Distance: 3.1 mi
Ya know… I’m the LAST person to toot my own horn. Yes, I’m proud of my accomplishments over the last year or so, but I also realize that they have merely taken me from the ranks of non-runner to runner. While this is encouraging, I have no dreams of ever doing anything other than just getting a little better each time I run. Moreover, my ultimate goal? Keep running… forever…
So when I get the opportunity to measure my improvements and record them, I do it here. This is not a place for me to brag, but rather store my thoughts, both good and bad, about my experiences as a runner. This is turning out to sound like a disclaimer but I’m proud of what I did today. I don’t want it to sound like chest thumping, but if it does, so be it.
I ran in a very small (75 runners) 5K today. Honestly, whether it’s 75 or 7500 doesn’t matter to me, because I am only competing against myself. But my new goal is to get below 22 minutes for a 5K, so I need to set a benchmark time. This run was conveniently timed and priced right ($10!!), so I wandered down and signed up. To let you know how small it was, I registered at 7:45am and got number 1… heh!
My previous best for the 5K was 23:16 at an early summer run and since then, although I have been doing some speed work, I have mostly been focusing on long distance pacing, so I really didn’t know what to expect from myself. The temperature at start was a chilly 33 degrees, but it was sunny and there was no wind. The course wound through the campus of the University of Missouri, a spectacular place to run. Fall color everywhere, bleary eyed co-eds staring at us as we ran by, great architecture and a sky so blue it hurt. LOTS of hills on this course, but none very big, and lots of twists and turns. I think the longest we ran in one direction was about a quarter of a mile.
As we lined up for the start and took off, I noticed something really odd. Due to the small crowd and lack of serious runners, I was in 10th place and in full view of the leaders. I knew the leader of the race and he was, by far, the class of the field. He would eventually win the race in a time of 19:11 WITH a 40 second detour off course because he missed a turn. He still won by over a minute. …rat bastard… (said with love…).
As the course wound around, I felt really good on the ups and the downs. I picked off one person in the first mile and then settled in with the 8th place runner until about mile two where I passed him on some hills. The last person I passed tried to make a race out of it so I completely ignored his efforts to speed up. Eventually he pooped himself out at about mile 3 and that left me in 7th. I was in full view of 4, 5 and 6, three girls from the Columbia College cross country team. I reeled them in but they finished about 10 seconds ahead of me.
So the result of all this was a PR of 22:31 (7:15 mile pace). That’s 45 seconds off my best time. Seventh overall finisher (0ut of 75), 4th male finisher and first in my age group by 6 minutes.
Not world class, and in most races I would still be mid pack, but you take success when you can get it. Now I know that if I can shave 15 seconds per mile off my pace, I can make that “under 22” goal. It let’s me know that, based on how I felt, this is a VERY achievable goal for me. So if anybody has some speed work suggestions, I’d love to hear them!!!