Fitness Zone Jingle Bell 5k
I was targeting this race 2 weeks before my years end 5k to try and bring down my PR within ballpark range of the sub 20. About 120 people today, 8 am start, mid to upper 30’s at race time. I like the cold, but this was a little chilly for my liking as far as running is concerned. This was billed as a pretty flat course. Basically a rectangle with a small hill at the turnaround section. One of my friends who runs low 21’s was there, so he told me he was going to try and hold my pace.
The first mile was entirely flat, and I tried to push the pace after getting caught up in the initial rush. I passed about 5-6 people, though an older guy who was already huffing and puffing blew by me. I figured he would crash soon. I hit the first mile in 6:32, which I wasnt real pleased with, because I usually try to go out super fast and hang on. I was hoping below the magic pace of 6:27, which I’m sure Troy, RAN, jalaughlin, and MDR are aware is the 20 minute barrier. THe second mile included the turnaround section and “the hill” which was really a very short incline. It was over before I got too winded. I was told the rest of the course was flat, so I tried to push the pace after I got a 6:40 reading for my second mile. Old noisy guy was still well ahead of me. I felt my friend start to lag behind, but I was trying too hard to look back. PLus, the course was mostly open, and you still had to deal with a few passing cars, despite the rural town setting. This is when I started to actually feel better – I think I had finally acclimated to the cold and was warmed up enough (I only did a half mile before the race). By the last half mile I the accelerator was pretty much to the floor. I started to catch up with a high school kid, but the old guy was a total machine and holding his ground. Hit the 3 mile mark at 6:23 pace, which I didnt see until the race ended. The course was certified, but Garmin had it at 3.16. I rounded the last little turn into the parking lot and saw 20:03, so I gave it everything and crossed the line at 20:27,- a fraction behind the high school kid. New PR by 15 seconds! Finished 6th overall and 2nd in age group. A coffee cup and a patch were the rewards – not bad. Old guy – actually only 54, but he looked older all bundled up, clocked a 19:58. My friend finished 3rd in our age group, at 21:25.