Harden Street Downhill Mile – 5 Points – Columbia,SC – 6/29/12

The Harden St downhill mile is the first of what will hopefully be three mile races descending into 5 points from various streets , ending at Strictly Running. Jordan Lybrand had talked about this at the last Columbia Run Club meeting, so we were able to add the series to the Tour de Columbia , which was promising for a decent crowd and good competition.

Although I love the mile and really want to lower my time, since I think I’m capable of better,  my original plan was to use the race to introduce little Alex, aka Blue Shoes Jr., to racing. I figured he could definitely do the distance and the downhill would help him get a decent time.

What I hadnt planned on was the heat. Sure,  late June in Columbia is not going to be chilly, but I figured it would be in the 80’s tops.  What I hadnt counted on was that this was THE HOTTEST DAY IN COLUMBIA EVER.  Seriously.  In a city whose slogan is “famously hot”.  As in a high of 109 degrees and temps still over 100 at race time.  Since heat stroke probably wouldnt give little Alex a great intro into racing, I scratched him from the race a couple hours before. He was so torn up about it he could barely manage a “thats OK” between a lego light saber battle on the Wii.

It then dawned on me that I’d be doing the race alone, and would have no excuse to run at 12 minute pace like I had planned. Yes, I could have used some restraint and just ran a tempo pace, but my figuratively and literally giant sized head wouldnt allow it. I pin that bib on and its GAME ON.  So what had been a relaxing Friday afternoon turned into a ball of pre-race anxiety over the heat and the inevitable suffering that would ensue. Can’t you tell why I love my sport?

I got to Strictly about an hour early only to learn the packet pickup was actually at the start, a mile down the road.  Just the walk from my car covered me in sweat. Total oven. Once at the start I debated just parking there and hanging out in the AC for a half hour, but then I thought about having to run back uphill in the heat after the race, so I opted for going back to the store. Jogged up to the start with Meg, who was racing the mile for the first time since high school in the mid 90’s. Ran into Diesel on the way, who had Diesel Jr in tow, ready to give the second generation of blue shoes a beatdown. Had to disappoint him with the no-show.  By the time I got to the start I was just drenched, wiped out after a 10 minute jog up the hill. The start area was kind of comical because everyone was congregated across the street in the only available shade.

I looked around and realized I knew over half the field, because this race was for the hardcore. The mile doesnt usually bring out a casual runner crowd anyway, but if you add  some 100 degree weather, only the obsessive show up. I might meet that description. Team Schmitz, John Richards, Teo, Rocky, Jennifer Lybrand, J-Reeves, Pete O’Boyle, Eric McMichael, Drews Williams and Soltau, Justin Bishop, OJ , Team Allers, Kenzie, Team Vowles and the Hewitts were some of the familiar faces. Only about 70 runners, but a super competitive field.

Course was straight down Harden, a little flat to rolling terrain at the top then a long descent into 5 points with a flat area for a couple of blocks at the end.  Strictly was offering 100 bucks to the first male under 4:20 and female under 5:20. No worry about me taking home any cash, but previous 100 dollar winner Kenzie was there to try and double up.  Bishop and a few other singlet dudes looked like they may have a chance, though.

I didnt really have a strategy for this race. Im sure coaches could wax poetic about the finer points of mile tactics, but my plan usually is to go out like a headless chicken, hold on, and race face it at the end. I dont think Running Times will be calling me anytime soon.

Start was crazy fast with all the sub 5 ers around. McMichael, who I identified as my main age group competition, took off like Usain Bolt and left me for dead. Without the regular warm up, plus no rest in training, made for a rough first quarter. I hadnt blasted any speedwork the last couple of weeks, so running mile pace felt like a sprint. I felt way back in the pack with all the speedsters, and it hurt my giant head.  The voices that usually whisper for me to stop in 5ks were now screaming. Into the second quarter I  felt better, surprisingly strong, especially with the downhill coming up. Invisible to the untrained eye, the Blue Shoes did get a little less Clydesdale-esque with all the tri training. I passed a few guys including one who dropped his key and had to stop and go back.  Meg, who had blasted out of the gates, was starting to get reeled back in, so I tried to pace by her.  I used the beginning of the downhill to make up some ground, because it turns out a boulder has more potential energy than a pebble on a hill. Although the legs were feeling strong, all of a sudden my lungs and throat started burning – really kind of alarming. I’m guessing the killer heat and the poor air quality from a fire in Cayce were combining to sandblast everything inside my chest. Passing by one of the cop cars also produced a wake of oven-like air that about killed me too. I finally reached Meg when the hill leveled out some and was able to pass her. After that was a pretty big gap so I ran the last quarter essentially by myself. I had no idea how fast I was going until I made out the clock at 5:10 or so, which was encouraging because I was afraid of being a lot slower. Tried to muster a kick,  but the burning lungs werent really helping. Kicked it in just enough to break 5:30, crossing at 5:29. Four seconds slower than my last mile, though it was about 30 degrees cooler then.  Ended up in 17th place, 3rd in AG if you take out OJ to the overall (2nd) . Just an insanely fast group.

