I figure the best way to get back to where I want to be...is to race myself into shape. Luckily there was a 5k close to the house that I've done before so it was a perfect way to spend a Sunday. I know the course pretty well. The route is challenging...a series of rolling hills with a good hill climb after the second mile that tops out just in time for a kicker hill into the end.
Was I nervous? Of course! I always am. Even when I'm off my game I still have the expectation to do well and end up high in the overall an/or age group rankings. I did try to seed myself in the front third of the pack at the start to hopefully keep me in check for the start.
Mile 1: 6:41
The first mile is flat to downhill so I was all about working on an even pace and utilizing the flat before the hills came.I hopped on the shoulder of a guy that "looked" like a speed demon, hoping to drag some speed off him, but I realized I was running faster than him! Well, looks can be deceiving. A quick glance at the watch shows me running on a 6:40ish pace...not bad...ok, deep breath and lets keep moving.
Mile 2: 6:39
The rolling hills and turns gave me a chance to get into a good rythm and start runing people down. All I could do was tell myself "execute the pass" and keep moving. I picked the pace up a bit to get some steam heading into the upcoming hill.
Mile 3: 6:47
On the other side of the 2 mile marker was the "hill". You know, the kind you can't see the top from the bottom. Man, I hate those kinds of hills! Nothing to do but lean into it, get those arms pumping and and get over it. I kept looking at that telephone pole on the other side of the hill's crest to give myself a place to push to. I know that would be the place to catch my breath for the final push to the finish.I wasn't close to run anyone down in front of me so I focused on turnover and trying to chew up time to the finish. The kicker to the finish put lead in my legs but I just kept pushing to the right hand turn where I could finally see the finish and gave whatever I had left to cross the line in 20:54.
While that was not a great time for me, nor was it a PR for that course (almost 50secs slower than my last time on the course), I was happy to have a race where I "felt good", didn't blow up and had a good rhythm from beginning to end. It was good enough to give me 7th overall (the winner only ran a 19 plus, that course was indeed challenging) and 1st in my age group. While I'm still off my level of fitness at this time of year, that wasn't a bad performance. Not to mention, I take GREAT PRIDE that the 6 people in front of me...were 10 years or more...younger than me. Ya, the old, fluffy, broken guy getting it done. LOL. Now to build on this and move forward.