Jailbreak 5k – Lexington, SC – 5/25/13

Jailbreak 2013 089

The Jailbreak is in its seventh year , and I think this marks my fifth year running it. The race starts and ends at the Lexington County detention center and goes to benefit the Lexington County Sheriff’s Foundation. They always have tons of police out volunteering and Sheriff James Metts makes an appearance to give out awards.

For whatever reason, this race is insanely competitive. Yes, they give out prize money for the overall winners, but that does not explain the other 50 or so going sub 20. Last year a guy (Scott Wietecha) ran a 14:47 to win. Nuts. I finished 26th with like a 19:34 and barely got 3rd in AG. And that was a weak field for this race. I’m thinking this may be the goal race for a lot of people, since its the only event for Memorial Day weekend and its basically the last chance to race before Columbia begins its annual descent into hell…also known as  summer.

I was unsure of what I’d be capable of in this race. Last week I had an abysmal run at Red Bank but I was technically still recovering from being sick. I had put some good training in over the past couple of weeks and gave myself 2 days off before this race….an eternity in Blue Shoes time.

Although this race is usually on the warm side, they couldn’t have asked for better weather this year. Cool..very cool, like in the low-mid 50’s. In Columbia. In late May. For those of you that don’t live here, that’s practically an Arctic blast for this time of year.

Showed up 45 min early and already the place is crawling with some blazing fast peeps. Just driving in I see the SR elite ladies (Kenzie, Shannon, Erin) , Kathryn Cavanaugh, John Charlton  and David He. I did a warmup with the grandmaster beasts of SC, Billy Tisdale and Geary McAlister. Trophy and the Code are there, along with all the Diesels (even Roxie).  Ken Cobb and Angel showed up, further dimming my age group chances. Amy and her mom Valerie, along with Joyce, Sydney, Tracy Meyers, Travis Moran, Ken and Kenneth Vowles are all there for Team Utopia South. Other CRCers included Marie Demetriades, the Holts, Rocky, Birgit, Jeanna Moffett, and Ashley Horton. Meg Weis is back post baby and on the road to kicking my ass again. OJ Striggles, Eric Ashton , and Jason Dimery were some more people that would destroy me. The Plex was noticeably absent.

I actually line up a couple rows back at the start, because I’m standing in a sea of SC running legends, and I dont want to get trampled. Good thing I outweigh most of them by at least 30 pounds. Amy is standing next to me and nervously waiting for Justin to show up and guide her. For a few tense moments I thought I might have to step in but the “A standard” showed up with just a couple of minutes to spare. The start is nuts. People blasting out of the gate, dodging and pushing. Thankfully they have a start mat so you can have an accurate chip time.

The whole first mile I try to balance out the urge to crush it on the flat part of the course. I know the first mile and a half are basically flat to downhill, followed by some roll and then a gradual uphill last mile, which is pretty brutal if you’ve gassed yourself early on. See proof:


Yeah, that was Jailbreak ’09. That’s Greg Howell (who I didnt know at the time) looking all cool and smooth, and me looking like I just got shot in the back, or had a stroke, or both. Beautiful.

Anyway, I’m hating life because I’m used to being able to run without too much interference. But with all the competition, its like I’m in the middle of a huge pack, all doing about 6 flat pace too. I hit mile 1 at 6:03 by Garmin, though the actual time caller gave me about 6:10. There’s a long steady downhill after the mile mark and I admit, I got lazy. I figured I would let gravity take my sasquatch physique down the hill at a decent pace. But Howie passed me, then Erin Miller, then Shannon, maybe Billy too.  I havent slowed much, so these guys must be killing it. I latch on to this pack and try to keep Angel and the Code in sight. Cobb has already left the rest of the 35ers for dead. Its a battle for 3rd since OJ is on our age group and actually probably wont place overall in this monster field. I try not to panic because this course has played to my strengths in the past – hill climbing and finishing speed. One only need to look at the header to this blog to see the epic 2010 finish, leaving poor Trophy in the dust, him wondering what could have been.jailbreak2010

