I knew Nightingale was going to take the race out fast, so I thought I was sitting far enough back.
Clearly, it was not far enough back.
When I heard my first lap split was 69, I nearly had an aneurysm. What in God's name was I doing? I thought I was in the second group, the one running at a more moderate pace. After two more 71s, it became clear that was not the case, and George Mason had the deepest 5k field in the last decade or two. These guys aren't going to slow down, I realized, so I needed to back off. It was then I probably ruined the race I had found myself in.
Upon hearing how fast I was going, I had two productive choices- keep it up and burn myself out and see where it takes me, or immediately slow down and get back on my planned 4:55 pace. I did neither. From there it just got ugly. Through the mile in 4:47, the 2k in 7:20, but I was going the wrong way. Conor and Adam passed me then. Adam said something I couldn't make out and I mumbled in response. Then they were gone. I ran the second half on my own, struggling and getting slower. The only thing that buoyed my race was kicking down a George Washington kid. Their former coach, Jim Something, was a dick to me in 1999, so I have been taking it out on GW dudes ever since. Otherwise, I ran a gutless race for 15:48. I also beat two VMI guys, but they barely count.
That said, it was my 14th college-level track race, and by far the fastest 5k in which I have ever been embroiled. It was nice, though, to have Murph, L. Diddy, Stubbs, Lori, Jenn, Nicol, Erin, Skipper Little Benford and an assortment of other Spiders cheering for me. I just wish I had run smarter. Either way, faster or slower. There was no smart middle ground.
The 4:47 was my fastest mile in two years. I know I'm reasonably fast. The only training tweaks I can think of is not wearing a watch for my distance runs and finding some way to keep the slower portions of my "p-word" runs under control.
Next Sunday's B.A.A. 5k will be the first race I run this year that I had run last year, so I will get a good assessment of how much I have progressed.
3 days ago