So I looked at this weekend and swore I wouldn’t double dip. I would show restraint, do one or the other, maybe even spectate or take pics at the one I wasn’t racing. Sounded like a good plan. But, there it was, just sitting there. A double dip that’s been set up now for a few years, so much so that Coleen Strasburger has taken to calling it the “Pink Daddy” – the Get in the Pink 5k/10k at 7:20/7:30 and the Crawdaddy Dash 5k at 9:00. So close together you could even run between the two races. Plus, I realized I hadn’t done my specialty, the 5k, in a long time. Air quotes on the “long” since it was the March for Meals on March 10. That’s still an eternity for me. Between the Palmetto 200, Boy scout camping, Cooper river, a 6.5 mile trail race and 2 5ks in full costume, I hadn’t really raced a legit 3.1 in 6 weeks. I was barely in the top 10 overall on the Tour, and not even leading my age group (I see you Ivery Baldwin!). It was time to throw down two in one day.
As noted above, logistics would not be an issue. I wouldn’t even have to employ my advanced double dip skills like early packet up, parking position etc. Even the courses were relatively benign for this kind of thing – no major hills or brutality to deal with. Of course, I did feel slightly less hardcore knowing at least Roy Shelley and Coleen would be doing the expert level 10k/5k double. That is just nuts, especially on that GITP 10k course.
Still, waking up on race morning was that all too familiar feeling of dread, knowing I had ordered 40 minutes of pain on the breakfast menu. It didn’t help walking out the door and realizing Columbia was overanxious for July. Already 70 degrees and the sun was barely up. Awesome.
I got to GITP my customary hour early and warmed up with Silent H and Drew. Between Drew and a Striggles sighting, I knew I was sitting 3 deep in age group points before I even started. Damn these fast old dudes slumming it in the undercard. I was sweating like a whore in church doing a 9 minute pace mile and a half. This was going to suck even worse than I thought.
There was huge CRC representation in both races, and the 10k started 10 minutes before the 5, so I camped out at Devine and Millwood to take pics with head CRC photog Tracy Tisdale handling the main duties at the start line. 10k looked like I had slightly better odds but Phil Midden was there to make second in AG the best I could have done in the main event. A Kenyan guy was running to finally give Ashton some competition.
I was actually nervous strolling up to the start since the heat was killer and possibly producing an epic bonk. My strategy, as in all 5k doubles, was basically to go balls out in race 1 and just see what I have left in the second. “A” goal would be to break 20 in both, “B” goal would be to average out a sub 20, “C” goal was not to die. Really not sure how I would do. I spend so much of my training slogging out 9 minute miles that I never know what’s going to come out when I open up my Saturday morning can of whupass.
I lined up actually a row back to avoid a headless chicken start. Leeds and Alex Ponomarev were nearby with Johnathan Kirkwood, along with my aforementioned masters nemeses Striggles and Drew. The gun goes off and of course everybody takes off way too fast. I try and rein it in knowing this course well from several previous years. It’s basically a tale of two halves – first half is mostly flat to downhill, devine to adger to devereaux, all the way to Brennan elementary. Second half you get to make up all that downhill, returning on Kilbourne. it’s pretty gradual but it really doesn’t flatten out again until you’re almost done on Devine st. I put in a good effort until Devereaux, then lay off a bit and ride my significant gravitational advantage on the next half mile. I am concerned about my pace because Kirkwood and Andrew Ortaglia are just ahead of me. My encyclopedic race brain engages and knows these guys have hovered around 21 minutes recently. Kirkwood is known for his fast starts but not sure about Ortaglia. I am also pretty sure Madelyn Gomez is just behind me, and though she has gotten crazy fast, I do not take kindly to getting chicked by a 12 year old. Luckily my Garmin chimes in a 6:16 at mile 1 about halfway down Deverereaux, so definitely on sub 20 pace. There’s a slight dip and rise as we cross Trenholm and we pass by Barefoot John and Andy manning the water station. I tell them I’m disappointed in the lack of donuts and ceremonial Blue Shoes toilet paper from their relay aid station. Char may have been there too but its hard to scan the crowd at 5k pace. We turn the corner and Larry Jourdain is there to cheer on his crew, and I see Erin Miller just ahead. Erin may have been 8 miles into a workout before the race but I have no shame in taking down anyone in a weakened state – just ask Nance, Drew or Brandenburg. The slow climb commences on Kilbourne after the turnaround, and I’ve managed to pass Kirkwood and Ortaglia, leaving only Erin to chase in the immediate vicinity. I can see Drew way up ahead, but, as predicted, he is soundly kicking my ass. Mile 2 comes back in a disappointing 6:32, over the magic 6:27 sub 20 threshold but I know I’m still overall doing OK. I ramp it up as we near the Devereaux crossing with the back of the pack 5kers still going outwards. Erin gets confused , or perhaps misdirected by a volunteer, and suddenly turns left. I yell out to her as I go by and I see she is headed back on course. With a mile to go, I start firing up the blue shoes kick. The turn on Devine is nice to be heading home but it is still a long way to the finish. I can see Drew way up ahead but I’m all by myself now. Surprisingly I haven’t noticed the heat before, but out in the open I can feel the internal baking commence. I am deathly afraid of Erin chicking me at the finish so I crank it up a couple of notches even though I know that’s a dumb thing with another 5k to go at 9 am. I miss the mile 3 split (6:05) with all the gasping going on, and of course I can’t resist a little headless chicken at the finish. I hit the line at 19:24, 6th overall, a “consolation” 1st in AG since Striggles won and Drew got masters. I got the same number of age group points as overall points. In case you missed it, the 40-44 is no joke.
