True to the Brew Half Marathon – Croft State Park, Spartanburg, SC – 9/28/19

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After an epic disaster at the True to the Brew 10k in March, which should be renamed True to the POO in my honor, I felt the need to redeem myself at the next race in the series, the TTB Half Marathon in Spartanburg. Columbia has more races than any city its size should, so usually I avoid anything out of town. But if you combine a trail race with beer and Erin Roof/GRIT puts it on, then my arm is easily twisted. I did this race last year, though I was one week post Table Rock 50k and ran it pretty easy. I was hoping I could improve on the 1:56 and 3rd masters performance from 2018.

Of course, given my hatred for early morning wakeups and complicated pre-race hydration and poop regimen, there was no way I was driving up from Columbia at o’dark thirty. Fortunately Drew and the Yerg (with girlfriend and fellow beer connoisseur Melinda) decided to make it very true to the brew on Friday and we hit up 2 of the local Spartanburg breweries. We were eager beaver beer nerds at the opening of Holliday Brewing right at 4 pm and got to talk with the owners. They opened about 6 months ago and have a huge selection of great beers, especially the Turtle Bay IPA. I highly recommend. Unfortunately, with the race the next morning and my paradoxically low tolerance for a large Irish man, I was only able to sample one of the brews at the actual race sponsor, RJ Rockers Brewery. Damn my 18 year old sorority girl liver. They had packet pickup there and a band, along with a free beer. Pretty cool. I even got to take a GRIT endurance spokesmodel photo. So much rugged handsomeness.

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Race morning at the hotel kind of sucked because of the 7:30 gun time and our hotel was 15 minutes away from the start. It didn’t help our Holiday Inn had hidden blackout curtains and I was staring at a brightly lit gas station for most of the restless night. It was a pretty big crowd when Drew and I got to the start, as the race managed to sell out just a few days prior. I got a chance to see an old childhood friend Jason Paddock, who was trying his hand at running/hiking a trail race for the first time. I told him that this course would be pretty brutal, but I knew they had changed some of it, so maybe it would be easier. Yeah, we’ll get to that. Some familiar faces at the start were our esteemed president Roy Shelley, Jim Williams, David Russell, and of course the Yerg and Drew. Apparently Will Rowan, Deana Rennick and Alfred Baquiran were also on hand, but I missed them with all my portapotty jockeying and warmup, which, appropriately, and perhaps with a bit of foreshadowing, ended up being up a giant hill to a cemetery.

Scouting out the field, I figured I probably brought my main masters competition with me from Columbia, but there a fair amount of fit-looking unknowns. I was going to go out harder than last year, but I was a little scared of the unknown course, the still hot/humid conditions, and the distance. The course basically runs from Cedar Springs Baptist church into Croft State Park, and continues in the park for the entirety of the race, finishing near the horse stables and primitive campgrounds. Erin said there was an extra trail section instead of the open field loops we did at the end of last year. Surely it was flat like those loops, right?

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With the gun, I take off and we get to separate a bit on the road before entering the trails about a quarter mile in. It’s still dawn, so the trail is a little dark, and I realize it has been a while since I went trail running. I’m already having to do some root dodging and my less than nimble sasquatch physique is taking a pounding. Yerg, Drew and David have left me for dead immediately, so I tell myself to focus on my own race. A girl is breathing down my neck in the first mile, so I let her pass. I try and keep up with her like a creepy old man, but she’s like a hundred pounds lighter and 20 years younger, so I succumb to the gods of age and fatness. I managed to hit mile one in a shade over 8 minutes, though the next few miles is pretty constant rolling technical trail and I fall into nine minute pace. The first aid station is about 4 miles in, and I make out a red Harbison shirt through the woods. IT’S YERG. I catch up with him and he said he’s having a bad day. We run together for a little bit and I hear somebody behind us say “ARE YOU FROM HARBISON? WELL YOU’RE IN MY HOUSE NOW!” What is this, trail trash talk?? OH HELLS NO. I put some pep in my step and gap Croft Park boy and Yerg a little bit.

At 4 and a half miles, I nearly blow past the turn as the course takes a sudden hairpin backwards in a loop around Lake Johnson, which I think is new. Just past the 5 mile mark I run out onto a field and I start getting severe misdirect anxiety. There are some orange flags on the grass but I’m not sure if they are from the race. I am almost convinced I have gone off track when I hear the siren song of Jon Bon Jovi belting out LIVIN’ ON A PRAYER from a police SUV, and an official race sign. WHEW. Jon is lying about being HALFWAY THERE because we’re not even close. There’s a nice stretch on a paved road here, which is sweet relief for someone who is 90 percent road racer. This relief is short-lived however, as we get dumped into another up and down trail section next to the lake. Here is where I started my series of Tourrette’s like F bombs, when my toe would catch a root and nearly send me tumbling. Somehow I managed to stay upright. Hopefully no children were nearby. Starting in late mile 7 is a glorious stretch of dirt road which is straight, and I was actually able to run freely and recover. Even though it was technically uphill, my road legs were loving not having to turn and root dodge. I ended up passing a guy in this stretch but I was mostly on my own for a long time.

