Saturday morning I got up around 7AM and walked me and my hangover up to Yordprom Coffee. Surprisingly I didn't feel too banged up after not getting much sleep, closing down the bar, eating a SLAB burger, and running nearly 10 miles yesterday evening.
I laced up my racing flats and ran the 0.8 miles down to Flatbreads to pick up my bib. From there I ran another couple mile to wrap up my warmup and made it back to the starting line with 5 minutes to spare. I could tell there were some good runners this year but had no idea what anyone was trying to run. The game plan was to try and run a 5:2X pace the first mile and just hold on. The big variable with this race is the wind and it was a typical NW wind which proves to be super slow on the "hill" that heads exactly in the direction leading into the turnaround. With a blast of an airhorn we started and quickly settled into formation. I dropped back to 4th and held a 5:20 pace for the first 3/4 miles but dropped a 5:27 first mile. Things continued to slow on the 2nd mile - the headwind proved to be difficult and seemed to keep the lead pack together and within striking distance but they were continuing to gap me. The guy in 3rd was running even paced and strong. He continued to gap be and catch the lead pack. On the turnaround I was at a 6:00 pace but was able to make some of that up and close out mile 2 at a 5:40 pace. I also noticed that 5th place was over 30 seconds behind me. On the final mile I was gaining on the lead pack but too little too late. I pushed hard and was still able to land another 5:28 mile but looking at the clock, my sub 17 minute 5k was out of reach. I crossed in 17:07 and was pleased with my 24 second improvement over the previous year.
I cooled down by running back to the railroad tracks where I stashed my headphones and ran back to the apartment where I was staying. After grabbing my phone I ran back to the restaurant to get my sweatshirt and see the results. No awards this year but seeing the progress in my running felt just as good.