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.



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