The Get to the Green race has been a fixture on my calendar since my first year of racing in 2009. Associated with the 5 points St Patty’s Day festival, you get the 15 dollar festival admission price free with registration, so definitely a bonus there. They have had the 5k since 2003 (with the inaugural race won by a 19 year old Plex) but they added a 10k last year. I debated a rare reverse undercard trophy hunt last year. I mean the 5k was the more established race and the 10k was the add on, so paradoxically the longer race would be the best trophy bet. But the 5k is my specialty, so I actually tried to face some tougher competition. Plus, the 2009 5k was Trophy’s last win at that distance, so I had to add to the streak in 2013. Turns out I sucked it up with a hurt back and finished 5th in age group, so all the hunting strategy was for naught. But at least I took down Lady McGaha.
All of this was pre-cliff of course, so Trophy has already broken the 5k streak. It took him major trauma to do it, but its over regardless. Since I was almost certainly out of a trophy hunt this year, I opted for the 10k. Not because I like the distance. No, I really suck at it. I dont know how to pace 6.2 miles and I usually either blow up by going out too fast or just never kick it in early enough. The most striking example of this : my 12k PR is actually a faster pace than my 10k. WTF?
So I figured I had nothing to lose by going 6.2. I couldn’t do much worse than my Lexington Race against Hunger race a month ago, where I completely imploded and finished in my 2nd slowest time..ever. Plus the course is just 2 loops of a pretty level 5k course. Certainly none of the mountain climbing involved in LRAH.
I was feeling pretty good about my progress over the past few weeks. Slowly ramping up the mileage again and even started the Team Utopia Monday workouts. However, I was feeling so great about the mobility of my toe that I decided to play my first singles tennis match in 5 years on Thursday night. What’s worse I got put up against a 20 year old kid who had just come off being the number one player at Lugoff Elgin and 2 years at USC Lancaster. He ran me ragged all over the court and generally smoked me 3 and 2. Turns out 39 is different than the early 30’s and I ended up being sore as hell everywhere. Not the best race prep.
But what else is new? I showed up about 30 minutes early and the Trophy is already there. Of course he had already scoped out that I was 10k’ing and he opted for the five. I must be improving if he’s already avoiding me again. I only got in about a half mile of warmup because of an unexpected nuclear detonation in a unsuspecting portapotty. Sorry, fellow racers. Legs felt like death with all the post tennis soreness.
I lined up second row because I can’t not be in the start photos. Of course most people are wearing the st pats green, and I made a snap decision to wear my fifteen year old “Kiss me, I’m Irish” boxers that just happened to be on top in the drawer. Over my running shorts of course – I didnt want any wardrobe malfunctions. Too late. With the start the first thing I notice is my freaking pants wanting to fall down. I’m not more than a quarter mile in and I’m running with both hands at my waist pulling up my underwear. Great. Thankfully I’m a big dork and run with my iphone in a SPIbelt, so I manage to stuff some of the boxers under the band. And I’m already getting smoked by everyone I can recognize ahead of me. The first mile is probably the worst hill-wise. You have to make a long steady climb up Blossom Street then turn right for a couple of more rolling hills on King. Mile 1 marker is in front of Hand middle and I hit it in about 7:10. Not too bad. At least I didnt go out too fast, though the two evil cobras from my tri disaster have come back and bit me in both glutes again. So sore.
And then I see Ted Hewitt. He’s a good 20-30 meters ahead but I figure I need to keep him in range. I mean he usually runs about 44-45 minutes in a 10k. Yes, my brain is full of completely useless, vaguely stalkerish information like that. MIles 2 and 3 are pretty tough. I’ve separated myself and I’m finding it tough to get motivated. Oh, and the underwear is attacking me again. I keep pulling and tugging and trying not to look like a total perv on the loose. Luckily I was not in the process of adjusting when I see Anita cheering people on in the middle of her long run. And what the hell? – Ted is dropping my ass like a bad habit. Must. Stay. With. Him. I try to pick up the pace a little but the soreness is still killing me. I’m about 2 seconds from pulling a Magic Mike and ripping off my boxers when I see a huge pack of kids on Devine Street cheering. I’d like to avoid the sex offender registry, so somehow I managed to twist the underwear around the belt just right and it stuck. Hallejuah!
