The morning started out rather uneventful. I woke up with the goal of beating the 15:55 I ran last week at the Energy Capital Run. I figured that this was a pretty lofty goal considering that this course would be much tougher. Based off of my last 2 races I wasn't really sure of what I could do anymore. Add in the fact that before the last 2 races, I hadn't raced in 3 months and during that time I had gotten injured and so I really didn't know what to expect. Well, lets just say the theme of this post is "You just never know".
As Sean and I were warming up he asked me what I would be shooting for. I said anything below 15:55 and I'll consider myself moving in the right direction. Sean then gave me the technical layout of the course. Where the hills were, when to accelerate, etc. This was invaluable information and I suspect this info may have saved me 15-20 seconds. During our warm up Sean spotted Adam Davis. Adam was the guy that beat me by 20 seconds at the Susan G. Komen race for the cure. Adam has been stock piling airline tickets and trips for months now and today airline tickets were on the line. And so here he was. I figured he would only be good for 15:20 tops based off of his successive 15:4x times this month. So I considered Sean to be the clear overall favorite in the race. We finished our warm up and headed toward the starting line do some strides and stretching. I did about 5 strides and then one continuous 45 second stride that Sean recommended. This was supposed to jumpstart my engine. After this I started my stretching.
As I finished up my stretching I heard the announcer say "On Your Mark..." Holy !?&#. I ran to the starting line as fast as I could but it was too late, the race started. So I had to run around the timing mat and in front of over 1300 people that already had started and sprint out like a bat out of hell! I didn't even know if I hit the timing mat correctly. I did a full sprint to eventually position myself just right behind Adam and Sean. Already I'm hyperventilating a little. About a quarter mile in I'm doing 4:30 pace as we run down a decline. I not only hit the decline hard, I accelerate to a full sprint down the hill. By the halfway point of mile 1 I was still at sub 4:50 pace and feeling okay despite some heavy breathing. Sean and Adam were increasing their lead over me. I finally hit mile 1 at 4:55. WooHoo, my first sub 5 minute mile in a 5k! Awesome! Even though I ran a relatively quick first mile Adam and Sean were still about 12-13 seconds ahead of me.
During mile 2 I still felt strong. I held sub 5 minute pace for a good portion of the mile. The thing that did it in for me was a hill and then the turn around that took 2-3 seconds from me. Basically you had to turn on a dime when you came back. This part of the race was pretty uneventful for me other than the fact that I had front row seats to the battle that was going on in front of me. As we were nearing the completion of mile 2 I expected Adam to start drifting back to me. I mean, after running a 4:43 first mile and a 4:50 second mile he had to be toast right? Well not only was he still up there with Sean, but it was very, very tight. It looked like it could be a coin flip. I slowly started to realize what was going on. Adam was in a whole lot better shape than we thought. I finished with a 5:03 mile for a 2 mile PR of 9:58.
During mile 3 I knew that this would be the gut check. I knew that during my recent previous races I had collapsed during this part of the race. I had been working so hard during the race that the end didn't seem so near to me. But I continued to push, because I knew I had a shot of breaking 16 minutes and probably breaking 15:55. I looked up ahead and watched the race in front of me. As I said before, it looked like coin flip. But I knew if Adam is close with 800 to go then he wins. He's an All American 800 guy. Finally they vanished out of view. As I ran to complete mile 3, many other participants gave me some positive words of encouragement. I ran up the winding incline and relaxed, not trying to force anything. I finished mile 3 at 5:09 pace. I was pleased since there was a substantial incline at the end.
The last .10 I started out pretty fast and then I noticed Sean yelling at me and I happened to notice the clock. It was 15:2x and counting. I picked it up to a gear that I didn't know I still had available to me. I finished the last .1 in 25 seconds. The official finish was 15:34. When I asked Sean what he ran, he said 14:54. When I asked what Adam ran, he said 14:47. What!? That's awesome. I totally didn't see that coming. Just like I didn't see my 15:34 coming. Hence the theme, "You just never know!"
Here are the stats for the race followed by some great shots by Brommice Green's (fellow Kenyan Wayer) husband.
3 Mile Warm Up
5k Race 15:34
Total Average Pace:
- * First time under 5 minute pace/mile in a race longer than 1 mile
- ** 2 Mile PR 9:58
3 Mile Cool Down
Sean on his way to a 14:54
Looking to finish strong.