The Dry Run has been a staple on the Blue Shoes racing calendar, dating back to 2009. I believe the race is now in its 10th year, and goes to benefit Midlands Faces and Voices of Recovery (FAVOR), a substance abuse recovery advocacy group. It’s been well directed for years by Mike Hedgecock of the 621 ninjas and Strictly Racing team.
The Dry Run has held a special place in my heart for a few reasons. Originally it was one of the highlights of my “rookie season”, in 2009, where I went low 21 and the first seed of the sub 20 goal was planted. This was back in the awesome years of the most ironic age group award ever, the pint glass. I almost had a full set of 4 Dry Run pints when they someone apparently thought they were in poor taste and they went to a crystal disc instead. Never one to be shackled by good taste, the three dry run glasses are still part of my regular beer drinking rotation. This race has also signaled for me the start of the fall race season. It’s usually been held in mid-September and has often been the first cool weekend morning of the year. It’s produced some pretty fast times (for everybody) as a result. Lastly, this was the site of my first race back from cheating death on a cliffside in Hawaii in 2013. I started at the back of the pack, awkwardly ran a near 11 minute first mile. My toe then loosened up, the cool breeze hit my face , the legs started working again, and I began tearing up for being so grateful I was free from the couch. I ran a 26:06 and have rarely been happier. Geary gave me his age group award to remember it by, and I’ve kept it with my race bag ever since.
The race was being held a couple of weeks later this year, but as it turns out, Columbia’s summer has been lingering like your drunk uncle at a family reunion. Humid and 70’s at this year’s race when I got there an hour before race time. I had visions of double dipping with the WIL to run 5k at 10 am, but the conditions were rough. Plus, WIL wasn’t on our Tour de Columbia this year, so I felt like the jilted ex-girlfriend.
The Dry Run is kind of a toss up as far as competition goes. It’s usually small, but it sometimes brings out some real beasts. With Hedgecock at the helm, there’s always a chance of him bringing some of his SR teammates to come out and crash the trophy hunt. Being in Shandon, you never know when fast masters guys named Eric may come out of the woodwork and steal the cash too.
Scouting the competition early on, the only age group threat I could see was, of course, the Code. This summer, the Code wilted at Hot Summer Night, which of course made it open season for me to taunt him for weeks. He got his revenge pretty soon afterward, whipping my tail at Stomp the Swamp and Labor Day. No other 40-44 guys were around, though I saw Eric Ashton warming up with Sara, and Bedenbaugh was being cagey about maybe running too. Eric Allers made an appearance with Sarah, but it turns out they were just watching. Or were they? That’s how my sick paranoid mind works. Masters hopes weren’t looking too bright.
CRC regulars Jennifer Lybrand, Pete Poore, Leeds Barroll, Alex Ponomarev, All the McGrievys, Peter Mugglestone, Lisa Smarr, Sue Porter, Greta Dobe, Sara Bonner , Mario Alvarez and Deirdre Maldonado were on hand. Ken “THE PALE BEAST” Vowles was making an unofficial comeback from hip surgery by pacing Zach. Colleen, Kenneth and Danny were all racing as well.
I figured I’d race this pretty hard, but I didn’t have any real strategy until I walked up to the line. I was going to jump on Code’s back like a circus monkey. The course is very well known to me – basically a big Shandon rectangle followed by a little one after a painfully close encounter with the finish line. I thought I was crushing low 18 minutes back in 2009 before realizing I still had a half mile to go. Standard Blue Shoes grandiosity.
We take off at the gun and one kid leaps out to the front, followed by another kid, Sara and Eric Ashton, and a couple of pasty 41 year old nerds. Eric is clearly pacing Sara, since he’s not way out in front like the superhuman he is. My biggest question is …why are we just a few steps behind them???. Of course, the answer to this question is the Code and his undeniable death wish in the first mile of a 5k. He’s out there arms pumping, blasting away at sub 6 pace like there’s no tomorrow. Who’s dumb enough to follow this maniac? This guy. As though this was my first road race, I’m hanging on to Code’s shoulder for dear life, even though I know how ridiculous this is. I mean, I probably weigh the same as the Ashtons combined. Sarah Allers is spectating about a half mile in and is telling us “TOO FAST!” Yep.. At some point soon after, I realize I’m pulling like 5:40ish pace. I finally back off, the unspeakable memory of my walksies at 2015 Bayler’s Bash 5k coming into view in my mind. Code apparently is content to continue his suicide mission and hits the mile mark quite a bit ahead of me. My garmin spits out a 6:08 (i.e. about 19:00 5k pace), which would be fast but OK if I hadn’t included a lactic acid producing 1200 meters of death to start off.
