Closing in on the end of my first 90 mile week, I was eager to see what I could do in a 5k race- shorter than any run I have done in almost a month. Elyse suggested a race in Alexandria, which was then moved to the George Mason campus.
I got off to a bad start by sleeping in to 9:20, which meant I couldn't do my five mile morning run. I guess it also meant I was late for work, but that is less than relevant. So, I had to smash 11 miles into the evening. I took the Metro out to Vienna with some Lululemon runners and we ended up taking a cab to the campus. I got a three-mile or so warmup in, and got to the line. Of course, being a Pacers race there were at least six of them there, because what better way to give a bonus than to stack a race with your own employees? I knew I wasn't going to be running anything incredible- I hadn't even done a real (productive, that is) workout in a few weeks, but I hoped to at least hang around and get under 16, just to show a little improvement since my even-splitted 16:08 in early June. The gun went off and the pack sped away, and I let them go. Perhaps stupidly, but I didn't think I would gain too much falling apart early. I came through the mile in 5:06, and was feeling pretty good about that. I was hurting, lungwise, but otherwise I felt able. Two guys were ahead of me who looked vulnerable- a tall guy and an asian fellow in a navy blue top. I surged past them both on one uphill and focused on catching a Pacer who was straggling. It was a rolling course, and I was keeping my legs' dexterity, for the most part, though I wasn't driving ahead enough. The second mile was 5:17- not good at all. I thought I was at least holding 5:10 pace, despite the hills and relative no-man's land. At this point, we were heading west, right into the sun. I could barely see ahead of me- I just followed the silhouette of the straggler and ran away from the breathing behind me. As we closed in on the end, I was not feeling too great, especially when I realized my third mile was another 5:17. But, I heard the dude behind me start to marshal some strength for a kick, so I figured as long as I was there, I might as well keep him behind me, so I surged in and held him off by a second. 16:08 again. I found out later that he had beaten me by about 3:50 at the half marathon I did in Arlington in May. So, even though that race was a disappointment, it felt good to improve relative to him.
I got a three-mile cooldown in, looked for the people with whom I came, but saw nobody. I went for another two miles, and realized they ditched me. SOBs...
Anyway, although I wanted to go under 16, and given the wonderful weather it might have been my best shot, I am content to have at least maintained my speed from the last race, considering the last four weeks were 90, 86, 85 and 80.