Since this was just a 5K, there's not a whole lot to recap. I was nervous - already covered that in previous posts - and I had two big goals in mind - to set a new PR, and to try to break 23 minutes.
We had a perfect day for running. It was in the mid-40s and sunny, and not too terribly windy. There were a few spots on the course where we ran into a decent headwind, but nothing awful.
I picked a spot pretty close to the front of the pack, because I had every intention of going out fast and staying there.
And did I ever go out fast - the first half mile I was averaging a 6:30 pace! It felt great, though. But I knew I wouldn't be able to keep that up for long, and I started to back off a bit after that first .5.
Toward the one-mile mark is the only hill in the race, and it's a pretty inconsequential incline, but at the speed I was running, it was enough to take some of the wind out of my sails.
In the end, my mile one pace ended up at 7:21.
And then I hit a little wall. I really struggled from the one-mile mark to about 1.5 miles. My head and my heart were willing me to go faster, but my legs just weren't cooperating. As we approached mile 2, we went back down the hill that we had just run up, and that helped me gain a little speed, but I had still slowed down quite a bit - 7:30 for mile 2.
At that point, my legs wanted nothing more than to stop and sit down on the side of the road. But as I kept looking at my Garmin and seeing how close I was to a new PR, I kept myself going. I was tempted to pick up the pace early on in the final mile, but I held back, because I knew that I was really tiring, and if I kicked it into high gear too early, I'd be limping into the finish.
As I approached the 3-mile mark, I knew I wasn't going to get my sub-23, and when I rounded the final corner and saw the 23 appear on the clock (when I still had .1 to run), I did feel a brief flash of disappointment.
But I wasn't about to let that stop me, or slow me down, and I gave it all I had for that final .1, crossing the finish line in 23:11 - a new PR by 19 seconds!
I have never run that hard in my life, and I felt it. I was concentrating so hard as I ran into the chute that I didn't even see Scott and the boys standing there cheering me on. They were there, though, which was great - it's always nice when they can come to my races.
The overall experience of the race was fun, but running a 23:11 5K is WORK! I think I paced myself pretty well, though. I know I started out really fast, with that first half mile at a sub-7:00 pace. But although I slowed down a lot for mile 2, I was able to come back with a 7:12 for mile 3, so I think I did ok.
Anyway, I'm thrilled with my time, and I'm thrilled with my new PR, and I'm very pleased with the fact that I came in 6th in my age group. This is a pretty big race, with some stiff competition, and to even be in the top ten of my age group is quite an achievement.
Now on to the St. Patty's Day 5K in March!