Cliff notes: YES! Finally! I picked a goal time that seemed reasonable and actually nailed it. Well, one second off, but close enough! I wanted 34 minutes or under and I ran a 34:01, only regret is not cutting the tangents better, that could have been the difference. But thinking about that more will just drive me nuts, so back to thoughts on how good I felt during and after the race.
Pre-race prep was a serious of errors this morning and I nearly flipped out on the way to the race, especially when I got stuck in the traffic jam and realized I wasn’t gonna have time for a proper warmup. I did pull it together though after yelling at myself that it was my own dumb fault for leaving late, going the longer way and stopping for breakfast behind a woman who must have actually been brokering a deal to purchase the Dunkin Donuts itself. I ended up parking in a random plaza and getting a mile warmup in as I ran to packet pickup. Of course I didn’t want to run back to the car and away from the start line afterwards so I had to improvise and stuff my race shirt behind a rock after pinning on the bib. See, I told you it was a series of errors. After arriving at the start I was able to get a few dynamic warmups and strides in before the race began; which was a few minutes late to account for the people trying to park still.
The course starts off quite fast and my first mile showed that, I cruised through in a 5:16, even though it didn’t feel like a ton of work. In mile two I backed off the pace a little to try and conserve once I saw the split from mile one; I sometimes wonder if the watch is a positive or negative, probably both I suppose. Mile two split was 5:26. Mile three was probably the fastest of the course, protection from the wind and some little downhills made it a lot of fun. I was passed by Mark Reeder, another GLRR guy, and that really gave me the fire to push harder, I passed him back somewhere in the next mile. Mile three clocked in at 5:17. I started to feel slight fatigue by the end of mile four, after a few little uphills, but I was focused on the battle that had developed between myself and the guy who finished just ahead of me at the 15K a few weeks back (went through four in 5:31). We traded places a couple times before I surged on a downhill past him and a few others. I heard someone behind me for most of five and assuming it was that same guy, I kept pushing and hit the mile in 5:28. (By that point I was hitting the mile splits a full tenth before the sign on my watch. Actually, that started by mile two, come to think of it. I did try to cut every tangent hard in the second half to bring my watch closer to the course markers) The footsteps behind me in mile five quickly overtook my in mile six, but it wasn’t my new nemesis, so no worries! Truth be told, worries, competitiveness and racing included, I couldn’t have matched the surge of that guy anyway. Mile six had the uphill that we enjoyed going down in mile one and a strong headwind coming directly off the ocean, so I’m going to factor that in when seeing the 5:36 split. I still felt like I was working hard and didn’t feel like I was fading too bad. On the final .21 we started off by cresting the top of the hill that the race started on, a good little kicker, and after that was a slight downhill and flat sprint to the finish. I worked back to a 5:18 pace over that, mostly due to the rival club’s runner yelling out the name of the guy I knew was still on my tail. I did end up beating him and he finished one place behind me, which I found quite ironic. I finished first for the Angry Chickens, the third Gran Prix that has happened now. It’s a hollow victory though, when you know the team could have placed much better had faster guys shown up. Only two of our top 8 weren’t masters and I was the only guy under 30 years old. better than last week’s XC GP race where I was THE only runner in the men’s open race though. That being said, all those who did show up today, raced very well! Good job to the team on a day that was nearly perfect for racing!
I finished the day by running an easy 15k on the river in Boston this evening, which brought my total mileage to 19.7, including the warmups and cooldowns this morning. All said and done I’ve put in 57 in the last four days and my weekly total was 74, with one day off. September is off to a good start and I’m incredibly excited to cut the distance from today in half and go after my fastest 5k yet next Sunday. I technically hit a new personal best of 16:36 for 5k, in the first half of the race today. You know your PR is soft when you are breaking it in double the distance, while still setting a PR at that distance too.