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.