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!