I was excited for this race because it's where I do a large chunk of my training. My "A" goal was 21:20 with my "B" goal being sub 21. I'm still in base training mode, with some 10 mile progressions and a tempo once every other week or so and on those, I've been averaging around 5:40 pace. Jef Scott normally comes down for this and while he will smoke me, I'd like to see how close I can get to him so I can see if I can maybe take him out next year.
The race took place at Moss Wright Park in Goodlettsville. The course was honest, if not a little bit on the fast side. You run the first mile around a circular loop, before heading down to the start of the trail, which turns into cinder. After running on the trail for about a mile, you branch off into the "road" inside the park, go up a short, steep hill and then run down back onto the cinder for a little bit over a mile.
When the gun went off, Jef and a former Belmont Kenyan took the lead. A kid from Station Camp was also up there and I hit the mile marker in 6th place at 5:16. There was some guy right ahead of me and over the next quarter mile or so, I reeled him in. After passing him, the course went on the cinder trail and when I hit that, I tried to keep a hard effort to mentally break the guy. Jef and the Kenyan were only about 10-15 seconds ahead of me, so I tried to stay close in case I could pull something out late in the race.
I hit the two mile in 10:29, which gave me a 5:13 second mile. I figured I could make a run at sub 21 if I kept a conscious awareness of the effort and then hammered the last few minutes. We came off the trail and took a right through the parking lot, towards the dog park. I've run this "hill" tons of times and it's normally pretty simple...just about 100 ft. without too steep of a incline. However, I've never run the hill under such oxidative stress and I really felt it, which temporarily killed my pace. Luckily the course went back towards the cinder trail, which took me down a decline. I saw Jef start to make a move on the Kenyan and when I hit the trail, I tried to push the pace in case the Kenyan got mentally broken and got close enough for me to make a run at him.
I hit the three mile in 15:51, which gave me a 5:22 for that mile. I knew the last mile would be flat, so I tried to do a long, extended drive for home to see how close I could get to breaking 21. After being on the trail for just a couple of minutes, I had to run against the people who were about to hit the two mile mark. This messed up my rhythm some because I had to focus on maneuvering around people instead of just focusing totally on pressing down the gas.
I wasn't gaining on the two guys ahead of me and finished a little hard but didn't have a killer kick because I knew I was over 21. I always feel pretty dorky when I run towards the finish line all-out, especially if no one is near me. I crossed the line in 21:16, which gave me a 5:25 last mile. Jef Scott finished in 20:33, with Charles Magut in 20:50. The time was pretty bittersweet because the McMillan calculator only equates it to a 16:16 5k and 33:47 10k. I was really hoping to be in 16:00, 33:00 shape by now and was hoping to make a run at sub 33 on Labor Day at the Franklin Classic, which is a pretty tough course. Luckily this race signifies the end of my base phase and I'll now transition to some hard, fast workouts, which should build up my engine and result in some faster racing.