Almost skipped this one today with a head and chest cold still wreaking its havoc. Absolutely beautiful today in Columbia – low 60’s and sunny with a nice late race time of 10 am. The course was mostly flat, some small rolling inclines. Pretty good turnout today,about 150 people. I did two separate 1 mile warmups, did not feel particularly good on the first but the second seemed better after I shed the warmup sweats and put on my new racing shoes (Adidas Adizero Adios). Decided at the last minute to give it a full effort, as I had been contemplating making it a tempo with the junk still in my lungs.
The first half mile of this race felt like crap, my lungs were trying to get rid of some gunk, and finally at about the half mile point I was able to cough a good bit of it out. Yummy. After that I felt MUCH better, and I was no longer coughing. Legs felt surprisingly good. I dont know whether it was psychological, but the light racers certainly make you feel faster. I hit the first mile at 6:25 and decided to really give mile 2 a good go, as I have a habit of letting up too much in that mile. I killed the first half of mile 2 , lost one of my friends pacing with me and passed a ton of people. The last part of the mile was the first time I started breathing hard, but the legs were still with me. Hit the second mile in 6:27. After seeing the split, I basically decided to go all out, as hard as I could, because the carrot of the sub-20 5k has been killing me for months. This was my first realistic chance after 2 miles to get it. I was definitely starting to hurt at this point, but i kept telling myself it was only 1.1 left. It was just me and the course for mile 3 – there was a small group ahead of me but no one around me. There was definitely some rough going during that mile, but I kept the thought of that 19:xx on the clock to keep me going. I turned the last corner and there was about a half mile of straightaway to the finish. I could not make out the clock but the sight of the finish line was an incredible motivator. At the last cross street before the finish, I could make out 19:37 or so. I was absolutely cashed at this point but threw every last bit of energy into a finishing kick. Crossed the line in 19:58 with a feeling of overwhelming relief and joy. I established the sub 20 goal in the middle of ’09, and had a hard time with a plateau in the 21’s, but finally things are starting to break through again.
Today is a good day!