What’s worse is that I am the straggler of a very spread out lead pack, which basically makes me feel like I’m dead last. Letting cars in behind me and everything. We make the turn at King to head back toward the finish and I’m struggling to find some sweet spot of gaining some form of recovery and not letting Code and the others get too out of hand. There’s a long straightaway on Hayward street that is familiar as the 2nd mile in like a dozen local 5ks. It seems fairly flat on paper but it’s actually got a fair amount of roll. The second kid, later identified as Nate from Shawanna’s running group, has backed way off the initial pace and Code and myself pass him near the mile 2 mark. 6:27 split. Not too thrilled with the slow down but the recovery was definitely needed.
With a mile to go, I haven’t made much progress on Code’s lead but it’s remained fairly steady. The legs have loosened up but damned if the lungs still want to suck up all the oxygen in the Shandon area. There’s a nasty little incline before the “Heyward squiggle”, a quick right and left as the street crosses over Ott. I wake up from a couple minutes of mental napping to realize mile 1 may be exacting its revenge upon poor Code. I’ve definitely reeled him in some. And, having had the most unfortunate experience of staring at his back for years, I can see his form breaking down a bit. Of course, he knows better than to look back because this has been known to set off many a headless chicken Blue Shoe kick.
Bonham street features not only a soul crushing long incline (a la the Race for the Place downhill start in reverse) but gives you the faux finish line mentioned earlier. I’m sucking a lot of wind by now and Code still has a decent lead. I think my stealth attack was let out of the bag since Jordan is cheering and surely alerts the Code to an impending Sasquatch invasion. We hit the turn onto the little finishing loop and my mind is having an ongoing debate about mailing this in versus going for broke. Especially when I realize I misjudged the loop with the turnaround a whole block further. But who am I kidding? This blog is not called Tour de Mail it in. I turn the one block circle around into my own personal 400 meter homestretch at Rio. Right at the corner Code gets passed and he shouts something at me that sounds like, loosely translated, YOU BETTER F^*&G RUN. The last quarter mile is one big slog up a slight upgrade that sucks any remaining life out of you. I pass Coach B spectating (whose hinting at racing must have been just to see the terror in my eyes) and he tells me to STRIDE OUT!, which probably means I’m looking like a seizing T-rex on cocaine . The morning sun is blinding and I feel like hell, but I’m scared to death of the Code coming back to Blue Shoe me. Fortunately it was not to be. I hit the finish at full speed in 19:25 and do one of my classic Sasquatch pavement flops. But I make sure to whip out the iphone to capture the Code’s finish. These opportunities don’t come along too often.
Pretty happy with the result – 3rd overall and first masters thanks to Eric not officially racing. Fifty bucks and a Code takedown are always going to make me happy. Despite the average time, I think this is actually a course record for me – I usually slow way down over the summer and take a while to get back up to max 5k speed. So hopefully this bodes well for the fall.
Dustin Corder,a new SR team member, took the overall win in 18:11, with Sara Ashton claiming the women’s win in 19:00. Colleen won female masters and also was an impressive 2nd overall in a PR time of 21:46.
Age Groupers (only one deep): The 2-14 was a good day for second generation CRCers with Sabine McGrievy and Danny Vowles winning. Kenneth Vowles paced Danny to a 24:31 and picked up an unexpected age group as well in the 15-19. Nate Carrasco won the 20-24. Jennifer Lybrand was shooting for sub 25 and crushed a 23:23, not even 4 months after giving birth to baby Wilson. She took the 25-29. Sara Bonner won the 35-39 women in an epic TUS battle with Colleen. Code and Brie McGrievy took the 40-44. The 50-54 was claimed by Mario Alvarez and Greta Dobe. Lisa Smarr won the 55-59, with Sue Porter taking the 60-64. Alex Ponomarev won the 65-69 while Peter Mugglestone claimed the 70-98.