Unfortunately the road ends at 8.5 miles and throws you into a trail section which gets brutally tough at the 9 mile mark. At this point, I realize my CRC jersey is causing some serious chafing and I am hurting pretty bad. I reflexively throw the front of my jersey over my head in a ridiculous half on/half off look that is sure to scare women and children alike. But at least it avoids the cursed bloody nips. There is a killer hill right before the 10 mile mark that brings me to a crawl. I’m panting like a banshee and the kid at the aid station looks a little scared of the sweaty albino monster with the navy blue crop top. After the 10 mile mark was another glorious section of downhill dirt road, which, in my memory, was the decline from the last tough climbing section. I’m done with the climbs! Yay!. Au contrare, you sweaty beast.
So my deluded self turns up the pace a little bit on a long straight stretch almost to the 11 mile mark, where all of a sudden I’m dumped back into some technical trail. My legs are kinda toast at this point so my case of trail Tourette’s comes back with a vengeance. LIFT YOUR F#%$G LEGS, ALEX! I yell out to the trail gods. The course keeps going up and down and at some point I pass a sign proclaiming, “SAFE – NO SHOOTING ZONE” which concerns me that I was potentially wild game up until this point. When I hit mile 12 I start trying to ramp it up for a kick but my legs are vehemently vetoing the brain on that decision. But wait, I can see hot girl who passed me up ahead. There’s few things I like better than taking down people younger, fitter and better looking than me, and this girl definitely had me on all 3 fronts. I almost bust my ass for the 40th time in this race, and she turns around, suddenly fearful of the albino bear chasing her through the forest. At least I had put the jersey back down for potential finish photos. I know we are getting close to the end when we break into a clearing near the lake, though the volunteer tells us “a half mile to go”. The girl has a good 20 meters on me but she makes a turn and I see her make some gesture of anguish. Sure enough, here comes a brutal hill. She suddenly stops halfway up and is gasping. I think I asked her if she was ok, but at this point I was in full Ed Aufuldish elbowing mode and basically going all-in that this hill was the last. Mercifully, I crest over this late course mountain and see the beautiful red numbers and finish arch. One last burst of speed for the cameras and I cross in 1:56:57. Pretty beat down, but I dare not do a collapse for Erin to photo and immediately dispense on all social medias. About the same time as last year, though with a different course. Garmin had 12.6 something miles but there’s no way GPS could accurately track all that trail distance. It was a solid effort and good for 3rd masters again/9th overall , so I will take it.

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In the overall, Radek Mittelbach, a 38 year old from Columbia whom I’ve never seen or met, won the race in 1:40. Two upstate 25 year olds, Erick Martinez and Jacob Baer took 2nd and 3rd.

On the women’s side, 46 year old Rhonda Felder made me feel very inadequate by beating me by over 4 minutes and taking the win. Hannah Giangaspro and Nastasja Rittling finished 2nd and 3rd.

2018 champ Drew Williams finished 4th overall in a shade under 1:43 and first male masters, taking home an awesome swag basket. In the age groups, David Russell squeaked out 1st in the 30-34 by 50 minutes, on his birthday no less. Yerg struggled early but rallied some and still took 1st in the 40-44. Ryan Havens was 2nd. Roy Shelley won 1st in the 50-54. Jim Williams was 3rd in the surprisingly competitive 55-59.

“True to the Brew” half marathon held in Spartanburg Co.

https://runsignup.com/Race/Results/63244/#resultSetId-172396;perpage:10

https://www.strava.com/activities/2746514252

 

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Springdale 5k – Camden, SC – 9/7/19

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The Springdale 5k is a race now in its 10th year, put on to benefit the New Day Transitional shelter via the United Way of Kershaw County. These days it’s a fairly standard road race, though it was originally an evening 5k completely on the horse racetrack, where you could see the whole race the entire time from the grandstand. This was a great concept, except

that a) it was held in August when it was usually 90+ degrees and humid, and b) there was ankle length grass almost the whole route. This led to some absolutely brutal conditions and ridiculously slow times. But at least they had beer at the first one in 2010.

The race has now evolved to a more traditional morning race on the roads next to the horse track. Erin Roof and her Grit Endurance company has taken over the race in the past couple of years, so she has included her penchant for awesome awards and post-race refreshments. Overall, masters and age groupers all get horseshoe trophies and there are waffles to be had at the finish line.
The course is definitely one you want to know before running it. It lures you in with a mile plus of downhill and flat, just begging you to go out really hard. What’s waiting for you at the mile 2 mark is a long slog up that same incline you plummeted down at the start, sucking the very life from your soul. Or probably something less dramatic if you’re not maniacally competitive – I wouldn’t know.

Although I signed up for this race months ago, I was definitely not feeling it this week. Kiawah training has started and the miles have started ramping up again, leaving me chronically beat down. Faux fall ended and second summer started with 90 degree temps coming back. I finished the summer tennis season with a long match on Tuesday where I tweaked my knee a bit. Then I had to start wearing glasses (which I haven’t done in 20 years) for a couple of weeks before they can set me up for cataract surgery. My wife tells me I act like I’m 20 years old but I swear my body thinks I’m 65. At least.

