Richland R.U.N.S. is a new race put on by Richland County in celebration of the county’s 215th anniversary, benefiting the United Way. With a 5k and a 10k option, a first time race, and a date the week before Ray Tanner, this race set up nicely for a trophy hunt. Now, one of the key Blue Shoes trophy hunting rules is to always do the undercard. The 5k is my best race anyway, and this was going to be a fairly “flat and fast” route that borrowed heavily from the Crawdaddy Dash course.
But then they had a press release about the 10k winner getting a airplane tour of Columbia, and I thought that would be pretty cool. But I was still on the fence until I went Strictly stalking. Although the Strictly Running site doesnt have a “participant list” option, you can check names individually with the “confirm entry” button. Technically this is for people to make sure that they are registered, but it also serves as a beautiful way to stalk your competition. Sorry Angel, Code, Stephen Johnson, Phil Midden, Derek Gomez, OJ Striggles. I am one sick bastard, and you guys keep me from my precious golden trinkets. Unfortunately for me, the Pale Beast has now ended up on the stalk list, and sure enough he was in the 5k. That was fine and dandy when a 200+ pound , 22 minute 5k running Beast existed, but now the Vowles is a lean, mean sub 20 machine. I had gotten a beatdown at Race to Read, and my oversized but fragile ego couldn’t handle a potential repeat of that shame. The 10k it would be.
Which overlooks one major thing….I suck at 10ks. And double loop courses. (Richland RUNS is a two looper.) Not to mention my 50+ mile week preceding the race, getting the virtual smackdown by the TUS Kiawah training schedule. Oh well, you never know.
I actually couldnt decide between the races for so long that I missed the online registration and had to sign up at the race table. I couldnt find it at first and ended up signing in just 20 minutes or so before race time. To say it was a little disorganized at the sign up table would be an understatement. The girl took my check and wrote my name and bib number on a scrap piece of paper. That’s a first. I did a couple of miles with the Beast and Meme as warmup and it was basically time to go by the time we got back. There was a slight delay with all the scrap paper entries but we eventually were in place. Definitely a small crowd, though good to see the CRC making a good show. Kimberly Taylor, Marie Demetriades, Pete Poore, John Gasque, Lisa Smarr, Sandra Manning, Meme, Vowles, Sheila Subbarao, and Leeds Barroll were some of the familiar faces.
Other than Lisa, I didnt recognize any of the other 10kers. Our start was first, and my quick trophy hunt assessment of the crowd made things look pretty good. One older guy in a singlet, who looked upper 50’s, and two reasonably fit guys that were probably under 40. I jumped on the start and was out in front for about 50 meters before I started to make a wrong turn. Apparently it was two loops with a tiny out and back at the beginning. Gotta study those course maps better. Older guy and young headphones guy jump in front and I linger just behind them as we completed the little loop. Instantly there was a world of suckage because the road (Jim Hamilton Blvd) paralleling owens field is ever so slightly uphill and is a freaking wind tunnel right in my face. Its killing me but I’m already getting dropped like a bad habit by older guy. WTF? This guy has to be pushing 60. My fragile ego is getting shamed anyway as karmic payback for wussing out against Vowles. But hey, maybe he’s going out at a suicidal pace, <cough> Jen Lybrand<cough>, only to fade later. I try to keep him in my sights. Um, yeah, not so much. There’s the nasty hill at the beginning of Crawdaddy and it punches me in the stomach, particularly when I have the painful thought I’ll have to do this twice. Getting beatdown by a 60 year old and feeling like death makes me believe I’m doing something north of 7 minute pace, but the Garmin spits out 6:41 for mile 1, which really shocks me. The guy in the singlet may be old enough to be my dad, but he sure as hell isn’t running like it. I should also mention that one of the other guys is also kicking my ass, but he at least looks younger than me.
And that’s pretty much it. I passed the other fit looking guy about 200 meters in and by Rosewood Drive I was completely by myself, which would stay that way until I caught the back of the 5k pack towards the end. Miles 2 and 3 were about the same as one, pacewise, but then I hit Jim Hamilton Blvd and the Crawdaddy hill and pretty much mentally checked out. Between the wind, inclines, and no one to race, my pace went to crap. Fell from the 6:30’s to 7:01. Once I hit Rosewood again, I noticed that all the marathon mileage may actually be paying off because I didnt feel as wrecked as I usually do on the last couple of 10k miles. The course turns downhill all the way to the finish once you take a right on Ott, so I figure I’ll try to make something of this race, which has turned into a solo hard workout. Back into the 6:30’s for mile 5 and I ramp it up a bit into the last 1.2. I can actually see #2 again with the quickened pace, but I don’t have a shot in hell of catching him. The Beast makes an appearance about a quarter mile from the finish and seabiscuits me in at about 6 minute pace. I hit the finish in 41:44, 3rd overall. Not my best , but not terrible either. I ‘m still chasing the ghost of the sub 40 10k four years after my first sub 20 5k (and almost 2 years after my sub 19’s). Hawaii has something to do with that, but hopefully I can make a legit shot at that goal in the next couple of months.
Speaking of goals, the Pale Beast, who also goes by Ken Vowles, crushed an insane 19:10 in the 5k. Forty two seconds off his old PR. 42. I was just joking about the cocaine last weekend but maybe he is doing lines before his races. Helps to be 20 pounds lighter it seems. Wish I could make that happen. He also placed 3rd overall.
Oh, and singlet guy is 60 year old Dave Geer, whom I actually recognize from looking through old race results. Dude was a legend in the 80’s and 90’s, like Ashton level, and apparently still has it. He has a pending state 60-64 10k record with his 37:23. 6:01 pace. Smokin’!
Lisa Smarr took advantage of the trophy hunt and nearly took the female overall in the 10k, just getting nudged out by a 23 year old. Meme continues to rack up the overall wins with another in the 5k. Pete , John , Kim, Sheila , Sandra and Leeds all took home some age group bling.