GHS Swamp Rabbit Half Marathon – Greenville, SC – 2/27/16


IMG_7746With a couple of races in town every weekend, I’ve only traveled to run a handful of times. Sure, I’ve jumped into a few races on vacation – an addict always has to get his fix – but it’s pretty rare for me to go somewhere specifically to race. The ridiculous production of hydrating/pooping/stretching/warm-up/breakfast is chaotic enough when you’re own home, but its a whole other thing from a hotel.

But Derek Gomez pitched an offer to Team Utopia last month – come run the fastest, net-downhill half marathon in the state and stay at his parent’s unoccupied house in Simpsonville. Intersperse all of the above with beer. I had a hard time giving up my March for Meals (first trophy ever) and Lexington Race Against Hunger (a standard on the racing calendar for 6+ years) but eventually I gave into the offer just 2 weeks from race day.

That being said , I haven’t raced a half marathon since Savannah 2014. That one was a perfect storm of awesomeness – one of my greatest races of all time and a PR by 2 minutes. I almost didn’t want to tarnish the memory. But eventually I had to do another one. This one was to be an experiment of sorts. I have been training for Boston merely to finish and enjoy that race, figuring it to be the pinnacle and perhaps last chapter of my marathon career. So zero speedwork outside of my weekly races. I’ve been religious about the long run, slogging out 16,18,20 milers by myself at 9:30 pace. I’ve somehow cursed all my usual training partners to injury. I had a fair amount of anxiety about this race as I had no idea of what I might be capable. There was just no recent data to go on. I decided to try for a sub 1:30 figuring there would be at least a 50/50 chance of a complete crash and burn.

I drove up to Greenville after work on Friday. For those of you living in Irmo, Chapin and Lexington – I feel your pain. Traffic is a supreme cluster. Accommodations at Chateau de Gomez were superb. He had a pasta dinner waiting for us (Michael Nance, Justin Bishop and Ivanka Tolan) and coffee/breakfast in the morning. You can’t beat that. Oh, and he picked up our packets. We are forever grateful, Derek.

The Swamp Rabbit course is point-to-point, starting at Travelers Rest High School and ending at the TD Bank amphitheatre along the Reedy River in Greenville. After going about a mile north, and running some coned off roads, mile 3 to the finish is basically following the Swamp Rabbit trail – a paved pedestrian/bike path that goes over 30 miles from TR to Simpsonville. The best part is, since its point-to-point, is a net downhill as you follow the natural decline in elevation towards the coast.

We get there way early to be safe. They had shuttles to and from the finish, which sounds nice. However, since it was 30 degrees and no inside place to wait (<cough> high school gym <cough>) everyone from the shuttles were fighting hypothermia. We did the multiple car thing based on Justin’s experience from last year. Hence my butt was overly warm in the heated seats of my Honda Pilot. Nice.

A few from Columbia were on hand. Jeff Godby and Shannon Iriel were there, which I was very happy about, since they would be good pacers with our similar half times. It was nice to see Shawanna White and Rashad Striggles, though both would be in different time zones from me. Michael Jensen was representing for Team Utopia – fresh off a sub 22 PR at Race for the Place.

I lined up close to the start with the narrow trail, but backed off the actual line because there were a ton of lean, singlet types that looked like they do my 5k pace to warm up. I’m sure the 2% body fat crew was wondering why some Sasquatch with an iphone was in their midst, but they were unaware of my X-men mutant power.

After freezing my butt off for a couple of minutes, we were off. The first mile and a half was actually away from Greenville and featured some of the few hills on the course. Nothing too bad. I realized I had absolutely no idea how to pace this. My goal was 6:52/mile and run it as even as possible. Hitting that first split would be crucial. I drafted behind Jeff and Shannon for most of the first mile but surged ahead when things were getting cramped. This race was ridiculously competitive, so I felt completely like a mid-packer. I was able to find a little space and hit the mile marker at 6:46. Whew – this was good. A little fast for the first mile, but pretty close. Second mile started to suck. There were a few inclines and it seemed like I as laboring more than I should. It also always hurts to know you are running away from the finish line in a whole other city. Mile 2 comes back in 6:59 and I am really thinking this is going to turn south in a hurry. We hit a nice downhill but I’ve got some nasty lactic acid building up in my calves. I don’t know whether its being cold or anxious but I better shake this out quick. I was bummed to see Shawanna dropped out near mile 3, but she seemed like she was OK. I got passed by a couple of young guys and Jeff pulled alongside for the next couple of miles. He asked how I was doing and I think I said something vulgar to the effect of NOT GOOD. Shannon said she was going strong, drafting just behind my sizable Saquatchian wake.Despite the crap feeling, I was hitting 6:40’s thanks to two mostly downhill miles back on the trail.

At mile 4 I realized I really needed to change something up because I couldn’t bear 9 more miles feeling like this. I focused on driving from my hips and putting less stress on my calves/ankles, letting them relax as much as possible. I don’t know whether this strategy worked or my legs finally warmed up, but things got much better very quickly. I fell into a good rhythm and just spaced out for awhile. Lots of downhill and flats. I ran by myself for awhile and then ran in tandem with a younger guy who looked to be in way better shape. I think he wasn’t liking some 40 year old beast catching him but we might as well have been holding hands for a good couple of miles. I was nervous about a crash because I had left my GU in my bag in Derek’s car. I was overjoyed at mile 6 when I heard someone shout GU at the end of a water station. I grabbed a water and tried to get the gel but the teen girl was spaced out and I missed the exchange. DOH! I debated about stopping to get it but I didn’t want to break stride from this zone I was in. Oh well, I hadn’t trained with GU so maybe this was a good thing. No one wants a pooptastrophe in a race.

The middle miles were a blur. I lost Mr. Fit and focused on pacing with the trio of young guys who passed me at mile 3. My mind wrestled with the creeping anxiety of an epic bonk and the euphoria of possibly crushing my goal time. Just hit even splits, don’t get crazy. Run in that comfortably hard zone just outside of your lactate threshold. My dream-like state was awakened by another “GU!” shout at the next aid station. This time the exchange was a success and i held a completely random chocolaty flavored accel gel  in my hand. Conventional wisdom always says don’t try anything new on race day, but it also says don’t race every weekend and jump into half marathons with no real training. Here goes nothing. The chocolate was thick and kind of gross, but whatever, i figured it had sugar and maybe some caffiene. Took me most of the next mile to finish it, since eating and 6:40 pace don’t really go well together.

