The sixth race in the grand prix series was early in the morning. I wasn't sure if I was really up for racing it, since we had a grueling track session on Thursday and I rode my bike yesterday as well. I thought I could at least try to hold a race pace and see how I did.
I got there early enough to pick up my registration packet and meet with the rest of the team. Amy was working registration and needed to take a break for 10 minutes so I took over for her and handed out a few packets. Coach Dave showed up, went over his strategy: run the first mile hard and then try to coast in. I'm not sure I agree with that for longer events, but I can see where it makes sense for a 5K - if anything you want to get past the people who don't seed themselves properly at all. Five of us from the track session were there (Amy, Mary Beth, Sandy, Mark, and me) and we walked to the start together, and did a brief warmup. We lined up right off the starting line.
When the horn sounded I took off and steered to some open space on the left. After a block or two I checked my pace (Garmin Forerunner!) and it said I was doing under 6 minute miles, a pace I know I can't hold for long, so I cut it back slightly. A few minutes after that Kurt, a friend from the YMCA running group, passed me and said "Hi Karl - fast start?" Kurt recently qualified for Boston and is a fast runner, so being ahead of him, even if only for 3/4 of a mile, was a surprise. I told him I was trying to do 6:45 for the first mile and he wished me luck and cruised on by.
I hit mile 1 at 6:24, mile 2 at 13:21 (6:57 split), and mile 3 at 20:20 (6:59 split), and wound up finishing at 21:15 chip time, 21:17 official time. Coach was right before mile 3 at a turn cheering, yelling "great time" and "you've got it!" as I passed.
The rest of the group also did pretty well, and afterward we did a cooldown run and Coach said he'd get us pizza after Tuesday's track session.
So this is my new 5K PR - 21:15, an average of 6:51 per mile. I was 13th in my division, and extra happy I was able to average under a 7 minute mile. :)