Race: Washington Heights 5K - Sunday March 6th, 2016
Time: 19:11 / 6:11m pace (PR)
Roland nodded. “And the shooting will happen so fast and be over so quick that you’ll wonder what all the planning and palaver was for, when in the end it always comes down to the same five minutes’ worth of blood, pain, and stupidity.” - Stephen King, The Wolves of Calla
SET: Didn't really do anything different this week - took a rest day instead of an easy day, and did a quick shakeout w/some strides on Saturday. I've been feeling fantastic and my workouts have been going really well so I was looking forward to a strong showing. The course is fairly hilly so I was not expecting to PR, but I figured anything that beat last year's time (20:07) and was in the neighborhood of my PR (19:20) would be fine. I had a great night's sleep and had a half of cup of cold coffee and a banana on the subway up to the Heights.
SETTING: It was a gorgeous day. Sunny, not too cold, big crowds, plenty of porta potties. I arrived in plenty of time to get a bit of warmup jogging in, and, outside of a minor shoe issue, made it to the corrals without incident.
THE RACE: 6:14 / 6:17 / 6:03 - Anticipating a bit of a logjam at the beginning, and knowing the first mile was largely uphill, my goal was to go out at 6:20 and then just try and hit 1:30 400s as long as I could. The first mile went just about as expected. I felt good and just tried to keep a consistent pace. Once into the park and at the Cloisters loop, the goal was to just not let the big hills in the back end of the 2nd mile slow me down. I came out of the park with a good stride and plenty in the tank, so I opened up. With about 800 to go I could see the finish line and kicked. Took out four or five runners in the last 100.
FINAL THOUGHTS: 5Ks always remind me of the quote up top. In this way, 5Ks are hard to analyze because they happen so fast, and are over so quickly. Because you're working so hard, there's no way to reflect on it while it's happening - there's no getting to know the runners around you, like in a half; it's hard to break the race into segments, because they're so short. At least for someone like myself, the race report for a 5K is always going to read something like this: "I ran as fast I fucking could and hung on for as long as I could."
This was my second year running this course and it's becoming one of my favorites. The crowds are awesome and it's so cool to be running through the streets of the Heights and all of a sudden come out to the park and the incredible view. I felt I put in a good effort and was very pleased to PR. Now it's back to work - it's a short turnaround as the NYC Half is in 13 days.