Just after mile 9, I had a sudden moment of euphoria. I was still banking time towards my 1:30 goal, and I started to recognize the course. I had done an 8 mile out and back on the swamp rabbit from my hotel in Greenville last April, and here it was – the place I turned around. This memory, and a nice downhill ahead, helped me recover some.The distance was starting to take its toll, and I was no longer in my nice comfy space. The mile 10 marker was a sudden surprise after I was lost in my head for awhile. This is it – 5k to go. I thought I was ramping up the pace, but it was more like ramping up the effort. This far in, it just took more to keep up the same pace. It felt faster though, because the field started coming back to me. First two of the young guys. Then a couple of masters/grandmasters women and men who reminded me how crazy competitive this race is. I finally caught tall dreadocked kid who had left his two buddies and looked back to see a gasping Sasquatch tracking him down. Catching him launched me into full on kick mode around mile 11. The course starts taking some twists and turns with a lot of road crossings, so this was making it tough. Still mostly flat though. I finally caught a kid who looked 15-16 who I saw at the start, with 1:25 goal splits written on his arm. I got excited at this idea but then even my fuzzy mile 11 math calculated he was just having a bad day. With the mile 12 marker I pushed in all the chips. With a  6:41 and still banking time against the 1:30, it dawned on me I was probably closer to flirting with the PR. By this time you can see all of downtown Greenville around you, with the noise of traffic and spectators ramping up. I was begging for the finish by now because the kick I began at mile 10 was running out of steam quickly. Justin came into view, and he was stationed right at the half mile from the finish mark – 800 meters! two loops of the track! go hard at the turn onto the street! Any restraint went out the window at this point.  I almost ran over some woman on her Saturday morning jog who refused to yield an inch to someone flailing away at the end of a half. I used some of my precious remaining oxygen to curse her but then I saw the street. I was absolute toast on the little bridge over the Reedy river but by then the street is lined with people screaming. I finally saw the finish chute and gave it everything I had left.  Hit the line right at 1:28:32.

Wow, so this was beyond anything I had hoped. I would have been thrilled with anything sub 1:30 and I had come oh so close to bagging the whole thing at mile 4. I was a little disappointed I missed out on the awards (this was only good for 5th in age group) but this is probably the most competitive half I’ve ever done. I think i was top 40 at Savannah, only good for 6oth here. I was also bummed at coming so close to my PR, which I was almost sure was 1:28:22 at Savannah. After the results came online they gave me a 1:28:27 by the chip (which matches the time on my Garmin). After a few beers at the Whistle Stop in TR, I did a quick check of the 2014 Savannah results. HOLY CRAP. It was my marathon time (3:11:22) that had the 22 seconds. My half was 1:28:29. So I got my PR! Two measly seconds. Sure glad I didn’t go back to get that first GU.

Two of my TUS teammates absolutely destroyed their PRs – Michael Nance did a 1:22:51 and Gomez finished just behind him in 1:23 flat. Both their bests by a few minutes. Gomez was able to get 2nd in AG but somehow Nance got nothing (4th) due to the unbelievable field. Speaking of unbelievable, Bishop rocked a 1:15 and got all of 3rd in AG. Insane. Godby got a PR as well, finishing in 1:30:07. Shannon crushed it, clocking a 1:30:53 and capturing 1st in AG. An awesome time after having a very rough injury-ridden year and not racing since last year’s Jailbreak. Ivanka had a tough day with some walksies but still did a very respectable 1:38 (4th in AG). Michael Jensen completed the PR parade with a 1:43:48, breaking his old mark by several minutes. Rashad Striggles went low 1:15 and captured 2nd masters in this brutal field. Erin Suttman was 1st in the 20-24.

In the overall, Brett Morley, our Long Run 15k champ, took the win in 1:07:52. Ladies winner was Victoria Hammersmith in a smoking 1:17:37. Matt Shock was 6th overall in 1:11:52. EA’s Alyssa Bloomquist took 3rd female. Caitlin Batten and Michele Ziegler were the top 2 30-34 women. The ageless Susi Smith took 3rd masters female in 1:29:52 at age 56 – incredible. I heard her support just behind me most of the race.

Amazing times on this super fast course and perfect weather!





Race for the Place – Columbia, SC – 2/20/16


The Race for the Place is now in its 6th year and has become one of the more competitive winter 5ks on the Tour de Columbia. Proceeds go to fund St Lawrence place (the “place” in the title), a local shelter for homeless women with families.

Beyond the obvious good cause, it has been a regular on the Blue Shoes calendar for a) great race direction by Missy Caughman b) numerous photo ops with Cocky and/or local celebs,  c) awesomely flat course, d)  cool painted tile age group awards and e) race shirts you actually want to wear outside of running.  Basically hitting all the major check boxes for getting the Albino Sasquatch seal of approval.

The caveat –  everyone else likes this stuff too. In the past, the race has been an absolute antithesis of a trophy hunt. Just beasts everywhere. The worst example – 2013. I ran one of my better 5ks of all time – a 19 flat, and ended up 5th in age group. Third went to Derek Gomez, who ran an 18:30 something. Unreal.

This year there was a bit of dueling winter-flat-Shandon -rectangles-out-of-St-Joe’s-church races going on, with Run with the Saints a month earlier. RWTS used the same course, but backwards, and courted a lot of local elites. Consequently, RFTP had less of the beast factor this year. I think this might have inspired some Taylor Swift level Bad Blood, but RFTP still ended up with a record crowd, so I guess all is good. Both races are high quality.

I was feeling pretty good after the 19:19 last week, so I was hoping for a similar performance this time around.  It about killed me, but I decided to turn down the double dip opportunity of Brookland Cayce’s Run to the Plate just an hour later. Boston is looming just ahead and I have to slog out these Sunday long runs to at least pretend I can still run a marathon. Double frying the legs with a double dip Saturday is probably not conducive to this plan. I opted to take pics at the BC race instead.