There’s a long incline after the water stop at 1.5 miles, which gives me an opportunity to power up the freak quads and break free of my pack. Some kid blue shoes me on the ensuing downhill. I’m always flopping around and doing all kinds of unnecessary braking on declines, like a semi in the truck lane. Finally we make a turn at the stop sign on Roberts street and its go time – a long steady incline to the finish with a flat stretch at the top. Somehow I’ve caught up with Amy and Justin, and I think for a second that I’m absolutely crushing it, but then I realize she must be having a bad day, since she’s fading. I pass them with just over a quarter mile to go, and Bishop tells me its 400 meters from the next stop sign. Of course he’s basically jogging and speaking in full sentences while I’m gasping for dear life. So I throw down as hard as I can once I pass the sign. Everybody starts getting reeled in as I step further into the pain cave, walking the thin line between puking, collapsing or both. I pass Angel with about 200 meters to go, though he had told me earlier he was just going to 10k pace this race. Hey, I’ll take it. Suddenly the Code comes into view. I had already given up on catching him, but now he’s so close. Its coming right down to the wire as the kick blasts into 4 minute pace..and BAM we basically cross the line together at 19:14. We should have held hands…orrr maybe not.  Actually I’m pretty sure he got me by a half step. But damned if I didnt blast through the finish sensors at mach 5 trying to catch him. At first I thought the moment was lost because Strictly’s pics didnt have the finish line, but then I found the facebook page of one Henry Dukes. The dude literally has about 2000 pics of the race. And I found this:


Damn you Scott Brewer! I pulled to the side a millisecond after this pic to avoid an epic collision, though it looks like Code still had the “win”, i.e. the oh so important battle for 30th place. I do like this pic because it looks like we’re beating both Angel and Eric Ashton in the background. Awesome. This was also a course PR for me, so that helped me feel better about missing a chance to blue shoe the Code. But wait…at the award ceremony, I’m literally focusing my camera on the Code as he starts to go up to pick up his 3rd in age group when they call out my name. The look on Code’s face is priceless. Oh wait, I got that one!


Perfect. Code did beat me by chip time 19:10 to 19:11. I think the second mat picked up his chip while the first got mine.

The results for this race are nuts. Forty seven people broke 20 minutes, 170 something were under 25. The winner was Robert Razick, who actually beat Eric Ashton. Robert blazed a 15:03 while Eric ran 15:12 and 93 percent age grade. Thats world class for 45 years old. Teenage prodigy and tri stud Tony Morales took 3rd in 15:41. The rest of the top 10 are guys that win most races they enter – Tim Jeffreys, Irv Batten (who ran a 16:42 at age 50. Holy crap.), OJ, Hunter Janus, Eddie Vergara, John Charlton and Jason Dimery. All beasts. David He broke 18 minutes for the first time and finished 13th. Kenzie Riddle had an incredible race, winning the women’s overall and PR’ing at 18:02. We finished Cold Winters Day together, so clearly she’s doing something I’m not. Probably has something to do with more talent and about 80 pounds. Paul Reardon finished just behind her. Kathryn Cavanaugh smoked an 18:18 and finished 2nd overall female. Ken Cobb finished in 18:38 and took 2nd in my AG, thankfully fully clothed this time. Kenneth Vowles came oh so close to getting sub 19 but finished in 19 flat. Serves him right for beating me. Travis Moran continued his streak of finishing just ahead of me with a 19:05. Erin Miller crushed a 19:27 and beat Amy by a second. I think thats a PR for her as well. Shannon definitely got a PR at 19:46 and won female masters. Billy Tisdale finished just ahead of her , edging out Howie for the grandmasters win. Geary took 3rd GM. Ken Vowles had a huge PR with a 20:13, and Birgit also had a personal best with a 20:18 , 2nd masters. Jeanna Moffett, Mary Howk and Tracy Meyers took the female grandmasters overall.

