners combined:

The next year it was moved to Earlewood Park,   in June again and again famously blazing hot.  The course was completely new, and a total hillfest. I showed up early that year to jog the course and it probably would have been better to be blissfully ignorant.  It sucks you in with a flat to screaming downhill first mile, then wipes you out with a slog up a big hill, turn around, go down that hill again, then kills you with a trip right back up that downhill first mile. I finished in 20:09 and felt good about it – most people were at least 30-45 seconds off their usual times. The Blue Shoe kick claimed another victim in Will Brumbach but Sekley exacted revenge and crushed me by nearly a minute. Code and Amy also destroyed me. That year also featured “THE DOG” – a mascot costumed runner thats doing the race for charity. What most of the crowd doesnt know is the dog is also Randy Finn, a 17 minute 5ker. It must of been about 200 degrees in that suit last year and it still took every ounce of my effort not to get mascotted. Poor Rick Gibbons was the lucky one to get outkicked by the dog at the finish and thus appear in all the promotional flyers for the race, even though they didnt explain Rick finished 11th overall in the race. 


This year they mercifully moved the race date up a few weeks, which made a huge difference in the weather. Basically as close to perfect as you can get in May – cool, slight breeze, 60ish. I was worried the turnout would be a lot worse with both the Red bank 5k and Going the Extra Mile 5k on the same day, but it looked like a decent crowd.  Oh, and dont forget the John Petrey 5k in West Columbia, which had my trophy hunting sense tingling. Trophy claimed he wasnt racing, but I figured about even chances he would show up at that one.

I had already stalked my age group on the Strictly Running site (advanced trophy hunting technique and completely ridiculous), so I knew Angel Manuel and Steven Johnson were going to be there to make my chances at even age group placing difficult. My only hope was to finish 3rd in AG or hope one or more of those guys placed in the overall. Rick , the Diesels, Karen, Brad Steele, Rocky, Alex Ponamarev, Meg Weis, Will Brumbach, Sekley, Joe Tomlin, Teo, Charley, Crazy Legs, and Sarah Blackwell were a few of the familiar faces.  My goal in the race was to break 20 minutes, no easy task on this course. And did I mention I was doubling up with a second 5k in Charleston that afternoon? Yeah I’m an idiot.

Typical banshee start to a 5k. Brumbach told me in the first 100 meters he was going to lurk behind me this year and not get blue shoed again. Meg was right at my side in the first half mile and started surging here and there, so I made a point to hang with her and not give in to my typical “this sucks why do i do this every weekend” self talk in the first mile.  Although it helped I was able to keep pace with her, it didnt do wonders for my self esteem that the freaking DOG was kicking my ass.  The course drops off a cliff just before the mile mark and Meg flies ahead of me along with Mr buff younger guy. Man I suck on downhills. Luckily I was able to draw even with Meg and mr buff just before the mile mark. Burgess is calling out splits and gives us a 6:05. Way to save up for the hills. I manage to surge ahead during the flat part in the middle of mile 2, but Buff apparently cant take the shame of getting passed by an albino 37 year old sasquatch so he passes me back just before the first brutal hill.  The go go gadget quads of steel kick into high gear and I power past him again on the hill. I’m sucking a fair amount of wind but definitely feel a lot stronger than last year. At the top of the hill is the turn around, and I’m actually not too far off the overall lead (by position at least, if not absolute time).  At the turn I can hear what I correctly assume to be Sekley chasing me down hardcore. I surge after the turn and set my sights on DOG, who is finally starting to fade. I didnt catch my mile 2 split..which is around 6:30. Finally at the bottom of the hill I am able to overtake the seven foot giant yellow mascot, though from the reaction of the bystanders I know his furry ass is right behind me. My race paranoia sets in and I’m starting to regret shaming Rick in the last CRC newsletter. I begin to worry of a brutal karma payback with my face on the 2013 See Spot flyer. So I go ahead and empty the tank – blasting up the final quarter mile beast of a hill as hard as I can go. I know the whole time there are people not too far behind me. I figure Sekley, Meg, Will , Mr Buff, DOG…all are ready to take me down. So I decide to redline it some more at the top, and I am about toast, but too afraid to slow up.  apparently I’m willing to go into cardiac arrest to avoid the shame of getting mascotted. Luckily the last tenth is all downhill again, and I sprint it out at about 500 beats per minute and finish in 19:39. Turns out Angel placed 3rd, so I got 2nd in AG behind Steven, which I’m pretty jacked about. Even more happy about the 30 second improvement from last year, though the heat certainly played a role in 2011.

