Well this was the first 5k I have run in some time. I don't really like 5ks because I just don't have the foot speed to be all that competitive. But this event serves as the PNTF 5k road championships so I thought I would give it a whirl again.
As such, there was some pretty good competition today. Mike Sayenko was there as well as Jordan McNamara, a standout distance guy from the University of Oregon. Then there were several other local guys like myself all vying for third place.
The course itself is fairly challenging. The first mile is almost all uphill. Nothing insanely steep, but a very definite steady uphill climb for the entire mile. Tactically, this is a very difficult place to have an uphill mile. On one hand, you don't want to kill yourself getting up it jeaopardizing the rest of the race, but on the other hand, if you take it too easy, you only have two more miles to make it up. Sayenko and McNamara bolted for the lead even faster than I thought they would. They were out of sight by the first mile and ended up in a near photo finish at the end in something like 14:30. Insanely fast, especially for the course.
Back to the rest of us mortals...I decided to attack the first mile and came across it in 5:05 which was faster than I expected. At this point I was battling back and forth with Matt Sheeks, Phil Olson, Josh Ricardi and David McCullough. At the Mile 1 mark I was feeling pretty good considering the relatively quick start. After a few twists and turns we headed for a 1/4 mile stretch that was a steady downhill...not my forte. I'm a better uphill runner and Matt Sheeks recognized that and played it to his advantage. About halfway down the downhill stretch he bolted by me and didn't stop bolting. He quickly gapped me by about 30 meters or so. I crossed Mile 2 in 5:08...a little disappointing considering it should have been a faster mile than the first one. I clearly need to get better and taking advantage of downhills.
The next half mile ran along a paved bike path with a few rollers and some twists and turns. It was very clear that I was the better uphill runner and Sheeks the better downhill runner. I would gain on him a little at each uphill and he would do the same on each downhill. With about a mile to go, you return to the main road and begin the steady downhill stretch that we came up on mile 1. Again, I didn't feel all that tired. I simply couldn't turnover my legs any faster. So I easily held off all the competition behind me but didn't catch Sheeks settling for 4th and a time of 15:43. Not bad for the course but I was hoping for a 15:30. If I had been about to stay with Sheeks I think we would have both pushed each other to a sub 15:30. Oh well. I have raced three weekends in a row now so I need to take a couple weeks off from racing and rest up a bit while still getting in some good speed training.
Ran another nine miles to my parents house after the raise. Hot!
Next up is the Seafair Torchlight 8k on the 31st. It's my favorite race in WA.