I hate 5k's....I haven't actually raced a 5k in about a decade on the roads and I'm just not a short course athlete. I've popped into road 5k's in the last 10 years, but according to the results I can find online I haven't actually raced a good one since 2001. (as a disclaimer, the ones I have done in the last decade, I've been dressed in a SUMO suit and also in a 3 piece suit holding a briefcase - or they've been snowshoe races)
Regardless, I wanted to test the legs one last time before Ironman Lake Placid and I just kind of came up with the zany idea to hop into this local 5k a few days before the race. The start was literally 2.1 miles from my house, so I knew I could wake up, roll out of bed, and run down to the start as a warm up. I was coming off a rest week and feeling a little spry so this would be the perfect opportunity to see what I could pull out of my butt and see what kind of time I could post. Secretly, I wanted to get back down to sub 17 and I think I could've done that if I raced a little smarter, just things didn't work out exaclty right this race.
I knew that a sub 17 performance would require an average of ~5:30/mile pace, but my calculations were a little off. The gun went off and we were blazing. I spied an old racing buddy from my high school days in the 800m on the starting line and chatted with Steve for a minute before the race. He's got a little one on the way in August, so I congratulated him and we were off. I checked my Garmin as we were about a half mile in to the race and it read 4:40/mile pace and I knew I needed to back down.
We split thru the first mile in 5:11 and I knew this would hurt. The leader was already 15-20 seconds up on me and I was sitting about 7th or 8th in line. I backed off the pace, got immediately passed by a few runners and started to feel a little bad. I hit mile 2 in about 10:55 and that split out a 5:44 for the 2nd mile and I knew I was racing this wrong. Anytime you positive split by 30+ seconds in a 5k, either means that the elephant has jumped on your back, or you started out too strong.
I momentarily had the thoughts of, "maybe I should just bag this race, stop and do another test again later" but as with any short races, you are going to have moments of doubt. But the thing is, they pass. Moments of doubt are fleeting and if you can just hang on thru them, you will be okay. I did just that. Powered thru and kept on trucking. I wasn't feeling great, but I had just been passed by the 1st overall female and focused just on catching up to her.
I split the final mile in 5:36 and caught the 1st female and zipped past her in the last 1/4 mile. I hit the line exhausted and my effort was good for a 17:09 total time for the day. I know if I had raced it a little slower in the first mile, I probably could've been closer to 17:00 or maybe possibly under. But that will have to wait for another day as that was the last test before Placid.
I had a chance to cool down with an old roommate and his brother and got to cheer on another SUNY G roommate to the finish line. It was a good day overall and I feel like I just have to get thru this week and then it's to the taper for IMLP. Big ride this weekend and then REST is the name of the game. Train hard, race smart my friends and I'll see you on the roads. Cheers.