But hey, can’t waste a perfectly good race registration, right? Knees and eyes be damned. Surveying the competition for this one, I’m relieved not to have another showdown with Yerg, Ed or the Code. Whitney Keen is there but he’s a complete wildcard, running anywhere from low 19 to 21 minutes. He says he’s not in good shape, but, since he’s also in the mental health field, he may be using jedi mind tricks. Plex always comes out for this one and it looks like Camden coach Mark Chickering has brought out some of his high school kids to challenge the old men. CRC overall leader and brand new dad Joseph Kiprotich was there as well. Heather Costello is the only potential female winner I see. Erin’s reputation with the Columbia Running Club is legendary, so lots of CRCers out there. Steve Greer and Naomi Rabon are sporting their new jerseys. TDC legendary veterans Alex Ponomarev, Arnold Floyd, Rocky Soderberg, and Leeds Barroll were on hand. President Roy Shelley, Newsletter editor /JEDI runner photog Tracy Tisdale, Lisa Smarr, Jim Williams, Caroline Keen, Gabe and Ruth Barahona, GoPro guy Will Rowan, Tom and Lisa Hart, Betsy and Chad Long, Hou Yin Chang, Brie /Sabine/Quentin McGrievy, Jennifer and Jason Norris and John “Chap” Houser were representing as well.

I strolled up to the line with pretty low expectations and half-blind, because I wasn’t sure if my cheap glasses were going to stand up to the sweat and fury of a Blue Shoes 5k. I had one contact in my good eye and cataract eye was naked. Awesomely there was an armadillo mascot at the start, so I got a quick selfie, which of course is blurry BECAUSE I COULDN’T SEE. Oh, the tragedy.

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Erin announces the start from a police megaphone and it was time to #GETGRITTY. And everybody is killing it off the blocks. I swear I was in maybe 20th place a quarter mile in as we make a right turn and start plummeting down Carter street. The knee is holding up OK but I am afraid to give it too much gas right away, plus, gotta save some for that last mile. Whitney is not leaving me for dead right away, so either he’s being conservative or true to his word about being off his training. Steve Greer is also keeping pace in the first mile and I’m concerned about some additional masters competition since he’s still new to the sport. There’s a long way down to Battleship rd and then it starts to level out a bit. My knee likes flats and uphills way better so I settle into a decent pace. I hit mile 1 at 6:20 with Whitney and Steve still right there. Heather Costello is also nearby battling it out with a girl I don’t recognize. She is shouting out encouragement to Heather. Darrell and I sometimes do this too, but usually there’s F bombs and taunting involved. I suddenly pass everyone in this mini pack just after the mile 1 mark, not sure if I sped up or the rest slowed down. All of a sudden something is about to cross in front of me and I wonder if I’m having a cataract hallucination, but turns out it is actually what I thought it was: a guy on horseback. Only in Camden. At the next turn, Jennifer Ward is out taking pics so I try not to look too bad, though I know this is probably a waste of time. There is no ugly like Blue Shoes racing ugly.

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Mile 2 is mostly flat but things start to ramp up near the end. Split in 6:23 or so. I’m OK with this, should get me under 20 easily. Yeaaah, but mile 3 is an absolute beast. Basically unrelenting slow incline. Nothing really steep though. There’s a lot of curves in the road and I keep telling myself the next one is the home stretch. But wait, did that kid up ahead just look back?? THERE”S BLOOD IN THE WATER. Other than giving the Code or any of my masters compatriots a beat down, there’s few things I like better than shaming a cross country kid. I mean, I can’t imagine the shame when you’re a lean fit 16 year old and some pasty ass chunky middle aged guy comes sidling up against you. But sure enough, here comes the albino bus pulling up to the station and there’s nothing he can do about a blind old man with a gimp knee blowing past him. Time to launch into a kick. But damn, where is the $%^ home stretch? So many faux finish turns. Finally I can smell waffles and hear some noise so I must be getting close. One more turn and I see the clock. Dang this is slower than I thought. I crank it up to 11 through the Knights hill road intersection and onto the gravel driveway at 1000 percent effort just to squeak under 20. 19:57 officially. 6th overall, first masters. I thought maybe the course was long but it is a legit 3.12 by Garmin, certified too. Had a 6:33 last split despite all the masters vs. high school xc battling.

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In the overall, cross country kid Cameron Hoffman edged THE LIGHTNING Ryan Plexico for the win, with Pasha Ellisor 3rd. Amy Faulkenberry was the one running with Heather and she pulled out the win among the women with a 21:02. Sarah Hannon and Kat Clark were 2nd and 3rd. Female masters went to Heather in 21:33 while Naomi Rabon christened her CRC jersey with a 2nd place. Third went to Belinda Moon. Whitney Keen and Steve Greer took 2nd and 3rd in male masters.
Female age group honor roll: Ruth Barahona was 1st in the 11-14. Brie McGrievy won the 40-44. Caroline Keen and Tracy Tisdale battled it out for 1-2 in the 45-49. Lisa Hart was 2nd in the 50-54. Lisa Smarr was 3rd in the 55-59. Helene Lipe won the 60-64. Judy Meisner ran 26:50 at age 67 and won the overall age grade at 75.5%. Wow.

