Shandon Turkey Trot 8k and Runway Run 5k double dip – Columbia, SC – 11/22/14


Oh, the double dip. I mean if youre going to be all obsessed and race every week you might as well go all out, right? While I wouldnt recommend it for your average road racer (i.e. someone who values sound decision making and adequate rest) , the double dip is perfect for the advanced level trophy hunter.

The first step is actually finding two races that are physically possible to make it to the start line of both without finding a wormhole in the space-time continuum. You would think that a relatively small city like Columbia wouldn’t give you many opportunities for this, but with multiple races every weekend in the spring and fall, its more common than you think. Preparation is also key – if its going to be a time crunch, early packet pickup is crucial on the second race. Parking your car in a getaway position at the first race is another consideration. Timing of portapotty hits, warmups and mental strength are also variables which come into play. It is not for the faint of heart.  But I have apprenticed under the wing of double dip veterans like John Gasque, Pete Poore, and William Schmitz, and they have taught me well.

This tutelage culminated in my senior thesis: the March for Meals/Colorectal 5k/Race Judicata triple dip in March 2013. Three races, three age group wins, 35 Tour de Columbia AG points and 17 open points. Oh and we mustn’t forget the epic shaming of the Trophy in the third race. Victory has rarely been sweeter.


But this double dip is pretty easy. Sure the Shandon Turkey Trot is an 8k, but its about as flat as downtown Columbia races come. The Runway Run is a 5k , two hours later and completely level.

Shandon has historically been one of my favorites. Certainly not for its course – while its flat, it is one of those cursed two loopers that cruelly brings you by the finish area when you are only half  done. No, it is because it has actual, honest to God trophies. Big ridiculous turkey ones…even for age groupers. Awesome.

Unfortunately there is usually some pretty tough competition for the golden turkeys, and in the past Code, Angel, Phil Midden, Drew Williams and other random superfit soccer dads have shown up to steal my precious. But this year was looking up. When I got to the race, there were none of the usual 35-39 suspects except for Ken “The Pale Beast” Vowles.  Time for yet another albino showdown I guess. Although I still savor the holy grail of the Resurrection 5k overall win over him, the Beast gave me such an epic beatdown at Race to Read that it  still gives me nightmares. He remains my sole rival that can beat me at my own game: the Blue Shoe kick.

Omar Sharif was the one elite level guy I saw at the start, but Strictly also brought in Shannon “Decent” Iriel, Jeff “The Pose” Godby and Luke “The Stache” Godwin as some worthy Blue Shoe level competition. Kenzie Riddle was also there to claim the women’s win.  Parker and Joe Roof, Colleen “Ms. Beast” Vowles, Beau Long, Ponamarev, Gasque, Henry Holt, John Zemp and Wes and Rhea Spratt were some familiar faces. Laurie Royson was on hand to cheer on her son Cotes in the 4k.