I showed up my customary hour ahead of time and parked the car strategically for a quick getaway. Temps were a lot warmer than last week but not too bad. Justin had organized RFTP as a Team Utopia goal race, so the black and gold were out in force. Myself, Code, David Russell, Michael Nance, Ivanka and Eliere Tolan, Sheila Bolin, Ashley “bud light lime” Horton, Tracy Meyers, Joyce “puppet master” Welch with son Tate, Kana Rahman , Michael Jensen, Brittany and Jeffrey Robbins,  Brenda Brazell, Betty Gregory and all 3 Bishops ( Justin, Christina and Olivia) were representing. Sarah and Eric Allers were on hand representing Reckless Running.  Rashad Striggles and John Charlton amped up the elite factor and made for a brutal masters category.  Other familiar faces were race director Missy Caughman, Erin and Parker Roof, Randy Hrechko, Wilson Harvey, Lois Leaburn, Teresa Harrington, Sandra Ricciuto, Ron Hagell,  Arnold Floyd, John Gasque, Eme Crawford, Jennife Glass, Lorand Batten, Alex Ponomarev, Kat Hudgens, Donna Freeman, Rocky Soderberg, Renee and Patrick McCormick, Bob Petruzzi, Kerry Stubbs, and Sharon Sherbourne.

After awesome selfie opportunities with WIS’ Judy Gatson and USC women’s BB coach Dawn Staley, we were off. The first leg of the rectangular course is a nice long slight decline down Bonham. I went out fast but tried to be more controlled this time, figuring right around 6:10 pace would be perfect. Having spent so much pain cave time last week, I was a little hesitant to jump right in and set up camp. Maybe I was fitter and it wouldn’t be so bad this time. Totally delusional. I should know, 300 races under my belt, that 5ks always, always are a world of suck. Ride the pain train the whole way or prepare to be disappointed.  Code apparently smoked some high grade meth before the race because dude is crushing it right off the bat. By the time we reach corner number 1 at Heyward, the master of the portapotty has 20 meters in me already. Damn dude, put down the pipe.  I’ve already got some space a half mile in. Wilson Harvey is on my shoulder and I see Nance up ahead, who has been doing these 5ks as part of his Boston long runs. I can still hear Randy and Sarah talking behind me, which is unusual since they’re both so quiet. I see Shawanna spectating at the mile 1 marker, telling me “just two miles to go”. Killing me, Shana. What really kills me is Mr. Garmin spitting back a 6:22. Damn. Way to go with the pacing, chief.

Twelve seconds is an eternity in a 5k, so I’m already heading into Debbie Downer mode. Plus, the 18 mile trail long run I did on a Monday seems to be still lingering in my legs. Definitely not as fresh as the MGC race. Just over a mile and a half in, we finally round the other end of the rectangle on Queen. Shandon cross streets are always slightly uphill in this direction so starting to hurt some. Wilson decides he’s had enough of the large, smelly wake of the Sasquatch and surges ahead. Code is pretty far up there but Russell and Nance have overtaken him and I can sense he’s fighting off the walksies again. Blood is in the water. I round the turn onto Wheat and hit another disappointing 6:21 for mile 2 near Hand middle. A mile left and a Code to track down – time to fire up the kick. Wheat is nice and flat and I ramp up the pace. Lungs are actually not giving me the beat down as much as the general complaining from my legs from the lactic acid bath they are taking.  Nothing breaks the Code’s spirit more than getting passed by 195 pounds of paleness, so I surge to overtake him just as the course veers over a block to finish on Blossom. The surge about kills me and the lungs start to pick up the complaining slack from the legs.  I’m struggling to keep form, especially when Justin comes back on his cool down. Gotta show the coach the nips-to-hips. Finally the clock comes into view just over 19 minutes. One last gasp to try and break 19:30 but I fall a second short.  19:31 officially, 1st in AG.

Definitely slower than I’d hoped, but I’ll take a first in AG any day, despite the fact that it’s 4th masters. I finished standing up with no melodramatic pavement humping, so I guess that’s a good thing too. Especially for innocent bystanders.

Taking the overall win was Rashad Striggles in a blazing 16:29. Bishop took second in 16:54 with John Charlton 3rd. The ladies race was won by Ivanka Tolan in 20:32, followed by Sarah Allers and Mary Lohman. The masters titles went to Eric Allers in 17:53 and Joyce Welch in 23:35.

Age group honor roll: Parker Roof and Brittany Robbins both easily won the 15-19. Wilson Harvey held off the Sasquatchian kick to take 1st in the 25-29. David Russell won the 30-34 in 19 flat. Nance ran an easy 19:05 to take the 35-39. Eme Crawford finished 2nd among the women. Myself, Code and Michael Jensen completed a TUS/CRC sweep in the 40-44. Jensen crushed a sub 22 for a new PR. Jennifer Glass finished 3rd in the 40-44. Randy held off David Andrews to take the 45-49. Sandra Ricciuto won the 45-49 women. Tracy Meyers and Renee McCormick went 1-3 in the 50-54, while Eliere Tolan won 2nd in the 50-54 men.  Lorand Batten (pulling a kid in a wagon) , double dipping John Gasque and Patrick McCormick took the 55-59 men while Teresa Harrington took 3rd among the women. Sharon Sherbourne won the 60-64 and Alex Ponomarev was the champ of the 65-69. Betty Gregory took 2nd in the 65-69 women. Arnold Floyd, Ron Hagell and Rocky Soderberg placed in a stacked 70+ division.

Click to access Updated-Overall-Results-Race-for-the-Place-2.22.2016.pdf

Click to access Race-for-the-Place-Results-By-Age-Division.pdf

Make My Day 5k and 12k – Harbison State Forest – 2/13/16


Make my Day is a 12k and 5k put on by Half Moon Outfitters to support Harbison State Forest, now in its 7th year. Since I generally suck on the trails, I didn’t show up at this race until 2013. I’ve been back every year since because of the awesome swag Half Moon throws into this race and its a rare chance to go head to head with some of the Harbison Trail Runner guys, on their home course.

As I’ve stated before, I have a love/hate relationship with the trails. I love my Sesqui, only a half mile from my house and full of soft, cushy sand. It’s a great break from the beatdown of the roads and provides a great workout. Plus, its always nice not to have to almost be run over by texting soccer moms in giant SUVs. That being said, racing on trails is a whole other ballgame. Especially anything short. If you’ve never had the joy of a frantic bear chase for your life through the woods, try a trail 5k. I think other people share my opinion since most trail races go long. The long races mess with my head too, since I can’t get a handle on pace and effort, and I either leave some on the course or end up a crumpled sweaty heap at the finish.

Last year I ran a pretty strong race pacing off other people, so I figured I’d do the same this time. The fitness has been slowly getting better with the steady diet of 40-50 miles a week in prep for Boston. The 19:19 5k last week was the best since last spring, when I hitched aboard the injury train and couldn’t get off.