Male age group honor roll: Gabriel Barahona took 1st in the 11-14 boys in 23:18. Joseph Kiprotich took 1st in the 30-34. Chad Long was 2nd in the 45-49. Roy Shelley, Joey Swearingen and Mark Chickering won the 50-54. Jim Williams and new CRC member Phil Smith went 1-3 in the 55-59. Ron Lipe was 2nd in the 60-64. Leeds Barroll won the 65-69. Alex Ponomarev and Arnold Floyd took the top 2 spots in the 70+.

https://runsignup.com/Race/Results/77754/#resultSetId-168824;perpage:5000
https://www.strava.com/activities/2687636299

Photo credits: Jedi Runner Photography, Springdale 5k facebook page

 

Prosperity Fire Department 5k and True to the Brew 10k double dip – Prosperity/Pomaria/Peak, SC – 3/30/19

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Having died a thousand deaths in the last leg of the Palmetto 200 with the Van on the Run ultra team, I figured I’d take this week easy. I was signed up for the True to the Brew 10k, but at least it was flat, and hopefully I could throw down a decent time without exerting too much effort. Sadly, the Bunny Hop had moved their date to this weekend, so my tenure as the 7 foot rabbit had to take a hiatus. I was halfway into a week of half-hearted slog jogs and too much tennis when Roy Shelley, the newly “elected” dictator president, of the Columbia Running Club, messaged me. He had a double dip challenge for us, with a time window so small it would probably need 2 cars and possibly some executive favors. As it turned out, the Prosperity Fire Department 5k and 10k were starting their races early, with a 7:30 10k and 7:45 5k. True to the Brew started at 8:30. The races were about 15 minutes apart, give or take, so if you could finish the 5k in well under 25 minutes, hop in the car by 8:10ish, there was about a 5-6 minute cushion to make it to TTTB. As probably the most enthusiastic double dipper in the CRC, how could I refuse?? 

Probably by exercising good judgement,  but I digress. Let me say this, Roy puts way more effort in planning things than I do. Dude sends me an agenda, the USATF race routes, road maps. I’m surprised he didn’t get us a police escort. Speaking of executive privilege, one of the hangups  to our plan was the 1 mile shuttle from the parking area to the TTTB start, so we made a plea to Erin Roof for a special parking spot. It seems the Palmetto Conservation Society was being kind of strict, so there was some uncertainty about whether we could get near the start. I figured we would be so late that no one would stop us, but just in case, Pres. Shelley printed out an official “parking pass”. Apparently you can get away with anything if you act like you know what you’re doing.

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We had originally planned to meet at the Pomaria ball fields (official TTTB parking) at 6:45 to drop my car off, but typical of my planning style, I called Roy at 6:25 to change it to Peak. TTTB is a point to point race and requires a shuttle to get back to the start, so I figured we might as well use our 2 cars for some good and enable us to leave TTTB at our leisure.

We got to the Prosperity race about 7:05, and actually had to register on site since our plan was hatched so late. We already had the TTTB bibs from early packet pickup, a critical rule of double dipping strategy. I had half-hoped for a trophy hunt at Prosperity. I figured 4 races on the Tour, and this one had both a 5k and a 10k , and it was way out from Columbia. It fit all the Blue Shoes trophy hunting criteria. One snafu though. Apparently there was prize money, so the first thing I see are two local Kenyan guys, Harrison Kirigwi and Norman Maihathi, who decided to split the races and easily take the cash. DOH! Kenzie Riddle was racing for the first time in 2 years in the 5k, and Joy Miller was running the ten. So we had our overall winners set from the start line. Coach B would be racing with me in the 5k for second place. The whole Pearson clan was on hand with Tim, Edy and Tori representing. Ivery Baldwin, Thomas Outlaw, Gretchen Lambert and Tom Lance were some other familiar faces.

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At the 5k line, I think the RD saw me taking pics and delayed the start for a minute.  Thanks to me, now things were really tight. I took off pretty hard from the gun but my legs were still hating me from the P200.  Harrison leaves us all immediately, and at the first turn onto Main St, Kenzie and Mark pass me. This course is super flat, and I think I’m giving a decent effort, but I have zero spring in my step. The police car is guiding Harrison, so they send out a 4 wheeler to be the lead “car” for the mere mortals, which is nice. Mile 1 is like 6:37, a good 20+ seconds off my typical 5k pace. I try not to think about the 10k in my near future, but it definitely sinks in as we hit a long stretch on highway 76. I keep Kenzie and Mark within about 10-20 meters for most of the race. There’s a turn around near the 2 mile mark, and Roy is not too far behind, so hopefully we can jump in the car ASAP. I briefly flirt with pushing in all the chips to try and catch Coach B, but he’s summoning his own kick and I got nuthin. Kenzie is right ahead and I almost catch her with the small hill up to the finish but end up a second behind her. 20:27.  Ugly time for sure, but good for 3rd male overall in this trophy hunt. I grab 2 waters from the cooler and Roy comes in a shade under 23 minutes. We both head to the car a sweaty mess and take off, right at 8:10 by my watch. There were a couple of ways we could have gotten to Pomaria, but we decide to go by the Google maps quickest version. Yeah, google maps didn’t adjust for morning 5ks with a bunch of walkers. We end up sitting on 76 staring at someone’s boat trailer for what seems like an eternity. Finally we turn off 76 towards Pomaria, but everyone and their mom is also going that way. As far as the rest of the trip, I would give you details, but per my attorney driver, we “proceeded cautiously, obeying all road signs and observing posted speed limits“.  Let’s just say I didn’t need pre-race warmups to get my adrenaline going.

