The Sweat it Out 5k is a new event this year that goes to benefit the National Foundation of Ectodermal Dysplasias, genetic conditions that, among other problems, make those afflicted unable to sweat. A local family, the Dukes, have a son, Nicholas, with Hypohydriotic Ectodermal Dysplasia. He was the inspiration behind the event and actually designed the race shirt. One of our own, Shannon Iriel, was race directing, so I was definitely in to help support a fellow runner and a good cause.
I came in to this race with pretty much zero confidence. Ever since I tweaked my back about a month ago, I’ve been riding the injury train and have probably put in half the miles I usually do. Run Red Bank was my first race in a few weeks, and even that wasn’t at full effort.
But I decided to give it a go this time. I have been pain free for a couple of weeks, and I was back to at least about 70 percent of my usual 40-45 miles per week. It would probably help to start back with the morning training routine, but I haven’t been able to drag my butt out of bed recently. My punishment: afternoon runs in the Columbia summer inferno. Famously hot, indeed.
Speaking of getting up early, this race was at 7 am to avoid the heat. I got there about 45 minutes ahead of time and its impressive how many people showed up for this first time race. It was great to see so many Columbia Running Club peeps out to support one of their own. Of course, CRC peeps are inversely proportional to the degree of trophy hunting. This place was crawling with beasts. Kenzie Riddle, MC Cox, Heather Brumbach, Anna Jenkins and Linn Hall made for one of the strongest female fields I have seen in a while. The Yerg, Angel, Jeff Godby, and Adam Bernthal meant there’d be a big pack in the 18-19 minute range. Larry Bates, Wayne Shuler, Leeds Barroll, Rocky, Henry Holt, Ponomarev, Lisa and Jonathan King, Mike Compton, Michael Jensen, Tom Beattie, Arnold Floyd, Colleen Vowles, Gasque, Pete, Jessica Workman, Peter Mugglestone, Ken Lowden, Hou Yin Chang and the Tanner family (minus Ray) were some of the familiar faces. The CODE was out for support but can’t race yet. Tom tried to fool me into a Brandenburg sighting, but mercifully tri season has begun and he was nowhere to be found.
I had no idea about this course. Ken and Tom were telling me it was fairly flat with a hill near mile 2. The only race I ever ran in this neighborhood (near Hammond Academy behind the VA) was the 2009 Strides for Health at the med school, which was almost all flat, so I had my fingers crossed. I was going to run this pretty hard, but I also needed to factor in the heat and being off my training.
Little Nicholas did the start, and we were off. With all the beasts, it was blazing. Some unknown kid took off like a maniac and I never saw him again. There were a bunch of other younger kids tearing out of the gate like it was an Olympic 100m. Of course they stopped a quarter mile in and almost got run over by a pale, 40 year old bus. Although the cardio involved in running 5k pace was like a kick to the chest, the legs were actually loving the speed. I swear I get injured more often doing my slow runs. Godby is on my back like a monkey, and I figure we are pretty even with him in the middle of marathon training (Grandma’s marathon in Duluth, MN). He was weakened, however, by having to deal with what I sweat out in the bathroom pre-race. Must fight him off for masters! Speaking of masters, a 40ish dude comes into the picture in mile 1 and passes both of us. I’m not sure who he is, but 12 year old Adam Bernthal told me he was on a quest to beat his dad today, so this is probably him. I point him out to Godby to make sure we are aware of a fellow old dude in our midst. First mile is pretty much flat, Garmin spits out a 6:12, which is about where I want to be. I’m running in a pack with Heather Brumbach, Adam and Godby. The senior Bernthal, Angel, MC and Yerg are just up ahead. In the next half mile I manage to surge ahead basically maintaining the same pace. Feels OK – the heat/humidity are definitely a factor, but I feel way better than my battle with Brandenburg at the JROTC 5k a month ago, where I went out in 5:50 something and wanted to die the rest of the way. We finish an out and back loop and head back out on the road (Galway) we were on earlier. With my 5k race brain, I see some larger buildings up ahead and I figure its the last out and back before we turn around to head back home. Um, not so much. Turns out it was Hammond Academy, which I’ve known about most of my life but never seen in person. The first feelings of death start to creep in as I see we are heading out again on the last out-and-back loop to the right on Saye Cut. Code is out there spectating, probably rooting for people to take me down.