Ended up with 9 sub 5 finishers, led by Drew Harris at 4:22. Bishop was upset with his 3rd place 4:28, but that is still pretty smoking fast.  The Drews finished in 5:04 and 05, so great races for them. McMichael again proved his dominance in the shorter distances with a 5:15, almost catching Eric Allers at 5:13.  Kenzie won another 100 bucks by winning the women’s race, clocking a 5:18.  I was wise to kick it in, because I had a pretty potent chase pack with Geary, Meg, Pete and Tigs all sub 5:50. J-Lybrand and Kristin both PRd I beleive with a 6:16 and 6:31 respectively. The Vowles definitely won fastest family, with mom, dad and son all finishing under 6:45. Diesel Jr would have destroyed the Blue Shoes Jr with an 8:10.   J-Reeves had to be coaxed out of a brief walk of shame, but still kicked it in to clock under 10 minutes.

Tri the Midlands – Lake Carolina – Columbia, SC – 6/23/12

Tri the Midlands is a part of Set Up Events SC triathlon series held in Lake Carolina, a planned community in Northeast Columbia. Its a sprint tri, with a 500 meter open water swim, 14 mile bike and 5k run.

Tri the Midlands is what I consider my first triathlon. Yes, there was an event where I attempted to do three sports in March (aka the Downtown triathlon) , where I learned the painful lesson that one does not do a tri on a whim. Especially if your swimming experience amounts to playing around in the pool.  Although that event was also a sprint tri, with the amount of energy I put into 500 meters of pool swimming, it might as well have been Kona. I have never been so tired in my life.

With that experience behind me, I was, needless to say, a little gun shy on signing up for another one.  After a few months, I made tentative plans to do the Tom Hoskins tri in late July, but then I heard Trophy , Diesel  and Charley were signed up for Tri the Midlands.  My original plan was to watch TTM and take pics, but after a month of training for Tom Hoskins, I decided to take the plunge with the guys and do this one.

One of my main concerns was the OPEN WATER. My technique of swimming the deep end of the pool and “swim walking” the shallow at Downtown was probably not going to cut it in this one. So I got in the pool. Repeatedly. Like almost every freaking day. Basically if I had a free moment I was thinking about ways to get a few laps in. I also read articles, and listened to whatever advice anyone would give me about swimming. If you think this is going to end triumphantly, dont. I still sucked. Lots of flopping around, gasping. Fighting the old ladies for space with their damn pool aerobics. However, I did get better. Not Michael Phelps better, but I progressed to where I could do 500, then 800, even 1000 meters without stopping. I figured training overdistance would help me finish and at least allay my crippling anxiety about drowning in the freaking lake. The word “overdistance” would definitely come into play later.

And then there was the bike, which I basically kind of neglected. The good thing about the bike is that you dont actually lose your life if you suck. I bought a road bike from Anton “Bodourov Method” Bodourov and trained enough to at least assure me I could handle the 14 miles. Trophy, Diesel , Charley and I did the course a couple times in the weeks leading up to the race. I was no champ on the bike but at least I could get through fast enough to give me a hope of some running glory.

I got to Lake Carolina about 6:45 after going over my gear about a million times, desperately afraid I would forget something. I laid everything out the day before but I’m the kind of moron that would bring everything except the bike. I actually had a fear on the way over that somehow I had left my front tire at home. Met Trophy, Diesel and Charley at the transition area and tried to set things up in a coordinated manner. From downtown, I remembered they put all the novices together, so everything was a little bit of a cluster on our rack. Luckily we had tri advisors the Howells and Schmitzes to combat our complete cluelessness.  Jen Hill, Teo , and Aubrey were some familiar faces from the running scene on hand. We went down to the water and saw the course. A little scary but not too bad. Diesel looked like he saw a ghost though. .

