I woke up early Saturday morning and went through my usual pre-race routine. Fumble around in the dark and find my racing kit and shoes...walk the dogs, try and drop the kids off at the pool....Headed out to Forsyth Park, which is only 1/2 a mile from my apartment.
I planned on taking a slightly different approach to this race, as I have felt like I went out too fast at my last 5k. I ran the Pooler 5k last weekend in a time of 25:42. I was happy with the effort due to the weather (hot & humid) and lack of speedwork. I did feel like I went out a little fast and my 2nd & 3rd miles were 30 seconds slower than the 1st.
For this race, I lined up about a 1/3 of the way back and at the gun moved forward with the surge. It was crowded at the start and I was forced to hold back a little, playing into my plan perfectly. I hit the first mile at 8:03 and felt good. The 2nd mile was a little slower somewhere around 8:10. The difference between last week and this race was the 3rd mile. I felt strong and dropped the pace, reeling in runners ahead of me. This course winds through the squares of downtown, there are a lot of tangents to run. I took the most direct line at every chance and and managed to effortlessly gain ground on those runners who were rounding the turns and not managing the course well. 3rd mile, 7:52.
I had enough in the tank for a strong surge at the finish, beating out the guy in front of me. As the photo demonstrates, it appears that I beat out this older gentleman at the line. Perhaps he was 20 years my senior and I should have beat him...but does this make the victory any less sweet? NO. What the photo failed to demonstrate was the gap between us a minute earlier.
24:16 was my chip time. 15 seconds slower than my current 5k PR, which was set this past spring. I am feeling really good about the work I have been putting in lately and can't wait to race in the cooler temps of the autumn calendar. If I can run a 24:16 in 80 degree weather, I think in the next month or two I can break into the 23's or maybe even into the 22's...
There is this nagging question. My Garmin read 3.03 miles. did I run the course perfectly and shave of some of the distance by hitting every tangent? I run this route several times a week and know exactly what lines to run through the countless turns...Did they measure the course wrong? What does my 24:16 translate to against a 3.1 mile course. Does any of this really matter? It is not like I set a world record or even broke my own PR! I am just a numbers dork and like everything to line up...
Moving on...This race was also bittersweet. It was my last race as a Savannah resident. I move on Friday. I have run this particular event more times than any other event in town so it was fitting that I ran this one one more time before I move. Oh, and I won a raffle too...what was the prize? A year membership to Savannah Striders, the local running club. Perfect! LOL!