I did about a mile warmup with the Beast but I was afraid to do too many miles with the double dip. My strategy was to try to aim for 6:20’s similar to last weekend’s 5 miler. The start separated out the top end almost immediately. Omar and Parker blasted out to the front with Kenzie right behind. Shannon went out fast too just in front of me. For the first mile, it was weird to actually have a pack to run in. I tucked in behind the Beast, Luke, Godby and some other guy. Just as we approached the mile mark myself and Vowles separated a bit and he hit the split at about 6:27, right where I wanted to be. Although the course is pretty flat, mile 2 had the only major inclines. One thing was sure, this week was going to suck a lot worse than last. Legs felt like crap. Vowles was on me like white on rice. This was going to be brutal. Mile 2 faded to 6:41 and still felt like death despite being at the same pace as most of Savannah’s half. I tried to pick it up some but legs refused to respond.  What’s worse is that “other guy” from our mile 1 pack was almost literally breathing down my neck, using my Sasquatchian physique as a convenient wind shield.  By the finish area, I could see we were way over pace, like 16:20 for the first lap. I really wanted to bail out to the 4k, but I’d never hear the end of it if I “won” that race. The second lap at least got me over the psychological hurdle of the two looper. Mile 3 was in 6:37.  By this time “other guy” had faded and it was me and Vowles running stride for stride. Shannon was still ahead from the start but I could sense our gap slowly shrinking in the 4th mile, especially when we hit the inclines near the Prospect street turnaround. I knew I was in trouble. For one, the pace had picked up some and damned if the Beast wasn’t right at my side. I know I have to break his spirit early or kick it in from way out to hold him off, and neither seemed to be happening. Right around the mile 4 mark I tried to throw in a surge and I passed Shannon (it should be noted she is just 2 weeks out from a 3:11 marathon). Ooh, maybe I’ve finally lost my shadow?? Not a chance. Just when it started to get a little quiet here comes Vowles panting like an elephant in full stampede mode. We both start ramping it up from there, at least .75 to the finish. I feel like the sweet release of death would be nice at this point but my maniacal competitive streak will not let me back away.  You can see the finish from way out on a long straightaway and we are just flying down the home stretch. Just when I think its going to be a photo finish, Vowles finds another gear two blocks out and leaves me in the dust. I try to respond , but the legs and lungs have had enough. I cross the finish in 32:18, 6th overall and 2nd in AG. Not my best race, but glad I was able to push it to the finish. Last 0.96 was in 6:11 pace so at least I made the Beast earn his victory.


Omar crushed the field in 28:06 to take the easy win while Parker Roof also broke 30 to take second. Kenzie took the women’s win in 30 and change with Shannon and Christie Martin placing 2nd and 3rd. Theo Kuhler, a 16 year old kid, placed third male. Luke Godwin placed 3rd in our age group and 9th overall, proving the 35-39 is always stacked. Godby finished a few seconds behind him to take the 40-44.  Other age groupers included Matthew Pollard taking the 25-2 and Carly Jackson winnin gth e 30-34. Colleen placed 2nd behind Shannon in the 40-44 since they didnt take out 2nd or 3rd overalls. Beau Long placed third in the male 40-44. Joe Roof was tops in the 50-54. Wes Spratt placed third in the 55-59 despite being ruthlessly turkeyed by “Thom Gobbler” (,aka Shawn Chillag) who took home 1st in the 60-64 in full costume. Henry Holt won the 70-98 in sub 10 minute pace at age 79.

I had to leave of course before the award ceremony. Sources confirm they only had medals this year, which crushes me. You know I love my golden turkey. Other sources confirm that Strictly will likely be taking over the race next year, so hopefuly they can resurrect my favorite gilded bird.


Nothing like crushing out the last mile of a 8k and having to think about racing a 5k in less than 2 hours, but that was the task ahead of me. Plenty of time to get to the airport. Legs feel trashed but less sore than they have on other double dips. I already had my packet from early pickup so I was good to go soon as I got there. I did a quick mile or so warmup with James Hicks. Felt good to flush out the lactic acid bath I had just given my legs a half hour before. The Runway Run is in its fifth year and this is supposed to be the last year of the event. Not sure why, since the race has exploded to over 600 runners a year now. Must be something with airport operations, though CAE is hardly O’Hare.

Since they offer a free airline ticket as the top prize, the big dawgs will come out for this. Three time champ Eric Ashton showed up along with fellow elites Ricky Flynn, Jud Brooker and Justin Bishop. Several hundred people on the runway made it hard to scope out the crowd but I saw Linn Hall, Geary McAlister, Birgit Spann, Ilia Owens, Makenzie Wilson, Drew Williams, Tracy Tisdale-Williams, and Ian Clawson. This was also the target race for the Run for God program, so Jeanna Moffett and Bill Haselden led a huge group from Riverland Hills.