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Roy tears into Pomaria, I mean eases into the town center, and as we randomly park.  I can hear Erin actually counting down to the start. I jump out of the car, hurdle over some grass, narrowly avoid plowing into Joe Roof , and somehow my Garmin miraculously finds a satellite in my 50 meter dash, as I hit the front of the pack just as the countdown hits zero. MADE IT! YAY!

But there was a price to pay. Apparently Thanos has exacted his infinity stone power on my colon because suddenly I don’t feel so good. 

Fifty meters in and I’m already scouting out the woods. Maybe it will pass. Maybe it was just the adrenaline of the start. Maybe if I pick up the pace it will go away. Negative, ghost rider. This was not going to be pretty.  First there’s a stretch of woods with barbed wire, then a swamp. Oh dear God. Then it goes away for a bit…then comes back with a vengeance.  Finally I come up with the bridge idea. I duck under a bridge at about 2 miles, have to climb down with gimp legs, watch for snakes, make 1000 percent sure there are no potential witnesses and sweet Jesus unspeakable horrors were then committed under that bridge. Thankfully there was also a stream there, also of questionable microbiologic content. I can hear everyone tramping on the bridge overhead, oblivious to the haz mat scene just under their feet. Finally, in what seems like ten minutes, but was actually about 4, I emerge like a enormous dazed troll from under the bridge.  And since I have completely blown any TDC points from this race, an enormous, dazed and depressed troll. I feel lighter though definitely with that not so fresh feeling. But there are 4 miles to go and this is not an out and back loop, so I push on. I at least try to maintain around 8 minute pace, because I’m just ready to get this thing done. For those not hampered by a distempered colon, it was a beautiful day on a flat trail through the forest. Just about perfect. I managed to catch up with a bunch of people who were thoroughly confused by my presence. It’s hard to find new ways to politely say I HAD TO TAKE A GIANT DUMP. The last mile or two I started catching some of CRC age groupers, so I picked up the pace to give myself a hell snowball’s chance of age group glory. Of course, I spotted Drew and Nance and Yerg and McGrievy at the start, so these guys were going to have to place and then go three deep masters for me to have a chance. I also forgot that my Garmin was stopped during my off road excursion, so instead of possibly breaking 50 minutes I was closer to 54. Still, there were a couple of middle aged looking dudes in the last mile and I took off , ending in a sprint on the bridge at the finish. Yeah, I should have saved my energy. 53:46, 7th in age group.

 

The finish line was awesome for this race as usual. There was a good band that actually played at a reasonable volume (as opposed to the occasional race DJs who think they’re at South beach at 3 am), subs,  and of course beer,  served up by the Craft and Draft guys. Weather was perfect too -70’s and sunny. There was a huge Columbia running club/Harbison Trail Runners/RWB/RUI contingent on hand with Brie and Matt McGrievy, Tracy Tisdale,  Bobby Scott, Sabrina Gandy, Ed Aufuldish, Pete O’Boyle, Winston Holliday, Naomi Rabon, Julie McKinnon, Ken and Sheila Bolin, Jen Clyburn, Mike and Pam Griffin, Mackenzie Wilt, Mario Alvarez, Matt Havens, Birte and Jeff Fretwell, Jim Williams, Jeff Longway, Lisa Powell, Ronda Sanders, Mike Ferguson, Renee and Patrick McCormick, Will Rowan, Joe and Janette Robinson, Betsy Long, Teresa Shelton, Lorand Batten, Michael Beaudet, Clara Nance, Lois and Bryan Leaburn, Teresa Harrington, Missy Caughman, Kara Clyburn, Bertha Woehl, Ron Hagell, Chesson Merritt, Maria Pray, Mike and Janice Compton, Sharon Sherbourne, Patti Lowden,  Harry Strick, and Shirley Smith. Amazing turnout for a day with so may other races going on.

Prosperity 

Overall 5k winners were Harrison Kirigwi in 15:55, Coach B was second with the Sasquatch 3rd.  Kenzie won the women’s race, with Stacy Willard and Haley Thomason completing the podium.

5k age groupers were President Roy taking first in the 50-54. Tim Pearson took 3rd in the 55-59 with his new bionic knee.

In the 10k, Norman Maihathi took the win in 39 minutes, with Jon Lawson Cope 2nd and Ivery Baldwin getting third. Nice trophy hunt, Ivery!

10k  age groupers: Tori Pearson won the 30-34.  Thomas Outlaw (jr) won the 35-39. Gretchen Lambert took 3rd in the 45-49. Tom Lance won the 50-54. Edy Pearson won the 55-59, while Tommy Outlaw took the 60-64.

In the TTTB:

Mike Nance edged Drew Williams for the win in an epic showdown of Team Carebeers (our Ville to Ville relay team for April 13). Jeff Fretwell was 3rd.

Among the women, Birte Fretwell captured her second True to the Brew title after her half marathon win at Croft State Park last year. Sally Singleton and Jessica Weems were 2nd and 3rd.

Mens masters was won by TUS beast Ed Aufuldish, the YERG and Winston Holliday. Colleen Vowles, Jen Clyburn and Naomi Rabon swept female masters.

Female Age groups: Makenzie Wilt was 3rd in the 30-34.  Julie “2017 Scrotum of the Year” McKinnon and Brie McGrievy went 1-2 in the 40-44. Tracy “Jedi Runner” Tisdale was 3rd in the 45-49. Lisa Powell was 2nd in the 55-59. Lois Leaburn won the 60-64.  Sharon Sherbourne was second in the 65-69. Patti Lowden was tops in the 70+.

