One Last Summer 5k
August 9, 2010
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It’s been almost a week since this race so I figured maybe it’s time to get my race report up.
I wound up what I’m calling my “summer racing season” last Wednesday night at Bluemont Park in the DC Roadrunners Club’s 5k championship race. As I had progressed through the summer I was hoping this 5k would be the one where I peaked and maybe even cracked the 19:00 barrier. However over the past few weeks I could see that plan just wasn’t coming together. After running a 19:26 on this same course in early June, I had since not broken 19:40. So as the championship race approached I modified my goal from sub-19 to just trying for a 2010 PR.
It’s been a hot and very humid summer, quite the contrast to the epic winter we went through just a few months ago — it’s the year of weather extremes, apparently. I can handle heat but humidity really seems to sap me, and as I warmed up I could feel it already taking a toll. Still I tried to keep a positive mindset and was ready to go when we all lined up.
In part because of the humidity I tried hard not to plow out of the gate too quickly, to stay somewhat calm in the first mile. Sure enough I came through there in 6:12, a little slower than normal. In the second mile I kept pushing ahead and passed a few people, including someone I’d recognized from previous races who’d always beaten me. For whatever reason I’ve never liked losing to him and I was determined this time it wasn’t going happen again. As I passed him I made sure to make a strong move. Soon the turnaround came up and not far after that, the 2-mile point, which I hit in 12:45. I had dropped to 6:33 for Mile 2, not what I was hoping for, but clearly the humidity was pounding us all; my singlet was already dripping wet.
But I still had some work to do so I told myself to keep my concentration and work on the guy ahead of me. I caught him but he would be the last one I passed. Meanwhile I knew someone was coming on hard from behind. I had seen him in previous races, too, and knew he had a furious kick in him. So my mission became doing whatever I could to hold him off. As we hit the 3-mile mark I was at 19:07 and as with many 5k races, I had bounced back in my third mile with a 6:22. Still I knew Mr. Fast Finisher was behind me; as we came around a corner I threw a quick glance back and saw him about 20 yards back. I dug deep but knew I didn’t have as much as he did, so it was all about holding on. I kept pushing towards that finish, hearing the footsteps. As I crossed the line he couldn’t have been more than a second behind me. I guess I used all the real estate I had to my advantage because I succeeded in holding him off.
I ended up 16th overall in 19:45, 3rd in the 40-49 age group (results here). That’s nowhere near the lofty (perhaps unrealistic) goal I had for the race but on a hot, humid night it would do just fine.
Now my attention turns to fall marathon training. The first long run is already in the books with more to follow. It all culminates on November 7 when I line up with thousands at the foot of the Verrezano-Narrows Bridge.