As mentioned, I signed up in the novice male category. Tris go out of their way to categorize everybody, so there were like 4 waves of people ahead of us.  Diesel had gone rogue at the last second and decided to go the “Clydesdale”  (200+ lbs) route, so he actually started ahead of us. We were all a little nervous, so we were glad we got to see Diesel go off first.  I guess the race got confused with Diesel switching,because they gave him a white swim cap, which I think was for the Athena (160+lb women) group. But this would not be his greatest shame of the day.  About 100 meters in, we saw signs of distress. Diesel was all over the place and had already retreated to the backstroke.  And all of a sudden ..the tapout. Rescue boat came over and picked him up. Under normal circumstances we would have found this extremely funny, but there was a stunned silence on the bank because all the green caps were thinking THAT COULD BE ME. 


There were 17 novice males, but I still lined up front, not because I thought I was a stellar swimmer,but to avoid all the kicking and elbowing I heard goes on in the open water. And I started killing it. Pretty soon there wasnt even anyone around me. Wow, I must be really kicking some ass.  Looked up, saw the buoy, and I was already making good time. Then I smell gasoline and with a quick look up I see the motorboat, Diesel still aboard, and the captain motioning me to my left. I look left and I about have a stroke.  In all the hysteria of the start, I had somehow started sighting to buoy NUMBER TWO.  And not only was I off course but, WAY THE #$$% off course. Like 50-100 meters. I was actually closer to the people coming back than my own pack, which was now seemingly way off in the distance. Too add to my overall panic, the boat had managed to slap a half pint of gasoline water into my nose and I was treading water for a second trying to figure out what to do. I was dangerously close to being casualty number 2 when I just abandoned my swim form and kept my head up so I wouldnt waste any more time going off course. I finally made it to the first buoy with the next wave of novice females right on my tail. The second buoy was straight across about 50 meters, then back to shore. I just kept plugging away, setting world records for F-bombs in a tri the whole time. I finally caught the tail end of the green caps about 50 meters out and wasted even more energy thrashing to the shore trying to make up time. I was half delirious on the shoreline and could barely jog on the transition mat, but I was overjoyed just to be done. Kept cursing myself for wasting all that training in a couple of critical minutes at the start. I shouldn’t say wasted, actually, because my ass would have been in that boat without beating myself into submission at the pool for two months.


I manage a feeble jog to T1 and start putting on my cycling shoes when Trophy comes running up. I half expected him to be in the boat too, but he had made it and I had lost any advantage that I thought the swim would give me (this is relative , novice advantage, not actual real swimmer advantage).  I manage to clip in cleanly on the first try but it doesnt help that I am toast. The swim, though not quite the epic cluster of the downtown tri, had left me pretty obliterated.  The whole way out of Lake Carolina I am definitely not setting any land speed records. Finally, about a mile or so in, my head starts to clear and my whole body isnt screaming for me to stop. And I actually start passing people, quite a few really. It should be noted that this is a bit of a fake-out, because the novice guys are the next to last wave, and just about everybody is ahead of you.  I am cycling scared though, because the one time I looked back, I was pretty sure Trophy was there.  All of a sudden I’m passed by some dude with the full tri-suit, 7000 dollar bike ensemble, and I dont know what to think. Then I realize he’s one of those “secret power” novices,  i.e. probably a cyclist doing a tri. I try to keep him in sight so he can get a dose of the Blue Shoe secret power.  Some tough hills in the middle of the course, and with the exposed part of Langford road, I’m starting to realize that it is definitely famously hot out. Blazing really. I am supremely thankful we finally hit a shady area with the turn back towards Lake Carolina. Unfortunately, I’ve also entered into a bit of a pissing match with some other guy. He keeps speeding up when I get close, and I’m deathly afraid of the tri police coming to penalize me for drafting. I’m also realizing that i havent hit my water bottle yet,  which is quite the challenge for the coordination impaired such as me.  I about wipe out when I hit a bump with water bottle in hand. This gives me a jolt of adrenaline, and I power past pissing match guy just before the mountain of a hill that’s the worst on the course. I power up the hill thining i’m a hero, and start gaining on the guy in front of me. All of a sudden I hear a noise behind me and figure its pissing match guy when…SONOFABITCH ITS TROPHY.  Trophy comes flying with sadistic grin on his face by at mach 3 while I’m spinning my small wheel like a toddler on a tricycle.  Now Im standing up and trying not to get dropped.  Trophy is tearing it up though and is still gapping me on the straightaway at the top of the hill.  Very slowly, I start to reel him in a bit. I’m getting pretty close when the last downhill stretch starts and he blows me away again. Do I have to suck on bike downhills too? He hits the transition area about 10 seconds ahead and I miraculously clip out of my pedals like Ive been doing it longer than the 3 days that I actually have.

