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.