I did beat the mascot, but I still got dogged…Alejandro Arreola and his dog placed 5th human/1st canine in 19:06.  A teenager Hardie Cate won overall, followed by Joe Tomlin and Angel. Steven placed 4th.  Sekley and Will finished just behind me, but Meg was the lucky winner of the DOG finish photo this year:

She did win the female overall, so cant argue with that though. Schmitz won his new 40-44 age group, and Rocky won his for the 1000th time. Sarah, Teo and Rick also placed in their age groups.



Thanks to John Richards for providing the on-course photos!

Get in the Pink 5k/10k – Devine St/Heathwood – Columbia,SC – 5/12/12

The Get in the Pink 5k/10k is an event in its 4th year , hosted by Kicks (a women’s shoe store on Devine St) and put on to raise money for Save our Suzy, a foundation to help those living with breast cancer. This is my 3rd year doing the race. Crazy as it sounds to me now, I passed on the race in the first year (2009) because it was just a 10k then and I didnt know if I could actually run that whole distance.

A year of hard training later and I certainly could finish the 10k, but I was also a beginning student in the school of trophy hunting. Then it was less about the overall and trying to score as many Tour de Columbia points as possible. So I did one of the cornerstone moves of TH methodology: the undercard. All other things being equal, and the shorter, less glamorous distance will be the easier one. Let the thin singlet guys battle it out in a war of attrition. I ‘ll take my chances against the strollers , couch-to-5kers and kids. Anyway, I recall an epic battle with Coke Mann and Tigs, managing to outkick them and about lose my grip on life, see here:

Suprisingly that race (19:44) earned me a 4th overall, again, because all the big dawgs were in the 10k. I played the undercard yet again in 2011 in a completely shameless TH move. I was looking to score a good 10k time that year, but my lust for little metal trinkets apparently knows no bounds. I entered the 5k last minute.

Now one thing that has been cool about this race is the separation of the 5k and 10k by 45 minutes. Theoretically, someone could run both, though I dont think its been done. In 2011 I was on the start line and got to see a good bit of the 10kers finish, so by the time I was finishing the 5k most of the crowd was gathered at the finish line already. As I approached the last half mile straightaway, I was in 4th place again with the 3rd place guy seemingly just out of reach. Knowing my predilection for being a bit of an attention whore, in addition to the carrot of a trophy/overall placement, set up the perfect storm for an epic blue shoes kick. I threw down a sprint that I don’t think I’ve matched since – a complete scalded, headless chicken, arm-flailing 3:50ish pace blast. Passed the other guy with like 20 meters to go to take 3rd place, and about had a coronary, but it did score me 40 bucks. It was a bit of a fakeout though, because I used the shield of the slowest 10kers to pull a stealth pass. For this I apologize, Mr. Steve Fink.

I knew I had probably hit the well too many times to trophy hunt at this race this year, so I went ahead and finally manned up to the 10k. The race had grown beyond the TH criteria anyway.  I knew this course to be tough by the looks of it on the map. It starts out great – about 3 miles of flat and downhill, but anyone familiar with a loop course knows you’ll have to pay that back. Sure enough, at the worst possible time in a 10k, you have to start climbing in mile 4. Although it flattens out in sections, there is nothing but a steady rise all the way to the end.

I decided to run his race in a very non-Blue Shoes  way – conservatively. I was still shell shocked from my Wildewood 15k nightmare from last week, in which everything just seemed to shut down. Plus Burgess beat me like a drum – my ego cant take that.

Race had a good crowd at the startof the 10k- Amy McDonaugh, Ted Hewitt, Billy Tisdale, Burgess, Lots of J’s -J-Lybrand, J-Reeves, J-Covington;  Yerger, Shufy,  Adam Beam, Flicker,  OJ, E. Ashton and John Charlton were some of the familiar faces. Jeanna Moffett had brought out her “Run for God” group which was everywhere, though most were doing the 5k.  Tigs was there for moral support, since she wasnt racing. Code and Trophy were MIA.

