Sometimes things just go better than I could even hope for and today was one of those times.
I made the easy drive over to Wilson and found the park easily. It was already a bit warm and humid which I don't really like but is usually not an issue in a 5k . In fact my pr was set on the 4th of July and in the 80's. I picked up my race number and then waited until 30 minutes before the race to begin my normal pre- race routine. Warm up an easy mile. Then 10 minutes before the start run another half mile with 5 or 6 short 10-15 second pickups. The soreness and tightness I had felt most of the week was gone but I was feeling flat during the warmup and a bit concerned I might not be running very fast.
This was a small race with that small town feel and I estimated about 100 or so were lining up at the start. I was sizing up the competition and noticed a few likely competitors for my age group and saw a couple that looked pretty fit. Overall I was thinking I may have a shot at a top 10 finish if I ran well.
The race started on time and I took off at a comfortable pace and when we made the first turn after a couple of hundred yards I counted the runners in front of me and I was in 11th place. I was guessing and hoping that I was close to the 6:45 pace I had for my fantasy goal and just settled in. It didn't take long before I passed a couple of runners to move into 9th and then after about 1/2 mile I passed a group of three and moved into 6th place. I could see the lead police car ahead with a group of 3 and 4th and 5th were a ways behind them and maybe 150 yards in front of me.
Finally approached the 1 mile mark and I was eager to see if I was anywhere close to pace. When I looked down and saw 6:35 I'm sure a smile came over my face. This was just to awesome to be real. I was ahead of pace and feeling very comfortable and I was now already confident I was going to break 21 minutes ! I also noticed that the two runners ahead of me were slowing down so I focused on trying to reel them in. They were both high school runners from Wilson and as I caught the first one at the halfway mark, I wanted to tell him I'd be glad to teach him about pacing after the race ;). Yeah, I was having fun !
The course was mostly flat and fast but not the pancake that Selma has. But nothing you could call a hill either. Just some slight up and downgrades. Heading up to the 2 mile point was slightly up and I slowed a little to 6:48, but I was still feeling good and had a few seconds cushion so I kept pressing. Finally at about 2.5 miles I caught the 4th place kid. As I pulled along side him, he tried to hold me off so I put in a little surge and blew past him to totally demoralize him. Tee hee hee ! ( Why Amy ? Cause I'm an @#%&^ )
Now I could smell the barn and was pushing it hard. 4th place locked up and almost assured of a sub 21 !!!
Hit mile 3 in 6:39. Yes !!! Strong to the finish and a 20:48 ! The last time I ran under 21 was in 1990 and the last time I ran faster than today was in 1987, in a race which I won. Actually the only race I ever won. When I turned 50 in 2006, I was in really good shape and set my marathon pr plus several course prs and I ran a 21:11 5k in Selma. If you had asked me last year if I would ever beat that time 7 years later at age 57 I would have said there is no way that would ever happen. But this past year has been simply amazing and I keep surprising myself and my confidence continues to grow. I think I have quite a few good races in me for awhile to come. It makes me wonder just how fast I could get if I were to focus on training for shorter races. Well, that's not going to happen anytime soon. After all, this was just training for my next 100 miler in 2 weeks :)
There were 117 finishers and I was 4th overall and 1st in my age group. Beat all the 40 year olds too except for the overall winner who is 42 years old. Here is a link to the results. Woohoooooo !