Rolling into Harbison about an hour ahead of time, I was thankful there were only a handful of people there. It seems every race held in this place cheaps out on the bathrooms, so its always a crap shoot (see what I did there) what you’re going to get. Luckily there were at least 2 portapotties plus the one scary Harbison bathroom. If you’ve never used a portapotty when its 28 degrees, I can’t say I recommend it. But at least there wasn’t a line… yet.

I only did about a mile warmup – despite picking up my packet the day before, I got sucked into the smartwool booth where they offer you free socks…if you post a pic of yourself on social media with their hashtag. I sold out like Peyton Manning to get my precious little high end footies. Oh well, its not like I’m not a facebook whore already.

I wussed out on fellow Team Utopia Boston trainees Michael Nance and Derek Gomez’ course preview run before the race but managed to run into them as they finished. They were incorporating the race as a tempo section of their long run, which sounded good, except for the fact that I become a crazed animal whenever I pin that bib on. No way could I go easy on the race. Derek passed on a key, crucial bit of info though – the course was at least 8.5 miles. There had been plenty of info about the course being detoured due to trail conditions and being a little longer, but I had no idea it would be another mile and change.

By the time I got back to the start area, the place was crawling with trail beasts. Rick Stroud and Dean Schuster’s Harbison Trail Runners were out in force in a sea of orange shirts..I mean “tangerine” as Rick corrected me. In addition to Dean and Rick, Winston, Yerg, Bill Siebers, Brian “El Capitan” Clyburn with faithful canine companion Tuff and faithful female companion Jen, Jay Hammond, Harry Strick, Craig Wlaschin, Mr. Tenacious J (Jeff Curran), Rick Gibbons, Tracy and Julie McKinnon and Roy Shelley were out rocking the team shirts. Other familiar faces included Amie Booth (coming back from a shoulder injury), Justin Bishop, Sydney Frontz, Sheila Bolin, Paige Tyler, Teresa Harrington, Mark Bailey, Jennifer Glass,  Andrew Lipps, Kara Clyburn, Eme Crawford, Alfred Baquiran, Betsy and Chad Long, Brigitte Smith and Greta Dobe. I’m forever indebted to Micah Simonsen, who brought a pint of my precious Reisdorff Kolsch as a celebratory drink, provided we made it out of Harbison alive.

The start is a gradual climb on a wide open gravel road, which I took way too hard last year and died. I was a little more judicious this time and held back my Tasmanian devil starting tendencies. 8.5 miles is a long way, especially when I hadn’t raced on trails in months. All I remember from last year was a showdown with Winston and Dean, so I tried to keep these guys in sight. Unfortunately they immediately dropped me like a bad habit, and I got stuck in a conga line in the early going. It was tough alternately riding some guy’s back like a circus monkey and then having some beast breathing down my neck. I had to get out of here. Eventually I found a break and went flying ahead like a runaway bus up the side of the trail. FREEDOM. About 3 miles in I see a familiar gait up ahead and it’s Micah. I catch up to him and he gets the circus monkey experience for a bit until he finally can’t take the psychological torture of a crazed Albino Sasquatch chasing him through the woods. I burst into the clear for awhile. After being alone for about a mile, some random guy comes flying up behind me, and he looks age groupery. Damn, this race is already a freaking olympiad of KNOWN superfit middle aged guys, I don’t need randoms too. We hit the course detour about 4 miles in and all of a sudden we hit a wide open road. PERFECT. I throw the shades on and enter into road racing mode for much of the next mile, tracking down the random and catching sight of some tangerines up ahead.

By the time we hit the singletrack again, Dean and Winston are in shouting distance and Craig Wlaschin is just ahead. I pass Craig, who I figure is either tempoing it or having a bad day because he usually kills me. Random is guiding my way and even passes Dean and Winston up ahead. Finally, I reach them too. I’m pretty gassed from catching up (early miles were 7:50ish, last was 7:15), so by this point all I can do is be the caboose on this 3 man train.  At this point I do some quick calculating. I know Dean and I finished within 2 seconds of each other last year. Dean, and probably Winston too, know this course like the back of their hand and presumably, know how to pace and where to step. I figure I’m in a good spot to just hold on and match these guys, and hope for the best at the hill at the finish.

The next few miles are a blur of tangerine. All I can see is Winston’s back and Dean’s fabulous rhinestone sunglasses. Dean pulls away on the downhills but we catch him on the inlcines. All of us pretty much lock step for what seems like forever. I’m not even totally sure if they know its me behind them, though I’m sure they know some large smelly mammal is back there. Just after mile 7 we hit a long, uphill area that’s pretty open,which is the first part I’ve recognized in miles. All of a sudden, Counselor Holliday acts like he’s seen a federal felon up ahead and takes off. I get frantic and plow ahead after him. Dean says something like “ENJOY, FELLAS” and figure he’s done. Winston is crushing it up the hill but I manage to keep up. We take down a few roadkill along the way. We both slow a little towards the top as the surge apparently has us both pretty wiped. I see Rick Stroud up ahead making a right turn, which I recognize as being just a little over a mile to go.  Having caught our breath a bit, Winston flies down the ensuing decline with Sasquatch in tow. I feel someone on my back now. I take a millisecond sideways glance and I see is oversized bedazzled sunglasses. Damn it, Schuster. The pace is now rabid bear chase level. I get frantic towards the finish of races but know I’ve got to time this surge just right. After a long decline I see an open road in the clearing ahead, which I know must have the killer finishing hill just beyond. I’m starting to gather my strength but all of a sudden there’s a huge water crossing ahead. No way to make this pretty. Winston sidesteps just a bit but I plow through the creek with zero regard for personal safety. The water is insanely cold and I use the adrenaline to push all my chips in.

Crossing the road I attack the hill mercilessly. Arms are flying, legs churning, lungs gasping. I’m probably pulling about mall walker mom pace but damned if it isn’t 1000 percent effort. I hit the gravel road at the top and I’m deathly afraid of Dean outkicking me. He almost caught me last year when I thought I had it in the bag. I seem to have forgotten there is yet another rise just after the gravel road. I’ve got nothing left but the adrenaline has still got me jacked up enough to fake it. At the turn, Garrett Smith tells me its a quarter mile to go. Thankfully its all downhill . I fly down the trail looking like a complete hot mess. Arms flailing everywhere trying to avoid a major wipeout, which seems imminently possible with every root and dip in the path. One last surge as I see the red numbers of the clock and Rick and the random guy (Michael Wyatt) finish up ahead. Crossed the line in 1:06:08, with Dean and Winston finishing just seconds behind.

