Wrapped up my 9+1 at the Dash to the Finish 5K. Ran a 19:25 / 6:15 pace, which is four seconds off my PR. I felt I ran OK. Would have liked to been able to finish a little stronger. At around the halfway point, I could tell I was going to be close enough to PRing that I would expect to get it and as a result was pretty bummed about my time. But I like my effort in this race in the context of my year. Perfect weather, crowded field, but not a lot of spectators until the park, which made running down 42nd and up 6th quiet and surreal.
Photos and full race report below, Click "Read more"
Pre-Race: Felt really strong coming into the race. Had a volume PR of 44.72 miles the previous week, had maybe my best track workout of the year on Monday, and a solid tempo run on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday off. Got plenty of sleep, had half a banana, and jogged over to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza for the race. It was chilly but not cold, I was hyped but not overly so. My goal was to hit 1:30s for as long as I could. Given how I'd been running, I felt a PR (19:21) was within reach. But PRing was not necessarily a goal going in.
Mile 1: The start was extremely crowded and slow but things opened up considerably as we turned on to 42nd street. Hit 1:32 for my first 400 but just simply stopped checking. That is my wheelhouse for extended max effort so I just tried to hold that. Running down 42nd street is a trip - the crowds were really sparse and as a result all you could hear was sneakers hitting the street and intense breathing. Watch hits a 5:56 mile but I don't cross the marker itself until 1.8 or so, so I know the watch is off. The Forerunner 10 isn't great in Midtown and won't be of much use to me but I won't really be aware of the full consequences of that until after the race.
Mile 2: Up 6th Avenue. This is my normal route to Central Park. It felt fantastic running in the middle of the (car-free) street. When I'm running up 6th it's usually rush hour, clogged with cars and bicyclists and exhaust and horns. Watch is all over the place - as the course turns on to Central Park South my watch beeps for Mile 2 - (5:26!) which I KNOW is off- the Mile marker is at least 300m away. I still feel like I'm pushing 1:31, 1:32 but it's hard to tell. A PR feels within reach, so I start thinking about it, but it's hard to go much faster with over a mile to go. Still: it's a beautiful day. The sound of stampeding feet is incredible. It's good that we're doing this.
Mile 3: There's a hill as we enter the park and it takes a few people out. I'm kicking but it hurts. I definitley feel the slack here. The course evens out as we turn past Sheep's Meadow. I try to kick a little but there's really nothing there. I'm holding what I think must be 1:32 - 1:33s. It's been a pretty consistent effort the whole way. Now it's just about hanging on and literally pushing myself past the finish line - which is, of course, the marathon finish line. There's a decent crowd in the park. As we turn up West Drive you feel it. There's the "MILE 26" sign. Point two left. I gun it, but there's nothing left. As I drop over the finish line my watch is beeping like mad. FASTEST MILE! 5:21! (shut up, shut up) FASTEST 5K! 18:27! (shut up, useless piece of shit!) I see my watch time is 19:26 and realize I probably missed a PR by a little bit. I did - by four seconds.
SUMMARY: This was my last race of the year and the 9th of my 9+1. So that was a positive for sure. But I finished the race sort of bummed, thinking I should have PRd, not really understanding in the moment that it was as good a race as my PR race but just within the margin of error. Because what is four seconds in the context of 20 minutes? I feel like four seconds could be the wind. Did I weave too much up 6th? Did those first 10 seconds at the start trying to break out of the pack doom me? Did I let my mind wander for 20 seconds and slow down inadvertenely? How measurable is the difference in effort, is it even as likely as not to be the reason for the difference in time, and it is even statistically relevant?
Still, I wanted it. It's weird to think that the day has come where I am disappointed by a sub-20 5K, but here we are. Now- 19:25, 6:15 pace is not a bad time. I'll feel fine about it tomorrow. But now I know I can do better, now I have to go and do that. I'm not a big believer in giving yourself motivation. Either you want to do the thing or you don't. Now I have another thing I have to do next year. I have to beat my 5K PR.
What can you say about a 5K? Nasty, brutish, and short. It's over before you know it and then when you're done all you can think is: Aw man I could have gone faster. But since you can't really push any specific part of consistent max effort forward, you only progress by pushing the WHOLE EFFORT, the race, as a unit forward. Maybe. Next time.
Stay tuned for a new blog entry looking back on the whole year!
NEXT RACE: Joe Kleinerman 10K, Central Park - 1/9/2016