Male age groups: Beer mile director Bobby Scott won the 30-34. Matt McGrievy won the 40-44. Ken Bolin and Roy Shelley went 1-2 in the 50-54. Mario Alvarez and Jim Williams took the top 2 spots in the 55-59.  Pete O’Boyle and Jeff Longway were 2nd and 3rd in the 60-64. Mike Compton was 65-69 champ, while Ron Hagell won the 70+.

Prosperity Fire Department 5k/10k: https://www.strictlyrunning.com/json/Index_JS_C4.asp?uRaceId=3067

True to the Brew: Pomaria to Peak 10k

https://runsignup.com/Race/Results/53330?fbclid=IwAR1Nj5aiBSVq0L83zNEpLfJmW_G1VH3au_XhM38J8AJxqf35fNbtqwrbYFw#resultSetId-148027;perpage:10

Alex’s true to the POO 10k: https://www.strava.com/activities/2252364070

Alex’s Prosperity 5k: https://www.strava.com/activities/2252362370

 

 

 

Lexington Race Against Hunger 10k – Lexington, SC – 2/23/13

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The Lexington Race Against Hunger is now in its 13th year and has grown to be one of the largest 10ks in the Columbia area. Proceeds go to benefit five different charities that serve the homeless and the needy. Last years  event drew over 1300 people, 400+  in the 0k and 700+ in the 5k. The 10k has really nice awards, so the race usually attracts a pretty competitive field. The 5k is actually an timed fun run/walk and not a real race, per se.

I have a confession to make.

I hate 10ks.

With a passion, really. I have no sense of pace running the 6.2. I’ve gone out too fast and suffered death marches to the finish, and I’ve also phoned in the first few miles only to find out I can’t  sprint fast enough to make up the lost time. But I’ve never hit that sweet spot where I’ve actually run the race as fast as possible.  The McMillan calculator, using my most recent 5k (19:00)  says I can do a 39:23. My PR is exactly two minutes slower than that. I’ve wanted to break 40 forever in the 10k but I’ve wound up breaking 19 in the 5k first.  Funny thing is, this race is actually where my PR was set a year ago.

And its hardly a PR course. I’m sure Lexingtonians are great people, and most I’ve met are nice (except maybe for that Jen Hill character). But I hate running in that God forsaken town.  It may call itself part of the Midlands, but there are mountains there.  Case in point: Main Street. The LRAH course runs right up the thing, and man, does it suck.  Could be part of the Blue Ridge Relay. Brutal.

What’s even more fun than running up mountains in Lexington is if it was also really cold…and raining…hard….for the second weekend in a row.  41 degrees and a downpour. Needless to say, when I got to the race this morning the “Race Day Registration” desk was a ghost town. No one was getting out of their nice, warm, dry bed to run this thing unless they had already plunked down the cash to do so.  From the looks of it, a lot of people woke up, said “F#%  it” and went back to bed. One of those people was almost me. But if I dont get my weekly racing fix I’m one grumpy bastard – just ask my wife.

After waiting inside until the last second, the Code , Trophy and I did a “warmup”,  aka freezing our collective asses off for about 10 minutes and making sure there was no part of ourselves that wasn’t completely and utterly soaked. Luckily the rain let up just before the start, and hey – no portapotty line!

There were a lot of fast people at the start.  Returning champ Justin Bishop and the Plex were on hand to compete for the win. Amy was there with practically no competition for the women’s race. Drew Williams was helping guide her and unfortunately (for me) was also wearing a bib.  That left me, Flicker, Code and Trophy to pick up the rest of the 35-39 scraps.  Paul Reardon semed prime to pick up the masters win. Geary and Billy were there, which I hoped would help me pace. James Hicks was back from a prolonged work and newborn baby induced sabbatical. Ponamarev, Gasque, Valerie,  Henry Holt and Cheryl Outlaw probably run as many races as me and of course were on hand for this one.  CRC presidential alumnus Steve Rudnicki continued his comeback.  Blue Ridge Relay teammate Winston Holliday was back again after crushing the Make my Day a week ago. Kristin Schmitz was there to test the bikram yoga as training for running theory. Both Diesels were hiding behind their children instead of racing.

With the start, my goal was to hit mile 1 in 6:30 and see if I could hold this for the first few miles. The first mile is pretty flat on highway 378. The wind and cold definitely sucked but I felt pretty good at the mile marker, which was unfortunately 6:39. OK, not too bad. The Code was running slow apparently, because I stuck right behind him. Billy was pretty far ahead already. Mile 2 is pretty rolling but probably more downhill than up until…right turn into hell. Just before the mile 2 marker comes Mt. Main street. I try and power up it hard, but when youre carrying a liter of water in your shoes, this tends to slow you down a bit. I feel like a champ because I’m catching up with Code…then he pulls off to the side and starts trying to stretch or something.  I thought I picked up the pace in the second mile but apparently the 200 meters rapelling up the main street monster leaves me over pace again at 6:35.  I was under the impression the worst is over by the time you reach the top of Main. Comlpetely delusional.  The next mile is actually more rollercoaster-esque. It gives you a tour of roads haunted by Lexington races  like Jailbreak and the now defunct Kiwanis 5k , reminding you of how much misery they’ve brought.  Speaking of delusional, I’m under the distinct impression I’m holding this 6:30ish pace pretty well. Mile 3: 6:54. WTF? Apparently I’m just destined to suck today. (Remember this is relative suck. I’ve heard Bishop and Plex complain about how bad 5:40 pace sucks. ..Cry me a river dudes.) Anyway, running a 6:54 pretty much crashes any grandiose thoughts I had about sub 40’s and PRs. Add that to my numb, freezing feet and having no one to pace off , and my motivation is crap. I do hear someone tracking me down, and I’m pretty sure its Geary. Turns out it was Travis Moran, who I met after the race. He was using ME to pace off. Sorry I let you down, man.