In the age groups, teenage racing machines Parker Roof and Marie Demetriades each placed in the 11-13. Sydney Frontz took 2nd in the 20-24 in a good day for Team Utopia South. Ashley Horton took 3rd in the 25-29 while James Hicks placed 2nd in one of his last 30-34 races. Good luck in the age group from hell, James. Newest CRC member Amber Todd took 3rd in the 30-34. Meg is only a few months post baby and is already age grouping, placing 3rd in the 35-39. Joyce Welch actually made it out of the portapotty on time this race and won the 40-44. Ty Thomas threatened the Trophy (20:41) but still took 3rd in the 45-49. Strong work, Trophy. Thomas Tapp took 2nd in the 50-54, while Sandy Smith finished third the same age group. Valerie Selby rocked another sub 29 en route to a 3rd in AG, while Lynn Grimes easily captured first in the 60-64. In the mens 60-64, the Squirrel Fred Mullen took 1st, while Ponamarev took 3rd. Peter Mugglestone took 1st in the 65-59, while Margaret Holt won the female division. Arnold Floyd crushed the 70+ division with Rocky finishing 3rd.

Not many races coming up, but beware July 4th when team Trophy Hunting (Blue Shoes/Trophy) makes another go of it in the 2×2 mile relay at Born in the USA. Our goal: take down team K-Vowles. Better ramp up the speed, Trophy.



Run Red Bank 5k – Red Bank, SC – 5/18/13


Run Red Bank is a 2nd year event put on by the YMCA, with a start and finish at White Knoll High School. The race had over 400 people  last year, which is pretty amazing for a first-time event.

I was pretty torn about choosing a race this weekend. I’ve done See Spot run for each of its 4 years in existence, and I’ve done Going the Extra Mile twice as well. Both are fun, well-run races, though they both have some pretty brutal courses.

Always looking for something different, and always looking to avoid hilly courses, I thought I’d give Red Bank a try. With the two competing races and registration apparently down in all three, there might of been a trophy hunt element as well. I didnt think this one offered much of a chance, since it was on Strictly Running’s Palmetto Grand Prix, but winning a YMCA race is like hitting the jackpot. Mega swag.

My first worry about the course of this race came earlier in the week, when I saw Justin Bishop (the 2012 champ) posting something about how hilly Red Bank was. Ruh roh. Then I looked at the USATF map of the course, and most of it ran through a neighborhood called LEXINGTON HILLS. Seriously?? I instantly started trembling , remembering the Lexington Jingle Bell 5k that is a proverbial mountain range. But surely it couldn’t be worse than the ungodly brutal See Spot, right?

So I was a little nervous about the course. I also had been wrecked with a GI virus last weekend that completely sidelined me for 4 days, and my “comeback” this week had been on the sluggish side. On the plus side, I was 5 pounds lighter. I most certainly do not recommend that weight loss method.

On race morning I drove out to Red Bank and decided to drive the course. I can say one thing about this race – they have no shortage of volunteers. They must have had 50 young people (man, am I old enough to use that term?) dressed in brown YMCA camp shirts out there. And they must have had a espresso maker on the volunteer bus, because these guys were JACKED. I was literally getting “good jobs” and cheers for DRIVING the course. It was probably a diversionary measure to distract from the torture that was unfolding ahead of me. I turned off highway 6 into the VERY APTLY NAMED Lexington Hills Rd.  One nasty mountain, followed by a decline and then a long  slog back to platt springs rd. But that was just a teaser for the hill d’ resistance, a quarter mile of pain right before the finish. Because there’s nothing nicer than hitting a nice long hill when you’re on fumes. Yeah, it would have been better just not to know.

I did a 2 mile warmup on the last mile of the course, which was tough at 9 minute pace. On the plus side, I was cheered throughout by caffeinated teenagers like I was winning the Boston Marathon. I picked up my packet to yet another blast of screams and cheers. I was kind of disappointed no one cheered my successful code brown in the red bank stadium restroom. Hey I was cheering.

A decent crowd was at the start, though certainly not the 400 from last year. Maybe they all got scared off.  “Trackstar” Eddie Vergara was there to ensure I didnt have any trophy delusions. Daniel Patrick, the winner of the Rose Fest 5k was also there, so maybe I could pace off him. Geary, Rocky, the Holts, Birgit and James Hicks were the CRC regulars. It being a YMCA event (Erin Roof directing) so Parker and Joe Roof were on hand. I’ve been hoping to help Parker get his sub 20, but I knew it wasnt happening at this race.

