Hi, my name is Rob and I run 5Ks. It has been 365 days since my last 5K. Then I had a moment of weakness.
In 2012 I started to have significantly more success in races than I had ever had previously. In the past 3+ years I’ve won several races, with lots more podium and top 10 finishes. This whole time I’ve been improving and improving, running faster and faster. I knew it couldn’t last forever. I’m getting old. At some point I had to slow down and start running races slower and slower. The side effect of this paranoia is that I’ve basically stopped running 5Ks because I’ve been pretty sure my next 5K would make it quite clear I’m in a state of decline.
But, fuck it, I like to race. One year after my last 5K I did another. It was the same race, the Peach Festival 5K pretty close to our house. I’ve been in ultra mode for so long (4 of my last 5 races were ultras) I foolishly decided to eat the same pre-race breakfast as I do for an ultra (almost 600 calories). Big mistake. My stomach hurt during my 4 mile warmup from all that food. By the time the race started I just barely stopped feeling like I was going to vomit.
The start was fast, but it quickly settled down. A few people took the lead and I dropped into the chase pack. 5:52 for the first mile. Shit, that’s slower than I wanted to average. The chase pack broke up and I worked hard to catch up to a guy who had pulled away. I managed to catch up and stay with him for the next mile.
6:06 second mile. Why can’t I do this anymore? The last mile had a bit of downhill and I used that to ramp the speed back up a bit. One guy blew past me from behind and finished 35 seconds ahead of me. All in the last mile. So I wasn’t moving super fast. The guy I was with pulled away. People from behind were apparently closing in on me. 5:55 third mile, 18:24 for the full 5K.
It was my slowest 5K in 4 years.
Once again I finished in 6th place overall. I guess that’s some consolation, but I really wasn’t racing the other participants. I was racing myself. And I lost bad.
I shouldn’t have eaten so much for breakfast. I shouldn’t have raced a 5K after running 50 miles in the previous 5 days. I should have done more (any?) speed work. I should have run faster. But I didn’t. And since I’ve never been one to take life lying down, this debacle can only serve as motivation for future redemption.
All photos by Melissa.