Stars, stripes and speed
Entering today's flat race in Howland, Ohio -- the Stars and Stripes 5k -- I had one thing in mind: a PR. While I wouldn't have beat myself up over not getting a PR, I knew that my faster training on hills in Virginia had to pay off on this race day. Plus coming off a good 5k a couple of weeks ago, I knew I had it in me to beat that 22:41 that I set last year. What transpired was unbelievable. I hit the first mile in 7 minutes flat. While it was a bit faster than I would have liked to have started, I felt great. And I also felt the pressure to keep up with a guy running near me making it look far easier than I was. I passed him early on and then he passed me shortly after. We pretty much stayed together the whole time.
Keeping up with him led to a 7:18 second mile -- very much on target for the PR as long as I could hold myself together in the final mile. As I hit mile 3 in 7:13, a guy pushing a stroller passed me, making life look easy. I pressed the gas pedal a little more as I hit the 3-mile mark and smoked that last tenth in 38 seconds, finishing just behind my new pal and the guy running with the stroller.
At the end of the race, my new friend and I thanked one other for pushing each other -- I'm not sure if he was being competitive and wanted to beat me, or if I was pushing myself a little harder just to keep up. Whatever the reason, it led me to a 22:10 finish (maybe 22:09; official times haven't been posted) -- a 7:08 per mile pace -- and puts thoughts in my head of greater things yet to come.
I won't get into all that now though. I want to let this soak in for a while and enjoy the moment.