July 22, 2015.
This should be one of my fastest 5k of the year. It is the only “stand alone” 5k of the season (every other is linked to a marathon or the run leg of a triathlon). It is also a company sponsored event, so I was running with several co-workers. This always gives me a little extra motivation to do my best.
What it would not be is a PR. I have come to accept that my PR days (with the possible exception of a particularly weak 10 mile PR) are likely behind me. I will never repeat the training volumes of last year. I hoped for sub 23 minutes last year…and got it. This year is more about enjoying the evening and the fellowship.
The race is part of the Minneapolis aquatenial celebration and immediately precedes the aquatenial parade, so a lot of spectators are crowded onto the sidewalk for this event. It was a beautiful night for this event (again) and I carpooled from work with several office mates. They did a wave start, starting with an elite wave then self seeded based on expected finish time. I seeded myself in the front wave (projected pace sub-8:00/mile). I thought that might be pushing it given my slower training pace and lack of speed work…but I figured that I was on the bubble and could likely find some unsuspecting pacers to help push me.
I started at a good pace, about 7:40/mile. At about the 1/2 mile mark, I heard a “Hi Ray!”. I turn to find Evan…the fastest runner in the office. We chat a little, and I try to keep pace with him…knowing this might be a mistake. I keep up with him for the next mile. Then, he starts to pull away (I told him a half mile back to not slow down for me) and I start regretting my early race heroic efforts. I keep pushing but I knew that I had slowed down a little. The final mile was hell. I reached the 3 mile mark and the dreaded cobblestones (very uneven, and I have to slow down or risk injury). I few moments later, I crumple across the finish line.
Finish Time – 23:40 (7:37/mile)
Age Group Standing – 30/158
Overall Standing – 496/4090
There was a lot of stuff at the finish line…including a MASSIVE goodie bag courtesy of Target, Chick-Fil-A sandwiches, and a corporate and catered VIP tent for us. I ran into Evan, who seemed impressed with my performance (he thought I was a lot slower from our office conversations). Gradually, the rest of the crew filed in for food and fellowship.
Was it a PR? Nope. Missed that by about 50 seconds. It wasn’t even my best of the year (I had forgotten that I did well at the Pittsburgh 5k). But, anything in the 7:30 minute/mile makes me pretty happy…