The start was about a quarter mile in the huge White Knoll High parking lot, followed by a big downhill, i.e. the same one we’d be slogging up in 20 minutes. There seemed to be a lot more people ahead of me than I had anticipated. Eddie took off in a sprint, and it looked like Parker was trying to follow him. I knew going fast early on would be a disaster given the nightmare ahead. Most of the first mile was downhill, and I wasnt pushing that hard, so the 6:14 mile split I got was OK. Unfortunately it was probably a good 10 seconds behind the actual mile marker.  I passed a few people and Parker on highway 6  right before the mile.  On my back though was the all to familiar sound of Geary’s “industrial machine” breathing. I didnt even need to turn around. A little bit after the marker was the turn on to Lexington Hills. Wow. Between the sudden headwind in my face and the 5 percent grade, I was waddling up this mid course mountain. En route went any vestige of hope I had at this being a good race. I was toast not even halfway through. Geary had surged just ahead on the hill but I managed to re-pass him on the climb. We basically went down the following incline in tandem.  You hit mile 2 right near the bottom of the decline. It suddenly dawns on me that the whole last mile is basically uphill. And you might as well stick a fork in me because I am done. I dont know whether its still being weak from last weekend or the warmth/humidity but its taking every ounce of effort to fight off the McAlister machine behind me. It doesn’t help that there’s no one to chase down. Daniel is the only guy I can see and he’s way too far to try and catch. I know I’m running fifth and the best I can do is just hold it. Left turn and I did a face plant into Mt Red Bank. Basically redlined it all the way up this monster,  desperate to be done. Mile 3 beeps on my Garmin and its pretty far from the finish, so I know its going to be long by Garmin (course is certified). Finally I flop myself into the parking lot again and I try to push it, but I realize I’m not even going to break 20. Finished in 20:08, 5th overall, 1st in AG.

I hate going over 20, but this course is just brutal. Combine it with a warm morning and its awfully tough to run a decent time. I have new respect for Amy and Flicker putting up low 19’s last year here.

Eddie smoked this race in 17:21 for the win, which I guarantee equates to a sub 17 on a flat course. Bob Sams, who finished 2nd at the Rose Fest 12k , finished 3rd behind a high school kid, John Drummond. Daniel placed 4th in 19:24.  Geary took 6th about 20 seconds back from me with Birgit winning the female race at 20:59 Parker had a rough day but still placed 1st in the 2-14. James took 2nd in the 30-34 while Joe won 2nd in the 45-49. Lynn Grimes won first in the 60-64 and laid out a wicked blue shoe kick to smoke a 36 year old at the finish. It was a thing of beauty. Henry beat Rocky for the 70-98 crown.

Festival of Roses 12k and 5k – Orangeburg, SC – 5/4/13


Four years into racing almost every weekend, there are very few races I haven’t done in the Columbia area, but this was one of the last holdouts. The Festival of Roses races are a 12k and a 5k that are associated with a festival of the same name in Orangeburg, SC. They’ve been around a while, and at least recently has been put on by the YMCA. They’ve been on our Tour de Columbia the last two years and also Strictly Running’s Palmetto Grand Prix.

I usually wouldnt be much into driving an hour to a race, but this one has a double dip built in to the event, and actually has an award for the fastest one who can do it. They call it the “Double Down” and involves running the 12k first at 7:30 followed by the 5k at 9:00. Insane. And awesome. I was in.

I had little idea of what to expect in Orangeburg. Justin Bishop, who won the 12k last year,  said it was flatter than Ray Tanner. I figured to give the 12k an all out effort and see if I had anything left for the 5k. My hopes of PRing in this odd distance werent that high. Ray Tanner in 2012 was a 49:12 6:36 pace effort, which I consider one of my best performances at any distance.

Also, I’ve been training like a beast recently with a couple of 50 mile weeks and a micro Robbie “O.G.” McLendon streak of 12 days straight. I certainly wasnt going to be at my freshest. Only about 3000 more days to go to catch up to the O.G. though. To boot, I was out late the night before catching Band of Horses at the Township, so I didnt get to bed till about midnight and a few 9 dollar beers. Yes, this is 2013 Alex late, not 1995.

