It’s the new year, so what’s my resolution? More trophy hunting!! Duh. I turn the big 4-0 this year in March, so while other people worry about getting old, I get all giddy as a schoolgirl thinking about being a masters (40+) runner. Being 40 is awesome because you’re still young enough to still go for open overall wins, but there’s also masters glory to shoot for if some high cross country dude decides to show up and kick your tail. This sounds great in theory, but there’s plenty of masters beasts out there too. I only need to think back to September when a 60 year old (Dave Geer) smoked me by four minutes in a 10k.
OK, so this race was not a great choice to try and win. It being the first race of the year, and first on the Tour de Columbia, it kind of stands out. Still, some part of me wondered if all the competitive guys had done Cold Winters Day and Main Street Crit, leaving this little nugget for a trophy starved Albino Sasquatch.
Um… not so much. I’m not there more than a couple of minutes and I see Jordan Lybrand, Brandenburg and John Charlton doing warmups. I can only beat JB when he’s either injured or coming back from an Ironman. I think I have one win over Jordan at the IOP beach run two years ago – in the interim he’s running 17 minute 5ks and not even in my zip code. Charlton has been crushing elite level 5k times for 30 years and I’ve only seen him finish when I was spectating. So yeah, the overall holy grail would have to wait.
But there’s always the age group. Quick check yielded none of my usual nemeses. No Angel, Code, Pale Beast, Derek, Yerg or Drew to be found. Trophy continues to be MIA. James Hicks was on board but I didn’t see any other 35-39ers. No shock to see Jen Lybrand there – an expert level (and much more successful, I might add) trophy hunter herself. Kris Litman-Koon was the sole other Utopian. Barb Brandenburg, John Gasque, Arnold Floyd, Peter Mugglestone, Lynn Grimes, Leeds Barroll, and Brigitte Smith rounded out a roster of some seriously hardcore racers. Hrechko was taking a break from his body pumping to try and get his speed back. Wes and Rhea Spratt have now turned into serial road racers. Newly minted CRCers Melinda, Bob and Reese Petruzzi were on hand to start their 2015 Tour de Columbia point hunting.
This year the crowd was a little smaller than the inaugural event in 2014, probably because WACH TV bowed out as a sponsor. Still, Columbia Boot Camp did an awesome job picking up the slack and there was probably 100 people there (99 by check of the results).
The course was one used in the past by the Colorectal 5k from my March 2013 birthday triple dip – you know, the one where I beat a fresh legged Trophy in my third 5k in 2 hours – yeah, that one. Pretty decent course for speed. You have one nasty climb at the end of mile 1 on Blossom street that lasts a few blocks, the same one that you go up at Get to the Green. Once on top of that hill, you’re golden – virtually all flat and downhill from there. Turnaround is on Capitol street, comeback on Wheat, right turn to plummet down Harden then a left on Blossom to the finish.
The start separated out the crowd pretty quickly. Jen had talked about showing some restraint but she was leaving me and Brandenburg in the dust in the first half mile. As expected, Charlton and Jordan were in another zip code right off the bat. There was an unknown dude just ahead of JB. First half mile is flat through 5 points on Blossom. After you cross Harden is the start of the long incline to King, and doesnt level out until Woodrow. I finally caught Jen on the hill and I tucked in behind JB. Unfortunately, Brandenburg has like 2 percent body fat, so not much of a wind shield. Legs were feeling the other 2 races in the last 7 days, so I was surprised I was keeping up with JB pretty easily. Once I hit the mile 1 mark I saw why – 6:30. JB was slacking big time and I was apparently more than ready to follow him to a crap race.
JB must have seen the split too because he started ramping it up. I tried to do the same but legs were cashed from the long climb, and lungs were still not 100 percent. We turned around on Capitol street and JB and random guy gapped me some. I was pretty much all alone on Wheat street on the way back. Way up ahead I could see Charlton and Jordan locked in an epic battle. JB and random were also running stride for stride. I hit mile 2 in 6:20 something, so I was way slower than I hoped. I was going to have to throw down quite a bit to even break 20. I kicked it up a notch as we started the descent past Hand Middle. I was drawing pretty close to JB and random but they gapped me again on the sharp decline on the turn to Harden. I remember that Jordan said that the finish seemed a lot further than it looked once you got back on Blossom, and he wasn’t kidding. I thought for awhile I was going to catch JB and random guy and epically blue shoe them both, but my lungs didnt get the memo. They were still working on hacking up whatever plague had been living in my respiratory tract for the past week. I was able to make out the clock from pretty far out and saw low 19’s. It took an eternity, but eventually I mustered a weak kick and crossed the line in 19:45. 5th overall, 1st in AG. Not thrilled with the time, but I cant expect too much with the way I’ve been feeling. Hopefully I can get back to 100 percent soon.
It turns out Jordan won the battle of the beasts in 17:38 and took the overall win, which is damn impressive to beat a guy like Charlton. Third place went to the aforementioned “random”, who turns out is 37 year old Tony Marshall from San Francisco, who usually does ultras. Tony will now undoubtedly take his 10 Tour de Columbia age group points back to California, leaving me with 7 (they went three deep in overall so he got removed from the 35-39). Damn him. Good job keeping JB away from the podium though.
Among the women, Jennifer completed the sweep for Team Lybrand for an impressive start to 2015, taking the win in 21:09. Hopefully she and Jordan will be spared being called twins in the newspaper again. Barbara Brandenburg and Christina Marshall (wife of Tony Marshall from above) finished 2nd and 3rd, so apparently it was a good day for husband/wife teams.
Age group honor roll: Reese Petruzzi claimed 1st in the 2-14, though had to endure the shame of an excited grandmother. Hey, I take any attention I can get. Kris Litman-Koon made Team Utopia proud with a win in the 30-34. James Hicks took 3rd in the 35-39. JB took 4th overall and 1st in the 45-49, with Randy Hrechko finishing 2nd. Rhea Spratt won third in the 50-54 while husband Wes had to endure JB mocking him all the way down the home stretch. He did get 3rd in the 55-59 for his troubles. John Gasque held off Wes for 2nd in the AG. Dawn Galloway-Hale won the female 55-59, with Melinda Petruzzi placing 3rd to earn her first TDC points. The 60+ group was filled with some serious competition as Arnold Floyd, Peter Migglestone and Leeds Barroll swept the mens side, and Lynn Grimes, Brigitte Smith, and Dianne Jackson winning among the women.