So, a mere 10 hours after Tunnel to Towers, I was up and getting ready to finish off my CRC quadruple challenge with the Springdale 5k. In addition to being GRIT endurance’s unofficial spokesmodel and superfan, Springdale and I go way back to 2009. They used to have it at sunset and on the horse racetrack. All I remember was the grass was crazy long, it was August and 90+ degrees at race time, and I headless chickened Chad Long to a 23 minute finish. But there was beer, so that was cool. Ah the good old days. Erin and GRIT took over the race a few years ago and produced the awesome horseshoe trophies and the legendary post race waffles. I think I’ve done this race almost every year, save for that time I decided to dive on the rocks in Hawaii in 2013.
Getting to the race an hour early, I am pretty much wrecked. I had another 2 beers post T2T and I’m a combo of sleep deprived, sore as hell and dehydrated. But hey, sounds like a good time to run a hilly 5k! Did I mention hills? There’s basically one. You run down it at the start for a mile and a half, then back up. Pretty simple. If there’s one race you do not want to start too hard in, this is it. That being said, it’s pretty tough not to want to freefall in the first half.
Showing up I was glad to see Jen Davis avoided the ER the night before, though apparently she thought running another hard 5k would be good recovery for her lungs. I would be critical, but here I was half hungover and sore and asking for more pain. There’s a reason we are in mental health.
I see Michael Nance is making a rare race appearance for this one, as well as Steve “@muscleduprunner” Greer. I’m always afraid he’s going to kick my ass and I’ll end up being mentioned on one of his inspirational insta videos. I do a mile warmup with Jen and get a taste for that finishing climb. News flash: it doesn’t taste good. I chug some water and make use of Springdale’s glam portapotty, complete with sink and flushing toilet. Noice. Apparently, I’m a bit anxious too because Johnny Deal’s photo drone buzzes my tower and I jump like there’s an air raid taking place.
At the start I’m not feeling super confident but, hey, let’s get the pain over with. With the gun, I latch on to muscledup and here we all go flying down the opening hill. Ugh, my legs are not liking this one bit, but I need to at least be in shouting range of the leaders. Turns out it’s basically one dude and Greer initially, then Nance comes by about a half mile in. Some kid is trying to ride the Sasquatch bus, but eventually he can’t handle the pace of a 190 lb bus rolling downhill. The course finally levels out a bit around the mile mark, which comes through in 6:01. Yikes, that’s probably a touch fast. At least it’s not that ridiculous 5:48 from last night.
We go blasting ahead. Lead guy (Eric Masaitis) has gapped us a bit and it’s me, muscledup and Nance in a pack. Suddenly we approach an intersection. Having done this race so many times, I feel like we need to turn. There’s a cop there but he’s sitting in his car. I go about 10 meters past, when I suddenly realize there are no right turns in sight, and I hear yelling behind me. I stop and see Jen and everyone else making that turn behind me. DAMMIT. I turn around and start trying to rev the engine back up again. I manage to catch the girl who was yelling, who tells me JUST GO STRAIGHT, I LIVE HERE. I’ll take her word for it. I manage to pass Jen , but there’s some dude with an American flag arm tat and lightning shirt up ahead now in first place. I don’t know this guy but he is going pretty hard. Finally we hit mile 2 , 6:27. That’s including a stop and turnaround, so it is what it is. And my oxygen deprived brain isn’t sure how much extra distance was involved in the misdirect. What I do know is that I’ve pulled alongside lightning shirt and pass him just after my Garmin split. I’ve got about a mile to go, all uphill… but it’s probably for all the marbles. And that’s all it takes. The mere whisp of the thought of an overall win enters my brain and I start hauling ass like there’s no tomorrow. But yeah, did I mention it was all uphill? I’m in a world of hurt the whole time, and I am sure at any moment lead guy is going to catch back up. And every turn on this road feels like it should be the finish. But it’s gotten nice and quiet, and mile 3 (6:11) chirps back loudly as I hit one more turn and see the finish clock. One more surge of adrenaline and I blast onto the gravel driveway and hit the tape in 19:22, just absolutely gassed. I’ve tried to avoid the post race flop but I lay out full HYC style for this one. Of course, Erin sends daughter Sarah over to fully photodocument my ugliness. Hopefully those pics never see the light of day, but I feel like they most certainly will at some point.
To add to the Renaissance tragedy scene, lightning shirt finishes just behind Eric Masaitis (leader at the misdirect) and proceeds to puke right next to me. Perfect. Johnny Deal’s finish pic is priceless.
OK , so there’s a little shame in winning a misdirected race, but shame has never prevented me from basking in the glory of an overall win. And hey, somebody has to finish first. I know Eric ran low 18 at one of the Saluda Shoals races so I will assume he would’ve beaten me straight up. It would have been an interesting throwdown with Nance, Greer and me though.
In the women’s overall, which was unaffected by the misdirect, Jen Davis took the win in 20:24, with Nicole Hill 2nd and Amy Faulkenberry 3rd, all under 21 minutes. Jim Carleton aka lightning shirt was 3rd male in 20:14
In masters, Whitney Keen, Michael Nance and Steve Greer swept the podium for the guys, with Kerry Dean, Melinda Moon and Shelly Sloan winning among the women.
Age groupers MALE: Antjuan Seawright was 2nd in the 35-39, Pavel Mosneaguta was 3rd in the 40-44. Ivery Baldwin crushed a 21:31 to take the 45-49, while Chad Long was 2nd. Prez Roy Shelley was 1st in the 50-54, with Brent Stogner 2nd. Phil Smith was 2nd in the 55-59. Jim Williams won the 60-64. Peter O’Boyle and Leeds Barroll went 1-2 in the 65-69. Alex Ponomarev and Bill Iskrzak went 1-2 in the 70+
WOMEN: Catherine Sostak won the 35-39. Clara Nance and Gretchen Lambert went 2-3 in the 45-49. Tracy Tisdale edged out Sharon Cole for the 50-54 crown. Heather Herndon was 3rd in the 50-54. Melody Kreiling was 2nd in the 60-64. Lynn Grimes crushed the competition with a 26:07 to take the 65-69 win. Leeds checked the age graded times and her 79.9 percentile was tops among all runners in the race. WAY TO GO LYNN!!