Well, .79 seconds became all the difference to that question last night...
Monday morning one of my friends told me I should run at the Cedarville Meet Friday night. I honestly did not even know this meet was this week. I had no intentions on doing a 5k because I was basically full-bore into solid mileage building up for the Neuces 50 Mile race March 5th. I debated back and forth whether I would run this race all week and by Thursday night I had practically talked myself into not racing. Eric wanted me to drive the van to the race for the team and he said he registered me for the race and that I could decide if I wanted to race when I got there. I packed my spikes and after running a few miles at the meet, I managed to 100% commit to running the 5k.
To make a long story short, I got in the race and eased into a comfortable rhythm. Eric was pacing Matt Brooker who wanted to go 14:45 and I was mid-pack at the mile, 5 seconds behind Eric and Brooker - 4:50. I was surprised to find myself right on their heels another 400 meters later, Eric pulled out of his pacing duties. Out two miles split was 9:35 (4:45 second mile for me). From there, I sat on Brooker until the last 800 meters where I moved around him and pushed hard to the finish. He ended up finishing 2 seconds behind me and I crossed the line officially at 14:59.41!
To be able to run this fast was shocking for me. One big reason I decided to do the race was to see what I could do with the training I am doing right now, not really to go for a PR. Here are all the reasons I am surprised I was able to run so fast:
-2 months + 1 week after TNF 50 Miler
-1 month after the FS 50K
-1 workout since November (4 mile tempo @ 5:45 avg.)
-145 miles last week
-17 miles the day before the race
-8 miles the morning of the race
The Cedarville Indoor meet has been the site of my 5K PR four years in a row now (15:58, 15:54, 15:27, 14:59). I am starting to think I just need to keep going back every year! The atmosphere in there is very good and all the people cheering for the 5K seems to motivate me a lot. From here, I am not sure how many more Sub-15's I will go in my lifetime, or even how many more 5K's I will do period, but I am sure glad I finally broke 15.
The confidence that I took from this race was even more rewarding. My training style has not always been the "traditional" way of doing things, especially for a 5K indoor track race. I can practically count the number of miles under 6 minute pace on both my hands and if I add my toes, I could count the number of sub-7 minute miles. With that said, I have been building so much strength running on trails and my fitness level is at an all-time high. Plus, with the prior experience of running track races, I can always feel confident with the tactical racing done on a track.
I do not want this post to sound like I am bragging on what I did. After all, it is only .79 seconds faster than my previous best time. There are still hundreds of people running in the 14's and 13's every track meet around America and even a handful of people running Sub-13.
If people are reading this, I hope I can provide a source of inspiration. Goals are not achieved by one set way of doing things. In running especially, there are dozens of different ways to get to an end result. It comes down to finding what works for you and loving what you do. I love running a lot of miles on hilly trails and I bring that love and confidence with me to when I race, no matter the distance. Sure, people can say I could have ran XX seconds faster if I didn't do this and did do that, but no one can really be 100% sure about that. I am 100% sure that I love doing what I do and I wouldn't have it any other way.