So every once in a great while I stop my relentless trophy hunt and sign up for a race for reasons other than the maniacal obsession with metal trinkets. I hadnt done a 10k since March, so I figured I’d give it a shot at the Get in the Pink 10k.
This was the absolute worst race this weekend for stroking my ridiculously oversized ego. The GITP 10k is in its 5th year and has typically had a pretty competitive field. Usually Ashton comes out and dusts the field, but there is usually a decent sub 40 crowd as well. The 5k has mostly been soccer moms and kids. The Cones for the Cure 5k and Rotary Run 5k had trophy hunt written all over them. What was I thinking??
But with my recent return to sub 20 land in the 5k, I wanted to see where I was in the ten. I should know the answer already: I suck.
I love the 5k of course, and I’ve run some pretty good 8ks, 12ks, and halfs. Even my marathon PR is ok. I have never run a good 10k. Like, ever. My PR in the distance is 40:38 at last years Cooper River, when I was coming off a bunch of sub 19 5ks, which should translate to at least a minute faster. My 12k PR is actually at a faster pace.
But I keep trying. So I bit the bullet after a beer on Friday night and signed up.
Felt pretty good the next morning and got there my customary hour early. Trophy was already there because he’s a freak too. We knew the Pale Beast was trying his luck once again at the Cold Winters Day course at Cones. Coach Justin ” A Standard” Bishop had made a plea for all TUS members to wear the black and gold, so once again I had to blind everyone with the black singlet against my Edward Scissorhands complexion. Lots of fast peeps are already there – we latched on to a pack of 621 ninjas (i.e. Pete O’ Boyle, Shufy Rowe, Jeff Godby, Leyden Hane, Steven Johnson) and the whole SR ladies team (Erin Miller, Kenzie riddle, Shannon Iriel, Linn Hall, MC Cox..well minus the trophy hunting Jennifer Lybrand) for a couple of miles of a little sub 8 minute pace “warmup”. Usually my warmup consists of jogging like an 80 year old, so it was a little brisk. We get back and all 4 Diesels have decided to show up, along with the Robertsons. Blue Shoes rivals Billy Tisdale, Joel Pierstorff and Randy Hrechko have made an appearance. Micah decided to come back after Rosewood and I finally got a chance to meet yet another blazing fast age grouper. Speaking of age groupers, Jim Lichty showed up with Jason “Toonce” Lockhart and it was a mini USC class of 1997 reunion. CRC age groupers Coleen Strasburger, Alex Ponamarev, the Lowdens, Sharon Sherbourne, Lisa King, Lynn Grimes, Lois Leaburn, Jim Fadel and Teresa Harrington were on hand. Team Utopia teammates Ashley Horton, Andrew Touzel and new member Michael Jensen were present and accounted for. Elites Eric Ashton, OJ Striggles, and Kathryn Cavanaugh were out to give Bishop and the SR ladies some trouble.
Oh, and my age group was going to be ridunkulous. Ken Cobb and Phil Midden were going to kick my tail, and I would have had no chance at all if OJ hadnt switched to the 5k at the last second. Now that is a masters level trophy hunt maneuver, OJ. I thought Flicker would take me down too, but then I remembered that he had just aged up to 40. Yes!
