I heard from my a lot of people that the Run for the Homeless was a good race, a tough course and a great charity. Because of road construction, they had to use the St. Jude's Row 5k course, which is also a tough course. I didn't know much about it except that the first mile is mostly uphill and the last is mostly downhill. With that information, I went into the race hoping to run just under 15:00, with a hard, but controlled effort. I had not been under 15 minutes on the road in eight years, so I figured it was time to get back into the 14s.
Before warming up, I saw my favorite Swiftwick employee, Hunter Hall and we jogged around for a few minutes before he branched off to the neverending Porta-John line while I found a nice, cornered off alleyway, clad with broken beer bottles everywhere. Finding good bathroom spots has turned into a strong talent of mine and I'm now debating making detailed maps to send to each race director, in hopes they are placed on the race application.
The race started out on an long, gradual hill, which made it hard to get going. I did my best to stay controlled and make it to the top without using too much energy. Because of the hill, I was hoping to run the first mile under 5:00, but I went through in 5:05. Knowing I had to make-up an additional five seconds, I picked it up and while the second mile had a few short climbs, it also had some downhills, which let me gain some time.
I went through the second mile in 4:48, which meant I needed to run close to 4:35 for the last mile to run under 15. With the last mile being primarily downhill and the fact that I was feeling pretty relaxed, I picked it up again to chase those lost seconds. You finish on the same hill that you ran up in the beginning, so I knew I would be able to make up a lot of time in the last 1/4 mile. I hit the three mile marker with a 4:35 split and was pretty sure I had the sub 15:00 banked.
I relaxed a bit and when I saw the clock hit 14:50, I knew I was more than 10 seconds out. I picked it up for a few seconds but realized I wouldn't make it in time and crossed the line in 15:01. It was a little bit frustrating to get so close to breaking 15:00 but the effort felt good and I felt like I could have turned around and run 15:01 again, so overall, it was a good day.
Despite the difficulty of the course, I enjoyed it a lot. The course goes straight for nearly a mile, you then run a loop, which is a little over a mile and then you come back in the way you went out. While it's not a fast course, it offers a lot of variety and is probably my favorite 5k course I've run on since moving to Nashville.
I'm starting to get a feel for the shorter, faster races again and hopefully I'll be ready for a fast 5k in another few weeks at the Music City Distance Carnival on June 2nd.