The Get to the Green 5k is a yearly tradition in Columbia and officially opens the St Patty’s Day festival in Five Points. Its usually been a good benchmark 5k for me, and my times have slowly gotten better since first running it in 2009. For those interested, the 2009 Get to the Green is also the last time Trophy beat me in a 5k. Just thought he would want you to be aware of that.
This is a cool race. I mean, I’m mostly Irish, it’s on St Patty’s weekend, its a 5k , and there’s beer at the end. What’s not to love? The only downside is that the thing is huge..like thousands of people. This of course is an affront to my raison d’etre , the trophy hunt. You can’t hunt for trophies in gigantic races where everyone and their mom comes out for a huge event. Somewhere there has to be those impossibly fit soccer dads that come out of hiding, never racing except to unexpectedly spoil your chance at post race bling. Damn them. My only “trophy” in this race was because they gave out awards down to 5th place. And who got the token fifth place tubular cooler award last year? THIS GUY.
But this year they added a 10k, presumably doubling my age group glory chances. Having two races automatically creates the tried and true trophy strategy, “the undercard”. Ah, the undercard. All the studs in their singlets out competing their hardest in the 10k, while I duke it out with the stroller moms and noobs in the 5k. But hey, thats just because everyone thinks its harder, and thus more prestigious, to race a longer distance. I swear I’ve overheard 6 hour marathoners poo pooing races being “just a 5k”. Makes me want to grab their hand and take them out on a nice 6 minute pace stroll.
So I signed up for the 5k months ago. Yes, I’m trying to break 40 in the 10k, but old habits die hard I guess.
The 10k started 30 minutes before the 5k, so I showed up about 15 minutes before the “main event” to take some pics. There seemed to be a fairly small crowd , and I immediately feared I might have chosen the wrong race. Ashton was there to collect his check, but I didnt immediately see a lot of other elite types. Kenzie appeared to be likely to place among the women, Tigs was also there to compete for the overall and masters. But Eric Allers, Winston Holliday and, dare I say , THE CODE were probably the next fastest I knew. So much for the undercard.
After the 10k took off I tried desperately to get ready for the 5k. Desperately, in that I had tweaked my lower back the day before and I was trying every maneuver possible to try and make it less tight. I think people thought I was practicing some new, awkwardly stiff form of yoga. No luck – I was forced to run like a chicken. The smart thing would have been to bag the race and try again next week. I’m not that smart though.
The 5k didnt have Ashton but Justin Bishop and Tim Jeffreys were there to battle it out for the win. Drew Williams ran like 10 miles before the race but was probably going to kick my ass anyway and take the age group. Lots of 35-39 looking dudes out there. I saw Ken Cobb at the last minute and knew it would probably be 3rd at best for me. Team Clyburn, Trophy, John Gasque, Ponamarev, James Hicks and Travis Moran were also on hand. Both of Team Vowles, minus Kenneth, were there, thankfully sparing me getting beat by a middle schooler. The Outlaws, Griffins and Henry Holt were there as well. I saw Jennifer Heath and her son John at the start…no word on Jeff?
I tried to haul ass with the start to avoid getting trampled, except my new stiffback running form wasnt exactly making me fast. A quarter mile in the crowd thinned somewhat and I was left running with Travis for the third time in a month. Also Steve Brooks, the guy I chased at part two of the triple dip, was just ahead of me. It was nice to have some breathing room, because my back wasnt loving any lateral movement. That quickly came to a halt about ahalf mile in, when we climbed a hill and turned on to King Street. This street shared part of the 10k course, and all of a sudden I’m dodging the 9-10 minute pace pack of the longer race. I was having to pick a seam and use Travis as my blocker. I nearly took out an older lady as I darted between her and a car mirror. You do not want to be in the way of the sasquatch at 5k pace, believe me. I hit the first mile at 6:22 , about 20 seconds slower than normal, so this confirms what I already know: this race is going to suck. I thought for a while the back may be loosening up some in mile 2, but apparently I was mistaken. We turned again on to Ravenel St and by lumbosacral joint decided to goose me. Ouch. Mile 2 was mercifully flatter but just couldnt get any speed going. I was at least keeping Travis close ahead though, and I think I passed Steve near the end of the mile. Identical 6:22 split. OK, so I’m already close to 45 seconds off my last real 5k (excluding the triple dip) , so I focus on two things: making damn sure I dont go over 20 minutes, and for the love of all that is holy…don’t get Trophied. So I try a little harder. I’m not getting much faster though, because my chicken footed steps arent helping at all. I finally turn on to Devine, and you can see the finish, though its agonizingly far away. And I’m just toast. Travis kicks it in, and I have to let him go. At some point Code comes up and tries to Seabiscuit me to the finish, but I’m running on fumes by this point. My Garmin spits out a 6:12 split for mile 3, but WTF? the finish is still so far away. Meanwhile I make out the clock and its already at 19:30 or so. Son of a bitch. I then throw everything out the window in a mad dash for the line, breathing like a rabbit on coke, and flop across in 19:57. Just ridiculous to be this spent running a 5k over a minute slower than the PR. Turns out I did get 5th in age group though, scoring me a coffee mug and a water bottle. Nice. If it cant be a trophy, at least give me something useful. Oh, and thankfully Trophy decided not have a career day, finishing around 21 minutes. Uh oh, blackjack is back. But wait a second…checking my Garmin, it shows a 6:16 pace and a 3.19 mile course, so definitely a bit long. My secret sources inform me they probably set up the finish at the wrong marker. 3.11 miles gives me a 19:27 or so, which is more what the race felt like. Oh well, still got the sub 20 and didnt get Trophied, so I’ll take it.
Results are looking a little messed up right now, but it seems Tim Jeffreys won the 5k, with the “A Standard” finishing third. Both had times considerably slower than usual. Amanda Charlton won 2nd overall female. Eddie , Jason Dimery and Drew all finished top 10. Ken Cobb and Phil Midden both displaced me further in the AG and wildcard Kevin Robinson also took me down. Times across the board are slow, so I’m thinking the long course is real. Laura Howell apparently set a course record for her (and placed 4th in AG), so she would have really torn it up on a legit 3.11. Age groupers also included Emma Charlton, Travis (19:51), Jen Clyburn, Brian Clyburn, Colleen Vowles, Marshall Ramsey, Mike Griffin, Mickie Ishizue, Kim La, Pete O’Boyle, Talley Lattimore, Bill Iskrzak, Alex Ponamarev, Catherine Lempesis, Margaret Holt and Rocky Soderberg.
Ashton won the 10k in a complete rout. I think Kenzie took second overall female. Winston crushed a sub 40 10k, finally getting his goal, and taking masters. Whitney Keen also PR’d in 42:15. Code finished a shade over 40 in a strong race. Brady Ward won his age group. Shaggy Hodukovich scored an age group placement, though I’m assuming he changed into the green hash dress AFTER the race. Ken Sekley, Lorikay Keinzle, Coleen Strasburger, Larry Bates, Tommy Outlaw, Mike Wainscott, Carol Wallace, Cheryl Outlaw, Pete Poor , Lynn Grimes, Patti Lowden, Ken Lowden, Del Soule, and Henry Holt also age grouped.