I walked up to the start and was taking pictures from the front row, when I turned around to face the starter…when she basically , without warning, just said GO!! What the??? All of a sudden I swivel around, my car key in one hand and my cell phone in the other, and I’m furiously trying to put the phone in my belt at about 6 minute pace. Eric Ashton had been off to the side and he pulls onto the street going about Mach 5.  I finally got my phone packed away but I decided just to carry the key instead of waste anymore energy.  All of a sudden my Garmin gives me a mile lap time about 100 meters in, and I realize its just tacking on distance to my warmup. Apparently I didnt reset it at the start line. I can’t believe I forgot to do that in the 1.34 seconds before the gun. Oh well,  I should stop being a slave to the Garmin anyway. I had given myself a few days off from running in an effort to recharge after last week, though I had been doing a lot of swimming and biking in its place, so I wasnt sure how the legs would respond. They actually felt really good. However, the late hills on this course coupled with a fresh experience with an epic bonk made me hold things in check.  I could see Yerger and Amy ahead ,though they were already gapping me pretty bad. I decided to focus on Flicker, “neon shirt guy” and “black shirt guy” as targets.  First 2 miles felt pretty good, and I basically maintained my position pulling an effort slightly harder than tempo. I knew Burgess and perhaps Lybrand were probably right behind me. This was confirmed when a spectator caught my eye at the bottom of the decline. I couldnt make out any facial features, but I can recognize the Code from long distance, having chased him down for years now. I had a flash of terror, because I was distictly afraid he was going to Seabiscuit me for 4 miles. He did that to me at Get to the Green and I about coughed up a lung, though he made me do a 6:02 mile on fumes. He didnt do that, but he did inform me Burgess was right on my tail. I broke one of my cardinal racing rules and sure enough he was tracking me down. NOT AGAIN!! I think I picked it up a little on the straightaway down on Shady Lane, though I was fearful of the mountain in my future.  Black shirt and I were steady gaining on Neon who appeared to be hurting. We both passed him at about 3.5 miles and started the climb out of Lake Katherine. I think I had made this mountain considerably larger in my head, because when I finally reached the hills, they werent that bad.  It helped I hadnt been killing the pace prior to that too, I guess. The next 2 miles I slowly creeped on Black shirt, but Flicker was leaving both in the dust. I was trying to mount some kind of surge, but I knew Flicker and Yerger (i.e. my known age group competition) were too far ahead to catch. Black shirt had all gray hair, so I thought it was unlikely he was in my AG.  They were letting cars go behind us, so I knew we had dropped the rest of the field. The sum total of this was not a whole lot of motivation.

As we hit the straightaway on Devine St, I figured the least I could do is track down Black shirt. He was about 10 meters ahead with about a half mile to go when an ambulance came through Millwood and Devine , stopping us both. After it passed, black shirt takes off like a banshee. I’m right behind him and consider blasting the headless chicken kick, but I can see the clock in the high 41’s and know I’m neither setting a PR or placing any higher in my AG. I wasnt even sure if there was any overall points left. So for the first time in history I decided to finish calmly. No flopping arms, no headless chicken.  My general feeling was that it wasnt fair to pass somebody since he had been stopped slightly longer by the ambulance. To his credit, he was kicking pretty hard anyway, so it would have been close without the stop. So I saved the blue shoes for another day and finished in 42:10, 10th overall and 3rd in AG. Not bad given the effort.

10k was dominated by Ashton again this year, and the 32:16 is smoking even for him. OJ and John Charlton finished  a couple minutes later for 2nd and 3rd. Tisdale notched a sub 40 and qualified for the Cooper River first corral. Amy won the female overall by 4 minutes over Erin Miller and Jordan Maki.  Yerger is in complete beast mode and helped pace/guide Amy. Both finished in 40 minutes flat. Flicker finished about a minute behind them and another minute later was me and black shirt, who actually has a name, which is Winston Holiday.

5k was won by Andy McNiece, who was on my Palmetto 200 team “Van on the Run”. Drew Williams and Steven Johnson finished 2nd and 3rd, with Hedgecock right behind them, who won masters. Ken Cobb , who I remember beating at Capital City Safe last year, has clearly exited my league with an 18:25. Kenzie Riddle blasted a PR in 18:27 and won the female overall. Turns out my 19:22 from 2011 would have gotten me 9th place this year, so good thing I  didnt attempt a trophy hunt.