I would like to think this was a beautifully planned tactical race, but as it turns out, there were just too many 40 something beasts. Took 15th overall, 6th masters. They did 10 year age groups too, so our trio had an all out epic battle for 5th in age group. Even with 5 year groups I would have barely made third. I got 8.46 miles for the detoured course, though some people had over 8.6.

In the 12k, Ian Rose and Keenan Miller took the top overall spots with Justin Bishop and Tim Gibbons just a few seconds behind. Hope Whisman won the women’s race by 9 minutes, with Sydney Frontz and Caitlin Markham finishing the podium.

12k male age groupers: Michael Nance took 2nd in the 35-39 despite logging 17 miles for the day. Tracy McKinnon, Brian Clyburn and Rick Stoud took the brutal 40-49 (the 1:06 minute had six straight 40-49 finishers 3rd-8th). Layton Gwinn, Jay Hammond and Larry Bates swept the 50-59. Pete O’Boyle and Harry Strick went 1-3 in the 60+. Womens: Jen Clyburn won the 30-39.  Julie McKinnon, Betsy Long and Jennifer Glass won the 40-49. Lisa Powell and Monica Wright placed 1st and 3rd in the 50-59. Brigitte Smith took 2nd in the 60-69.

In the 5k, Anthony Brown, John Henis , and Matthew Hooper took the overall. 23:50 was the winning time, making me wonder if I might have had a chance at the trophy hunt holy grail. Alexa Leopold, Erin Leopold and Jaime Walvoord won the womens race.

Men’s 5k age groups: Jeff Curran won the 40-44. Women’s 5k age groups: Lisa King took the win in the 50-59.





MGC Long Run 5k and 15k – Columbia, SC – 2/6/16


The MGC Long Run is now in its third year and has grown to be one of the biggest winter races in Columbia, as well as one of its few 15ks. This year they received RRCA official state championship status for the 15k, ramping up the elite factor even more. The 9.3 mile course is really cool, taking you by the State House and over the river on two different bridges, ending with a tough Blossom St climb and finish on Lady street .

But, as any trophy hunter knows, ALWAYS RUN THE UNDERCARD.  And there it was, the 5k, just sitting there.  Sure there was the “Not so Long run 5k” moniker that basically cried out that you were a wuss for choosing it, but pride is never factor when it comes to the pursuit of shiny metal trinkets. What’s more, I did the 15k last year. Everyone remembers the brutal finish, but I had stored away a memory from last year’s race – the first 3 miles were beautifully flat. These first three miles were also the entire 5k route.  I was in.

The 5k is 30 minutes after the 15k start, so by the time I show up the place is teeming with beasts for the bigger race. The last two years they brought out a Kenyan (Kimutai Cheruiyot )and Michael Banks to the race and the 15k state record was broken by Cheruiyot the first year (and barely missed by Banks in year two). I didn’t recognize anyone capable of those performances but there were some other studs in attendance like Matt Shock and Orinthal Striggles. Anton “The Method” Bodourov was making a rare appearance to crush anyone else’s Masters hopes. Joy Miller, Heather Costello and SR’s Erins – Miller and Suttman – were on hand to make a fast women’s race.

Michael Nance, Winston Holliday, Toby Selix, Randy “don’t pronounce the H” Hrechko,  the Yerg, Whitney Keen and family (Caroline and Julia), Luke Godwin,  Linn Hall, Jay Hammond, The OG, Micah Simonsen, Andy Mikula, Phil Midden,  Charley Clements, Mike Compton, Flicker, Kristin Cattieu, Jason “toonce” Lockhart, Michael Jensen, Jim Lichty, John Bradley, Mary Howk, Rick Gibbons, Kimberly Hardin, Alan Humphries, Deirdre Maldonado,  Rebecca West, Alsena Edwards, Andrew Lipps, Chris Fawver, Carol Wallace, Marlena Crovatt-Bagwell, Mark Robertson, Jeanna Moffett, Wade Bauer, Josh Fowler, Renee McCormick, Sandra Ricciuto, Lois Leaburn, Lisa Smarr, Teresa Harrington, Ron Hagell, Kim La, Kelly Ghent, John Houser, April Hutto, Cheryl  and Tommy Outlaw, Patti Lowden, Dawn Woodrow, Sharon Sherbourne, Hou-Yin Chang, Patrick McCormick, Krystal McManus, Kat Hudgins, Brigitte Smith, Lorraine Wiseman, Irene Bal, Jesse Smarr, Kerry Stubbs are the names and faces I recognize from the 15k runners.  Just about everybody, save for a few trophy hunters who did the 5k and the Lagniappe 5k in Rosewood.

I took some pics of the 15k start and about froze my fingers off just clicking the iphone. Freaking cold. Hopefully that removed most of the competition, though I was wondering if Brandenburg might show up, or maybe Bedenbaugh, to try and steal my masters glory.

The 15k started a little late so I was wondering if the 5k might be backed up too. Luckily Selwyn caught me heading out for a warmup and said it was going to start in 7 minutes. My worst “racemare” is missing the start, so I made sure to circle back around.

At the start line I could scope out the competition. This wasn’t much of a trophy hunt. For one,  Justin Bishop was on hand to crush the field and Parker Roof was surely going to beat me. Code, MC Cox, Drew Williams, Geary McAlister, Daniel Patrick and Will Brumbach were potential combatants in my neighborhood.  Michelle Zeigler was there from Eric Ashton’s racing team. I saw Shawanna earlier but didn’t know where she went. Ivanka Tolan,  Johnathan Kirkwood, Albert Anderson, Roy’s son Ryan Shelley,  Ivanka  Tolan,  Joyce, Brittany Robbins, Andrew Bloxham, Shelley Hinson, Tracy Meyers, Tracy Tisdale, Jennifer Lybrand, Tom tanner, Pete Poore , Henry Holt, Jessica Weaver, Rich Weaver, Susan Weaver, Leeds Barroll, Jennifer Reeves, Ken Lowden, and  Sandra Manning were the familiar faces.

