The Red Shoe Run is a 5k and 10k that has been around since the mid 2000’s and goes to benefit the Ronald McDonald House. It was previously known as the “Red Nose Run” but got a name change when the circus decided to bow out as a sponsor. Now its name references Ronald McDonald, a distant relative who shares my alabaster skin tone and maniacal grin.
One awesome thing about the circus dumping the race was a change in venue. We used to have to start and end at the Colonial Center, which sits at the bottom of a quad-busting, lung destroying mountain of a hill. Oh and the 10k made you do it twice. Not fun. And since the race is held in January, it has been plagued by terrible weather – it was around 10 degrees in 2009, and 34 degrees and raining the next year. 2014’s race was 17 degrees at the start. I still have this lovely gem of a photo from my 2009 5k, my second race in Columbia. I was certainly less than the model of fitness at the time, but three layers of sweatshirts and a blue shoe finish make me look like I’m 300 pounds. And that was for a 25:39. Sexxxy.
The change last year let the race move to Shandon, which, though certainly lacking in variety, is gloriously flat. The 10k is still 2 loops, but hey, no mountain.
I missed the 2014 race nursing an achilles injury but I planned to give it a shot in the 10k this year. My original thought was making a run for the sub 40 in this race, but between post marathon recovery, the holidays and getting sidelined with whatever virus Polo road elementary decided to send my way…I was less than optimally trained. Did I mention no speedwork? Yeah, that too. Still, all that Kiawah mileage was still paying dividends, and I was pretty happy with the 19:19 at MLK 5k the week before.
I was slack getting to the race and I’m amazed how many people are at this thing when I pulled up about 30 minutes to race time. The Hand middle parking lot is completely full and there are blazing fast people everywhere. I know it had been a bit of a arm twist to get the new race director to put this on the Tour de Columbia, but there are probably 50 Columbia Running Club peeps there. That might have offset the 75 buck fee.
I already knew from facebook that TEam Utopia would be decending on this race in force. Justin, Drew, Joyce, Kris, Kana, Che, David, Michael Nance, Mrs. Beast Colleen Vowles, Ashley “Bud Light Lime” Horton, Ivanka and Eliere Tolan, Tracy Tisdale-Williams, Ian Clawson and Brittany Robbins all turned up. There was a Red Storm front moving in as well with the SR crew more than well represented – Coach B, Lightning Plexico, Shannon, Jeff “the pose” Godby, Jennifer “6:02 first mile” Lybrand, Jason Dimery, Steven Johnson, and Justin Jones. Palmetto Runners fielded Pam Inman, Jeff Smith, Lucia Velicu, Angel, Cait Costello and Laurin Long. Other CRC peeps included Pam ad Mike Griffin, James Hicks, Rocky Soderbeg, Alex Ponomarev, John Gasque, Pete Poore, Lisa Smarr, Janice Addison, Arnold Floyd, Travis Cowan, Caprice Poore, Chip Lupo, Jennifer Reeves, Paul Bates, Melinda and Reese and Bob Petruzzi, Randy “the H is silent” Hrechko, Rafael Marquez, the Robertson clan, and Brigitte Smith. Familar faces included Kristen Cattieu, Anita Recchio ,Kyle “Ghost Rider” Addy. Oh and the Trophy. I told him he was not to slip into Blackjack (i.e. 21 minute) territory in the 5k. More on that later. Code has been an orthopedic train wreck of late but he did show up to watch. Ditto the Pale Beast.
I did a mile with trophy and Jamey. Felt kind of like crap, but what else is new. The Friday night at the Tilted Kilt didnt help with my morning hydration status.
The 10k starts 15 minutes before the 5k, so I was able to size up my age group at the start. Thankfully Angel and Drew were undercarding it in the 5k. Nance was doing the 10k and would smoke me for sure. No one else stood out, but the 35-39 is always rife with the sforementioned super fit soccer dads. I was glad to see my marathon doppelganger Shannon Iriel and track suit aficionado Jeff Godbee , as they could provide some pacing. I blasted out of the start like Jen Lybrand on crack….except she was still ahead of me. She must have done a better grade cocaine. Iriel’s got her side to side elbow metronomes going and is already leaving me for dead. No way, chicas. The first mile is a lot of suckage. When you’ve been cruising around at 9 minute pace for weeks, trying to drop 6:30’s feels like complete ass. I try to focus on the TUS #nipstohips form mantra and drive from my hips instead of my sasquatch mall walker mom stride. I manage to pass the female Red Storm front and get a boost from the 5k crowd at after the first loop. Mile 1 is at 6:32 so not too bad. The rest of the first 5k loop is kind of a blur. I’m completely by myself, not in an elite-kicking-ass way but more of a slightly-above-average-no-one-else-is-there way. I focus on some F3 guy who looks suspiciously 35-39. He maintains about a 20 meter lead on me through the next two miles, both at kind of a mail-it-in 6:40 pace.
