|One of my more memorable 5K t-shirts, since I just ran only my second sub 20.|
I would be lying if I said I did not expect to run this one in under 20 minutes. When I say expect, I mean I actually changed my training schedule around to give myself 24 hours of rest between my last training run and this race.
The HTC Twilight 5K race is within walking distance of my house at the campus of the University of Alabama Huntsville. As the name indicates, this race takes place in the evening, which makes pre-race activities quite different from other early morning races. I skipped my long run in the morning and i had a light brunch only. There were quite a few familiar faces at the event and I was glad to arrive very early, allowing me to swap race plans and do just a little bit of smack talking as well;-) To be honest, I did that to increase the pressure on myself. I was excited to see so many guys that I knew would push me in the race. There were at least 4 runners I knew who would run either right ahead of me or right with me.
A siren started the race just after 6:30PM and we were off. I had double tied my shoe laces and warmed up with a short jog to try to do everything right, unlike in previous 5K races, were I hadn't done so due to stupidity or because it had to be done as part of my training (e.g. sandwich a 5K in the middle of a long run). I had decided that I would stick to Jason Shattuck right from the start and when he would usually leave me behind after 2 miles, I would NOT let him leave me behind. My plan worked, but I actually ended up passing Jason just before the halfway mark. At that point, Mike Dehaye had already pulled way ahead of both of us and my suspicion that he started off too fast was proven wrong. Mike never looked back and he never faded. Well done, Mike!
What made this race a tough one to try to break 20 minutes at was the heat and humidity and that tiny little hill half a mile from the finish. It is very short and would normally be considered a bump in the road, but running it after having run 2 1/2 miles at full speed really makes this is tough one. My first mile split was on target, 6:08. I figured I would slow down eventually. For some reason, my second mile is always the slowest, but not so today. My second mile split was 6:18. I was still on sub 20 minute finish pace, but I knew I still had the hill ahead and that would most definitely slow me down. I tried to push on the hill and even passed a couple of guys (one of them passed me with 10 yards to go to take my top ten finish away from me, argh!). My third mile was the slowest, 6:37.
When I passed the 3 mile marker I heard my split and I knew I was cutting it close, very close. I knew I had to really kick. I finally crossed the finish line in 19 minutes and 51 seconds. Good enough for 11th overall and 2nd in my age group. Hopefully, I can keep running sub 20, considering that the conditions were pretty tough today. Congrats to Mike Dehaye, Jason Shattuck and Timo Sandritter on their respective age group wins, very impressive! And thanks to all the volunteers for putting on a great event.