Click to access 5kLongRun.pdf

The start has a track like half mile loop that brings you back towards the finish. With the flat streets and bracing cold, I was going out hard from the get go. I’ve learned the only way to run a fast 5k is to go out hard and hang on. Basically jump in the pain cave and make things cozy, because you’re going to be there the whole damn time. But at first it wasn’t so bad. Lots of crowd support and energy. I was bummed to see Shawanna at the half mile mark looking dejected – I think she missed the start.  After the half mile lap is a long stretch on Marion street. I feel a familiar whipping on my ankles and I cannot freaking believe my shoe has come untied. Three hundred races in You’d think I’d have mastered the task. But no way was I burning this trophy hunt to stop. I am wondering  at this time a) where the hell is Code and Will Brumbach? And b) Why am I sucking so much wind already?  Fortunately Strictly had a mile clock and  as I approached it was still in the fives.  Questions answered.  I passed at about 6:07. Since my injury recovery, I’ve been doing 6:20’s so this was more than just a little speedy. Oh well, the chips are already pushed in.

Mile 2 is kind of a blur. I’m hating life and it feels like I’m slowing down. MC Cox is giving me a beat down and Drew is still up ahead pretty far. I recognize a lot of the course from Bunny Hop, another gloriously flat race. My Garmin buzzes and says my recovery from my last run is “FAIR”. Really, Garmin? I was doing 4 nine minute miles yesterday – I’m pretty sure this is harder than that. Gregg St has a little rise and it’s like a punch to the stomach. I am about toast and starting to mentally struggle when my Garmin beeps again and gives me back an identical 6:07. Wow, I guess that’s why I’m dying. But it’s a big mental boost to still be right on 19 flat pace this far in.

Any hopes of seeing the 18’s however, kind of go out the window on Pickens. This long straightaway lasts forever and is ever so slightly uphill. I’m in a world of hurt. The only thing keeping me going is besting that 19:29 from last weekend and the fact I’m just starting to reel in Drew again. In my death struggle, I see Lady street up ahead and figure its straight to the finish from there. I start to mount whatever kick I can muster but then I see MC Cox go straight. Oh crap, I really should have memorized this course better. Finally we turn left onto Gervais and I know we are getting close. Afterburners go on as my lungs are crying out for mercy. Somehow I catch Drew on Gervais and don’t have any air for snarky comments.  I see a guy up ahead as we turn down Sumter towards Lady and I can’t tell for sure if he’s an age grouper.  I finally catch this guy on Lady and I can see the finish way up ahead. Somehow I find another gear and come barreling down the street , spelunking areas of the pain cave I didn’t know existed. I thought I might be flirting with 18’s but the clock had already turned over. Threw in one last burst to hit the line just under 19:20. 19:19 officially. Fastest 5k since last spring and first masters!

In the 15k, Greenville’s Brett Morley took the win in 48 minutes and change. Matt Shock took second, with Rashad Striggles 4th. On the women’s side, Joy Miller took the win in 56:31 with Heather Costello, Erin Miller and Erin Suttman taking the next 3 spots, all under an hour. Linn Hall and Anton Bodourov captured masters wins.

15k age groupers: Ashley Sears claimed 1st while Kimberly Hardin took 3rd in the 30-34. Michael Nance, luke Godwin and Rob Yerger swept the 35-39 men. Kristin Cattieu won 2nd among the women. Phil Midden and Toby Selix went 1-2 in the 40-44, with Rebecca West taking 2nd among the women.Whitney Keen won the 45-49, while Ryan Fleischer edged out Randy Hrechko for 2nd. In the 50-54 women, Chantal Faure took the win with Marlena Crovatt-Badwell 3rd.  Jay Hammond, Phil Togneri and Alan Humphries claimed the 50-54 men. Alsena Edwards and Carol Wallace went 1-3 in the 55-59 women. Robbie McClendon and Mike Compton fought it out for the top 2 in the 60-64.Mary Howk won the 60-64 women in sub 8 pace, 15 minutes ahead of 2nd. Karen Kramer took 3rd. John Houser was 2nd in the 65-69 men, while Patti Lowden and Brigitte Smith claimed the women’s division. Ron Hagell and Jesse Smarr won the 70+.

Justin Bishop took the overall win in the 5k, ahead of Aaron Trent and Parker Roof. Michelle Ziegler, MC Cox and Ivanka Tolan swept the women’s podium. Joyce Welch won female masters.

5k age groupers: Tyler Robertson won 3rd in the 11-13. Allie Mabry was 3rd in the 14-16. Brittany Robbins and Jessica Weaver took the top 2 15-19 slots. Andrew Bloxham was 2nd in the 20-24. Daniel Patrick was 2nd in the 25-29. Jennifer Lybrand won the 25-29 women even with baby in tow. Laura Holt was 2nd in the 30-34. Drew Williams and Will Brumbach went 2-3 in the 35-39, while Luci Smith placed third among the women. Johnathan Kirkwood was 2nd in the 45-49 men. Shelley Hinson and Tracy Tisdale-Williams went 1-2 in the 45-49 women. Tracy Meyers and Susan Weaver topped the 50-54, with Eliere Tolan winning among the men. Geary McAlister won the 55-59 by 7 minutes. Pete Poore won 2nd in the 60-64, Sandra Manning took 3rd among the women.Albert anderson, Rich Weaver and Ken Lowden swept the 65-69 men. Arnold Floyd won the 70-74 while Henry Holt took the 75+.

Dutch Fork Be a Fan 5k – Irmo, SC – 1/30/16 -Double Dip Part 2


And on to race number 2…

After hanging around a bit to take some finish line pics and getting some sweet mascot photos with the Cardinal Newman cardinal,  I was off to Dutch Fork.

Like Run with the Saints, the Dutch Fork Be a Fan 5k is also directed by a Columbia Running Club member, Kimberly Taylor. This year’s race not only went to benefit the special needs students at Dutch Fork, but also in memory of Timothy Gibson, a SC DOT worker who tragically lost his life in the October flood.  So, plenty of good reasons to support this race.

Of course, I had shown absolutely zero restraint at Run with the Saints, and I was pretty much toast by the time I headed out to Irmo. Between the warming weather and the fact I didn’t sleep well the night before, (i.e. 4:30 wake up) I was more interested in curling up in a ball and putting in some hardcore nappy time. But hey, let’s run another all-out 5k instead.

