Well, there's still some fight in the dog.
Today is one of those incandescently beautiful spring days that reminds you why you live in New England. The apple trees and lilacs are in bloom; it's cool and sunny, with a pleasant breeze. The Great Bear is a local race, so I could walk over in the morning, enjoying the fine weather.
I got back from Japan with just my residual fitness, but since then I've gotten a good 5 weeks of training in, with two solid track workouts. I haven't really been racing enough to know what to expect from my body; everything felt good, although I didn't feel very aerobically strong. I didn't line up at the start with a particular time goal, just a desire to put in consistent effort and finish strong. Since the track is near the race finish, I had practiced the final kick, concentrating on my desire to not fall apart over the last quarter mile.
I went through the 1st mile in 5:21, starting in 5th, then falling to 6th. I was pretty isolated--not quite fast enough to run with the lead group, but still well ahead of the main pack. I hit the 2nd mile in 11:00 and looked back to see I was being chased down by a group of 4 runners.
In the third mile, uphill with the wind against us, I started to labor. 20 years racing hasn't cured me of starting, um, "ambitiously", I guess. Two of the runners from that chase pack had slipped ahead of me by the time we made the penultimate turn.
All too predictable. Much like last year. Except, I felt oddly unresigned to letting them slip away. I was aerobically maxed, but there was still a lot of spring in my legs, and I found myself accelerating. I got the lanky BAA guy by the final turn. Then in the final kick, caught and passed the compact black-haired dude in raybans. Finished gasping up a lung, in 6th place overall.
I've missed 5ks!
17:35, 6th place overall, 2nd AG.