Well, I argued with myself for about 3 straight days about running this Friday night event. At the start line I still wasn't sure if I was going to race it relatively hard or not with a much more important half marathon race on Sunday. I figured I'd go the first quarter mile and stick with the guys at the front and then decide if I would just chill or not the rest of it. Ideally there would be no one going fast and I could just tempo it.
The course: Fun course, but not certified- so no PRs on this day for anyone. Lots of fans from indycar race that will be this weekend who are leaving/hanging around to watch after the day events. There were only about 1,000 participants in the 5k, but you get to basically run a fully outlined "course" because of the set up for the real event- the St. Pete grand prix. It follows the indycar race track and also runs up and down the bayshore there in St. Pete, so it's beautiful and has tons to look at- plus it's wicked fun to hug the turns like you're actually racing. It's very difficult to not run this race and not get carried away. The course is, as I said, indy-style, so it has a bunch of interesting twists and turns and a pair of 180s added in for good measure.
The race: Started off in at a 5:18-5:20 pace with a group of 6. At a quarter mile, Mike and I were just talking and were very relaxed, but this was still a bit too hot for me to run with an "A" race a day and a half later, so I was very close to dropping off completely and jogging it in. We had just about entered the grand prix race course.
Then the guy said it. Right as I moved to the front of the small pack (so I didn't have to go wide on the next turn since I was sixth on the outside of the group). I was sincerely just about to pack it in as they were still running a bit too fast for me to recover in time for Sunday, but I guess I'm just a bit too competitive. I rarely get fired up in a race about others I'm racing, but the guy- who I assume was the college kid's father- referred to me and said "he's not a runner, he's not going anywhere, just stick to your pace and then make it hurt, you gotta make it hurt, just stay in front" and the kid re-took the lead. Man, I wasn't going to bother until that.
I relaxed and stuck on this college kid's shoulder through mile 1 (5:14), then mile 2 (5:13), and then immediately jacked up the pace to sub 5 once mile 3 began. The group split horribly here, but I was ready for him (second place) to come along with me and I was willing to take it faster, but he did not take on my surge, so I just held what felt comfortable. I held at about 5:00/mile pace until I saw the kid's father again, keeping about 6-7 seconds in between us. His footsteps came (I'm guessing since he heard/saw that guy) a bit closer to me so I unfortunately had to reach into the tank to put it away making sure to keep the 6/7 second lead until there wasn't a doubt. I looked back about 5 or 6 times to make sure and then crossed the line.
I get it- I don't wear the short shorts, I don't have a runner's physique, I look bulkier than most at the front, but why? Just let us run our own race- a race you are literally not running in. Even if you were his coach, focus on him and just be positive to everyone else going by. You seriously cost that kid an easy win.
Me- 15:49, 2nd- 15:55, 3rd- 16:15, 4th- 16:24, 5th- 16:37, 6th- 16:54.
Splits- 5:14, 5:13, Finish (1.1)-5:22