The race went well but not nearly as fast as I hoped. We were a little rushed getting to the race, but that was OK. The first mile was uphill mostly, and I ran a pretty comfortable 6:53. That was close to what I was aiming for, so I was happy. The next mile was mostly downhill, and again I felt comfortable. The time was about 6:35. The third mile was slightly downhill the entire time, and I ran about 6:35. So the first 5K was under 21 minutes. Burt McCumber joked that he was going to steal my race plan and use it against me, so about mile 2 I had considered throwing in a 4:20 mile just to confuse him but then decided against it. :)
Starting in mile 4, I just started struggling a bit. It was weird because I felt almost a malaise come over me. This has happened in several races lately. Maybe part of it is from not being in good enough shape. And maybe some of it is getting older. I don't know. But it was this overwhelming feeling of not wanting to push super hard. Wanting to enjoy the run rather than push though pain. I used to not be like this. Maybe it will change. Hopefully. Or maybe I should just run for fun. But anyway, the next mile was about 6:53. So not bad at all, but I could feel myself slowing down. I waved hello to my parents and little brother, which was a nice boost.
The fifth mile had some hills, and I kept fairly strong going up but was certainly slowing down. If I remember right, the split was 7:35. The final mile has quite a bit of uphill, and I struggled more than I expected and slowed down quite a bit. I don't know my split, but it was probably close to 8:00. The last 0.2 I felt pretty good. After the race, I didn't feel spent. I felt like I had run well, but it wasn't the usual feeling of complete exhaustion after a race.
I don't want to get down on myself about this. It's just kind of interesting. I was feeling like a Boston qualifying time later this year would be in the bag, but now I feel like I need to really work hard to get it and not take that for granted. So it will be a good motivator to help me get stronger physically and mentally for that goal.
I've done this race for many, many years (on and off since I was 14). I really enjoy it because I get to see old friends and run in front of an audience. It was run well this year. The main complaint I had was that they started the 5K at the same time as us, and their course overlapped substantially with ours. There were tons of walkers. I had to run around them a lot. One time there was a group of walkers 10 people wide. So that threw off my rhythm a bit and made me a little grumpy. And didn't allow the most efficient tangents. That's fine though. I can't blame them for my time, but it was a frustration. This is the first time we've had to deal with it. On a positive note, though, there were way more runners than previous years, it seemed, so people must be getting more excited about fitness.
As for future plans...I've taken a break in high mileage the past two weeks. I'm ready to start ramping those up next week. But I think the most important part of my training is going to be tempo runs. Though shorter than a race, they simulate the race environment and will help me practice pushing through that feeling of wanting to slow down. The other types of runs will of course also be important, but I aim to put in a great effort each week on those most importantly.
I doubt anyone read this far, but if you did, thanks for reading. :)