Had a 5 am wake up call and felt OK. Once youve done a few relays you can run on no sleep, so 5 hours was a bonus. Took me a good hour to get to Oburg, and I by the time I got my packet and wrecked a perfectly good portapotty it was about 10 minutes to race time.

Quick check of the 12k start and its decidedly less competitive than I thought it would be. Amy was pacing 13 year old Marie Demetriades so I didnt have to fear another YMCA race beatdown a la the Bunny Hop a month ago. I became a little fearful I might have inadvertently stepped into a trophy hunt. At least Billy Tisdale was there. He’s pretty much my running clone, but beats me the longer distances. Ted Hewitt, the Outlaws, Birgit, Larry Bates, Pam Griffin, John Sneed, Nonie Hudnall were all on hand.

With the start, two unknown guys take off of my right at like Mach 5, and Billy surges ahead of me. There’s kind of a long nasty incline right at the beginning and I begin wondering if Bishop is delusional. Luckily the course levels out immediately afterward. Its an out and back, so I know the long incline will make for a nice finish on the way home.  I latch on to Billy, who’s about 10 meters ahead. He runs the 10k like a beast, so I make a note to keep him in striking distance. Mile one comes back at 6:39, which is just about perfect. All of my PR’s have had close to even pace followed by the patented blue shoe kick, so this is right where I want to be. And all of a sudden it gets very quiet. The two leaders have left us behind and we’re now out of sight of the rest of the field. And thats just about what the race is the rest of the way out. Billy and I all alone in rural Orangeburg locked in a brutal one-on-one. He surges ahead on the downhills and I catch him on the upswing. There really arent many hills on the course, so Coach Bishop – you were right. Thanks to having Billy to pace, the miles tick off like a metronome – all low 6:30’s. I feel surprisingly strong either despite or because of the crazy recent weekly mileage. Its pretty comical with seemingly just two people in the race. Billy asks me if I have any stories to tell him to pass the time. Finally we hit turnaround and a little after mile 4 we meet up with the rest of the pack still heading out.  Its a nice distraction as I bide my time, knowing this is going to come down to a painful fight down the stretch.  The pace starts to get a little quicker in miles 4 and 5, right at 6:30 a piece.  Billy has let me shoulder some of the pacing for awhile, though he is breathing down my neck the whole time.  Im starting to hurt a little but I’m more anxious of what I know is going to be a showdown coming up. As we go past the 10kish mark, I start to amp it up a bit. Billy follows right behind. This is not going to be easy. Finally we hit a quick double turn and the beginning of a long incline. All of a sudden I realize we may be approaching that downhill finish on the other side.  I glance down at the Garmin and see around 6.8 miles (12k is 7.46) and I decide its time to go all in. Billy has faded just a touch, and its like blood in the water.  He’s  way better than me on the downhills, so I blast up the last incline with everything I have, praying I havent miscalculated the course. As I crest the hill I can faintly make out the finish line in the distance. Im in a world of hurt from flying up that hill, but something dark and evil comes over me when I see that clock. I ramp it up as hard as I can go, deathly afraid of Billy catching me on this almost half mile long downhill stretch. Just before the finish theres an abrupt switch to a short uphill, and it about kills me. The Honey Bunches of Oats want to make an appearance but I manage to push breakfast down. I hear someone screaming that someone is right behind me, so I lose all form and headless chicken it to the line.  Total fumes. I look up as I cross and cant believe its at 48:13. A PR by almost a minute! 3rd overall. I pretty much collapse at make sweet love to the pavement trying to breathe again. Turns out it was Tigs yelling at me (she and Eric were doing the 5k) and “right behind me” apparently meant 30 seconds back. I am just total toast. Looking back at the Garmin data shows a 6:20 mile 7 and a 5:29 last 0.46. That would certainly explain it.