I’m nearing the mile 4 mark and I figure I need to start kicking it in to save some pride and to make absolutely, positively sure I don’t get Trophied. That shame would be too much for my fragile ego to bear. Just as I pick up the pace, I realize all my debbie downer self talk has given me a 6:57 fourth mile. Nice half marathon pace, bro. You do realize this is a 10K, right? I look ahead and I can still see Flicker and Billy, so I try to use them as motivation to go faster. I am picking it up some, but damned if I just can’t kick it into another gear.  And I’m actually making up ground…but apparently I’m not willing to suffer like I usually do. Last year Code and then Flicker were in the crosshairs in mile 6  which led me to a 6:09 last mile. Not this time. I do hit mile 5 in 6:35, but I had planned to have dropped it down to 6:20 by now.  The last mile is the same pretty flat stretch on 378. I’m tracking down Flicker as best I can, and I’m slowly reeling him in, but not before he kicks it in himself. Somehow I know thats my precious age group placement going down the toilet too.  Finally after the mile 6 mark I do break into something resembling a kick. I make out the clock in the 41’s and throw in enough of a burst to make sure I’m under 42 minutes. Finish is 41:51. 16th overall, and sure enough 4TH IN AGE GROUP.  Damn that Flicker.

Justin set the “A”  Standard again, winning the race in 34:56. A guy from Boiling Springs , Matt Henderson, finished a surprising second ahead of the Plex , who had an “off day” with 36:02. I hate when I have off days and run 5:40 pace.   Drew Williams finished 4th overall  (1st in 35-39). Amy finished first in the women’s race by over 4 minutes, rocking a 39:23. Where are all the other elite women these days? Paul Reardon finished 6th overall in a really close masters race..just edging a Charlotte Running Club guy (the other, less cool  CRC)   Jonathan Halter,  by six seconds.  Winston Holliday continued to run strong and finished in tenth place at 40:49, second in AG. Billy Tisdale and Geary McAlister finished 1-2 in the grandmaster division on either side of me. I saw Tim Reese and Scott Brewer challenge Billy with a sprint to the end, and both got a taste of the brutal Tisdale kick, though Tim did edge him out. To Billy’s credit, he’s got 25 years on him.  Sadly I was just a little too far back to give them all a blue shoes blast.  I don’t know Kenneth Ebener, but I saw the dude ran like a 3:07 marathon last week and comes right back and does 42 minutes at this race. Impressive. Travis Moran, who was pacing off me, won second in AG behind Tim. Just wait to these guys age up to the real competition!  Trophy ran a strong race in 43:33, and then announces he’s going to run the 3rd race of my triple dip next week in an effort to break the 4 year Blue Shoes 5k losing streak. Bring it, dude. The shame will be all yours.  Kristin Schmitz ran an easy 48 minutes and still placed 2nd in AG. Brady Ward continued his under 14 world domination tour by winning 1st, even his dad tried to outkick him in the end.   Rudnicki made the real CRC proud with a 3rd in AG, as Larry Bates did as well with 1st in his. Cheryl Outlaw and Valerie Selby rocked the 55 -59. And Henry Holt, 77,  not only won his age group but was the only person over age 63 to brave the brutal conditions. Take that all you youngster slackers.  Speaking of youngster non-slackers,  Brooke Ward , age 10, completed her first 10k in 1:26 , outkicking Jennifer and taking the AG win after an official coaches challenge by the Diesel.

http://www.strictlyrunning.com/results/13lrah.txt

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/276721267

Jingle Bell Run 5k – Lexington,SC – 12/15/12

Lexington 5k Rudolphs Rampage 2012 005

The Jingle Bell Run 5k  is a brand new race held in Lexington to benefit the Arthritis Foundation. I think this one of a series of races across the country  as a fundraiser for the foundation.

What drew me to this race was a) a little bit of trophy hunting and b) a totally new race and certified course. I had originally wanted to make this a crazy double dip, by doing this race at 9 am and the Rudolph’s Rampage 10k or half in Harbison at 10 am. Between Rudolph’s jacking up the late fee 10 bucks and perhaps a small bit of rational, non-obsessional thought, I decided the night before just to do this one.

Angel and I carpooled to the race and got there an hour early. The race director said they had over a 100 signed up, so some part of me was glad there would be a decent crowd.  Sometimes my dual role as president of the Columbia Running Club and insatiable trophy hunter creates a conflict of interest. Still I’m not going to promote a race for weeks and hope for it to fail just to possibly win a shiny golden running man.  Plus, I was transporting a faster age grouper to the race, so definitely not the best trophy hunt move there either.

