What a race! Where do I begin? Why don't I start out by giving props to some special runners.
Let's start with Sabra Harvey. Sabra Harvey is a 60 year old woman who happens to be world class fast for her age at the 5k. Al Lawrence made a very special announcement at the beginning of the race that she was shooting for an age world record for 60 years old. The record she had to beat was 19:4something I believe. She shattered that with a 19:11. Wow. If I wasn't racing I would have loved to see what a 60 year woman looks like moving that fast. Congrats to her.
I'd also like to congratulate my Kenyan Way running partner, Geoff Streit, on his win at the "Four for the Park" race at Memorial Park. He ran a strong 21 minute 4 miles which averages out to 5:15 pace. He is continuing to improve and get stronger as he prepares for Boston later this April. Look out for this guy as I expect he'll be contending for more race wins in the future.
Also congrats to Luis Armenteros for winning a 5k race...again :) It was definitely a good showing for Kenyan Way this weekend.
Ok back to the race. I arrived at the race and was very excited. After all, this race had quite a reputation as a fast course. It is pancake flat and many of my friends had PRs on the course last year, including myself. This race also had special meaning to me. Afterall, I had broken the 17 minute barrier at this race last year with a 16:50. This year I was hoping to break the 16 minute barrier. I had run a 16:23 last week on a course that was long and was very windy and in late January I had ran a 16:01 at the Rockets run. Coach Sean had told me that breaking 16 would be imminent, so I was eager to run this race.
I did a warm up run and did some stretching. I noticed this older gentleman that I always see at races nowadays that is quite a character. Sometimes he'll break dance during award ceremonies. Today he was running the race in loafers. If that wasn't strange enough he was doing ballet spins in the air while jogging. Very interesting, and he gave people a good chuckle before the race.
Ok back to the race. I lined up at the start and recognized quite a few of the runners. A nice field. The gun went off, and we were out. I was forced to make a quicker spurt than normal. There was so many quick starters that if I was too passive then I would have been closed off by a lot of the slower runners and would have had to waste time and energy going around these guys. So I had to out run these guys and give myself some space. I did this and things started to spread out a little more and I was able to relax and get into my normal mode. Still, there were quite a few people in front of me...as usual. I was running about 5:06-5:07 minute pace and had 8 people in front of me. Mile 1 I finished in 5:05 and I was still in 8th place.
During mile 2 I continued my same pace. Things were easy so far. I was relaxed and focused. In mile 2 I passed a few guys. I moved past Gerardo Mora to be in 7th place. Then Rudy Rocha for 6th. Then a masters guy, Dave Matlock to be in 5th place. I finished mile 2 at 5:06 pace and was currently in 5th place.
Mile 3 was verrrry ineresting. I was feeling pretty good by now. I was running well, hitting my splits, and effort wise it was all pretty easy so far. It would get a little tougher during this mile. In the middle of third mile I ran by a young guy, D.J. Bean to move into 4th place. Now I must remind you that I didn't know what place I was in. There were too many people in front of me to know this. Next, I came upon Jose Lara, last year's winner. I moved ahead of him to move into 3rd place. A short distance in front of Jose was Junior Mitchell who would end up giving me a tough battle. Eventually I ended up overtaking Junior. He was obviously laboring but this guy did not go away. I passed him with about .7 to go. So there was plenty of race to go. He stayed on my tail. Through the halfway point of mile 3 I was running at 4:53 pace so I was surprised that he was able to turn it on and stay with me so long. At one point he got so close to me with the finish line in sight that he clipped me from behind and I almost tripped. Undeterred I just kept running and eventually I put some distance between us. I ended up finishing Mile 3 at 5:00 minute pace. With a little more effort I think I could have done a sub 5 3rd mile.
The last .1 was anti-climactic because my position was solidified at 2nd place. Luis Armenteros who looked like a speck from far away had already sealed the deal. I finished the last .1 at 4:26 pace. Mahta Mesfun and a few others cheered me on and motivated me to finish strongly at 15:43.
Once I finished I thought I had finished in 3rd or 4th place but Mahta told me I finished 2nd. That was a surprise. I was sure that there were more guys in front of me but there wasn't. What a race! Here are the splits:
2009 Bellaire Trolley 5k
Average Total Pace
Finish Time 15:43
Total miles run: 8.7
I've done quite a few races in recent weeks so I'm going to take a little bit of time off from racing and get some more training in. With a result like this, I'll have a good taste in my mouth for a while :)