I was cursing myself for signing up as a 2 man team with the Code, “Code Blue”, because now if I jogged this thing I was going to let him down. And sure enough, the 30+ minute drive across town was plenty enough to make my trashed legs all tight and gimpy. This was not going to be pretty – though judging from my race pics, it never is.

Kimberly and Frances O’ Toole, who will be taking the race directorship next year, told me the day before that they had about 200 signed up. That’s a pretty good turnout for a 2nd year race with competition from another one the same morning. Always glad to see our people supporting our Tour de Columbia races.

Surprisingly, quite a few other psychos were double dipping this morning too. John Gasque, Tour director and the godfather of the double dip, was already ready to go by the time I got there. He makes sure no traffic jam or any other unforeseen circumstance will get in the way of his precious TDC points. A man after my own heart.  Adam Feigh, who just ran low 16 and barely got beat by Jonathan Kinsey for 2nd at RWTS, was also on board. Check out his blog at  Rashad Striggles finished one spot behind Adam and was here along with RWTS women’s winner Shawanna White. Ted Hewitt hadn’t run a race in months but decided to knock out two in one morning. Bravo, Ted. 1966 SEC mile champ Rocky Soderberg may be 73 but still double dips with the best of them. At least I know who I’ll be like in 2049.

Joyce Welch, with son Tate, Angel Manuel, Wayne Shuler, Bri Hartley,  Marie Demetriades (Kimberly’s daughter) , Sara Bonner, Colleen “Don’t call me Mrs. Pale Beast” Vowles, Tracy Meyers, Lisa Smarr, Joe Green, Pete Poore, the O’Toole family, the Golbus twins and Jessalyn Smith were some of the familiar faces and names in this one.

Last year’s course was completely on the Dutch Fork High and Middle campus, making for a lot of parking lot twists and turns. Kimberly helped eliminate two of the main loops by doing an out and back on Old Tamah Road, which was nice, particularly because the road is pretty flat.

My goal: just finish this thing, and hopefully not too shamefully.  Hopefully in the ball park of 20 minutes.

The start was a mad dash down a hill and then a big parking lot loop to thin out the herd some. OMG – the legs, even after a warm up, were just total cinder blocks. After the first half mile I started to assess my position.  It was hard to figure out pace since everything felt like death. I was basically in my usual racing-with-the-high-school-girls mode. No, I’m not a perv (well, mostly not)– all the varsity HS girls run about 19-20 minutes for a 5k, so there you are. About three of them could draft in my oceanliner of a wake , so I’m sure they are glad to have the Sasquatch around.  Anyway, one of the Golbuses and Bri were nearby, so I figured I must be 6:20ish pace. Code was up ahead with Angel. Just needed to keep them in sight. Legs were still hating life on the out-and-back on Old Tamah, but it sure was nice to eliminate some of the parking lot loops. Everything was cool until mile 1 came back at like high 6:40’s. Damn these slacker teens! I was hurting but my ego couldn’t take running over 21 and giving Trophy a chance to return his own “Blackjack” nickname to me.

I pushed the pace some as we plunged downhill into the middle school campus. Speaking of slackers, what the hell was up with the Code?? Normally I’d be relishing the fact he was getting reeled in, but he’s ON MY TEAM.  He’s only a few steps ahead when we hit the first of two killer uphill loops. The first one starts me gasping but the second one is long, painful and just pummels my quivering quads into submission.  Rounding the turnaround at the top and I am just hating life. Mile 2 goes off at some point but I don’t even want to know. On the way back down the hill I am flopping all about and still catching up with the Code. Finally I pull alongside him and I can tell he’s in full crybaby mode, talking about his cold or something. I’m not sure what I said to him in my delirium, but he finally grew a pair and started surging ahead.  One more loop and I think its home free down to the stadium. Nope, another fun incline right before the concession stands has me begging for mercy. Finally we hit the track – Code, myself and a couple high schoolers mired in the shame of getting beat by a couple of goofy, pale 40 year olds. I’m gunning it as hard as I can go, but the shredded legs and blown out lungs are fighting back against this brutal punishment. Finally I make the last turn and sprint to the line, a step behind Code but in front of the last kid of our minipack.  The results look like we ran it together on purpose. I swear there was no handholding and smiles. 20:23, 13th overall, 3rd in AG. But most importantly, FIRST in the two person team category. Sweet – a surprise trophy hunt!

Taking the win and a 19 Tour de Columbia point, double dip day was Adam Feigh in 16:39. Striggles was just 10 seconds behind, with a faster time than RWTS on a harder course. Go figure. Third was 14 year old Jaden Kingsley in 17:49. In the women’s race, Shawanna White notched her 2nd win of the morning and another 75 bucks with an 18:48. Not bad for a morning’s work. The Golbus twins finished 2nd  (Alexa) and 3rd (Ashley).

Age groupers:  Travis Nichols placed 4th overall and 1st in the 25-29. Wayne Shuler and Ted Hewitt took 2nd and 3rd in the 45-49. John Gasque was 3rd in the 55-59. Pete Poore won the 60-64, and Rocky was the champ of the 70-74. Bri Hartley won the 14-16. Sara Bonner took the 30-34 with Jessalyn Smith 3rd.  Colleen Vowles won the 40-44 after a long injury hiatus. Shelley Hinosn won the 45-49, while Joyce took 3rd despite pacing son Tate. Tate ran an impressive 26:05 in a super competitive under 10 division led by Storm track team kids. Tracy Meyers won the 50-54 females, while Lisa Smarr did the same in the 55-59.



Run with the Saints 5k and Dutch Fork Be a Fan 5k double dip, Part 1


To the racing obsessed, what’s better than a race every Saturday morning? TWO RACES – the double dip. This kind of racing is not for the faint of heart, but if you have a dark, twisted, maniacal competitive streak (What, me?) then I highly recommend it.

There’s a whole science to the double dip, much like my primary area of study, the trophy hunt. Double dipping is actually kind of cheating at the trophy hunt, since you don’t have to hedge your bets on one or the other. My double dip hints –  Start times need to be at least an hour apart, and usually (unless you are an advanced level freak such as myself) the first race has to be a 5k. Try to pick up your 2nd race packet ahead of time if you can, and make sure your parking spot for race one makes for an easy getaway.

Pretty easy right? Oh, and some say to back off your effort on the races, especially the first, but that is not humanly possible for me. Once the bib is pinned, its on like Donkey Kong.

