Let's cut right to the chase: for the third year-in-a-row I tried to break five minutes in the TC One Mile, and for the third time I missed it.
Honestly, this should have been the year when I didn't worry about breaking five. After breaking my knee in November and having to slowly work my way back up to be able to run consistently, a couple weeks ago I didn't think sub-5 was even a reasonable goal. Last week, however, I had a pretty good speed workout, so I decided I would go for it. Why not? I've tried to break five minutes every other year.
Last year's race featured a ridiculous headwind, but this year's race had a wind that was mostly a tailwind, though at some of the intersections it turned into a crosswind. While the wind was nice, the temperature wasn't quite ideal for the mile at a brisk 47 degrees. After saying "hi" to some friends, Jon and Linda, I got chilly and had to go back to my car for a little bit to warm up. Normally I'd watch the other waves, but I was too cold.
After a little warmup, I lined up at the start. I said "hi" to Jon. I wasn't too cold waiting for the race to start as it was pretty packed and I was sheltered from the wind.
When the race started, I couldn't really tell if there was a tailwind or not, but I was feeling pretty good for the first quarter mile. I wasn't sure, however, if I was running too fast or too slow after the first 30 seconds, so I decided to just keep running the same pace. At the first clock at the quarter mile mark, it appeared that I was running too fast, as I came through between 71 and 72 seconds. Not terrible, but definitely a little faster than I wanted to be going.
At first I tried to relax and slow down just a hair, but after a little bit slowing down didn't seem to be an option, and I was really feeling it in my legs and lungs. Really, the first quarter should have been slower as it is slightly uphill, but since I rarely run a fast one mile race, I don't have a real good sense of pace.
I came through the halfway point at around 2:29--I still had a chance to break five if I could pick it up a hair, but I'd just run the second quarter much too slowly. I don't really remember the third quarter at all, but I think I went by that clock at something like 3:48 or 3:49. I was still losing time, and I'd really need to pick it up if I was going to break five minutes.
I did pick it up a bit, and started passing people. Amazingly, I didn't feel awful the last quarter mile, and it seemed like almost no time when I saw the finishing clock. When I saw the numbers ticking with probably around 150m to go, I knew I had a good shot at breaking five minutes.
I picked it up as much as I could, watching the clock tick 4:41, 4:42. It was going to be close, but I couldn't get any more speed out of my legs. The finishing clock kept ticking, but with about 40m left, I thought I might make it. I went across the line, stopping my watch almost as soon as I'd crossed it. I looked down and the numbers read 5:01. Yuck.
With the very low mileage I'd been running and running only two short speed workouts, I didn't think I had a good chance of breaking five minutes. It was almost more disappointing to be so close than if I would have run a 5:05 or something like that.
All in all I guess I shouldn't be too disappointed. My official time was 5:00.8, which is actually the fastest I've run the course. Though it was a little cooler than ideal mile temperature, there was a bit of a tailwind (though at the intersections it was more of a crosswind), which probably helped. I also think the extra strength training and crosstraining I put in while I was injured paid off, and it seems like I at least haven't lost any of my top end speed. We'll see how the 5k running on Saturday goes to see where I'm really at as far as my running fitness goes.
After the open mile, I hung out with Jon and Linda to watch the pros. The women's race was pretty exciting with a neck-in-neck finish, followed by a men's race where six runners broke four minutes with the winner, Nick Willis, breaking the course record.
This coming Saturday I'll try out the legs for a 5k, and I week after that I'll be pacing a marathon. Should be interesting.