I certainly didn't set my hopes high for this one. There would not be a PR today. I've only ran 2 other 5ks. My first was around 22 minutes and was the run leg of a triathlon. My PR was a 20:53 over a year ago. With the little bit of running I've done this year, I would be happy with anything less than 24 minutes.
Oktoberfest 5k - 23:18 (7:31 pace; 31/258)
Speed is certainly something that I have never focused on, this year or last. So when I originally signed up I for this 5k I had done so to get a little speed, and to work some of the kinks out from the last month of running (a marathon and a 50k) in order to, hopefully, help prepare for the marathon in Napa coming up next weekend. Not to improve speed, or endurance, but to work some of the heaviness out of my legs that have been ever present.
So when I arrived at the start line in 60 degree weather I couldn't have asked for better conditions. As we toed the line the race director casually moved up through the crowd and pushed his way out front. After a little crowd control he turns to us and says "You ready?" and before he finished he blew the horn! What the?!?!? Anyways, everyone frantically started as watches beeped all around.
The first mile was a tough one. I started out fast. I was hoping to run three sub 8 minute miles, and maybe a 7:30 first. As the lead pack pushed more out of sight I began to feel tired as the heavy legs caught up with me. The mile 1 marker finally came and, lo and behold, I ran a 6:53! Whoa, I didn't think I would be able to run the first mile that fast. And just as I smiled to myself, the realization set in that the final 2 would certainly be tougher than I thought because of my erratic first mile.
Mile 2 was tough, as guessed. I took a couple of walk breaks in order to get my breathing under control. My mouth began to become very dry as my spit stuck to my lips as I tried to expel it to the concrete below. 8:01 was about where I thought it would be.
Mile 3 wasn't as tough for some reason. Perhaps I had finally got my breathing under control. Or maybe I realized the end was in sight. Either way, I pushed on. I eventually took one walk break before turning the afterburners on and speeding in to the finish, running the last mile in 8:02.
I certainly accomplished what I had wanted, running a 7:31 pace to come in under 24 minutes. I really couldn't have expected a better result, but it is still amazing to see what not training for a couple of months does. A little over a year ago I ran a 6:53 pace 5k. At the beginning of this year I ran a 7:28 pace hilly 5 miler, and a 7:30 pace 10k.
If that isn't motivation than I don't know what is.