The Race for the Place is a relatively new 5k (I think in its 4th year) that starts and finishes near St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Shandon. It benefits St Lawrence Place (the “place” in the name), a shelter for homeless families.
For whatever reason, this race has become super competitive. I think they offer prize money for the top overall winners, but I’m not sure why all the other big dawgs come out for this one. Its on one of the many rectangle Shandon courses that’s pretty flat, so I think a lot of people do this race to try and PR. Last year was particularly nuts, especially for my age group. I ran a 19:19, one of my fastest times at that point, and ended up 15th overall and SEVENTH in age group. Code ran an 18:50 and didnt even place. Derek Gomez ran an 18:35 …and ended up third. And thats just because Becraft took an overall place.
They have cool painted ceramic tiles as age group awards in this race, so I really wanted to place this year, but if 2012 was any indication, I had about zero chance. I did actually cut way back in my miles in the week before the race in an attempt to win back some of the mojo lost at the Red Nose Run. That race sucked for me – just no energy or motivation.
I showed up ridiculously early as I always do. Already, there were plenty of elite types roaming around. Ashton was there to try and repeat his win here last year. OJ Striggles and Justin Bishop were there, though I later learned he was guiding Amy. I was hoping he and Eric might battle it out and push each other to some fast times. Amy and Kenzie showed up to what I thought would be a close battle for the overall female. Team Allers were there fresh off their domination of the 5k and mile at Tybee. The Diesels, Drew Williams, 621 ninjas Shufy Rowe, Mike Hedgecock , Erin Miller and Pete O’Boyle; Hal Ray, Shannon Iriel, Whitney Keen, Eric McMichael, Kristin Schmitz, the Griffins, Gasque, Lisa Smarr, Del Soule, Henry Holt, Mickie Ishizue, Pete Poore, Valerie Selby, Rocky, Patti Lowden, and the Robertsons were some of the familiar faces.
Oh, and don’ t forget Trophy. Trophy reached his peak in 2011 when he broke 20 minutes for the first time…and then he never did it again. Having fallen into Blackjack 5ks in the past few months, the plan for 2013 was to bring back the Mcgaha Magic. I’ve been dragging him through hellish Blue Shoes style workouts like Mt Sesqui/sand hell repeats and hilly 16 milers at 7:30ish pace. Good fun. I give him credit, though. He has definitely put in some work. His goal was to go low 20 in this race, and maybe..just maybe ..reach the beautiful land of the 19’s.
In the past few months I had found an even more wonderful world, that of the 18’s, and I really wanted to get back there. This course was flat and my legs were fresh, so I figured I had a chance. Still, I’ve been fighting off the plague all week, so I was less than 100 percent.
With the start, I tried to hold back some. This worked for about 5 seconds, and I latched on the back of a pack with Drew, Amy, Hedge and Kenzie. In other words, I was already trying to be a hero. Half mile in and it seemed a bit brisk. I could still see the lead car and Ashton hauling ass down Heyward St on the first turn, so I knew this was probably a little too speedy, but sometimes my figurative head is as big as my actual enormous melon. Oh, and apparently the contour of the earth changed from last year, because I’ll be damned if there arent actual hills on this course. No monsters, but enough to subtly beat you down. First mile : 5:54. Apparently my 4 year old and I share the same level of self restraint.
I’m sucking wind already, so I try to step off the throttle just a bit. When I do that, though, I fall off the back of the pack just in front. Kenzie has also fallen off the back so I try and keep up with her. Theyre letting cars behind us already, so at least I feel confident no one is going to come up and Blue Shoe me. Finally we hit the turnaround of the rectangle, and this always gives me a little psychological boost. I round the turn at Hand middle school and actually pass Kenzie. This briefly makes me think I must be throwing down some killer pace, but then the mile comes back only at 6:15. Damn. I know 19 minutes is 6:07 pace, but I cant do the math when my brain is fighting for oxygen to survive. I know I’m almost right on it. I try and kick it in basically the whole last mile. And it hurts..bad. I have got to find a way to run more relaxed, because the main pain seems to be in my arms, probably from holding them like an uptight T-rex for the past 15 minutes. I can see Hedge reeling back in a bit, but he’s holding his pace pretty well. I’m half delirious by the time we hit the home stretch, but they hide the finish behind one last little corner, so I can’t see the clock. Finally I hit that turn and its like 18:48. I blast forth in full ugly race face mode, letting behind all dignity in a desperate lunge for sub 19. I cross the line and collapse in a heap. And Jess tells me I made it, 18:59.3 or something is what I thought I heard.
I’m just wobbling to stand when all of a sudden here comes trophy blasting around the corner with the clock in the 19:50’s. He’s killing it and sure enough…19:57. The sub 20 Trophy is back! Pretty awesome. He was hoping to get there by April but apparently he’s been on a mission. I’m just a little afraid I might be part of that mission.
I ‘m all euphoric until I check the results..19:00???. WTF! Crushed by a fraction of a second. Still, I get 2nd in AG because all of last years 35-39 studs stayed home, except for Drew who took 1st. Since OJ took an overall spot, Trophy not only gets a sub 20 but an age group award too by winning 3rd.
Eric Ashton crushed the field by a minute in a half to take the win. 16 minutes for him is like a stroll. OJ took second in 17:30 and Josh Horn third Amy won the female overall, with Kenzie finishing 2nd on a less than great day for her. Mary Claire Cox finished third to chick Trophy by 2 seconds.
Age groupers included Andy Mikula (1st 25-29), Kristin Schmitz and Jennifer Ward in the 30-34, Erin Miller 1st in the 35-39, Eric Allers and Hedge in the 40-44, Hal Ray , Mike Grffin and Tigs in the 50-54, Pete O’Boyle , Shufy Rowe and Valerie Selby in the 55-59, Alex Ponamarev in the 60-64, Patti Lowden and Sharon Sherbourne in the 60-64, Del Soule and Margaret Holt in the 65-59, and Henry Holt and Rocky Soderberg in the 70+.
I’ve heard that all fractions are rounded up. I probably beat my HS PR last year but had to settle for a tie because of rounding. Congrats on the race result.
Great job Alex!! Thanks for the great article and we look forward to seeing you next year!! 🙂