After about 5 minutes of sucking wind I finally come to the painful realization I have to do a 5k in just over a half hour. Its not looking good – the legs, which felt pretty great for the first 6 miles, were definitely complaining about that last 1.46. I took a bunch of pics of the 12 k finish. Good to see Birgit crush the women’s field for the overall win, chicking Ted (who won the 40-44) in the process. Steve Annan is 67 and ran 52:08, an 82 percent age grade. John Sneed and Nonie Hudnall also had near 80 percent performances. In fact, I was the only finisher in the top 14 under 40. Who says it gets easier when you get older? Chuck Hiers easily won the overall male with Bob Sams finishing 2nd. Marie won her age group of one with a strong 1:03 performance, good enough to get Amy a first in AG as well! Pam Griffin, Cheryl and Tommy Outlaw all age group placed. Billy had to settle for 2nd because they only went one deep in the overall. Brutal. Larry Bates won the 55-59 by seven minutes. Impressive.

I was hating life by the time of the 5k start, but what are you going to do? Erin Roof, the race director, hoped that I could pace her son Parker to another sub 20 attempt. I remember her saying something on facebook about not “wearing yourself out too much in the 12k”.  She forgets that self-restraint is certainly not my forte. Billy, Marie and Amy, the Outlaws, and Hou Yin Chang are a few of the people returning for the Double Down. Sarah and Eric have come out to run the 5k only, along with Marie’s mom Kimberly. I am acutely aware that neither of the top 2 12k finishers are returning.  Looks like the Double Down championship is coming down to me and Billy.

At the 5k start, some kid in a blue shirt takes off and Eric falls in behind him. I let a bunch of people pass me. Why? My legs are giving me a major “Are you f#$%g serious??” reaction. On the other hand, I can at least match my 6:30ish pace I had locked into in the early part of the 12k.  Parker , who blasted out to a 6:00 mile in our last 5k, is smarter this time around and is only a few meters ahead. Tigs is also ahead of me, and I’m already dreading the crap I’m going to take from her when she beats me. And damn that Billy, he’s a good 30 meters ahead only a half mile in. I hold 6:30 pace and start to catch quite a few guys as I approach the mile mark. Just past the mile (6:32) I catch up with Tigs and Parker. Tigs tells me she hates me. I love it. I tell Parker he’s right on pace but I think he’s fading a bit. I surge ahead though Im not going any faster. And then suddenly its just me and Billy again. Billy is a good bit ahead, and I start trying to calculate how many seconds I have to still get the Double Down if he beats me. I am slowly gaining on him though. I hit mile 2 at 6:39 and realize that most of the soreness has dissipated. Oh jeez, time to throw down again. Blood is in the water again as a quick surge puts me right on Billy’s heels. We hit the same incline as the 12k finish, and its complete deja vu. I blast up the incline, pass Billy and give a million percent effort all the way down. Honey Bunches of Oats start getting jumpy again but thankfully stay where they belong. Unbelievably I still see 19’s on the clock and blast it out to a 19:41 finish, 3rd overall again!  Didnt think sub 20 was possible after those first two miles. At first I thought there was a short course, but I had 3.09 on this certified route.  Garmin check reveals a 5:59 last mile. I have no idea where that came from, but apparently if you offer me a trophy chance I will virtually kill myself to get it.

Eric battled it out with the young guy for the 5k win and they had a virtual photo finish, with the same time. Unfortunately for Eric, the other guy (Daniel Patrick)  must of outleaned him at the tape. Tigs took home the women’s overall . Parker didnt get his sub 20 but still took first in his age group. Marie was by far the youngest double downer (13), finished 3rd in her age group in the 5k and won the female double down championship!  Ashley Horton finished 2nd in the 25-29. I think her sister finished 3rd. Amy won her age group even with a 26 minute time. Ted managed 2nd in 21:52, which is probably the best 5k performance of the double down compared to our usual times. Parker’s dad and Erin’s husband Joe Roof finished 2nd int he 45-49. Billy easily won his age group with Mike Griffin in a  strong second. Both of the Outlaws won their age groups, despite both doing the double down. Alex Ponamarev finished third in a tough 60-64.

