The Springdale 5k is back again in its 7th year, this time held in the streets surrounding the Springdale racetrack in Camden, SC. I’ve missed a few Springdales here and there, since its held in the summer during prime vacation time. This year I was back from Orlando, having spent much of my life savings at Universal Studios and Legoland, so I was free to jump in this race.
I was actually part of the inaugural race back in 2009. Then it was held at sunset, and on the actual horsetrack. You could see the whole race unfold from the stands, and they followed the race with music, food and beer. Why they strayed from this amazing concept is beyond me, but I will say the original race was absolutely brutal. Ninety four degrees, and the entire course was ankle-length grass. The race was notable for one of the most epic blue shoe finishes of all time – a full-on headless chicken, lung-bursting surge to nip an unsuspecting Chad Long at the finish line. All of this to secure a blazing 23:40 something. I don’t even think I got an age group for it. Strictly running captured an 8 photo montage of the incident, each frame capturing a unique and seemingly progessively uglier race face. Sadly, these pics have been lost to history forever, though I was able to pull up the results from milesplit. http://sc.milesplit.com/meets/55153/results/93778
I think 2009 is my only time doing this race. All the other years I was either on vacation or recovering from major trauma. A blog check shows I did show up in 2011 to watch with a 6 pack of Yeungling in my trunk. Always keeping it classy.
So this would be my first 5k since the Sweat it Out in early June. I had been training like a beast most of the spring, culminating in the PR 18:39 at the Blythewood 5k in April, and then all the wheels started coming off. I got a nagging shin splint in my left shin due to my Hawaii toe and then my right foot decided it wanted to get in on the action and get some plantar fasciitis. Awesome. I went several weeks barely running at all. I did hit the pool like a beast and do some cycling and weights, but I only started back run training in the past couple of weeks. Serial vacations to IOP, New York and Orlando in July didnt help the comeback any either. Or my financial stability, but that is another matter.
All of this to say is that this was not going to be pretty. No long runs, no speed work, and minimal mileage basically all summer. I had no idea what to expect and no clue as how to pace. But I had to start back somewhere.
Surprisingly, Camden is only about 30 minutes from my house, so I got to the race in plenty of time. Not a huge crowd but a bunch of the CRC regulars were on hand, since this was a Tour race. Columbia had the 811 5k with $8.11 registration, so I’m sure that cut down on the turnout. Team Utopia teammate Jim Williams was on hand. Strictly brought out their elite squad with Jonathan Kinsey, Plexico, both Brandenburgs and Coach B himself. Jennifer Reeves, Parker Roof, Rocky Soderberg, Arnold Floyd, Tom Beattie, Henry Holt, Sue Porter, Brigitte Smith were some of the Tour veterans. Whitney Keen, Heather Costello, Kara Clyburn, Garrick Douglas, Andrew Lipps, Sharon Cole and Chad and Betsy Long were familiar faces from the Elgin/Lugoff/Camden contingent. Trophy showed up to watch and take over my photo duties, though I had already told him this would be a prime chance to maybe score a rare Blue Shoes victory for him. Past results suggest that I must narrowly cheat death and have major orthopedic trauma for him to have a chance, though. But, it seems he’s been slacker than me this summer.
I’d like to say I scouted out this course and developed a race strategy but I did absolutely nothing of the sort. I did briefly look at the course video and saw that it was all roads this year, though it was impossible to see elevation changes. I lined up second row behind the SR Red Storm in front of me and we were off. It felt weird to run fast again since I basically had been pulling 9-10 minute pace for most of July, just trying to avoid re-injury. The front pack left me for dead immediately and I settled into a no-man’s land with Whitney up ahead and Garrick just behind me. The first mile, at the time, seemed pretty flat, though in actuality it was a gradual downhill. Since Brandenburg and Bedenbaugh were so far ahead I figured I was going insanely slow, though I was very pleased to get a 6:27 back for mile 1. This pace is ingrained in my brain ever since I tried to break 20 minutes for a year and a half. And hey, this didn’t feel too bad, right? Let’s pick it up a bit. Garrick had pulled up beside me but I surged forward and ran by myself in mile 2. The first half of mile 2 stayed OK…the second half, not so much. Lungs and legs did not like the surge. I backed it down a bit. The relatively cool morning suddenly didn’t feel so cool anymore. I suddenly saw the 2 mile mark and got back another 6:27 on the Garmin. OK, so 20 minute flat pace. Just hold it here and maybe you can blue shoe a finish to get a 19 something. Um… wrong answer. Suddenly the course turns uphill in mile 3 and everything goes epically to crap in a hurry. I’m sucking wind and the legs turn to cinder blocks. I’m trying to power up the hill but its one of those long gradual ones and it’s just crushing my very soul. A half mile from the finish Garrick blows by me and I’ve got nothing to respond. Tank is pinned on “E”. The last bit is pretty much a blur. Still uphill, hanging on for dear life and begging for the finish line. Finally we hit the last turn and I can’t bear to look at my Garmin (a very ugly 6:55 positive split). I attempt a feeble kick to the finish with the clock already in the 20’s, desperate for the pain to end and almost as desperate not to get a 21. I call trophy “Blackjack” every time he gets slack and fades into the 21’s and it would be too much to bear to get blackjacked myself (especially with him photodocumenting the whole thing). Luckily I spare myself at least some shame and cross in 20:40.
Wow. I haven’t felt that bad in a 5k in a long, long time. There’s definitely a lot of engine work to be done, but hopefully it will come back quickly. Some had the course a little long, but mine was 3.13. I did take solace in winning the 40-44 age group, though its kind of a hollow victory when 49 year old JB, 52 year old Coach B and 45 year old Whitney all whip your tail in masters.
Jonathan Kinsey crushed the competition in this race, blazing a 16:26, with Plex capturing 2nd. Socastee CC runner Nicholas Lefever took 3rd. Among the women, Heather Costello endured a Blue shoe-esque finish by Whitney but still easily won. Sharon Cole took 2nd and Martie Gail McCallum 3rd.
Barbara Brandenburg took home 1st female masters followed by Colleen Reed and Sherry Blizzard. The male masters punks are listed above. In the age groups, Whitney’s son Robert won 2nd in the 11-14, while daughter Julia also won 2nd in the 15-19. Parker Roof got shamed an old man with a resting heart rate of 36 but still got 2nd in the 15-19 guys. Garrick took home the 30-34. Kara Clyburn won the 35-39. Chad Long got blue shoed again by some kid but managed 3rd in the 40-44. Wife Betsy scored 2nd in the women’s 40-44. J-Reeves scored a 3rd in the 45-49. In the 50-54, Tom Beattie claimed 2nd and Andrew Lipps 3rd. Jim Williams easily took the 55-59. Sue Porter was champ of the female 55-59. Brigitte Smith won the 65-69, while Arnold Floyd, Henry Holt and Rocky Soderberg swept the 70+.