I ran a great race today and finished in 16:12 and came in 2nd overall. Bill who trains with the Kenyan Way program with me won in 16:01. This was a post-college 5k PR for me. I went into the race hoping to be able to run 16:15, but I didn't know if I would be able to or not. I'm in good shape from all the marathon training I've been doing, but I really haven't done any speedwork geared towards 5k or 10k training recently. The closest thing I did was a 10 x 800 workout with 1 minute rest between each 800 at a 2:39 average. I wanted to try to run about 5:15 pace for each of the first 2 miles and then see what I had left. It seemed like in a lot of the 5k's I ran last year I would take it out too hard and hit a pretty good 2 mile time, but then I would really struggle coming in the last mile.
The weather ended up being really nice. It was in the low 50's and sunny. The race started a few minutes late, but it gave me time to do a couple extra strides and stretch a little more. When the gun when off, a ton of high school looking guys took it out hard. I went through the first mile in 5:12 and was right on pace where I wanted to be. There were one or two guys who had a small lead and I was in a pack of about 8 -1 2 guys. Shortly after mile 1, we made a couple of quick turns and started heading back into downtown. At this point, I moved up into about 4th place. Bill was a couple seconds ahead and in 2nd place. The guy who was leading looked like he started to fade and Bill took the lead somewhere around the halfway point. I passed the guy who had been leading and took 3rd. The other guy in the lead pack stayed right on Bill's tail for about 1/2 a mile and started to fade a little. I caught him right around mile 2 and I passed mile 2 at 10:25 so I was right on pace. I felt really good after two miles. I was relaxed and felt like I was running pretty smooth and would be able to finish strong. I gradually pulled away from the 3rd place guy and was all alone in 2nd. Bill had put about 8 - 10 seconds between me and him and it was just too much of a gap to close when he wasn't slowing down at all. I really didn't feel like I was laboring until we had about 600 meters left, but I was close enough to the finish to just push it in hard. I pretended it was my last 800m interval in my 10 x 800 workout and it was time to push it in hard. The race went down a tunnel into the Toyota center and we finished on the basketball court. I really wasn't looking at my watch or thinking about time until I got onto the court and was kicking it in the last 20 meters and saw the clock was under 16:15. At the awards, they announced my time as 16:12.5.
After the race I didn't really feel that tired. It was almost as if I could have run harder, but I'm not really sure where I could have picked it up during the race because I never felt like I had an extra gear. I'm really happy with my time considering I haven't been doing any speedwork and that is a great start to the year. Unfortunately I really won't be doing much speedwork for the shorter races until after the Boston Marathon and the weather is going to be much warmer for all of the late spring and summer races. The time I ran today is 25 seconds faster than my best 5k time from last season. After the race today, I'm very confident I can get under 16:00 sometime this year. I don't remember my exact 5k PR from college but I think it was either 15:48 or 15:51 and those times are definitely within reach.
I got a trophy for finishing 2nd, and I thought maybe they would give the top winners 2 or 4 Rockets tickets to a game, but they didn't give us anything else. I did read on the website that they are supposed to recognize the top 3 overall finishers on the court during a timeout of the Rockets game on Feb 3. I guess we'll see if they contact me or if anything comes of that.
I'm off to play some video games and grab lunch at Chick-Fil-A. My prediction for the Superbowl tomorrow is Cardinals win 31-24.