The Dry Run is a 5k in the Shandon neighborhood put on by Faces and Voices of Recovery, a substance abuse recovery group. It’s been held about 10 years now, and it’s been a regular stop on the Blue Shoes race calendar since my first year of my obsession in 2009.
It’s always been one of my favorites for a number of reasons. One, if you live in Columbia, you learn to suffer through the oven-like months of June, July and August in exchange for pretty awesome weather the rest of the year. The Dry Run is usually on the first cool weekend of the fall and feels amazing – such a relief. Two, they used to have ironic age group awards with pint glasses to the winners. Now , I can see that people in recovery might frown on this (though the one’s I’ve heard from thought it was funny) but there was nothing I liked better than drinking a beer in my new age group award while watching the Gamecocks play later that day. Alas, they have gone to plastic crystal discs now. Three, it was the site of my first 5k since almost dying in Hawaii. I ran a 26:05 on a very gimpy toe and was never happier. I missed out on an age group award of course, but Geary gave me his in a symbolic gesture and I still keep it in my car as a reminder. Thanks, dude.
Also, it doesn’t hurt that it’s a flat rectangle in Shandon and very PR friendly. I typically post one of my better times in months with the cooler temps and good competition. Always the trophy hunter. Lastly, Mike Hedgecock is the race director for this one and always does a great job. You can always tell when a race director is a runner themselves.
Unfortunately the weather didn’t quite cooperate this year. The first cold front of fall missed us by a matter of hours, leaving Saturday morning still high 70’s and humid. Definitely less than ideal. Also less than ideal was my “race prep” on Friday night. This time it wasn’t beer, late night concerts or San Jose’s (or all three) but deciding to do the Run for Our Troops 5k on a whim. Temps were 80+ that night and the course involved crazy trail switchbacks and lots of twists and turns on the riverwalk. I told myself the Dry Run was the target and this could just be for fun. Yeah, I got into a total pissing match with some ripped triathlon dude age grouper and outsprinted him in the last half mile. My “easy run” left me gasping for breath on the grass near the amphitheater. Nice job, hero.
So yeah, I got to the Dry Run super early to try and jog out some of the soreness from that little escapade. Mike , along with fellow 621 ninjas Steven Johnson, Luke Godwin and Matt Buffum, were helping at packet pickup. Always good to see them, especially when you know these beasts won’t be trying to steal your coveted trophies. Logged a beautiful 11 minute warm up mile. Right glute still wants to be all tight but it helps some to warm it up. I did a loop back and picked up Joyce, Mike Compton, and the Code, who still isn’t released for racing yet. At least he’s good for taking pics though.
I’m regretting last night’s ego trip by the time the start rolls around. Fairly typical crowd, less than 100 but lots of strong competition. Jonathan Kinsey won the Run for Our Troops Friday night and was also coming back for more, along with Strictly teammate Jennifer Lybrand. Eric and Sarah Allers do a lot of out-of-town racing with Reckless, but they’ve raced this fairly often, especially with the masters cash awards in play. Team Utopia teammates Joyce and Mike Compton were toeing the line along with Tour de Columbia racing regulars Brigitte Smith, Peter Mugglestone, Rocky Soderberg, Henry Holt, Pete Poore, Jennifer Reeves, Leeds Barroll, Sue Porter, Alex Ponomarev, Angel Manuel, Alex Wilcox and Sabine McGrievy (paced by dad Matt). It was good to meet Marion and Shelley Hinson as well.
No real strategy on this one other than shoot for low 20 minutes. A month ago I had run a 20:40 all out at the Springdale 5k after the injury layoff, so just taking some baby steps toward getting back under 19 again would be great. Course is simple – a big rectangle of Duncan-Queen-Heyward-Bonham, then a little half mile small rectangle of Monroe-Ravenel-Duncan-Bonham to the finish. Running the small rectangle sucks because there’s an small incline on Duncan that sucks all the life out of you right before the finish. All in all though, the course is one of the flatter routes in Columbia.
The start was predictably fast with all the regular racers on board. J-Lybrand was doing her 5:30 pace in the early going but settled down quicker than usual. A quarter mile in I notice a new growth on my shoulder. It has about 2 percent body fat, wearing a Reckless outfit and looks a lot like Sarah “Tigs” Allers. Oh no, here we go again. Somehow we’re always going at it, both brutally competitive, one former national level elite masters runner and one former couch surfer of wings and beer. I’ll let you figure that one out. Anyway, Tigs is on my back like white on rice. She’s been training for the mile recently so I have no idea what she might run in the 5k. I am still fearful of the death spiral of my Springdale race so after I throw a few surges in with no luck losing my shadow, I just settle into what I hope is goal pace. We hit mile 1 right before the turn onto Queen at 6:24, which is just about right. Finally, Tigs relents a little and falls behind me, though I’m used to people drafting behind my considerable wake. Leaving Queen for Heyward there’s a long straightaway – I can even see the lead car in the distance. Angel has me by about 50 meters and I can still make out Eric and some kid up ahead of Angel. There’s a slight downhill so I try to coast a little, though I’m starting to feel the effects of last night’s Blue Shoeing. It doesn’t help that the air is like a wet blanket. By the time mile 2 rolls around, I’m starting to hate life pretty bad, but the Garmin spits back a 6:25. Having spent a good year and a half of my life in 2009-10 to conquering the sub 20, I know I’m almost right on it. Actually just under it. If I can just hold on…
But man it’s starting to hurt. My mind is telling me to mail it in – Eric is going to take Masters, I’ve got my age group. No reason to push it. But then I see Angel is getting slowly reeled in. And the race monster is again awakened. By the time I reach the end of Heyward, Angel is maybe 20 meters ahead. It’s only ten by the time we hit the start of the small rectangle of pain. Must. track. him. down. He takes a couple of steps off course on Ravenel and I’m sure he can hear the asthmatic yeti behind him. He misses the turn on Duncan too initially – I yell at him with what little air I have left and start throwing down a Blue Shoe kick as hard as I can go. He veers back on course and I fly by in a fury of wind suckage and paleness. One last hill on Duncan is like a kick to the stomach but I can see the finish line turn. I am praying for the release of death by the time I hit that last corner, but I hear Luke or maybe Coach B shouting to “go get that sub 20”. I fly around the corner and see those precious 19’s. It’s going to be close. I sprint towards the line on fumes and do a victory yell that probably sounds like the death of an elephant. 19:54!
So happy to back in the land of the 19’s again. Sucked wind on the curb for about a minute before I could breathe again, like usual. 4th overall, 1st in age group!
Jonathan Kinsey had a walk in the park for his win and still was clear of the field by a minute and a half in 17:17. Eric Allers stole my masters money and finished 2nd overall to boot, showing 3rd place teen Brady Rafanan that we old men can still run. Tigs ran one of her strongest times in recent months to skip over masters and take the overall win. Jennifer Lybrand finished 2nd while newest Columbia Running Club member Natalia Rozhkova took 3rd. Joyce Welch took the women’s masters win since Tigs won the overall. I’m disappointed you couldn’t do the same, Eric.
Age group honor roll (only did 1st with the small field) : Sabine McGrievy looked super psyched to win the girls 2-14. Alex Wilcox and Jennifer Lybrand were champs of the 25-29. Angel took the 35-39…only three more months before he joins me in the 40’s. Shelley Hinson won the 45-49, while Sue Porter took the 55-59. Mike Compton and Alex POnamarev claimed the 60-64 and 65-69 men. Brigitte Smith won the women’s 65-69. Peter Mugglestone was champion of the 70+ in 26:05.