Independence Day Run now that was a good race!
I got to Pioneer Park a little late and a little lethargic. It was cool at about 60 and smoky as I started my jog. But I warmed up quickly, and after about a mile and a half at about 9 min pace I took one look at young woman, Alison Jackson from BC, warming up by the bridge and knew that this one was going to hurt. She just looked strong and fit and athletic and I could tell that she'd probably be sub 18 minutes for 5K, and likely capable of a 5 minute mile or better.
Without too much adieu we were off just after 10, and a young soldier and Jackson took off. I tucked into third and the only thing I could think during that first mile was too fast! too fast!
I went in thinking 5:36s would give about 17:24 and that's about all I could hope for. I didn't have the Garmin but I bet they hit the half in 2:40 or a bit faster and I was about 3-4 sec back. Jackson took the lead by the mile at 5:25 and I was two seconds off her pace. Breathing hard but not out stressed yet. So I pressed on and gradually got closer. I passed at 2K and she was also breathing hard, so I just kept it steady. We crossed the bridge (about half way) well in the lead.
|Photo Daily NewsMiner 7/5/2013|
Nevertheless, keeping focused enough to put the hurt on is always a challenge over the last mile in a 5K, so I just concentrated on maintaining a good rhythm, while trying to throw in short bursts of speed when I could (not fartlek, more subtle, just enough not to lag too much and fall back on my heels). I tried to break the course down into line of sight, 30 sec to a minute ahead. I knew I could break 17:20, and just kept it going to the chute. Not enough in the tank for a blazing kick, but still able to hold on decently. Passed 3 miles in 16:45 and I crossed the line in 17:17.6.
Age Grade 89.9%, a PR for that! And my fastest road 5K since 2009.
My main competition for the day, young Alison, ran 17:38. And that's easily the fastest women's time here in a decade. Crystal Pitney ran 18:00 at a couple local 5K races
when she was in high school, and that's the closest we've seen. A job well done to Ms. Jackson! (I just did a quick internet search and see that she's run 35s for 10K this year and last summer was 11th in the 20-24 age class at a world triathlon championship).
So she pulled me through a fast first mile and kept up the pressure the entire race. Everyone I talked to was pretty happy with their run, and were ready to celebrate the race. It was a good day for freedom and to race.