They had couple of bagpipers lead us up to the start line, which was odd but kind of cool. The start was typical for a big, competitive race like this – super fast. The first 3 miles are pretty much all flat to downhill. I was getting dropped like a bad habit despite feeling like I was blasting out 5k pace from the get go. I had thought I’d keep Shannon and Billy in range for pacers, but they had other plans and just destroyed me from step one. Oh well. About 3/4 of a mile in the crowd had thinned out and I saw Micah and Hrechko just ahead, so I decided to make them my substitute pacers since Billy and Shannon were so rude to me. Mile one in 6:30ish as we neared Beltline, then a mostly downhill mile 2 in 6:36. Ruh roh. Pre cliff 10k pace. This was going to either be great or headed for an epic bonktastrophe. My bet was with the latter, since the warmth and humidity were starting to make things suck in a hurry. At just over 2.5 miles is the very long Shady lane, which is pretty flat but goes on forever. Plus, I know the almost all uphill finish starts just past the 5k mark. Randy is gapping me a bit but im keeping Simonsen in range. There’s like nobody else around. Feels like I’m out for a training run. A really hard, wind sucking training run with no music except for the sound of me panting like a rabid elephant. Just before the turn off Shady I look down and see just under 21 minutes for the 5k split. Oh man, this hill climb is going to hurt. I finally catch Micah just past the turn after he was almost assaulted by a pair of geese. He was hurting about as bad as me and he was delighted for me to tell him about the upcoming hill fest. I attacked the first mountain up to Nandina drive because I knew there was some flatness to recover there and on Brennan. I guess there was, but I had already taken a few steps in the pain cave and I was too winded to use the water stop at the top. I was somehow making some ground on Randy at this point, despite my 7:05 mile 4 split on the mountainside. From Brennan you turn on Kilbourne and face a long slight incline all the way in. Randy stopped to walk at the water stop, and I thought I had him but he took off as soon as he gulped down the cup. Still made up some time though. The whole section on Kilbourne was tough because you merge in with a bunch of walking 5kers, creating a minefield of potential collisions and losing your sense of where you stand in the 10k. Luckily Randy is like 6’5″, so pretty easy to keep track of him. I didnt look at the mile 5 split since I figured it sucked and I wanted to die anyway. The happy and smiling 5k walkers seemed to beg me to join them. But there was roadkill ahead. Must. take. down. Hrechko. I finally pushed in all the chips once we hit Devine st, but turns out thats a pretty long freaking way from the finish. And a nice little incline before the millwood intersection. Wonderful. Head flopping and trex arms have started. Finally the course levels out and I can make out the finish. If I can see those red clock numbers, there is no limit to how far I’ll spelunk the pain cave. I finally catch Randy about a quarter mile before the finish and it feels like forever. I’m dying a thousand deaths when I finally hit the finish area and hear Trophy sea biscuiting me from the sidelines. I ramp it up one more notch when I see the clock, just to make sure I get sub 43. Finished in 42:54.
Its a 10k, and a warm and hilly one, so I’ll take it. Almost identical time to my last one at Get to the Green in March, which was much flatter and a whole lot colder. Crushed in my age group though – I got 4th . Seems Mark Tibshrany turned 35 and even took down Cobb, who finished 3rd. Phil Midden killed us all in just a shade over 40 minutes.
In the overall, Eric Ashton cruised to another win despite still nursing an injury. A Cory Tretsky took 2nd, who’ve I’ve never seen race before. Bishop took 3rd. In the women’s race, Kenzie rocked out a sub 40 to take the win, followed by MC Cox and Shannon Iriel around 41 minutes. Total SR sweep. Billy finished a few seconds behind Shannon and took the male masters win. Flicker got second. In the 10k age groups, Randy got first in the 45-49, with Jim Fadel second. Phil Tognieri placed 2nd int he 50-54, Total CRC sweep in the 50-54 women, with Coleen Strasburger, Lisa King and Teresa Harrington taking the category. Lois Leaburn and Carol Wallace went 2-3 in the 55-59. Lynn Grimes won the 60-64.
In the 5k, OJ had a successful trophy hunt to take the 5k, though women’s winner Kathryn Cavanaugh wasn’t too far behind in 18:23. Erin Miller also crushed an 18:45 to take second female, third overall. Steven Johnson and Jeff Godby won 2nd and 3rd male with Linn Hall winning 3rd female. Joel Pierstorff and Pete O’Boyle placed in male masters.
In the age groups, William Zemp placed 2nd in the 15-19, while Ashley Horton made TUS proud by placing 2nd in the 25-29. Touzel had the best performance of the day with a 21:45 huge PR and 2nd in age group (30-34). He also blue shoed 3rd place in the last 20 meters, so I was so proud. Trophy worked the McGaha magic and took 1st in the 35-39 in 20:15. 621 ninja Leyden Hane won the women’s 35-39. Travis Cowan pushed a stroller but was still good enough for 1st in the 50-54. Shify Rowe blasted the 55-59 competition by almost 8 minutes to take the win. Alex Ponamarev and Shaoron Sherbourne dominated the 60-64, while Ken and Patti Lowden did the same in the 65-69.