For the past couple of years, my 5K race running goal has been to finish under 19 minutes. I made it in 2007, and then failed to get there last year, in 2008. (Well...if only all courses were measured accurately. In one race I know I had it [a 5:30 first mile, and then some,] but it wasn't meant to be. My teammate said she had 3.22 miles on her GPS. Enough said.)
Still, it's a terrific challenge. I wonder what is it about the sub-19 minute mark? I mean, it's not a race winning time. Women are running the 5K in sub-15. American Deena Drossin won the women's division of the Carlsbad 5000 this year in a world road race record time of 14 minutes, 54 seconds. Okay, so she's 29 years old and I'm 50. But still...I'd have to say, it's the six-minute mile that I aspire to maintain. I can easily run a sub-six mile. But three of those? That's a whole different ball game.
Today I crushed it. Yup, it's true. This, my third 5K of the season, and up against one of my strongest co-conspirators. I was tenuous going in given my state of exhaustion, the hilly course, and the unexpected appearance of my challenger, and I did it. Yee-ha!
I let her go at the start. We faced an uphill first mile, and I had planned on keeping something in reserve. It's an out and back, uphill, downhill, uphill, downhill course, if you get what I'm saying:) I passed her with conviction on the first downhill, in the second mile.
It was a 'funny' course with a cone turn-around at the half-way mark, and then back up this same long hill. I was running second overall, and the lead runner was kind enough to wish me well after he went around the cone on his way back up. I saw my co-conspirator and knew she was on my heels. I dug in and worked the uphill the best I could. "I love hills. Hills are my friends." Ya baby.
Then back on the straight-away for a bit before the final descent to the finish area. Turn-over, turn-over, turn-over. I had to keep reminding myself what it takes to run fast and efficiently. And the beautiful thing is I never really knew how close the next woman was behind me. Basically, I ran scared. It worked for me.
I finished in 18:41, a three-season PR (so far) and felt just fine. In another blog I'll talk about HOW that PR was possible today. For now, I'll keep it simple. That too, works for me.