I’m not sure what happened to the start of this race. I was back in the middle of the pack taking pictures and had just put my phone away when I hear a GO, and the whole crowd stampedes. I didnt hear an intro or anything. Suddenly I’m weaving through hundreds of people in a total free-for-all towards the open runway. The sudden break into race pace isn’t doing the double dipped legs any favors, but it actually feels easier on the lungs. I guess I already blew them out in race #1. I find a seam on the outer edge and find my way up through the mob, first seeking out Birgit then just trying to find around a 20 minute 5k pace. The wind is always critical at Runway and this time its smacking you in the face the whole way out.  I hit mile 1 in 6:28 – not too bad considering the hundreds of people I had to dodge to get there. Shortly after the mile mark the course turns, forms a track like loop, then folds back towards the finish. Right near the loop I spot Drew Williams, who appears to be inexpicably just cruising along. Then I realize he is pacing Ian. Hopefully, one less age grouper to worry about, though Ian is getting faster by the day so I didnt know for sure. Must be nice to be young. All of a sudden I spot Micah Simonsen to my left and he is motoring along at a good clip. The break in the wind and the turnaround has me feeling better so I ramp up the pace some in hopes of holding Micah off. Suddenly I’m all alone for awhile as I pass mile 2 in 6:20. Strangely, I now feel the best that I’ve felt for the whole double dip. The wind is no longer a factor, I’m headed home, and I see a strange pack up ahead to try and track down. Its Linn and two other small women right next to her with Geary McAlister, a whole head taller than the rest of them, right behind. I’ve suddenly locked into some zone and everything seems to be flowing easier. I’m going way faster than before but have no idea what my pace is.  I finally catch the pack with a little less than a half mile to go . I thought Linn was battling it out for first so I tried to encourage her to follow me to the finish. The guy ahead has led us way out on a wide turn when I know in years past you could take the inside track near the grass. I dont want to get DQ’d so I follow. By the time I can make out the finish I’ve been redlining it for a while and its getting rough quickly. But seeing red numbers apparently causes enough of an adrenaline spike to keep me going. I’m surprised to see 19:30 on the clock and I sprint it out as hard as I can to the finish, crossing in 19:49. I’m shocked to learn this is good enough for 1st in AG and 8th overall. I had no idea since the chaos of the start gave me no sense of who was still ahead. Last mile of 6:05 certainly helped get me under 20, though our wide turn made the course 3.17 miles.

In the overall, Ricky Flynn cruised to the win in 15:17, with Jud Brooker not toof ar behind in 15:48. Eric finished third in 16 flat. Justin posted one of his best times of the year with a 16:29 to take 4th. Alyssa Bloomquist, running for Eric’s new racing team, crushed the women’s field in 18:01. Linn’s pack was a race for second actually, and looking at video shows I was awfully close to getting chicked by Kaci Handlery. All three of them broke 20 minutes, with Linn finishing 1st in female masters. Geary was just a few seconds behind in 20:05, taking first in male masters (watch out Geary someone turns 40 in 3 months). Birgit took 2nd in female masters in 20:42.


Ian made mom and stepdad proud with 1st in the 11-14 and a new PR 21:19. Alex Wilcox was the guy ahead of me at the end, though I had no idea with all the oxygen deprivation going on. Micah took 2nd in my AG with Drew still getting third even on pacing duty. John Ramage of RUI placed 2nd in the 55-59, while Harry Strick took 3rd in his new 60-64 age group. Ageless Albert Anderson took 1st in the 65-69 in 21:52, which is surely an 80+% age grade performance. Impressive.





Spring Valley Presbyterian 5k and 5 miler – Columbia, SC – 11/15/14


The Spring Valley Presbyterian Church 5 and 5 is a small race that actually has been around for 22 years – it was previously known as the Bizarre Bazaar 5k and was tied to the fall festival (“the bizarre bazaar”) put on by the church. They’ve now separated the event and added a 5 miler, hence the 5 and 5.

