I did it! I don't know what is so special about minute markers, but they're meaningful. I remember trying to break 20 minutes. That was big for me. Then breaking 19 was big, and I tried several times before I actually broke that one. Then, 18 was the next big minute. I've only seriously tried to break 18 once, and that was today, and I did it with a 17:54 at the Liz Hurley Ribbon Run 5k.
I had a pretty hard week of training along with a couple of emotional ups and downs. (I'm still considering posting more about that some time, but things are drastically improving, thankfully.) I had fast 400s on Tuesday that really zapped me on Wednesday. I felt great after them on Tuesday, but Wednesday, my legs felt like concrete, heavy and stiff. Then, Thursday, I was planning to have an easy day, but I saw fellow Athens runner Chris Ramsden doing a tempo run and I just HAD to join him for a few 6:30 miles. My weekly mileage is over 70. My legs just didn't feel fast this morning, but I had tons of confidence that I could pull this off anyway.
Wow, this race is an event! I had never run this one before, so I did not know what I was missing. I'm still amazed that they had to turn runners away. 5500 runners!?!?!?! Wow. Congratulations to Liz Hurley and her breast cancer awareness foundation for an incredibly successful fund raiser. And it was a very fun event, too.
There was pink everywhere. I need to get some pink just for this event. I felt like the only oddball not wearing pink. Any other time, I'd feel like an oddball for wearing pink! And there were lots of fast people at the starting line. There's just something about an event this size. It was very festive and fun.
My plan was to run an aggressive first mile and then hold on the best I could after that. I was thinking 5:35 or so. There was a lot of bobbing and weaving avoiding runners at the start and through the first turn that wasted some time and took some energy. I don't know what the split timer said, but my watch recorded 5:40.
There was a pack that pulled away from me just before the mile marker that included Dink Taylor, Jon Elmore, Sean Allan, Tim Horvath and Blake Thompson. They probably were 5 seconds or so ahead of me. I decided not to let them go. If I were going to break 18, I needed to stay with them, so I kicked it after the mile marker and joined in. Sean fell off the pace early, but I stayed with this group for the whole way. I couldn't have broken 18 if I hadn't done this.
The second mile is no joke. It rolls and gains about 40 feet. I probably ran harder during this mile, but split it at 5:46. The pack thinned and clustered, but I stayed with them, just waiting for the downhill finish I had heard about.
The third mile has a hill in it, too. It loses 20 feet or so, but that hill is mean. The third was another 5:46 mile and I was tired.
The last uphill and downhill were very eventful! Jon and Blake pulled ahead. I passed Tim Horvath. Dink put some space between him and me. I caught Dink on the downhill, but he would have none of it and dropped me pretty good while chasing Jon and Blake toward the finish. Tim Horvath and Tim Vinson came zooming by after I gave up on chasing Dink. So, I got picked off by three people in the last 0.1. Oh well. I BROKE 18 MINUTES!!!