Oh, and so I won the overall double down! Between the two age group wins I picked up 3 pint glasses total. And even better..a $150 gift card to Grove Park Pharmacy. I first had visions of a cartload of toothpaste and shampoo, but it turns out this store has a big selection of high end sunglasses. I went there right after the race and picked up a pair of 150 dollar Costa polarized shades. Awesome. Erin Roof and Todd Heinecke are definitely the road race swagmasters! Thanks guys!





Guest Blogger: Jennifer Ward – Providence Heart and Sole 5 miler – Columbia, SC – 4/27/13

Heart and Sole 015

So April 27th had been a weekend I had already thought about taking off. “Off” is a relative term, since I had run the Run for Your Life Downhill Mile on April 25 (Thursday). But if I’m not pinning on a bib on Saturday morning, then its “off” for me. The option I had was to run the Harbison Firebreak 10k or half, but readers of this blog know that trails are my kryptonite. Sure its fun to go easy pace in the woods, but when I race on trails, all I do is stare at my feet the whole time trying not to wipe out. And then there’s this race, the Providence Heart and Sole 5 miler.  It seems like a really cool race, except I don’t think they’d take too kindly to a 6’3″ albino sasquatch trying to bully his way into a women’s race. Plus, I’d get chicked…bad. So here is Jen “Mrs. Diesel” Ward’s race report.

 The Providence Heart and Sole 5 miler is one of my favorite races. It offers a 5-mile run, a 5-mile walk, and a 3-mile walk to create greater awareness of women and heart disease.  Long before my days of running began, I would walk the 5 miler with a group of ladies. I think part of the reason I have always loved this race, is because I enjoyed the car ride alone. I also enjoyed not having the pressure from Diesel telling me what I need to do, although he did send me a text that said… “You need to sub 42:00. Last years time 45:03 weak.”

Diesel apparently has no shame hiding behind his kids …or his wife.

Packet pickup was from 7-8 a.m. and I arrived at Arsenal Hall at 7:58 a.m. I figured I would let the crowd die down and since I am not one of the “fast runners,” I have never felt the need to show up an hour early to scope out the competition or warm up.

Jeez, what kind of obsessive freak would do that??

The race started at 8:30, so after socializing with several different people, I lined up with one of my friends from high school that also participates in this race each year. She asked me what my goal was; I told her my goal for every race is to just finish it faster than I did the year before. 

The course starts out pretty flat with dancers, vendors & volunteers cheering you on. Mile 3 is the climb up Gervais Street!

I decided to camp out and take pics at that site. Everyone appreciated me catching them walking up that monster.

I won’t list all my splits in case you guys are like me and skim that part of the blog each week. 🙂

Ouch. I’m sorry, I’m a numbers freak.

I will just say mile 3 was a minute slower than mile 2. The last two miles are pretty flat & I just kept waiting to see the downhill finish. I had to dodge a group of young “Girls on the Run” who were finishing the 3 mile around the same time. I was happy to see them out participating and was even more happy to see the clock, as I finished at 41:05- a 3 min. & 58 second PR. I did not come close to placing, but I did get a rose, chocolate covered strawberry & the satisfaction of doing better than Diesel had ordered! Joan Tangwar of Spartanburg, won the 5-Miler with a scorching time of 27:54! Congrats to Kristin Schmitz, Sharon Cole & all the others who placed in their age groups!

Congrats Jen! I’d like to see Diesel face Mt. Gervais without catching a case of the walksies. The SR team did really well at this race (Kenzie, Shannon, Erin, Mary Claire) with them all finsihing in the top 10 I believe. Kenzie got 3rd overall and Shannon got first masters. Birgit Spann finished 2nd masters and Janice Addison won 1st grandmasters. This race featured two brutally competitive age groups – the 45-49 group finished within 17 seconds of each other with Sharon finishing 3rd at 35:20. Karen Manning won the group at 35:03. Mary Howk, Lynn Grimes and Catherine Lemepesis filled out an all-elite 60-64 with Mary breaking 40 minutes. Speaking of breaking 40, Joyce Welch also crushed a 39:07 PR and 2nd in her AG.

A lot of fun to watch this race – huge crowd and lots of enthusiasm. Jeanna Moffett does a really good job directing this race, which has really grown over the years. Now if I can just get my rose and chocolate covered strawberries at my next finish line!