Last year was a bit of a nightmare, as the top 8 5kers, including myself, got sent off course and ended up running just a little over 2 miles. Even though I was still recovering from my injuries last year, I don’t think I’ll be able to touch my 13:20 “5k” PR set at this race in 2013. Jennifer Lybrand and a couple of the 5 milers also ended up taking a tour of northeast Columbia and ended up all over the place. However, this turn of events led to what has to be the most mind boggling trophy hunt of all time: Wes Spratt winning a 5k. That’s like me winning the Kona Ironman. The apocalypse is surely upon us.

But with Gov  Cup just a week beforehand, and the course just 5 minutes from my house, this is a trophy hunt I couldn’t turn down.  Blue Shoes trophy hunt rules dictate running the “undercard” race if there are two offered. However, since i knew the 5k to be more established, I figured I’d jump into the 5 miler and try to get an overall win. Brandenburg usually does the 5k at this race, and sadly, he can probably still whoop my tail even at his advanced age.

I get there my customary hour early and it is just balls out cold. For whatever reason, November this year has played out like January, and I’m shivering even in my warmups.  I did 2 miles with the Pale Beast, who fortunately was doing the 5k.  Kenneth comes with us and announces he is doing the 5 miler with me. He just ran sub 17 at the high school state CC champs last week.  Trophy hunt has officially been flushed.  Damn these meddling kids!

Jennifer Lybrand, John Gasque, Andy Mikula, Alex Ponamarev, Peter Mugglestone and Tommy/Cheryl/Gizmo Outlaw are some of the few familiar faces in what is a pretty small crowd. Jeff, Barb and son Clayton fill out a formidable Team Brandenburg contingent.  The Spring Valley CC team fielded quite a few in the 5k, thus scuttling what I’m sure was also a trophy attempt by the Beast. When they lined people up for the start, only myself, Jen, Barb, Mikula and Kenneth knew about the different 5 miler start area, so we thought it was a 5 person race initially. Fortunately about 20 or so ended up coming back to us after the brief intro announcements at the 5k start.

With the start,  Kenneth takes off like a bat out of hell and I actually try to give chase for a while.  The 5k starts simultaneously about 50 meters ahead of us so we hit the back of the 5k pack almost instantly.  Fortunately my tailback moves are sharp from last week’s Savannah mass start and some of the 5k walkers avoid getting run over by a crazed Albino Sasquatch. A quick turn left and Kenneth leaves me for dead. Up ahead I can see the Pale Beast locked in an epic battle with Brandenburg…and his dog. Wolfgang the weimeraner trains with JB in Sesqui all the time and does coyote and deer chasing  intervals, and can apparently rock out a 5k as well.

I take a right onto Valhalla and push up a hill, where the female 5k leader is not taking too kindly to being chased down by a rabid grizzly. I pass her at the top of the hill and then plunge down into Hogans Run, which does a small loop before coming back to Valhalla. Mile 1 pops up on my Garmin a bit ahead of the mile marker at 6:23, about what I had planned. The first nasty hill is just afterward, running up across Valhalla again and onto Viking Dr (Yes, for some reason the Woodlands has a combo Nordic-Golf theme to their streets). I can still see both Vowleses, Brandenburg and Wolfgang up ahead. Kenneth has already blown past the 5k group. I track down a straggling Spring Valley kid just to inflate my already oversized ego, and suddenly the courses split in front of the country club. I’ll hand it to the race organizers – they made sure no one went off track this time. Each turn is decked out with volunteers, signage and painted arrows. That’s how its done.