Race number one on this double dip was Run with the Saints, a new 5k put on by local elite MC Cox to benefit St Joseph’s School. Having a runner as a race director is key, since you can usually bet it will be well done. Plus, this race is one of the many PR friendly flat Shandon rectangles, so definitely a good one for fast times. It is almost identical to Race for the Place next month, except the course is done in reverse.

I made sure to get here early and position my car in a getaway position headed towards the highway. But really, with races two hours apart, I’d have more than enough time to get to Dutch Fork, even with it being on the other side of town.

Race temps were mid 30’s and damn cold despite the forecasted 60 degree day. This place was absolutely crawling with beasts. I think MC called upon all her running friends and set up a Cold Winter’s Day level of competition for this first time event. Lots of 621 Ninjas, Strictly Running team peeps and even Larry’s A team group. It was looking like I’d be struggling to find the top 20. Adam Feigh, Jonathan Kinsey and Rashad Striggles looked to make for an interesting elite showdown for the overall.  Shawanna and Erin Miller would be clear favorites to fight it out for the women’s crown. I was there only 5 minutes and the 70+ AG was already filled out with Arnold Floyd, Henry Holt, Peter Mugglestone and Rocky Soderberg. Ted Hewitt was making his comeback after a long time away from racing. Luke Godwin, Larry Jourdain, Brad Marlow, John Gasque, Melinda Petruzzi, Linn Hall, Mike Compton, Brittany Robbins (with coach Bishop pacing), Drew Williams and Tracy Tisdale-Williams, Sarah and Eric Allers, John Charlton, Robbie “OG” McLendon, Pete O’Boyle, Erin Suttman and John Bradley were just a few of the familiar faces in this brutally competitive field.


The start was a little chaotic since all the kids from the school were lined up on the front row. At least most of them sprinted out, but when they crashed and burned a quarter mile in, I had to do a little Heisman stiff arm on one kid’s shoulder so he wouldn’t get run over by an Albino bus. I’m no elite by any means, but I’m used to a pretty thin crowd around me. I was a total mid packer at this thing though. I couldn’t believe how many people were just throughly, and completely, kicking my ass. The upside to the huge pack was having plenty of pacers. Tigs went out super fast, and it took me most of a mile to pull even with her. I was waiting for some British curse words thrown my way but she was just grumbling about me smiling at her or something. I actually was feeling pretty good – I had several 40 mile weeks put in, so I’m getting my endurance back, despite virtually nil speedwork (outside of races). First mile in 6:18, so about what I had planned. By the time we hit Queen I was starting to hurt some but it was a psychological boost to know we were at least not headed further away from the finish. I saw Luke up ahead and managed to pull even with him, but then he surged ahead. I hadn’t seen Luke race since last year’s Race for the Place, where he crushed me and went sub 19, so I had no idea what his current fitness was. After the turn towards home on Heyward, I managed to finally pass Luke, though I think he was drafting off me for quite a while.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, can draft off my sizable wake. Heyward is the common street for like 10 shandon races, so I know it like the back of my hand. It’s definitely got some roll to it, and I was starting to die on the inclines. Although there were plenty of people ahead, I had managed to break free from everybody, which is a major motivation killer for me. I need a carrot on a string. Luckily I recognized a carrot up ahead in the form of Drew Williams, who I knew was injured and starting to fade just a touch. Mile 2 went off with my new buzz/alarm Garmin 630 but I was too afraid to look – I knew it had to be slower (actually only 6:21 by check after the race). I really wanted my sub 20’s back after a long injury/comeback cycle dating back to October. I decided to push the chips on the table and go all in. The next mile was basically pure torture. I was trying to maintain my form though my lungs and heart were having an MMA cage match against my chest wall. Every now and then the very small rational voice in my head mentioned I might want to save some for the next race later, but the larger, insane voice said to go even harder. I could tell Drew was hurting by the time we hit Bonham, and I finally caught him there. I think he gave me some words of encouragement but I was too busy fighting back death to answer. Just after the pass I spotted another guy with some gray flecks in his hair, who actually looked around to see what stampeding elephant was heading this way. I saw his face and instantly thought – AGE GROUPER. I ramped up the speed even more and entered some dark areas of the pain cave I hadn’t seen in awhile. I saw J-Lybrand volunteering up ahead and I knew it was the final turn. I blasted around the turn with the clock in the 19:20’s and sprinted like a crazed banshee to hit the line in 19:29.  Did one of my long pavement makeout sessions, but in a happy way. First sub 20 in months and way under what I had hoped. I actually managed a technical first in age group, though newly 40 Striggles obviously beat me (3rd overall), and five other guys over age 45 also took me down. 14th overall, 7th masters. Jeezus H this was a tough field.

Way up in front, Jonathan Kinsey fought off Red Shoe Run 10k champ Adam Feigh by 10 seconds 16:20 to 16:30. Not too shabby. Striggles got third in 17:08. The women’s race was very high quality with 4 women under 19 minutes. Shawanna edged Erin Miller, while Erin Suttman beat Heather Costello for third.  Erin must be training hard, as this was well over a minute faster than her time at MLK. John Charlton and Eric Allers also threw down in an epic battle for male masters, with John taking the win 17:34 to 17:56. Linn Hall had a close race with Sarah Allers to take female masters .

Age group honor roll: Brittany Robbins ran 24:29 to take 2nd in the 15-19, paced by Justin. Ashley Sears and Deirdre Maldonado placed 1st and 3rd in the 30-34. Ryan Sacko won among the men. Drew Williams and Luke Godwin took the top two 35-39 spots, while Heather Costello won among the women. Sure enough the 2nd place in my age group was the guy who turned around – Ryan Krietsch. Great, yet another unknown beast in my age group. Eric Allers won the 45-49 ahead of Bob Daley. Tracy Tisdale-Williams took 3rd in the female division. Larry Jourdain and Brad Marlow were champs of the blazing fast 50-54 men. Lisa King took 2nd among the women. Sarah Allers and Melinda Petruzzi won the 55-59 women, while Geary McAlister, John Bradley (amidst a 20 mile training run) and Tommy Kahaly swept the 55-59 men. Robbie McLendon, Peter O’Boyle and Mike Compton took the 60-64 division at 22 minutes and under. Brigitte Smith won the 65-69 women. Arnold Floyd, Peter Mugglestone and Henry Holt won the 70+, all under 30 minutes.

After an awesome selfie with the Cardinal Newman cardinal mascot, I took off for Dutch Fork…(to be continued)