It was a great training cycle until Thursday when I faced yet another shift in body chemistry. This is the 3rd such occurence in as many weeks and something must be done to prevent this from happening on a regular basis. I overcame it 2 weeks earlier in Atlanta but this time, it proved to be too much. My medical report is a bit better than it was in January but I am not nearly as balanced as I had hoped. It was just a matter of time before the symptoms would re-appear. On Friday morning, I felt flat out awful but got better as the day progressed. On race morning, I did not feel too bad so I decided to give it a shot. I was conceding nothing. This was still a PR attempt.
This one is possibly the fastest in the area. It has only one hill to speak of , which is a bridge climb. By the half mile mark in the race, it's over and time to head back down. The remainder of the course was not pancake flat but had just a few minor inclines and declines. There was a chance of rain in the forecast but it held off until the afternoon. Conditions were overcast with temps near 60 and moderate wind. That's not far from perfect conditions for a fast time.
I have a very high tendency to go out too fast in 5Ks and did it again today. This time however, I had little choice. I lined up in the 3rd row but still got stuck behind some slow folks and had to do a quick sprint to find some open space or else I could have been way too slow. I saw how fast I was for the first 200 so I backed off a tad then we hit the bridge climb. I was out around 86-87 so that's a little fast but not a reason for concern. After reaching the top, I saw a 3:01 for the first .50 then picked up a couple of ticks on the way down for a 4:30 split at 0.75. Here, I allowed myself to relax a bit and that was probably a good call because most of my energy would be spent before too long. 6:07 at the mile marker. I need to maintain this pace for a PR. We turned a corner around 1.3 where we ran into a headwind and up a slight incline. It was at this point that I knew this would not be my day. For most of the 2nd mile, I was targeting a runner ahead of me but kept losing ground. I checked my watch again at 1.55 mile and was disheartened with a 9:38 split. No way I can run a negative split so no PR today. I would have to struggle just to get a sub-20 and that would become the new goal. The 2nd mile marker came and I estimated that all I needed to do was hold this pace but I could not even manage that. 2 runners passed me here then another 2 came by just before the homestretch. The 3rd mile seemed to have more declines than inclines but it did not seem to help my pace. My 3rd mile would be slower than my average pace for 10K 2 weeks ago but I still had a chance to secure that sub-20. I tried to sprint and found that there was not much there. As the finish clock came into view, I knew that it was going to be close. I made one final drive. Can I get there in time? No, I just missed it.
20:01 (6:25 pace) 18th overall, 17th among men. 3rd in age group.
Splits were 6:07-6:28-6:40-46 (last .14)
This was not horrible and under the circumstances, it's acceptable but I can't be pleased with finishing over 20 even if I just missed the barrier. It is certainly a downer considering how great the workouts were earlier in the week. To put it in perspective, I ran the first half of Silver Comet in 20:15 then hung on for a 20:40. Today, my 3rd mile was about 20:50 pace for a whole 5K. My strategy was sound and I did the best I could but just did not have my "A" stuff today.
Next month offers a chance for redemption.