Trophy and I somehow managed to draw consecutive numbers in the tri (I think they were thinking of a clueless, pale mid 30’s Irish dude category but decided against it) , so were flailing around in the same area in T2. I manage to knock off Trophy’s bike and then get both of our bikes tangled in a mad rush to transition. Luckily we get the bikes back on the rack (again lest the tri police come and assess their evil time penalties) and Trophy takes off while I’m left fumbling with my cycle shoes and running shoes. Its a full two minutes before I can get out of T2 and I figure I’ve just given Trophy the race.


But then I realize the run conditions. It is unbearably hot by this time, and this 5k course is a killer. Right off the bat and they make you run up a hill out of the Harborside subdivsion. And its like a carnage out there. People walking…barely moving. I cant be doing much faster than 8 minute pace, but in the setting of a 90 degree day against back of the pack tri competition, I feel like a complete stud.  Time for the secret power to be unleashed. But first of all, where the hell is Trophy. I get to the top of the first half mile hill and he’s nowhere in sight.  Just when I’m ready to hand him the race, I see a blue blur in the distance. And the trackdown commences. By the bottom of a crazy long downhill, I’m only about 30 feet back. I see Jen Hill motoring her way back to the finish, and I  know our times are going to be close, though I know I cant catch her. I see Greg Howell come by on his bike and immediately fear he’s given away my stealth factor on Trophy. But then Greg comes up to me and tells me I can probably get him on the next downhill. The middle of the 5k course is an insanely steep trek straight up the worst hill in Lake Carolina, then right back down again. I’m really laboring on this thing when suddenly Trophy slows to a walk of shame. I pass him with a probably similar sadistic grin and have a renewed burst of energy. Then I see Charley stop at the turnaround to get water, and I briefly run with him and then pass him on the downhill. The ensuing hike  up the previous crazy downhill is a total death march for the field, so by just maintaining a brisk jog I’m making up some serious ground. I’m finally fully into run mode and my pace starts to pick up, though the heat is getting really oppressive. By the time of the final downhill I’m in a full out sprint because I’m so ready to be done with this thing. I keep thinking I hear Trophy footsteps but they never materialize. Towards the finish chute I hear Crazy Legs and I swear he’s saying someone is about to pass me, so I pull a little sub 5 blast kick in and basically flop across the mat, completely beat. Finished the 5k in about 22 1/2 minutes, which considering the course, conditions, and my hellacious swim, I’m pretty happy about.  Total time 1:28:34.

It takes awhile to see the total results, since I’m way back in the pack. Yet, through some minor miracle, and almost all due to my run, I win first novice male.  I can’t believe it – totally thrilled since I had written off the whole race about 2 minutes into the swim.  113th overall, and about 15 minutes off the age group, but hey I’ll take it!  Kristin won her age group in a smokin 1:21 and finished 11th overall female. Aubrey Johnson also took home third in age group. William and Teo both crushed me with 1:24 and 1:22 respectively. Jen Hill managed a PR of 22 minutes faster than last year, though I should note, 1 minute slower than the Blue Shoes. Diesel came back from his boat trip and finished the race. He said he will compete in the Tom Hoskins…in the duathlon.


Pics below are mostly from Jennifer Ward, with a few from Laura Howell , Greg Howell and myself.  Thanks to my loyal paparazzi!!

Fort Jackson Awareness Ride – Columbia, SC – 6/17/12

The Fort Jackson Awareness Ride is a 36 and 72 mile cycling event held at Fort Jackson on Father’s Day that gives to a nonprofit on base. This is apparently called a “gran fondo” because its timed, though not necessarily a race. I may be wrong, because I am completely clueless when it somes to cycling. But, as anyone familiar with me knows, once I clip on a bib and a chip  – its on like Donkey Kong.

