I ran 31:55 today. I went out too fast chasing my arch nemesis, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty. I was a couple of meters behind His Excellency at about 3/4-mile before realizing I wasn't going to keep this up for 8k. He looked a lot smoother than I felt. The Garmin claims a 6:05 first mile, but I missed the actual mile marker and the Garmin was well long today so who knows.
Anyway, I ran pretty steady after the first mile and finally knew where I was when I saw 19:53 at the 5k split clock (my PR is 19:49 -- but no chip at that race and they famously started with a mis-firing gun). I faded a little and raced to beat 32. I saw 32:01 on the clock as I crossed. Argh. Well, with the miracle of chip timing, I checked the results and netted 31:55. My 5k split was 19:48. So two new PRs (one unofficial). I'll take it.
Mayor Fenty ended up running 30:12!!!!! Holy cow. The last three years he has run 33:49, 32:20, and now 30:12. Doesn't he have a city to run? Is there another big city mayor running these kinds of times? What is he on? Since I've beaten his prior year times the last two years, do I get a sub-30:12 next year? These are questions I want answers to.
I have to say I'm a little unhappy with myself for the effort I gave although I was pretty happy with the time. I just didn't push myself as hard as I could have. I never really decided that I was going to give 100% today and since Fenty blew my doors off, I ran to get the sub-32 I was looking for. My HR was a few beats lower and I definitely had something left. At one point in the last mile I decided to encourage a female runner next to me and said "let's go," to which she nodded determinedly, and then we proceeded to pass a couple of people. She seemed to be suffering a lot more than me but she still hung with me and then blew my doors off to the finish line. Today just wasn't a day I felt like suffering. I could tell on the cooldown I had a lot left. I didn't have that searing lung sensation or hamstring soreness. I actually didn't mind jogging after the race.
I think part of the reason for my mindset was the context of the whole running plan for the day made it seem like the 8k was just part of the puzzle. This morning was a 4 mile warmup with 8 strides (was supposed to do 10), 8k race, and 3 mile cooldown. Now I'm scheduled for 6-8 tonight! (No way I'm doing a step more than 6 -- more likely less.)
On the plus side, my running is just different now. My stride is more compact, but I guess longer (since I'm going faster). There's no way I could have run the first mile that fast that easily in the past. I'm not really used to going out too fast because I never had the speed to :-) This is probably an important point for (sub-)master runners. Doing hills plyometrics, etc. is probably important for those of us who don't remember how to run like a kid. If I can drop some weight and get my endurance up, I'll give it a good shot at Cherry Blossom.
My I-can't-believe-I'm-saying-this-out-loud goal for CB is sub-67. This is quite a stretch and will require real suffering come race day, but it's a worthy goal I think.