Not having to fight undergarments lets me focus on the Tedder. He’s still got a big lead on me – so bad they are letting cars in between us. Somewhere near the start of the second loop the cobras release their gluteal grip and I’m not quite so sore. Coach Phil yells out a 28:20 or something at the mile 4 mark, so even with my oxygen deprived math abilities I know I’m just over 7 minute pace. I had hoped to get under that. Time to take a step into the pain cave. By mile 5, I’ve actually made some ground on Ted but I’m starting to suck some wind. With 1.2 to go, I decide to go all in. Chips get pushed into the table and I start really bringing the pain. Just past the mile marker I’m surprised to pass Jason Thompson, who I went to high school with. He’s apparently gotten faster, and I didnt even recognize him from behind. There’s now one other guy and Ted ahead about 20 meters or so. Just before we turn onto Devine I see Ted wipe his face with his shirt and there’s the blood in the water. I hit Devine and start hauling with everything I’ve got. I pass random guy and it’s just Mr. Hewitt. The problem is that he’s already started kicking it in. Drawing near him I catch a wave of adrenaline that only a crazed rabid albino sasquatch gets before devouring its prey. But not so fast. Ted hears my thundering stampede behind me and we go skipping hand in hand very deep into the pain cave. For 200 meters we are shoulder to shoulder, and I am just dying. Finally, with 100 meters to go, I find another headless chicken gear and flail towards the finish. I see 42 minutes counting down and I give it one more red line push to cross in 42:52.
OK, so more than 2 minutes off my PR but three minutes faster than LRAH, so some definite progress. Plus, didnt feel the toe in the warmer weather. I will definitely take it. Only bummer – they allow you to instantly check your official time and place and…yep I’m freaking 4th. One place out of the glory (which was gift cards of 20, 15 and 10 dollars). Turns out Micah Simonsen beat me by about 20 seconds. Doh! Oh, and Ted rocked a PR just a few seconds behind me, 42:56.
In the 10k Ricky Flynn outdueled Mark Pepin for 1st place in 31:40. Eric Ashton had a rare 3rd place finish. Sarah Crouch took the women’s win, with locals Kenzie Riddle and Heather Costello. Shannon Iriel crushed her first sub 40 in a PR masters win. Dennis Funk won for the men.
In the age groups, Brady Ward took the 0-10 in full leprechaun costume. Dutch fork’s Hope Whisman won the 15-19 while Jonathan Eggert took the 25-29 and 4th overal. Travis Moran finished second in a sub 39 PR. Jason Dimery won the 30-34, with Drew Soltau third in a sub 40. Yerger and Phil Midden went 1-2 in the 35-39. Linn Halll won the 35-39 in the week before her 40th. Kenneth Ebener and Jeffrey Godby went 2-3 in the 40-44. Winston Holliday crushed the 45-49 win in just over 39 minutes. Ken Sekley won the 55-59 males while Lois Leaburn placed 2nd among the females. Donna Freeman won 3rd. In the 60-64, Pete Poore finished 2nd while Shawn Chillag and Ken Lowden placed in the 65-69.
In the 5k, Matt Shock took the win just a few seconds over local stud Omar Sharif. Mary Ballinger won among the women, with Kathryn Cavanaugh and Shawanna White went 2-3. John Charlton won male masters.
In the 5k age groups, Emma Charlton won 2nd in the under 10 in 26 minutes. Parker Roof took 2nd in the 11-14. Alex Wilcox took third in a tough 25-29. Barrett Boozer finished 2nd in the 30-34. Ken Cobb won the 35-39 with Brian Talkington 3rd. Jennifer Clyburn and Michele Parnell went 1-3 among the women. Steven Johnson took 1st in the 40-44 in his first masters race. Meme Spurgeon continued her dominance of the women’s 40-44. Mike Hedgecock and Joe Roof placed in the 45-49. Pete O’ Boyle won the 55-59. Bill Iskrzak and Ponamarev went 1-2 in the 60-64. Sharon Sherbourne won the women’s 60-64, while Patti Lowden won the 65-69.
Finish line video. Epic race face at 12:19.