As mentioned, Striggles won easily in the 5k, running 17:04 over teenagers Jonathan Tan and Jacob Mangione. In the womens 5k, Erin took the win in 19:51 despite the extra mileage. Madelyn Gomez crushed a 19:55 for her first sub 20 at age 12. Dayum. Chelsea Baker was 3rd in 20:04. Drew and Lynn Long took the masters wins.
5k age groupers: Chris Conrick won the 11-14 with Max Miller 2nd. Ivery Baldwin won 2nd in the 40-44. Jamie Gomez (Derek’s wife and Madelyn’s mom) won the 40-44 women. Ortaglia ad Kirkwood went 1-2 in the 45-49 with 20:19 and 20:34 respectively. Dave Hale won 1st in AG (55-59) and is now 20 for 20 in age group placings this year. Donna Freeman was 2d in the 55-59 women. Helene Lipe won the 60-64. Leeds Barroll and “Podium” Patti Lowden were champs of the 65-69. Sharon Sherbourne took 3rd. Henry Holt won the 70+ plus in a squeaker – only 16 minutes ahead of second. Dang.
Oh yeah, there was the “main event” 10k too. Harrison Kiriawi took the win in a shade over 33 minutes, with Ashton a few seconds behind in 2nd. Heath McDonald took 3rd. Purity Muwene crushed the field for the women’s win in sub 6 pace, with MC Cox 2nd and Jennifer Conrick 3rd. Phil Midden and double dipper Coleen Strasburger were the masters winners.
10k age groups – Brittany Robbins was 3rd in the 15-19. Matt Gregory was 1st in the 30-34 with Joe Russ 3rd. Jennifer Lybrand won the 30-34 women with Wilson in tow. Silent H won the 50-54, with Phil Togneri taking the 55-59. Marie Queen won the 60-64. Pete Poore was tops in the 65-69 men, while Lynn Grimes and Brigitte Smith went 1-2 among the women. Peter Mugglestone was the champ of the 70+.
RACE #2 CRAWDADDY DASH – I had plenty of time in between races, which was good since my legs felt pretty wrecked. Everything was completely soaked, so I went from the TUS singlet to the CRC one. With my albino sasquatch physique, singlets are less than flattering but I needed every bit of ventilation on this ridiculously warm day. It was only going to be worse at the 9 am Crawdaddy start. Last year, Erin Roof bribed me with a free registration to run in special-ordered crawdad underwear (actually large boxer shorts), so I felt obliged to bring the pair out for their one day in the sun. My wife had put her sewing skills to work last year, making a waist tie and closing the flap so that wardrobe malfunctions didn’t occur. No one wants their junk flopping around at 5k pace. I ended up just throwing the boxers on over my swamplike shorts from GITP anyway.
Thanks to some scouting of the course this past week, I was able to secure a prime parking spot on Holt street, right next to a house for sale by realtor Henry Rollins. Rosewood is so punk.
I managed to sweat another gallon on the short walk to the packet pickup table, then my colon decided it wanted to double dip too. Thankfully I just missed the portapotty rush because the place was getting crowded quick. FYI, the CIA could get anyone to talk if they lock them in a well used 80 degree portajohn. Unspeakable horrors.
Crawdaddy is known for a pretty big turnout, though a significant portion are just there to jog the thing and get their crawfish fest pass. Trey McCain was there to probably win, and Jeff and Shannon Godby were on hand to likely race in my vicinity. Coleen and Roy Shelley were there for part two of their hardcore 10k/5k double, while Donna Freeman opted for my less intense 5k/5k option. Stephanie Fischer (with her CRC winning daughters Pheobe and Lucy), Jay Hammond and Christie Martin were some of the familiar faces, along with fellow psychiatrist Nikki Campbell. It was good to see Kathryn Livingston (Cavanaugh) back racing again after having a baby.