Speaking of trophy hunting though… Tyler sought out a small 5k in Camden on Saturday, having lied in his emails to our running group about not racing and probably paying hush money to the Diesels to keep me away. For his deceit, he was rewarded with 2nd place and 50 bucks. I would be pissed about his trickery, but I have to stand in awe of his beautifully played Trophy Hunt. The only justice is that he got beat by over a minute by a 15 year old .


Pics on the course are courtesy of John Richards – thanks John!

Wildewood Fitness Festival 15k and 4 miler – NE Columbia, SC – 5/5/12

The Wildewood Fitness Festival is a first time event held just a half mile from my doorstep, with a hybrid (half trail/half roads) 15k and 4 mile trail race. Proceeds go to benefit Camp Kemo.

I was jacked the first time I heard about this race a few months ago. I’ve been waiting to do a 15k ever since they stopped holding the Labor Day 15k out at Columbia International in 2009. That race was actually my first non-5k, and I jogged about 75 percent of it (being scared to death of the longer distance) en route to  a 1:16.  This remains my PR since it was the only time I got to do that particular distance. So I was glad to have an opportunity to finally race the 15k again and take down this old mark. The bonus was the course, which I knew like the back of my hand, as all of it was on my usual training routes.

That being said, I also knew the course to be a real challenge. Total hillfest.

I got to the race actually a little later than usual, despite having a 60 second drive to the start line. Met up with the Code, Burgess, J-Lybrand and Charley and did a mile warm up. One thing immediately evident was that it was freaking hot. And humid. Felt like I was running in a Snuggie. Plus my legs were already protesting. I decided to run some on Friday, which I usually completely take off, and then I couldnt resist taking Anton’s bike (which I’m planning to buy) for a spin that evening. Dumb move.  I think my legs may have been in some PTSD mode, still fearing I was going to spontaneously enter a Tri again, now that I was cycling. Anyway you look at it, I was not feeling it. But sometimes I feel that way and end up having a good race once I get going, so all was not lost….right?

Not so much. There was a decent crowd at the start, lots of familiar faces. Big dogs Plexico, OJ Striggles, Frank “Dr. Chicago” Clark , Jeremy Becraft and Shawanna White were all toeing the line. A couple from Try Sports, who I think I remember from either the blue ridge or palmetto 200 relay, were there from out of town. Yerger, Burgess, J-Reeves, Wes Spratt, Code, J-Lybrand, the Outlaws + Gizmo, Coleen Strasburger, Ken Cobb, Charley + Winston, Team Griffin, Shufy Rowe, and Paige Tyler were just some of the regular racers in attendance.

My plan in this race was to run at half marathon pace and see if I could pick it up late. This would equate to 6:50ish. Multiple choice time…. 1) My last half marathon was a) my PR b) on a pool table flat road course in Charleston c) held in 35 degree temps with zero humidity or d) all of the above. If you guessed D , then you are the lucky winner. Question 2. This race is a) half trail b) a cluster of hills c) 70+ degrees and 90 percent humidity or d) all of the above. You get the picture. But at least its 6k shorter.

The start of this race seemed fairly leisurely, though the heat was already , as I mentioned, snuggie-esque. I settled in just behind the Code , next to Burgess, with Charley and his dog Winston just behind.  Polo Rd was pretty flat , and as you enter Sesqui for the trail section, downhill. Hit the first mile right at 6:50, so about where I wanted to be according to plan. What was not planned was the fact I already felt like death. Legs just felt tired and dead, and I was breathing way harder than I should have. I was a) really starting to hate my decision to both run and bike on the day before the race and b) cursing my decision not to trophy hunt and go for the 4 miler. Mile 2 in 7:15 , so already slowing. Then came the climb back out of the park. Fun stuff. Whats a hill without sand to completely suck any of your momentum? 1.5 miles later and I was sucking WAY too much wind this early. But at least the incline was ending and we were headed out of Sesqui. Burgess, who had been at my side the whole way, seemed to be feeling a lot better than me. He thought I was going to drop him once we hit the roads. Not going to happen. I’m pretty sure we must of taken about 3 months running in Sesqui, because the second we came out of the park it felt like August. The sun had come out with a vengeance, and there was zero breeze. Burgess and I both got chicked by a woman doing the 4 miler kicking it in to the finish, and we then had to suffer the cruelty of passing by the finish line and head out into Wildewood for another 5.3 miles. Mallet Hill Road, the main road of Wildewood, is completely exposed near Polo, and suddenly any life spirit left my body. Pace began to suffer immediately and Burgess started to drop me. Apparently I wasnt the only one hurting because all of a sudden I see Code standing on the side of the road. He decides to start running again when he sees me and Burgess, and says he’s going to turn around in a mile. He probably would have, but as we turn into the neighborhood I’m pretty much pulling 8 min pace, and he’s dropping me too. Now speed is always relative, and for some eight minute pace is fast, just as Plexico probably runs my 5k Pr pace on an easy day. But 8 min pace is basically my Sunday long run. For me to have a bib on, and ostensibly in a race, its almost too much to bear.  One of the streets is Lame Horse Rd. and I’m thinking someone has a very cruel sense of humor.On the very limited bright side, at least no one is passing me. Apparently the heat and hills are taking their toll on everyone.

