I've been away from the racing for a while but it's time to get back at it. My last race was a disappointment but I've gotten in some good training since then, along with some really tough speed workouts. Chris Herren told me the course was pretty tough, so my "B" goal was sub 33:30, with my "A" goal being under 33:00. Based off my last race, I didn't think sub 33:00 was very realistic but if I broke that time, I would get free entry into the Rocket City Marathon.
I knew Jeff Edmonds would be there. We've actually ended up running together for a few long runs along with some other really solid Nashville guys. Jeff seemed to be in pretty good shape, so I was looking forward to the battle.
The weather was slightly cool and pretty decent for racing. When the gun went off, I tried to be patient and didn't want to lead from the gun but the pace felt pretty relaxed. I took my time finding my groove and ran right near Jeff. I also saw a Kenyan guy out of the corner of my eye but wasn't sure how legit he was. After three or four minutes I ended up taking the lead and pressed on.
I hit the first mile in 5:20, which is a little over 33:00 pace. That first mile had a couple of rolling hills but I didn't want to start dropping 5:30s, so I made myself turn up the effort some. I covered the next mile in 5:06, which really shocked me. Chris told me the third mile would be pretty tough, so I slightly put the brakes on and split 5:25 there. I again got scared 5:30 miles would soon be a reality, so I really focused on finding my groove and seemed to find it. I covered my next two miles in 5:10 and 5:10. I was happy to see my four mile split was faster than my Moss Wright race just a few weeks ago and knew if I could keep on pressing, I would break 33:00 and make a run at sub 32:30.
My stomach was hurting some but I tried to turn it up over the last mile. Luckily this mile had a lot of long straightaways without many hills, so it was easy to find my rhythm. When I got close to the finish line, I saw the finish clock wasn't even over 32:00 yet. I was really happy and finished the race without kicking it in with a time of 32:12. My 1.2 miles was at 5:01 mile pace and I felt really aerobically strong. I definitely feel I could have run a couple more miles at sub 5:10 pace, so that's definitely a great sign and shows my body is adapting to the training.
Overall, I really liked this course a lot. It did have some rolling hills but it had that country road type feel, which I really enjoy. I think I'll most likely be back next year and may attempt the 5k/10k double.