I had no idea what to expect in this race. Legs still felt like death, and I just wasn’t feeling like a warm up. I figured if a 19:24 5k in the heat didn’t get them warmed up then doing a slog jog wasn’t going to help anyway. I strode up to the line with zero idea how my body would react. This was pretty similar to my triple dip in February (albeit one hell of a lot warmer). My second race then was the Lagniappe 5k featuring a similar elevation climb out to Rosewood in the opening mile. In that race, my legs were uber tight and my first mile was just over 7 minutes, which is like marathon pace for me. If I was to have a shot at a double sub 20, I would have to do way better than that on the opening climb. Once you get to Rosewood, the rest of the course is pretty easy, especially a blazing downhill 2nd mile on Ott St.
With the gun, Shannon takes off like a rabbit, and I try to keep her from leaving me in the dust. Jeff is using me as a windbreaker, which is generally a good idea. The main climb is right out of the gate near the old Memorial stadium grounds. It’s pretty rough, but since the legs slogged up from Brennan an hour ago, they slipped back into race mode surprisingly easily. I’m able to make up some ground on the field after the hill plateaus and I catch Shannon just before the turn onto Rosewood. I have no idea what my pace is, so luckily the mile 1 split is just as you hit Rosewood, 6:32. Not terrible considering the climb, so I just try and maintain the effort. I hit an open patch in the field and then try ramping up the pace to get some momentum going on the downhill stretch on Ott. Legs have decided they don’t hate me and the shade on Ott is awesome. I start nearing some tan, young, superfit singlet dude and catch him about halfway down. I can feel his overwhelming shame of getting sasquatched by a Clydesdalian white beast with oversized crustacean boxers. Loved it. With the adrenaline of passing superfit, I launch into a kick, which I realize is too early since I’ve misjudged the Ott/Jim Hamilton intersection. Oh well, guess I’m in for a hurting. Mile 2 in 6:07 right before the side of the soccer fields. OK , just need to throw down at least a 6:30 or so to get that sub 20. But giant melon ego has been tripped and the kick has been engaged, so there’s no going back now. I blast around the turn onto Jim Hamilton about bowling over hou yin chang taking pics. Gotta watch out for the bus, HYC. Jim Hamilton is the road parallelling Owens field airport and it’s as straight as the adjacent runway. You can see the finish line area from way, way out but it takes a seeming eternity to get there. I try not to focus too much on the finish and just work on thoroughly spelunking this pain cave I’ve made for myself. Luckily the wind is not out today but of course the roasting sun is out in full force. I start having flash backs to the duel in the sun horrific 10k from ville to ville. Luckily there is one dude in a neon shirt that I’m gaining on, so I just blast away hoping to pick him off. Unfortunately I’m running out of real estate to catch him, but as we near the last little turn I’m just begging for the finish. Garmin beeps at mile 3 but I can’t even look . Turning into the finish area, I’m shocked to see the clock just over 19 minutes. More adrenaline and pointless kick ensues, and I cross in 19:26. I figured I would be fighting to go under 20 not 19:30 – Garmin confirms a 6:00 last mile and 5:46 kicker on a 3.14 miles. Actually faster than race 1 if you go by Garmin (both are certified though). I’m pretty excited about the results, as its the fastest 5k double dip I’ve ever done, and probably second only to my 2013 rose fest 12k-5k double in terms of age graded performance.
Aftet the finish, I think I told someone how nice it would be to get a beer at the new hunter gatherer hangar. I found out a little later that they were in fact open. I carry 20 bucks in my phone case precisely for “emergencies” like this. I highly recommend their Zweickel , especially at 9:45 am. Best beer ever. A celebratory toast was had with Trey for his win and Tracy for double dipping photo duties for both races.
In the overall, as mentioned, Trey crushed the field in 17:32 for the win, followed by Hunter Whetstone and a rare appearance by David He. Shannon took the women’s win , followed by Ivanka Tolan and Casey O’Meritt. Nine year old state record holder Kendra Miles was fourth. Beer mile director Bobby Scott was the neon shirted guy I was chasing on Jim Hamilton, and he captured 4th among the men in 19:19. I got male masters while Jasmyne Huffman won women’s masters
Age groups: Emma Charlton won 1st in the 11-14. Kathryn Livingston took 1st in the 35-39. Micah Simonsen won 2nd in another brutal 40-44, while Christie Martin was 2nf among the women. Jeff Godby won 1st in his new old man 45-49 division. Stephanie Fischer won the 45-49 women. Ken Bolin, Jay Hammond, and Eliere Tolan swept the 50-54. Chantal Faure was second among the women. Colleen Strasburger and Donna Freeman were queens of the 55-59, with Mario Alvarez winning among the men. Jeff Longway was 3rd. Alsena Edwards won the 60-64 women, while Pete O’Boyle took 2nd in the 60-64 men. Alex Ponomarev and Ron Hagell were champs of the 65-59 and 70+ divisions. Ron double dipped as bike escort at GITP.
Special thanks to Tracy Tisdale/ Jedi Runner Photography for all the great pics!