Get to the Green 5k
This is the 5k associated with the 5 points St Pats day festival in COlumbia, and has turned into a huge event. 1600+ runners. Weather was awesome, almost too warm, probably mid 60’s at race time, and sunny. Course has an incline for much of the first mile, but is mostly flat thereafter. I PR’d here last year at 22:25 and its definitely a PR friendly course. I lined up 2nd row behind the singlet wearing dudes and the pace was super fast from the gun. There was a bottleneck around the festival gate about a quarter mile from the start, so went out in crazy speed to avoid the stampede. Made it through unscathed. I was the unofficial pacer for a couple of guys looking to go sub 20, though of course I’ve only done it once, and with only 2 seconds to spare.
I ended up being a bad pacer, as I was way fast on the first split after the hill, 6:16 by my Garmin. Felt OK, though I was definitely breathing hard. One of the guys was right on my shoulder, the other somewhere behind me probably cursing me for taking on a crazy pace. I was definitely pushing it pretty hard after the first mile, and luckily I finally settled into a nice cadence that wasnt killing me. They had an official clock at the 2 mile mark and saw around 12:40, so I knew I was definitely in range for the sub 20. Felt pretty rough at this point, but I was bouyed by the fact that the last mile is completely flat with a little decline right at the end. I lost the other guy I was pacing behind me. My breathing was definitely getting ragged at this point, and to say I was hurting is putting it mildly. You could see the finish from about .50 – .75 miles out, but it felt like torture because it was taking so long to get closer to it. I had one guy pass me right at the 2 mile mark, but I was mostly alone for much of the last mile. As I approached the clock, I saw it turn to 19 minutes. I tried to muster a kick, but there was little left in the tank. One of my friends ended up passing me in the last tenth, but I was surprised to be anywhere near him at the finish (he’s a 55 year old perennial age group winner). Saw 19:20’s as I approached the finish, and gave it all I could, finished in 19:31.
Totally thrilled with the time. No way I would have predicted anywhere near that fast – I was hoping just to shave a few seconds off my 19:58. Missed an age group award (3rd was 18:30ish) , though frustratingly if I was 2 weeks younger would have gotten 3rd in the 30-34. Still 34th overall in a 1600 person race feels amazing.