Burgess, Code and I are in a straight line by mile 5 when there’s a turn earlier than the course map had drawn out (at upper pond instead of old still), and I’m wondering (perhaps praying?) of there’s been a misdirect cutting off some of the distance. We hit mile 6 right in line with the marker, so my next thought is they have altered the course somewhat.  The next section of the course is a killer, as I remember from the map. Running Fox Rd has a long brutal incline with a steep decline on the other side. On the map, you turn at the top of the hill before the steep decline onto another hill, Cricket HILL Rd. Except now I see Burgess going over the top as I’m slogging up this thing about 50 meters behind now.  Sure enough, theyve altered the course to make up the missed distance of the early turn – by having us plunge down the steep decline and COME RIGHT BACK UP IT. Must of been the same guy who designed quarry crusher. Oh yeah, and they kept the cricket hill part once you get back up to the top again. GOOD TIMES.  At least you can see where you are with the turnaround – there’s actually no one behind me except for Charley about 100 meters back and then a 40ish small woman who looks like she’s crushing it. I think she looked over at me and saw the fear in my eye.  The fear of getting master chicked. Thankfully cricket hill does eventually have a downslope and I try to let every bit of my oversized mass take a gravity ride. Mile 7 arrives and I look down to see a 7:50ish split, whcih I’m actually grateful for, given the way I’m feeling. Which is like complete hell, by the way.

Code is ahead of me, and occasionally I draw closer to him, but I think theboth of us are so shamed by our underachievement that were not even racing anymore. Burgess has completely exited the picture by now. Shortly after mile 8 is a sign “LAST HILL” which I know, by virtue of running in the area all the time, is complete BS. I somehow in a half delirious state, manage to waddle up that hill and the 2 or 3 other hills beyond that. As mile 9 passes and we approach the finish, Code looks back and yells for me to kick it in. I dont think either one of us to win this ridiculous battle, and it doesnt matter for me anyway, because I am completely and utterly done. Light is on and gauge is pegged on E. Somehow I do manage a feeble increase in speed in a desperate rush for the pain to end – 6:44 split in the last .30 after running the previous 5 miles just below 8 minute pace. I cross the line in 1:10:33, 20th place and 4th in AG. Still a new PR, I guess, even if its at my marathon PR pace. Somehow Code, who finished 5 seconds ahead of me, got 3rd in age group. Masters female (Jennifer Conrick), who actually is 2nd overall, finished 30 seconds behind me. Whew that was close.

OJ , Plex and Frank took the overall in this race, OJ with 5:57 pace, which is nuts with this course and conditions. Women’s winner, the tri sports girl (Michelle Hazelton), wins the female overall in less than an hour, which is damn impressive. 2nd place is Conrick, and Jennifer Lybrand took 3rd despite having a rough day as well. Yerger completely blasted this race, finishing 5th (4th overall male) and taking my age group a full 7 minutes ahead of me. Burgess won his age group at 1:08:52, and Mike Griffin, Coleen Strasburger, Sandy Smith, Shufy Rowe, both Outlaws, Wes Spratt, Frank Eichstadt, Paige Tyler, Ken Cobb, John Bradley and Colleen Vowles all placed in their age groups. Hedgecock took 2nd overall in the 4 mile;  Rocky Soderberg also won his age group.