Or not so much. This is my first cycling event, period.  I’m not counting my ill-fated tri  on a whim in March, because, well, that would be an insult to the sport.  I’ve been trying to train for my first real tri , Tri the Midlands, which is next weekend. I admittedly have given less time to the bike, because my fear of sucking it up cycling pales in comparison to my sheer terror of drowning in the open water swim. Thus, I’ve been making the Golds Gym pool my second home the last couple of months, but have been relegating my  cycling to the weekends and maybe once during the week.

Part of my lack of cycling has to do with it being so damn complicated. I’m used to putting on some shoes and heading out the door on a run. Cycling involves having equipment and trying to operate a machine which I am pretty much completely unfamiliar.  I went ahead and took the plunge a couple of months ago and bought Anton’s bike, and quickly realized there were a whole lot of things I was hopelessly clueless about. In other words, I am a Fred. Fred is apparently a term for newbie cyclists, which Diesel is particularly fond of.

The first thing I realized I needed was a helmet. This is unfortunate, because I have been blessed (cursed?) with one of the largest melons on the planet. Seriously, I have to special order hats. One-size-fits-all hats dont.  I have an ancient extra large helmet I bought about 15 years ago, which I used a few times and let it sit in storage. After using this helmet in the tri, I realized that a) It probably wasnt safe and b) I looked like a complete moron.  Looking ridiculous is something I deal with on a daily basis, but I figured the safety thing wasnt good.  Thus, I went online in a desperate search. They actually have sites dedicated to this kind of thing. Finally, I found the Bell XLV. Its product page mentions “some people with various medical conditions may have a need for an extra large helmet”. It previously was called “the Triton” and before that “The Kinghead”. Really, Bell?  I hear the name before that was the UltraMelon 5000.  Either way, that helmet had my name written all over it. Sure enough, it fit like a glove. Awesome.

Another equipment issue was the shorts. After a few rides in my running shorts, it became painfully evident I would need to get some cycling shorts, lest I wanted to get the sensory equivalent of a black mamba bite to the crotch every time I went more than 5 miles.  And then I got my gears cleaned, and a lock, and a light, and gloves, and a flat kit, and damn this was getting expensive. Not to mention the pedal issue. My bike came with shimano clipless pedals, so I agonized over whether I would get the cycling shoes versus the old school platforms. In the meantime I realized I could pedal with regular shoes on top of the clipless, so my lazy butt never got around to doing one or the other. So apparently Ive chosen to handicap my already questionable biking ability by being remarkably inefficient.

But I digress.  I got to the Fort about 45 minutes early, and registered. I finally managed to put my front tire on in a reasonably smooth manner, rather than the bumbling and stumbling that I usually do. Mark, who has been cycling for years, thankfully showed up and helped me with my tires, one of which I had managed to completely deflate with my new pump.  Fortunately for our training group, Mark has provided a much needed guiding influence against the tidal wave of Freddery going on every time we try to ride.

There were over 160 cyclists in this event, so a pretty impressive crowd. I only knew a few of them, but Ken Lowden and most of his training group was there. My Blue Ridge Relay captain Pete O’Boyle showed up. Team Schmitz was there, of course. Kat and Kimi were manning the registration. After the national anthem and a brief prayer we were off. I made sure to keep to the back, because there were lots of people all tricked out in fancy uniforms and bikes that look like (and probably do) cost more than my Saturn.  Some serious traffic in the early going as some people were just there for the ride while others were apparently looking to qualify for the Tour de France.

The course is a 12 mile loop around the Fort, 3 laps for the 36 and 6 for the 72. I shouldnt have to tell you that I opted for the 36. This was already 22 miles more than I had ever done.  First couple of miles were mostly downhill, nice cruising. This was going to be easy! Then came the turn onto Dixie Road. Dixie apparently was one evil bitch, because this road just kept ascending. Sure there were a few rolls downhill, but it felt like mostly climb. I has heard that there was a killer hill near Wildcat Rd, and as we approached Wildcat, there was a half mile quad buster. I dropped down to the small wheel and was dying already. Finally we made the turn and had a nice downhill. Then I realized that horrific Dixie stretch was just a warmup for the real hill. As soon as the downhill ended, a mountain arose and all of a sudden I’m standing up in the lowest gear trying to power up this thing. I get to the top and promptly get Schmitzed by Crazy Legs.  Passes me like I’m standing still, while I’m sucking some serious wind. The rest of the loop was yet more rolling hills and my small wheel was getting more and more action.  I slowed down because this was not good to be likt this on loop freaking one. Finally got back to the start in a shade over 40 minutes.

