Fort DeSoto 15k Race, St. Petersburg, FL Race Report
This was the second annual 15k on the island. It's popularity has gone up quite a bit, but that's a good thing. I won this race last year and had the best race I've ever done (50:40ish) and I knew I couldn't come anywhere near that this year- but it at least helped my confidence by knowing how to run the course. The temperature was much hotter and more humid this year, so that didn't help.
The race: Really there were only three of us from the moment the gun went off: Chris T., Sean G. and myself. They are former college runners and I train with one (Sean) semi-regularly so I knew what I had racing next to me. The three of us were all even through 2 miles when Sean (who was clearly feeling good) lowered us down to about 5:36 for mile 2 and then low 5:30s thereafter, so I backed off both of them. I know Sean's racing style and I'm familiar with his current fitness, so I didn't feel he could keep that, and for me personally I know I wouldn't negative split if I got into the low/mid 5:30s for multiple miles. I knew a negative split would be the best racing strategy as it has always worked for me in these situations as long as the gap didn't grow too large. I let a 20 second lead build over the next two and a half miles by Sean and about a 3 second gap behind Chris and then just lowered the pace ever-so-slightly. Chris gassed first and I caught him around the beggining of mile 4. Sean followed, but his breathing was much calmer than Chris'. I made sure to pass them both swiftly and calmly. I had a ton in the tank so when I caught Sean with about 4.5 miles left to go I knew I had it. I pressed evenly on miles 6 and 7 to solidify, then relaxed a bit on 8 and 9 after looking back and seeing nobody behind me. I cruised from there and finished over a minute ahead of Sean and a couple minutes over Chris who got third.
Fun race, and I'm happy and thankful I won- as I really had no business winning that. Then again, it's all about who shows up, and who the hell wants to run a 15k in the middle of Florida at the end of summer? The time I ran leaves a lot to be desired as it was 3 minutes behind where I was a year ago, but it's a step in the right direction and I do feel I am overcoming this tribulation. Now I've earned my 4 comped half marathons which is exciting, and also it's now time to focus on the Chicago Marathon in less than a week!
Splits- 5:45, 5:36, 5:45, 5:45, 5:40, 5:38, 5:39, 5:50, 6:03, Finish (1:48)