Once the course splits and I realize the downside of a tiny race trophy hunt. Pale Beast, Jr. has entered another zip code and is nowhere in sight. On the other side, I must have a minute or two on Jen and Mikula. Read: I am completely alone. I come crashing down a huge hill on Wotan and my Garmin chirps back the 6:33 surprisingly loud, because there is complete silence. The split isnt too bad considering the roller coaster of hills on that mile, but I still try to ramp it up some. But between the quiet and no one to chase, I keep fading into mental lapses. It gets tough to maintain pace when I keep fading into designing my Clash of Clans base, tolerating the cub scouts camping trip or thinking about how bad that 21 miler is going to suck tomorrow. I hit a 6:27 3rd mile and take a turn from Valhalla to Valkrie. There they have a cheering outpost that is hilarious. They were just milling around until someone spots my Sasquatch ass lumbering towards them. All of a sudden Sandstorm starts blasting out of the loudspeakers and they start screaming like the girls of Wellesley at Boston. You’d think Meb was running through.  I try and play to my newfound fame but the second I leave the area I hear the soundsystem cut off and complete silence again. I dont hear it again so I know I’ve got a comfortable lead on #3.  Right after Sandstorm is a nasty slog up a two tiered hill. I had been running pretty smoothly but these mountains deliver a 1-2 punch to my lungs. Strangely my Palmetto 200 teammate David Mcneice is camped out on one of the turns and it takes me a couple of seconds to realize he’s not a hallucination. I hit mile 4 just over the top of the mountains in 6:27, so still on pace. I give myself a quarter mile to restore the whole oxygen exchange problem with the hill climbing and start kicking it in. Back on to Valhalla then a long stretch to Sparkleberry rd. I am going close to all out though its tough to gauge my pace since I’m now merging back in with the 30 minute 5kers, most of whom appear scared to death of the elephant stampede they hear behind them.  Just as I round the last turn my Garmin spits out the mile 5 split (6:14). Wait a second… that’s supposed to happen at the finish line. I had hoped to sub 32 this race but I by the time I make out the clock its already flipped over to 32:04. One last blue shoe kick blast and I cross the mat with two 5kers who are probably fearing for their lives from this strange albino freight train coming through. 32:26.  5.08 miles. 2nd overall.

I’ll take it. I think it actually equates to my 8k and 5 mile PRs by my Garmin, and the 6:23 overall pace would get me my first sub 40 10k if I could hold it for another mile. Justin’s 55 mile Kiawah training weeks are definitely paying off.

Kenneth blazed the course in 29:30 for first place, robbing me of my trophy but at least not teasing me with any hope of beating him. Jennifer Lybrand raced smart this time and I believe captured a 5 mile PR in the process, running 35:18 and 1st overall female. Andy Mikula ran 36:09 and took 3rd male while Barbara Brandenburg took 2nd female in 39:33. Notable finishers (everyone placed in their age groups) included CRC’s Peter Mugglestone and Tommy Outlaw, Running under the Influence’s Alfred Baquiran, and USC School of Medicine fellow alum Cedric Rivers.

In the 5k, the Spring Valley team swept the overall with Ben Garrett, Jacob Malodow and JB’s son Clayton Brandenburg. Sadly the Pale Beast was taken down by an actual beast as weimeraner Wolfgang smoked him with a vicious 4 legged kick. Human companion Jeff Brandenburg also edged out Ken by 3 seconds. Oh, the shame. Sara Bonner took the women’s win in 21 minutes and change. She is still recovering from getting Sasquatched. John Gasque, Cheryl Outlaw and Alex Ponamarev all took home age group wins.







Savannah Half Marathon – Savannah, GA – 11/8/14


OK… Let’s try this again.

That’s what I told myself back in April when I convinced myself to head back to Savannah for the Rock and Roll Half marathon.  There was a big group going down from Columbia, many inspired by Team Trust – the group assembled in honor of Jake Zeman, the Columbia runner who died near the finish line last year.  The course is super flat, the weather is usually ideal, and the town is beautiful. What’s there not to like?

Well, the only problem was that was my same thought process in 2013. I was in my peak running shape, all signed up for the full marathon, and ready to make my run at Boston 2015.

And then Hawaii happened. Control-Alt-Delete.

As it turns out, wrecking most of your body and missing 3 months of running is not on most marathon training plans. But I did make it a point, that, hell or high water,  I was going to make it down there. I ended up backing down to the half and pacing Ashley to a sub 2 hour time. I’d like to say I did that with ease, but having only hobbled a few 6 milers before the race, that 1:56 was no picnic.  I thought I might have lost her at the end, but she epically blue shoed me right before the finish line. I was so proud.

