My 10th race of the year was completed this morning. I haven't been doing speed training the past two months, but I have been keeping a relatively good maintenance mileage schedule since the marathon.
Last night I had dinner with R.'s family, the Christmas meal cause she's home for the holidays. We were stuffed and we got home pretty late. Had enough sleep, and was thirsty so downed a little bit of water. That was the extent of the fuelling I did for this race.
We cabbed it up to the race site and saw JellyP and her cousin and chatted a bit. The race was about to begin so I excused myself and lined up near the front.
Last year, I did this race in 21:53. My best time in the 5K distance is a paltry 21:44. I knew that my 5K potential is a lot faster and the target is 20 minutes. This past summer, I was running my intervals and track works at a 5K pace of 4 minute kilometres. On Thursday, I did a 5K run with the fourth kilometre done in 3:58, so I knew I could do a somewhat fast pace.
We took off and I was with the front 10 runners. I realized in the first few hundred metres that it was feeling easy, but also feeling fast, so I hung on and finished the first kilometre in 4:02, just a bit slower than that fast pace. I decided to slow down a bit to conserve energy for the end. My best hope for today was to do sub 22 minutes and see how I felt from the first kilometre. Well, the start looked great.
Kilometre two and three were just done at a good pace. I was just running alongside a few runners. One runner passed me but I didn't give chase. My plan became this: run fast, but not at my fastest, so I can hold some back for the final kilometre. No. 2 at 4:15 and No. 3 at 4:12. So the first three kilometres put me in a huge position to go sub 21 minutes!
Kilometre four was on the way back to the starting area, so I was running past hundreds of runners going the way I'd just come. I saw R., who was having a great run, and JellyP and her cousin. During the end of this kilometre, we had a small uphill section, and I surged, losing the runner I was running alongside. I set myself up to chase, then pass the next two runners who were about 100 metres ahead of me. Fourth kilometre was done in 4:09.
The last kilometre (or 0.9 as my Garmin says), was indeed a tactical part of the race. I overtook one runner with 500 metres to go, then I decided to turn it on a bit more. I pictured my fast finishes for my 10K and half marathon and just floored it. In the cobblestone streets that led back to the start/finish line, I broke out into a sprint, basically a 100 metre strider, and overtook another runner with 15 metres to go. The last kilometre or so was done in a blistering (for me) pace of 3:49K.
As I was heading into the finish, I saw the clock hit 19:57, 19:59, 20:00, and I hit my watch a few strides past the line and it clocked in at 20:03.
I have to check, but I think the course was short at 4.9K, which would mean that at my pace, I would have had a 20:30 5K finish. In any case, 20:03 is a fantastic time since I ran this same course in 21:53 last year, a one minute, 50 second improvement. This time will be my 5K asterisked PB time of 20:03.
That wraps it up for another race season. More thoughts of this and other races in my reflections later this week, then I come up with goals for 2008.