fairly smooth cycle overall. Not many great workouts but very few bad ones. Because of the intense heat, my mileage has been down around 35-40. The best news is that I am much less dependent on the taurine and glutamine. I actually tried to quit that stuff altogether but that ended up in disappointment on Friday.
It was a game time decision based solely on the weather. The forecast called for a high of 98 with only a 20% chance of rain. Based on that, I expected to bail in favor of an indoor 10K time trial. I would not make the decision until 5 PM, one hour before race time. After going out to lunch at a Golden Corral, the skies looked somewhat threatening and I heard a couple of rumbles of thunder. Wait a minute, this could work out well. We'll get a cooling rain and hopefully it will remain overcast at race time. It turned out to be a pretty decent thunderstorm that lasted from about an hour. By the time the rain stopped, it was 5 PM and a comfortable 75 degrees. The race was a "go" and I felt good.
As luck would have it, the sun came out shortly before the start. The temp was only in the low 80s but I'd estimate the humidity to be about 90%. Not the best conditions for a PR but I resolved to give it my best shot. I got in a quick warm up and felt good but my hair was already soaked with sweat.
I've run this one 3 times before so I knew what I was getting in to. It's a nice downhill start and relatively flat for the first 2.4 miles. Then, we make up the lost elevation over the next .6 miles with a gentle but relentless uphill grade before going back down to the finish. I wanted to get out around 6 flat, which would be fairly comfortable then really push the 2nd mile, hopefully reaching the next marker in 12:05 or so then hope to hang on for a 6:30 then kick it in.
We took off down the hill and a quick look at my Garmin showed that I was doing about 5:15 pace. I find that in a 5K, it is especially difficult to rein in your energy and avoid starting too fast. The first quarter mile passed by in about 1:20. That's about 5 seconds too fast and it would come back to hurt me later. Johnny was out cheering me on and warned me to take it easy. Still, I saw 2 slower running buddies ahead of me so I decided not to worry about it and settled into the planned effort. 2:50 at .5 and looking good. Just maintain this pace. Late in the first mile, we hit a slight uphill, which would slow the pace and I hit the mile marker just under 6:00 as planned. From here, I made an effort to pick up the pace but sadly, there just wasn't much there. I saw a 6:05 pace early in the 2nd mile but it had soon slowed to the 6:20 range. I was still around 9:30 at the halfway point. No PR today but a sub-20 looks like it's in the bag but I am struggling. My legs never felt too bad but my wind was awful. Could that possibly be from sucking air nearly saturated with moisture? Finally, I reached the 2 mile mark just under 12:20 and I hit 2.1 right around 13 flat. That last mile would be tough but it would take a ghastly fade for me to finish over 20. Just under 3/4 of a mile to go and it's time to make the U-turn to face the uphill. Again, the grade was gentle but it's length and location on the course was what made it so tough. There was only one small break in the next .6. Last year, I saw runners who were ahead of me that could not take the hill and actually walked for a few seconds. It happened again this year. I managed to pass 2 fading runners but my pace had slowed to the upper 6s and hit Mile 3 in 19:03. My Garmin measured the course at 3.16 so the finish line was further away than I expected. At least, I was through the hills and I had to hustle to the line but just like Peachtree, I wanted it just enough in the end. No official results yet but I estimate my time to be either 19:57 or 19:58. It was good enough for 19th overall and 2nd place in my age group and I chose a new Asics tech running shirt as my award.
When it comes to 5Ks, if I break 20:00, I'm happy with my performance. If I don't, I'm not. It's as simple as that. This is the 4th time in my last 6 5Ks that I have broken that barrier. Still, on one level, I am a bit frustrated as a result of my current PR drought. My last one was an unofficial time trial on New Year's day. Today, perhaps it was unrealistic to expect to finish close to 19. It was so humid that the windows on most buildings were still foggy an hour after the finish. I did enjoy myself tonight and saw a lot of my buddies.
Grade: solid B