I really didn’t know when, or if, I would be able to tackle long distance again after that race. The gimp toe just didn’t like it. I was able to slowly build back some miles over the next few months,  feeling like I was clearing up the wreckage from some disaster. My legs had turned into mush, I had put on some pounds, my cardio had gone to crap. My pure sprint speed, always my strength, just wasn’t the same with mr. mcgimpy toe.

But somehow things got a little better this spring and I started getting faster. It peaked with my ridiculous win in the Resurrection Run, and I think the grandiose glow of this accomplishment led to me throwing my hat back in the ring for a fall marathon. This time it would be Kiawah, with the Savannah Half as a training test about a month out.  I hit Justin’s Team Utopia South training program with a vengeance. It was, and is, brutal. I’ve been putting in 50-60 mile weeks and feeling tired a good part of the time. I was training right through races so I had accumulated some confidence –deflating results, especially Ray Tanner.

I was actually giving myself 2 whole days off before Savannah this year. It felt like an eternity. The Code called me the day before and said Shannon and Joyce had two spots open in their condo, so I quickly dumped our crazy expensive $330 a night hotel (this is typical for marathon weekend in Savannah) and shacked up with them. Code said he would take the couch when we got there, but the queen Tempur-Pedic was too much to turn down. Now I have Joyce’s “snuggle bunnies” photo that will probably follow me around as long as my “tri fail” pic.  According to my wife, though, I made the right choice in sleeping arrangements. Friday night we participated in Shannon’s pre-race pizza ritual with Jeff and Andrea Godby at Vinnie Van Go-Go’s, which was amazing. That led to me participating in my pre-pizza ritual, consuming large quantities of beer. I hoped that decision wouldn’t come back to bite me.


Race morning was pretty much perfect. Temps in the 40’s. Not much wind.  Shannon left early since she was doing the marathon and had to find Jeff, who was acting as her first half pacer. I had planned to do a two mile warm up with Joyce and the Code but ended up doing portapotty intervals with all my aggressive rehydration from the previous night’s beerapalooza.  Code and myself made our way to corral 1 and found Scott Flicker, who was doing the full in a BQ attempt. I felt good but my races in the past month had me with pretty low confidence. I figured I could target the 6:54 pace needed for a 1:30 and see what happened. My PR was set at the Charleston Half way back in 2012, 1:30:22. The sub 1:30 had been one of my goals to break before I decided to break my leg instead last year.

The start was pretty insane.  There were like 17,000 people in this race but luckily we were separated by pace in corrals. I had thought corral 1 would be fast but there must have been a lot of people with grandiose streaks, because this mob scene was shuffling like a herd of cattle. It took about 25 seconds for me even to reach the start mat. The whole first mile I was in full tailback mode, trying to find any crease or seam I could. Code apparently has better running back skills than me because he was leaving me for dead right off the bat. So much for his “marathon pace” tempo run he was blabbing about. Of course knowing Code, I knew this was complete crap.  I caught up with Shannon and Jeff about a half mile in and wished her good luck, completely ignoring Godby who was feeling all hurt. And I thought I was the attention whore.  The first mile has the only real hill on the whole course – a trip up a highway overpass. With the hill and all the dodging, I thought for sure I was at 7:30 or something. Surprisingly, my Garmin spit out a 6:54. Right on target.

The next few miles are a lovely tour of Savannah’s finest pawn shop and title loan neighborhoods. Not the most scenic, to be sure, though I do admit the residents were out in force and vocal. Much better than some off the stuffy historic districts. My legs were good and warmed up by now and everything felt completely different than my last few races.  Like I had energy, like my legs weren’t  cinder blocks. Psychologically I was still in full Debbie Downer mode – surely this wouldn’t last, there’s so long to go, blah blah blah. I decided to try and block it into race distances I was familiar with, so I started with the 5k. Miles 2 and 3 were high 6:40’s and I crossed the 5k mark at a little over 21 minutes.  I was pretty astounded by this – my worst 5k this year was around 20:40 so this was blazing for a half.  I was cautiously optimistic, but far from getting too excited – still 10 miles to go. The slog back to the historic section was often right into the sun so I kind of drifted into a zone at this point.  I had settled into a nice pace and clicked off a few high 6:40’s. I was banking a few seconds against the 1:30 so this would be good later on when I was sure to fade some.