And then I got passed by more people, this time a group with Schmitz #2, Kristin. I actually did keep up with these guys for a few miles, but once we hit Dixie again I was left in their dust. Loop 2 was even more fun. Basically all the quad burning action of Loop 1 with that previously mentioned Black Mamba effect mixed in. I was able to handle Mt Wildcat a little better, finding the right gears more quickly and using more of my momentum form the previous downhill. I did manage to pass a few people, though  I think a few returned the favor as well.  Clock was at 1:23 at the second loop finish, so I had slowed down by a few minutes, but not too bad.

Loop 3 was actually a little better. I think my legs had started to get acclimated to this different kind of abuse and were not complaining as much. The same could not be said for the nether regions. The Black Mamba had invited the two cobras from the downtown tri and it was getting tough to sit down. Damn tri pants. Need to get one of those pillow butted cycle shorts.  Dixie and Wildcat were so much more fun the third time around. On the other hand,  I was getting a crash course in gear shifting that seemed to be helping.  At the top of Mt Wildcat I heard voices, and sure enough, I got the lap of shame from a peloton of Lance Armstrong types pulling about 20+ mph on a 10 percent grade.  I even got a “good job” from their leader.  Ouch.  This was of course the first of a couple more lappings that happened in the next couple miles. My only solace is that I managed not to get passed by other Freds on basically the whole loop. Finished in 2:07 on the nose, with a 43 minute split almost identical to loop 2.

I’m pretty happy with the result, as I’m definitely (obviously) still  learning things. Number one is to get a pair of freaking cycling shoes.  No need to do extra work when you already suck.  Hopefully I can use this experience to help with my 14 miles at the tri next week. If I dont drown, of course.





Guest Blogger Trophy: Fresh Fest 5k – Columbia, SC – 6/2/12

So my wife is exceedingly tolerant of my excessive racing, but her family was planning a day trip to the beach last Saturday, so if I wanted to stay married I figured I better go. I was able to feel better about missing a race since the Fresh Fest 5k was not on the Tour de  Columbia, but it was tough since I was offered a free entry. I was completely at peace with not going until I got a text from Trophy. Here is his account:

The Fresh Fest is a race and Gala held at the SC State Farmer’s Market on Charleston Hwy. This is a 2 day event that features a cookout, live music, silent auction, fun for the kids….and of course….a race.  Actually it has a 10K and a 5K.  The event appears to sponsor a few different organizations and charities.  


About 6 weeks ago our running companion David Spivey mentioned to us that he was in charge of recruiting runners to be on a Special Olympics team for this race. Up until then I had not even heard of this race. Being that it’s hot outside….I don’t actively look for races to do after June or so, despite my reputation.  He mentioned that he could get anyone free entry that would run for the Special Olympics.  I didn’t give it much thought at the time.  Eventually I decided I would run it.  A free entry and a good cause are hard to pass up.  Given that it would likely be hot, I chose the undercard 5K, of course.  Duh.

Good trophy hunting  strategy, the classic “undercard” maneuver. Though in Trophy’s case, his extreme distaste for running in weather over 60 degrees probably was the main factor.

 The morning of the race was slightly cool.  The week before had been extremely hot and humid at Jailbreak, so I was thankful for some slighter cooler temps.  I was one of the first to show up at the market.  Around the same time Mike and Pam Griffin showed up, also running for team Special Olympics.  I went and got my bib and started the pre race routine of checking out the competition.  Despite what Alex will say, I was actually not trophy hunting.  After a few minutes a few regulars showed up.  Eric McMichael, Teo, Ted Hewitt.  This being a first year race I wasn’t sure who would show up.  There were also no other races going on this day, which is amazing.  Eventually Team Diesel showed up to add to our Special Olympics team.  They were accompanied by the Diesel children.  Our team captain also showed up with his family…the Buckle Ups.  At this point in time I was not really thinking much about the race or any competition.  I also looked up and saw Angel.  Was he running the 10k or 5K?  Hmmmm.

In reference to his “actually not trophy hunting” statment, I may quote my 8 year old’s favorite statement “WHATEVER, DUDE”.

