Safe in the City 5k – Columbia, SC – 7/20/12

Safe in the City is the 2012 version of what was known as the Capital City Safe 5k in 2011. Its a race put on by the Columbia Police Department in order to support their foundation. Last year was a surprisingly great race, though it was incredibly hot. Surprising, in that first-time events are always a wild card.  I’ve been to a few disasters before, but this one was really nicely done  in ’11.

This year I was thinking I  would sit it out though. I had a rough week after running an all-out 400 meter and 800 meter at Strictly’s track series, plus one of my cute little disease carriers had given me a cold. A crappy night’s sleep on Thursday, and I was going to be glad to take a rest.  I figured I could satisfy my executive duties in the Columbia Running Club by showing up and taking pictures, and that might actually be fun.  But then I came home from work and a little package was by the front door. The blues. Not just in color, but a pair of the actual adidas adizero adios that started the obsession and gave me my first sub 20 5k on the first try. I was heartbroken the last two years, because adidas changes colors and styles constantly, and the last two adios incarnations were a bright RED. I cant go around wearing RED shoes, can I?? Jeez. So I’ve basically worn all kinds of shoes since then, the only common factor being the color. But this week my heart skipped a beat when i saw the 2012 version was blue again. I was as giddy as a schoolgirl, ordering them immediately and even paying the ridiculous 10 bucks to get them 2-day shipped. So when I saw them on my doorstep, I had to at least break them in, right? I would just walk around in them anyway.

Um, yeaaah. I think that thought lasted about halfway on the ride to the race before I stepped out of my car and registered immediately.  Once a race addict, always a race addict.  I don’t like to complain, but there were some seriously snarky volunteers at the registration table.  She told me it would be 30 dollars, and an extra 25 bucks for a shirt (which was included in the preregistration 25 dollar price). I dont think she liked the look of absolute shock on my face. Needless to say I opted for the registration alone.  Plus, I could clothe a small country with the number of race shirts I already own.

I then went to help our membership chair William hand out our new CRC shirts. And by “help” I mean, stand nearby and flap my gums and not hand out a single shirt. There was a nice showing for this race, ended up being close to 300. Off the top of my head,  Coach Bishop, Plex, Team Schmitz, Rick, Shiela, Ann, Carol, Megan, Jennifers Reeves and Lybrand, Alex P, Team Hewitt, The Diesels + Brady, Team Robertson, Billy Tisdale, Kimi, Kat (watching), The Spratts (also watching) , Team Allers,  Team McGrievy, The Harts, Greta, Ken, Pete P, Mark B, Eric M, and Yerger were there, and I’m sure I’m forgetting some.

The most important factor in changing my mind about not racing, other than the blues, was the weather. Twenty degrees cooler than last year easy.  Still about 80 and humid, but about as good as you’re going to get in late July in Columbia.

So by the 7:45 start I had gone from bystander to standing front and center of a 300 person field. I lined up first row because despite the large crowd, there werent a lot of super fast people. Bishop had this thing won from the get go, and Plex wouldnt be too far behind. I figured everybody else would be way back from them. Billy and Meg were right by my side, so I knew I had 2 good people to guide my pace.

The course is a flat one, right down main street to the capitol building, going around the left side, continuing on main on the back side of the capitol, then a USC loop to capstone and back, and then a couple of turns back to the corner of hampton and main at the Columbia Museum of Art for the finish. I felt pretty strong, so I blasted hard out of the gate.  Billy jumps ahead and Meg starts to surge past but then I speed up to draw even with her. I usually have a tendency to go out a little slow, so I wanted to keep up with Billy and Meg instead of letting them get pretty far ahead in the first mile, which usually happens. The three of us are locked into a mini pack after the first quarter dodging the kids that sprinted out of the gate. And it feels a bit speedy. But I feel like Meg is matching my every move, so I keep up this relentless pace. Finally I pass them both just before the mile marker and my Garmin spits out something that makes me do a double take .

5:51??!!  Ruh roh raggy. This is suicidal pace for me under any conditions but particularly when its over 80 degrees. But apparently my head is both gigantic in both the literal and figurative sense, because I don’t slow down…yet. As we make the turn onto Greene and head back on Sumter that nice breeze we had seems to vanish. It gets real hot, real quick. Whats worse is that I feel completely alone at this point. I can see Yerger and Claudia about 50 meters ahead and can hear no one behind me. But I know the Tisdale and Weis combo cant be too far behind. Unfortunately I have no sense of my pace anymore, and no one to push me.  I near the next turnaround, which coincides with the 2 mile mark. I ‘m desperately afraid of Meg paying me back for passing her at this point last year, especially since I trash talked about it on facebook.  I dont look at my Garmin this time, though later I see I dropped it down about 30 sec (6:22)

Starting to hate life about this point. I was breathing hard, but the heat was the worst. Engine definitely in the red zone.  All of a sudden I can hear someone coming up behind me, and I prepare to get Tisdaled, but its some dude on a skateboard.  I can tell my pace is suffering because Yerger is leaving me for dead. Claudia drops off a little but is still way ahead of me.  We finally round the last turn, and there’s a seemingly endless straightwaway to the finish. I can make out the time in the 18’s but it takes forever to get to the line. I try to throw down a meager kick but I am toast. The only thing keeping me going is a paralyzing fear of getting blue shoed by the two behind me. I see Justin cooling down on the side and I try to follow his form pointers, though I can feel my arms wanting to seize up like a chicken and by enormous melon wanting to tilt back and to the side like Im on a roller coaster from hell. Maybe I am. Finished at 19:34, 8th place overall, 2nd in AG behind Yerger (19:05). I was half delirious after the race, sitting down to take my chip off that didnt exist (the chip was in the bib). Heart rate was like 2000 and just sucking wind like crazy.  Giving “110 percent” apparently is not a problem for me. Tisdale finished in 19:54, Meg in 20:15 and 2nd overall female.

Happy with the time and placement – its 13 seconds faster than last year, though the conditions were far worse then. Justin crushed this race in 15:51 for the win, with Plex in second (16:59). Jen Lybrand,  Kristin Schmitz,  Eric McMichael, Colleen Vowles, Eric allers, Ted Hewitt, William Schmitz, Mark Bailey, Ann Bartow, Howie Phan, Rick Gibbons,  Tigs, Lisa Smarr, Valerie Selby, Alex Ponamarev, Pete Poore, Arnold Floyd, Ken Lowden,  MArgaret and Henry Holt and Rock Soderberg were some of the familiar faces in the age group winners. Little Diesel, aka Brady, also won the 2-10 age group with a police escort to the finish. Awesome. The award ceremony was nice with a photo op with police chief Randy Scott.  Great event again this year!

Oh, and this has got to be the most photographed race of the year – Columbia PD published a ton of pics on their facebook site. Really cool.

2 comments on “Safe in the City 5k – Columbia, SC – 7/20/12

  1. aaronwest says:

    Nice write-up!

    It was a very well organized race. Hopefully criminals took the evening off, as I think just about all the Columbia police force were spread out along the course.

    I enjoyed it as much as a non-running cyclist between training peaks can. The heat definitely got to me and I ended up walking more than I wanted in the 2nd mile, and you nearly doubled my pace. I take solace that this was only my 2nd run in the last several months. There will be more.

    Congrats on your finish. It was nice to finally meet you.

  2. drachtungbaby says:

    Nice to meet you too, Aaron. I felt your pain on the bike today – the heat was definitely getting to me at the end of 34 miles when the sun started blazing.

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