On the way out I can tell we are going slightly downhill, so I guess we will be climbing this on the way back. It’s really nothing – about what amounts to a hill in Shandon. As we near the turnaround I am surprised to be closing in fast on Yerger. Dude ran a PR 18:12 on the track last week so I guess he’s not feeling it. I pass him and Adam as we hit the turnaround cone. Mile 2 comes back with an identical 6:12. I see Godby, Linn and Heather right behind me as I start the trek back home. I’m trying to kick it in some but the slight uphill and heat/humidity are taking their toll. Code pops up again and is talking trash. I can’t really respond because the wind suckage has begun in earnest. Finally turning back on Galway is a relief because I know we’re getting closer to the finish. I had done a warmup before the race and knew I could unleash the hounds as soon as I reached Meadowfield Elementary. It seemed to take forever, and plus there is a fairly significant incline right before the school that I somehow totally missed. Surprisingly, Angel and MC are right ahead and I can even still see Kenzie. I motor up the hill to Meadowfield, take a couple of deep breaths and fire up the blue shoes. I’m closing in fast on Angel, who I can tell is not kicking it in. Oh well, I’ll take what I can get. I blast it into overdrive as we turn on to Olde Knight and I catch Angel right at the parking lot for the park. MC has matched my kick and I cant quite catch her. This is the second time she returned the favor for Bunny Hop. I see the clock and I’m surprised to see it already at 19:10 or so – I had thought faster. I crash through the finish in typical ugly race face fashion in 19:29. 6th overall, 4th male, 1st in age group. I technically won masters too, though it was a hollow victory with a 49 year old (Bob Daley) taking 3rd overall and bumping me up. I got a nice plate though, so a trophy hunt success! I’m pretty happy with the time – Garmin had 3.15 (certified course) and there’s always the Columbia famously hot heat index slowing you down in June.
Taking the win was 15 year old Bennett Egan. I don’t know him, but I would guess he’s a high school cross country guy. Second was Rick Southard, another guy I’ve never seen before. Bob Daley (3rd) is supposedly the guy who raced with the Pale Beast at the Richland R.U.N.S. 5k but I havent seen him since. I guess he’s gotten faster with the 18:55.
The women’s race was super competitive for a first year event, with Kenzie taking the win, MC second and Heather Brumbach 3rd. Heather had to lean at the tape to edge out Dutch Fork’s Anna Jenkins. Anna, age 13, is going to be an absolute beast when she gets older. She already blue shoed me last year at Run Red Bank. In masters, I got the consolation prize win with Jeff Godby and Matt Bernthal taking 2nd and 3rd in another photo finish in 19:55. In fact, Anna, Heather, Jeff and Matt all crossed the line almost simultaneously in 19:54-19:55. In women’s masters, Linn Hall took the win followed by Colleen “Don’t call me Mrs. Beast” Vowles and Lisa King.
Age group honor roll: Adam Bernthal crushed a 19:38 and beat his old man en route to a win in the 11-14. Anna Jenkins took the win on the girls side for a double sub 20 11-14 age group. Wow. Angel and the Yerg went 1-2 in the 35-39. Marian Nanney crushed a 20:31 to take the women’s 35-39 with Jessica Workman 3rd. Michael Jensen won the 40-44. Wayne Shuler ran a very strong 21:25 to take first in the 45-49. Jonathan King edged out William Brown in the 50-54, with Tom Beattie 3rd. Larry Bates crshed a 21:19 to take the 55-59, with Tour director John Gasque 2nd. It was a CRC sweep in the 60-64, with MIke Compton, Pete Poore and Leeds Barroll. Leeds demonstrated his brutal sprint kick that is very Blue shoesesque. I was so proud. Alex Ponomarev and Ken Lowden went 1-2 in a very competitive 65-69. Likewise with the 70+, won by Arnold Floyd, Peter Mugglestone and Henry Holt.