The 10K started 15 minutes before the 5K, so I would get a good idea of who was running what race.  Overall there were not a lot of runners hanging around. And most of those did not look very fast. The course for both races was a simple out and back with few turns. Started inside the market, then briefly on Charleston Hwy , then onto a frontage road for the out and back.  The website said it was flat. The 10K was getting ready to start and it appears Angel and Eric are headed that way.  I walked up to the front and asked them if they were running the 10K. Yep.  Hmmmm.  I get to the side and wait for them to go off.  Once they clear then it starts sinking in that I could be one of the fastest left. Oh boy.  In the meantime Angel has opened up a half mile lead in the first mile.


The “elite” starting photo. I see a few kids and a girl with an iPod in the front… a trophy hunters dream. The guy to Trophy’s left is a wild card though.

The 5K is finally ready to line up.  We walk up to the start and time to size everyone up.  As I notice I could be the fastest, I start to get nervous.  We are finally off and to my surprise…I am not leading.  What looks to be about a 10 year old kid is ahead of me! But he faded after about 50 yards. J  After that I am leading the pack.  For about a half mile I can hear footsteps somewhat close to me. We turned onto the frontage road and I decided to kick it in (for me) and not look back.  I was pretty sure I could hold off Teo and Ted, but a couple of the other guys were wildcards, so you never know.  There was a turn around at the halfway point so I knew at that point I’d be able to see what I was up against. I hit the turn around, grabbed some water, and headed back.  To my surprise…no one was in sight.  I eventually passed Teo and Ted and appeared to have a good 30 second lead at that point.  I was feeling pretty good.  Not long after that the cop car got in the road in front of me. Talk about a good feeling.  For those of you who are not Ashton, Plexico, Bishop….leading a race is not easy.  Thoughts start going through your head. What if I fall down?  What if I run into a car? The mental anxiety is tougher than the running!  At that point in time all that is going through my head is that I need to keep moving and that if I win I will be up on Alex. Hahaha  What motivation! Editors note: Bastard! The road back had some slight inclines but was not bad at all. I managed to keep a decent pace and make my way back to Charleston Hwy and knew I should be good. I hit the turn into the Market and was able to look back.  No one in sight.  I cruised to the finish and the crowd went wild!  Not really…I think there were 2 or 3 people who even noticed me come in.  I rested for a few seconds then went back to watch Teo and Ted battle it out for 2nd.  They had a nice finish that was neck and neck! Good stuff. Teo beat Ted out by a matter of feet.  Once they came through my first thought was….go to the car and get my phone to text Alex. J   Luckily his wonderful wife had him at the beach with her family for the day.  Talk about great timing!  He would eventually respond to my text with some nice and not so nice words. J

I didnt get father of the year points for my reaction to Tyler’s text. It didnt help we were sitting in traffic on 17 north. At least he ran a 20:06, which is just 11 seconds off his PR. Trophy had a peak in April 2010 where he broke 20 and came within 14 seconds of breaking the Blue Shoe 5k victory streak, which stands since March 2009.  Sadly the Trophy faded back to 21 minute 5ks, where he earned his “Blackjack” nickname. He’s been back on track in the last few months and may be ready to break 20 again though. 

 Angel came in not long after and won the 10K by almost 4 minutes.  Not too shabby. Just a nice training run for him.  Team Diesel both ran with a mini Diesel, and both had their best times ever.  Eric came in 3rd in the 10K.  Mike Griffin managed a good time and 6th overall in the 10K. 

 No overall awards…only one deep in age groups. The awards were gifts from one of the stores at the Farmer’s Market.  Not as nice as a trophy, but not bad. Overall I enjoyed the race and outing. They had a DJ playing music the whole time.  There was a watermelon eating contest for the kids and inflatables for them to play on. A good event for the whole family to come to.  The course was pretty flat and fast. I would recommend this race to everyone for next year. Special thanks to Buckle Up for the free entry.  I did have to wear a cotton shirt while racing, but I guess it was worth it.  J   More thanks to Mrs Blue Shoes and also to Mrs Diesel for yelling updates as to my position as I passed her and little Diesel.  I think I’ll retire from 5K’s for a while and give Blue Shoes a chance to catch up.  Blind squirrel signing off.

Well played, Trophy, well played.  He’s officially up in overall wins 2-1. While he has had wire to wire easy victories in perfectly picked trophy hunting races, I led my win for maybe 400 meters, passing Greg Howell at the end after a grueling battle in the Race to Read 8k.