So I ran another 5K, and I feel the need to post a race report.
This was just a small, local race. About 800 people, many walkers. I just got back into training, so I didn't have serious expectations. But you know, it IS a race. So I had a few goals.
1. Sub 21:00
2. Top 3 in my AG
3. Beat my coach Ed
I arrived early and chatted with the usual friends from my running groups. Nice long two mile warmup felt pretty good. The course is almost flat, with just a couple small rises. Two 360 turns, but otherwise straight and fast. My plan was to go out about 6:50, and then drop down to 6:45 and 6:40.
Started conservatively and was right on track. Ed took off fast as usual, and opened up 20-30 yards on me right away. But I figured he would fade. I stuck to the plan.
As I neared mile 1, Ed still had a good gap on me, so I felt the need to push it a bit. Glad he was out there for me to chase. The familiar 5K pain was kicking in. But experience tells me what I can handle and so I trusted my instincts and tried to embrace the suck. Mile 1 was 6:48.
In mile two I continued to pass people who went out too fast; The usual assortment of kids and weekend warriors. Ed was slowly coming back to me, which made it easier to accept the growing fatigue and the heavier breathing. At the turnaround at 1.5 Ed could see me closing on him. It was about a five second gap still. Work to do. But I knew he was gradually getting closer. I was in full race mode as I reeled him in and caught him just before the mile 2 sign. I passed with authority and without a friendly comment or wave. I know he is a serious racer and would expect nothing less. Plus I could barely breathe. Mile 2 was 6:36.
Now I had no one to chase - no one I personally cared about anyway. And the piano climbed on my back. Still a long way to go, but I tried to maintain. It looked like I would get my sub-21, but I had to stay on pace. I didn't know of anyone in my AG ahead of me from my group, but I could see a bald head up ahead that could very well be in my AG, so I tried focusing on him. Unfortunately, he was running strongly and I could not gain on him at all. Still, it gave me something to chase.
The suffering was pretty bad, and I basically was just holding on. I figured Ed wasn't likely to catch me, but it was possible, so I kept the hammer down as much as I could. Finally the finish came in sight and there was a slight downhill for the last 0.2 miles and I cruised in - but took the time to pose for the paparazzi.
Still flying. Mile 3 was 6:45, and I finished at 6:08 pace which got me in at 20:47. Check.
Ed came in at 21:10. Check.
Bald guy WAS in my AG and beat me by 8 seconds, but I got 2nd, which was good for $15 at the local running store. Check.
47th overall, and met all my goals, so I was a happy runner. Good to be healthy and feeling good. Now I'm going to keep ramping up the miles and building base.