I had no idea what to expect today. I haven't raced a 5k since October. My fitness has been on again off again. And it is hot!! I had two terrible weeks of training leading up to this. I've just been discouraged. I'll probably post on that later. But last week I had 10 miles for the week. Yep. 10 miles. This week I had 40, so that's a little better. I have to get better and more consistent. Anyway... the race today.
The numbers... 18:58 which was good enough for 8th (of 433) overall and 1st (of 27) in the 35-39 age group. It wasn't a PR, but it was a reasonable performance for July. I'll call it a July PR.
This event was very well organized and very well supported. It reached the limit of 500 runners and had to turn some away. It has grown since the inaugural event last year. There were so many co-workers from ADTRAN there and I know that several ran their first 5k today. Nice!
I need to get up earlier. I just didn't quite have enough time to get warmed up like I wanted. I got 2.25 miles and just a couple of strides. It had to be enough. After some nice welcome announcements, we were on our way at about 7:04 AM. The early start helped with the heat.
I really had no idea what I had in the tank today. I probably had more than I gave, but I always think that afterwards. But at no time during this race did I feel absolutely horrible, so I didn't run hard enough. I started at about a 6 minute pace and backed only slightly off of that the rest of the way. There were so many who went out WAY too fast today, but the roads were wide so it wasn't a problem.
The first mile is slightly downhill, the very slight breeze was in our face, and the sun was at our backs. So, there was really no excuse for running this mile in 6:04. But, I honestly had no idea what my splits were at any time during the race. I barely looked at my watch and I just didn't know was running. I was going by how it felt. And, the first mile actually surprised me a little. I glanced at my watch and saw 1.11, so I missed it. I had to look at the data post-race to know the split. There was no split caller. That is something this race needs to add. Before the mile marker, we had pretty much settled into our places.
Mile 2 starts back up the slight incline that we descended in the first mile. The small breeze was at our backs, but probably not as fast as I was running. The air was barely moving! And the sun was in our faces. It was a hot second mile. I don't know why I ran it in 6:05 if I could only run the first one in 6:04. I caught and passed one guy before the mile marker, but I didn't know him.
The third mile is just plain flat. Again, the sun was in our face and there was no breeze. I had two guys in my sights. One I passed at about 2.5 miles. The other was Dink Taylor, and I just couldn't gain any ground on him. Really, the passing I did was by just running a steady pace. I didn't speed up. In fact, mile 3 was slower than I wanted and slower than it should have been at 6:11.
Near the finish, I heard footsteps. I thought it may have been the guy I passed in the third mile. It was not. I later learned that this was fellow Athenian Ben Greene. It was a realization that I'm still not very competitive with others in running. I didn't really care to chase him down. He could have the next place. But when I saw the clock, that's when I poured it on! I saw 18:49... Can I make it sub-19? That's when I just turned on the jets, and almost caught Ben. But really, I didn't notice how close I was to him because I was just thinking sub-19. I even let up a little when I saw that I was going to make it. I nearly caught Ben and didn't realize it until I looked at the results and saw that we had the same finish time!
Maybe one day, I'll learn to compete with fellow runners. For now, running is purely me against myself and the clock.
Nice race. I'm pleased with sub-19 on a very hot day. It was tons of fun. I had a great time just hanging out with friends and running fast. I ran the course a couple more times for 11 miles total.