Normally I wouldn't even consider a 5k worthy of a race report, and I'm still not sure that it even is, but it's been forever since I've posted anything on here or even raced so it looks like there's going to be one.
This particular 5k was on a course I had raced 4 weeks previously, so going in I had expectations of beating that time and setting a new PR. This was to be the 3rd 5k in 4 weeks and my intense training schedule of slowly building up my run base with slow, steady daily runs of increasing duration had yielded my first open sub 20 min 5k the first time on this course and a 19:20 the previous week despite the fact that I spent the entire back half of the course looking for a spot on the course to quit because of stomach issues. Seriously pedestrian times but I was happy to see them given how it seems like it's been years since I've done any sort of speed work with the continual tendonitis issues in my ankles. For now, these 5k's get to count as the speed work in my training plan.
There were slightly more people at this race compared to the last time I had raced this course where there were about 100 people in the event and I finished 7th. I think I heard the announcer say 2,000+ people in the 5k. I had a couple friends competing in the event, including one who I expected to run a low 17 min race. Made sure to position myself behind him at the start line as well as make sure I didn't go out anywhere near as fast as he did. Going out way to fast seems to be a historical issue for me as evidenced by my first ever race I did in CO after moving here from TX. For that 5k I went out as hard as I could with the leaders. Around a half mile in we were running right at a 5 min mile pace. I finished in 20:06. Tells you how that strategy worked.
I wanted to run the first mile by feel. Not too hard but starting to feel the hurt a half mile in or so. Based on my previous races was hoping to hit about a 5:50 first mile fairly comfortably. The first mile felt right. The leaders were gone as expected but I was reeling in all the runners who were starting to blow up from their opening pace. The Garmin beeped for the first mile right at the course mile marker which was nice for a change in a race. A quick check told me I had hit the first mile in 6 flat. Well off of where I wanted to be and already feeling like I was working much harder than a 6 min pace. At this point I decided that no more checking the pace on the watch. I probably wasn't going to be what I wanted to see. The rest of the race would just be based on effort and trying to run down the next person ahead of me.
I steadily picked off a few people and was passed by a couple of others. I knew I was going to fade a bit from the 6 min first mile but was pushing hard and thought I was running about a 6:15 pace. With a little less than 1 mile left I was caught by a kid I had passed way earlier in the race. I say caught not passed because of the incredibly annoying way he would surge past me, blow up and fall back only to surge again. It may not sound annoying but it totally is. Also, what is up with always having to end up battling it out with some kid late in a race. It's always a lose/lose proposition. See my Leadman 10k report for the last experience. I finally made one of his little blow ups stick and pulled away with a quarter mile left. Running all out and still got chicked in the finishing chute.
Slumped across the line and noted that the clock read 19:4x something. Instantly hoped that the course was massively long because that was no where near the time I was expecting or hoping for. A quick look at the Garmin told me, nope, pretty much dead on. Showing 3.14 miles. Always nice to run an accurately measured course though. Quick scroll through the data showed that those miles I'd thought I was hitting 6:15's were more like 6:30's. Felt like a complete bum at this point but after a few minutes faced the reality that a month ago I would have been very happy with this time. Pretty much spot on from my last race on the course and it's been a long month of heavy training.
Was considering another 5k this weekend but I think with a very heavy week of training plus a few more weeks before things lighten up a bit I'll enjoy a weekend of longer runs on some trails. Next likely event is shaping up to be the opening race of the Chilly Cheeks duathlon series. Been a long time since I'm been on a bike in race conditions so should be interesting.