This was my third year in a row running the Chariho 5K - a small local race put on by a family friend's Relay for Life team. Each year I entered hoping to reach a milestone, and each year I failed (see 2010 & 2011 write ups). This year was declared sub 18 minutes or bust. I was feeling confident with my recent workouts.
I decided to run from my house to the event as a warm up - about 3.5 miles. My legs felt tired and tight at first, eventually I was feeling loose by the time I finished. A surprisingly sunny day turned cloudy and cool with a stiff wind out of the SW. I chatted with friends and family before running two laps on the track at a lively pace. I ran around some more before the race began. I lined up front with Justin, and chatted with Jon Short. I wasn't sure who else would go out fast besides Justin. I was ready to race.
At the gun, I set out at my usual fast but controlled start. I was in the lead for less than half a mile (pleasing my cheering kids), before I heard Justin catching up to me. I was feeling really good at this point. I hoped that I could stick with him for a while and have him drag me along to a fast time. This didn't materialize as he kept speeding up and pulled away (looking really strong). There was no one close behind me. I rounded the corner onto Pine Hill Rd and my first mile was 5:42. This is about what I expected. There is the slightest of hills here, and I made a point to work harder as to not slow down. Looping back to Switch Road, I then had to run the next mile into the wind. Again, I knew I needed to work harder to keep up the pace, and this is what I attempted to do. I passed my family walking the event and then reached the two mile mark - 6:04 split. No! I couldn't believe how slow my second mile was. I tried not to dwell on it, and continued my charge through the wind. Eventually the course veers right onto the Chariho campus and around the schools. I was working hard, but I had no one close to push me. I reached the track (someone announced 17:02 as the time) and mustered a decent push around it, finishing in a disappointing 18:19. 3rd place didn't reach the track until after I had finished. My kids ran over to greet me and just sat on the grass recovering and chatting with people as they completed their runs. I won a shrub for my runner-up finish which pleased my wife. My running keeps paying off. I opted to get a ride back to my house rather than run the 3.5 miles (last mile all uphill).
In conclusion, I once again left this race upset I didn't attain my goal. I could make excuses and I'll certainly make one about the wind. But, I didn't get it done today. I'm happy with my training, so I'm beginning to think that I'm closing in on maximizing my natural ability at this distance. I still should be able to get under 18 minutes. My second mile continues to be my demise at the 5K, but even if I could have shaved 10 seconds off of it, I still was not going sub 18 at this race. But as my wife point out, I did run over a minute faster than last year....
Pictures to follow(?)