It’s such a psychological struggle with two loops, I just try to zone out and bide my time until I can get to the finishing 5k. I pass by the finish line at like 20:40 , which pretty much kills my spirit for the sub 40 – though I later find out its slightly past halfway. I’m deathly afraid of Shannon or Godby catching me at this point, but im still all alone. This doesnt last long, as soon as I hit Queen street I see the sag wagon police cruiser and a mob of walkers up ahead. The back of the 5k. Suddenly its a mob scene and I’m in a sea of walkers, narrowly missing a bus-like collision with me blasting through and around packs of people walking 3 and 4 abreast. My only focus was trying to keep up with F3 guy, who now was just ahead. I finally catch him around mile 4, though I’m starting to hurt pretty bad by this point. Only a Chuck Wollery-esque 2 and 2 to go. Thankfully I get through the walkers and start progressing through the 5k crowd. Once you get to people consistently running, the juking and dodging gets a lot easier. What’s not getting easier is this whole oxygen exchange thing. I’m sucking wind pretty bad. I hit mile 5 and I’m desperate to get this thing over. Man, I hate 10ks. Time to throw down, except my lungs doth protest too much. I finally make the last turn, except its almost a half mile to the finsih from there. Just painful to see the distant clock for so long. I catch up with Ms. Bud Light Lime and the Code pacing her, and I’m sure I look like death. All that form stuff has gone out the window, and I can feel an attack of headless chicken coming on. But there’s Justin running back towards the field, so I try to do #nipstohips for like three strides before relapsing into sasquatch mall walker. By the time I can see the clock , all I see is the 5k one, so I’m not sure where I stand. Finally I see the 10k at about 40:30. I sprint it out and hit the line in 40:47. Good enough for 12th overall (out of 186) and 2nd in AG. Not my sub 40, but not too bad. My 10k PR is a 40:38 so this is actually my 2nd fastest. I’ll take it.
No surprise that Justin “A Standard” Bishop crushed this race for first in under 35 minutes. High schooler Hunter Janus took 2nd in 37:41 and Ryan Strickler 3rd. SR swept the top 2 in the women’s race with Shannon taking 1st in 42:11 and Jen Lybrand scoring a PR 43:27 for 2nd. Cheri Lee from Fort Bragg took 3rd.
10K Age Group honor roll: Brittany Robbins (TUS) took 2nd in the 15-19, David Russell (TUS) won the 25-29. In the 30-34, Jason Dimery (SR) placed 1st with Kris Litman-Koon (TUS) taking 3rd. Jamey Wilson won the women’s 30-34. Nance easily won my age group, and frequent racer Mark Tibshrany placed 3rd. “She Hulk” Jen Clyburn won the 35-39. Godby (SR) won the 40-44 men while Colleen Vowles (TUS) and Kana Rahman (TUS) placed among the women. Matt Buffum and Randy Hrechko went 1-2 in the 45-49. Joyce and Pam Griffin did the same for the ladies. Janice Addison (TUS) and Anita Recchio destroyed the 50-54 competition. Some familiar faces int he 55-59 with Geary McAlister, Kyle Addy and Mike Griffin cleaning up the 55-59. Alsena Edwards and Lisa Smarr won the ladies 55-59. Harry Strick took 2nd int he 60-64, while Brigitte Smith won the 65-69.
In the 5k, Lightning struck and the Plex (SR) took the win in sub 17 (16:59). Justin Jones placed 3rd. Kristen Cattieu took a break from the yoga and won the women’s race in 21:23. Ivanka Tolan (TUS) took an impressive 3rd.
Age group honor roll: Ian Clawson and Alex Robertson took 1st and 3rd in the 11-14. The Budlight lime will flow tonight with Ashley Horton (TUS) winning 2nd in the 25-29, and Cait Costello (Palm) 3rd. TDC award winner Kathryn Ryan won the 30-34. Angel Manuel (Palm), Drew Williams(TUS) and yes, even Trophy swept the 35-39. Trophy had the shame of his 21:41 amplified by Joe Pinner yet again mangling his last name “Mc-GAY-ha”. Awesome. Steven Johnson won the 40-44 – better get ready for some Blue Shoes in 37 days, Steven. Tracy took 2nd in the 45-49 despite fighting off a GI bug this week. Coach B (SR) easily took the 50-54 with Eliere Tolan (TUS) and Travis Cowan behind him. Gregory Jones won the 55-59, still getting sub 20’s. Melinda Petruzzi continues to rack up TDC points with a 3rd in the 55-59. Pete Poore and Leeds Barroll are 3 for 3 in TDC events this year with a 1-2 in the 60-64. Albert Andersona nd Alex Ponomarev did the smae in a competitive 65-69. No surprise to see Arnold Floyd and Rocky Soderberg sweeping the 70+.