I woke up some when we entered the heart of the historic section just as the 10k point was approaching. I was still feeling pretty good, maybe a little fatigue. I hadn’t trained with GU at all this year, but for some reason I brought my old espresso love gel  this time.  Just before mile 6 I took the gel and realized how much I hate GU. It did seem to give me  a little boost though, plus the crowd support is great right around the relay zone (theres a marathon relay in addition to the half and full) . The 10k was just over 42 minutes by the main clock. Subtract 25 seconds or so and I had just run my fastest 10k since Cooper River right before Hawaii.

Instead of making me more confident, I was actually more afraid that this was going to lead to an epic bonk. The Debbie is quite strong with me.  I purposely slowed a touch and hit mile 7 in 6:55. Ruh roh, here it comes.  But at some point I realized that the fade just wasn’t happening. My legs felt strong. The course was flat. The weather, perfect. GO FOR IT. 10k to go.

With that I took off.  I started catching people. First slowly,  then in big groups. What was once a huge crowd now thinned to a group like a local 5k. One guy didn’t take too kindly to getting passed and told me to “go get those 5 more miles”.  I took this moment of douchery and used it to reel off a few  6:40’s, making sure to drop that dude good. When I reached mile 10, I got the first twinge of euphoria that this was really going to happen. Not only was I a good minute under 1:30 pace on the big clock, but I knew I had another 20+ seconds on top of that. I figured about a 22:30 5k would get me my goal.  I took my first tentative step inside the pain cave and decided to kick it up a notch. Mile 11, 6:31. I was starting to suck some wind, but I was completely jacked up on adrenaline. The crowd was getting more and more sparse.  After passing hundreds of people I finally got blue shoed myself by some super lean bearded guy in a singlet, but then realized he was doing the marathon. No one else had my Sasquatchian physique around me, so I knew was blazing it.  Just after 11.5 is the split from the marathon course and it’s a straight shot to home, except for the last curve right at the finish. There were a few soft inclines and I actually faded a touch to 6:40 again in mile 12. But as I passed the last mile marker, I saw a familiar gait in the distance. THE CODE. By this time there was some hurting going on, but the euphoria of the impending finish was incredible. I kept gaining on Code the whole way in. I knew at some point I couldn’t catch him, but I was at least going to make it close.  The finish is a turn into a tunnel of people and noise and I was in full blue shoe kick by this point. I saw Code cross the line and looked up to see low 1:28. I sprinted it out on pure adrenaline and probably scared half the spectators with an Incredible Hulk yell at the line. 1:28:40’s by the big clock. 1:28:29 official time /6:44 pace.  Ho-ly crap.  PR by almost 2 minutes and 70th out of 10,000+.  To say I was a little excited would be the understatement of the year.





Soon after I saw Jeff finish and we realized Shannon was absolutely crushing it. She was on 3:10/11 pace through the half. I had brought my phone in my spibelt fanny pack like my usual dork self, but it was nice to be able to track people live. Joyce came blazing in way ahead of schedule and I barely got a pic of her finish. She got a 1:40 and a big PR, which even qualified her for the super strict New York Marathon automatic qualification standards. We hurried back to the condo to change but was way bummed when we just missed Shannon’s finish. She crushed a 3:11, not only a BQ by over a half hour, not only first masters, but 4th overall. Incredible. Scott Flicker came in 2 minutes later and punched his ticket to Boston 2016. Other Columbia area finishers included Betsy Long, Katharina Vorhauer, Winston Holiday, Julie “Flashbang” Bitzel, Sydney Frontz and Brad Marlow.