As a warm up Angel and I decided to run the out and back part of the course. From the map it was basically just a run out of the Moore Orthopedic parking lot, straight on Ginny Lane, a brief loop to the right, back on Ginny Lane, turn around at a cone and head straight back. Lexington is definitely known for its hills (see the Lexington Race Against Hunger in February) but the area around Moore Ortho seemed pretty flat. Or so it seemed…

One turn onto Ginny Lane and it turns out Ginny is an evil, vindictive woman.  The first half mile is plunging down a cliff before the right hand turn at the bottom. Once you do the loop (which we didnt do on the warmup) , its mountain climbing time. Soul crushing hill. Then another just when you get your wind back. They put the turnaround just over the crest of the second hill, bringing you to a stop and making you try to regain momentum on an incline back.  Then do those 2 hills again in reverse and climb back up the cliff to the finish. Good times. At the end of the warmup, I wasnt sure if it was good to know what I was facing or bad knowing what misery awaits. I figured this course might be a full minute slower than my usual times.

By race time, there was a small crowd of mostly unfamiliar faces. The Columbia Running Club people were mostly the diehard 20+ races a year types: Gasque, Henry, Pete Poore, Rocky, Ponamarev.  I didn’t recognize any of the women. There were a fair amount of teens and a few in-shape looking younger guys. No clear elites and I figured Angel would probably win this thing unless one of the high schoolers was some cross country stud. I liked my chances to get in the top 10 and score some open points.

With the start I charged out hard and led the race for 20 feet or so before Angel , a teenager and 4 twenty somethings blew past me. We quickly separated out and Angel and the kid were the lead duo. We all went flying down the hill, which is strangely one of my weaknesses.  Guiding 190 pounds down a cliff is like controlling the freefall of a boulder.  As I’m blasting down the cliff I’m already dreading a) the mountain right ahead and b) how unbelievably bad this thing is going to suck going back up at the end. But at least we get a little respite with this unknown loop in the valley, right? Um, not so much. Turning right, we descend a little further until we basically march right back up a hill that parallels the cliff. Lungs and legs are protesting the abuse already. The hill does take out one of the dudes ahead of me and I power past him. One of the benefits of being obese by distance running standards is developing superhuman quads to carry all this weight around, which comes in handy on hills.

Angel and the kid are still running in tandem, and I wonder if the teenager is just biding his time before he takes the win. He’s basically drafting off him. The other 2 guys are spacing out but they’re both pretty far ahead.  There’s a cone turnaround at the top of this miserable hill, signifying the end of this side loop from hell. Plunge back down. I catch an evil glare from the guy I passed on the hill. Being passed by an albino sasquatch must be pretty shameful. Mile one 6:07

Turn back on to Ginny lane and we finally face the mountain we saw from the start. Soul crushing, but apparently its really kicking the ass of blue shirt guy ahead of me. I draw closer on the mountain. Mile 2 in 6:30ish thanks to the three hills. The turnaround is miserable since you have to put on the brakes from the start of a downhill and then get going again on an incline. I’m pretty beat but I finally catch up and pass blue shirt guy to take over fourth place. Angel is up ahead doing a good job holding off the kid.

We then have a long downhill before climbing the cliff back to the start/finish area. #3 guy is way ahead, so I figure no shot at catching him. I start figuring age group and open points at this point as I start slogging up the cliff…until..hold the phone,  I’m starting to make some headway into the giant gap between me and 3. Still, doesnt seem likely I’m going to catch him, he looks too young to be in my age group, and it would only be one point in the open division. Then he looks back… blood in the water. Its a quarter mile to the finish, and he’s at least 20 meters ahead, but F it..I’m going for it. I start throwing down as hard as I can. If thre’s anything I’m good at its the willingness to endure a great deal of pain for ridiculously small rewards.  #3  looks back again and sees what must be a scary sight..some frenzied pasty clydesdale bearing down on him like a runaway freight train. He’s still ten feet ahead as we make the last turn into the parking lot, and I’m at an absolute sprint.  Its going to be close ..real close. Then suddenly ..he coughs, and then pukes as I blast by just past the 3 mile mark. EPIC BLUE SHOE!  I assume normal people might feel bad for the guy, but normalcy is not my strong point. I’d be lying to say I didnt love it. I round the corner in the parking lot, see the clock,  and push it just hard enough to also score a sub 20.  19:57 officially, 3rd overall. 3.16 miles by Garmin.

I’m very happy with the result despite the slow time. I figure this course will take away at least 45 seconds to a minute off your usual road times. And of course there’s nothing I like better than a good blue shoe. This one has to be in the top 5, though I’ll take the Tigs takedown at the Turkey Trot or the 2010 Race to Read win over Greg as my favorites. The two guys I passed were very nice and thanked me for a good race, which was cool. Angel was awesome in blasting down the home stretch and holding off the kid for the win.  John Gasque won his age group then had to run to his car to pull off the double dip I decided against – he actually wore two shirts with the next race bib pinned to the shirt underneath.  He then finished a brutal 10k in Harbison. Awesome! Pete Poore, Rocky, Henry and Ponamarev all placed in their age group. The 70+ category had a real beast, David Jeffrey,  who ran just over 22 minutes at 70 years old. Impressive.

http://www.rmssports.com/results/12jblex5k.txt