Sunday, April 3rd, was the 4th annual Chariho 5K. This event is put on by a local Relay for Life team that is run by family friends. Last year I was disappointed with my 20:14 finish. I was hoping to be under 20 minutes. My plan this year was to get under 19 minutes (my PR is 19:33 set last fall). I knew this was an aggressive goal, but I felt my 40 mile a week training the last 3 months had set me up for it. At worst, I would set a new PR probably in the low 19's.
My wife, kids, and I headed over to the race with enough time for a mile warm up and pre-race socializing. I saw Justin, Chad (with another fast looking guy), Jeff Walker, and a couple of potentially quick kids. I felt really relaxed, and my body seemed ready to go. I lined up next to Justin and Chad at the start. I was out quickly behind only Chad and the eventual winner. After a quarter mile I was joined by Justin and Jeff. We joked about drafting each other (very strong headwind in the turf fields). Justin pressed on, and I stayed next to Jeff, or a couple steps behind, for the next mile or so. I figured this was a good plan as I knew Jeff ran 5K's in the mid to high 18's. Our first mile was announced at 6:09 which seemed slow to me, but I chalked it up to the wind, and figured the second mile (opposite direction) would be that much faster. At some point in the turf fields, Jeff surged ahead of me, and before I knew it, I was in no man's land.
I feel that I don't race enough to know how hard to push my body. The first mile I felt good, and actually tried to slow myself down the first half mile. My second and third miles were uncomfortable, but not that bad. I think I should be pushing myself harder. I may need to experiment on future 5K's. I think my strong suit is longer distances, definitely on trails, and hills. But, I still believe I can get under 19 minutes.
Post race, I caught up with Justin (huge PR!) and Jeff, and then with my dad, who also ran and won his age division, despite his lingering knee issue. Instead of cooling down, I sat in the warm sun on the track with my wife and kids and chatted with various friends and family. It was another fun Relay for Life event, and I'll be back next year to try again.