My original goal when I signed up for this race was to break 24:00, which I actually did manage to do. Over the past week or so however, my expectations raised and I was hoping I could snap 23:00. I think that I could have but I went out way too fast. Oh well.
The start was crowded with both runners and baby joggers and I got stuck behind 2 baby joggers right when the gun sounded the start of the race. That pissed me off a little bit because they should have been off in a separate staging location or something of that sort. They take up too much space to intermingle with the runners. So that made me angry right at the start, not a good thing.
I got on the heels of Mike Moran, a New Balance rep here in Charlotte that I ran with last Wednesday who I knew raced fairly conservatively in the first half of the race - something that was part of my plan - with the hopes of either just staying with him (he's fast) or maybe even passing him in the second half sometime. I felt like I was pushing it really hard right from the start and was on the edge of being above 95% and wasn't sure why I was so strained because I thought I was running my goal pace of 5:40. No, I was not. We hit the first mile marker and the sign clicked onto 5:15 right as we passed it. I actually said "F***" out loud (although not loudly) and immediately slowed down to what I thought was around 5:45ish pace.
From there to the 2 mile marker I felt pretty solid. I felt like I still had an extra gear if I really needed it for the end and I was never breathing super hard (don't get me wrong; it hurt but it was manageable hurt). The course then proceeded to kick my ass with what seemed like about a quarter to half mile hill that just completely sapped my legs. 2 guys passed me and it took me a couple of seconds to recover at the top. I got back into a rhythm and stayed about 20-30 yards behind a guy who if someone asked me I would never say looked fast but...he apparently was. Not that many people were at the finish by the time I got there so it was a somewhat lame hooray moment.
No aches or pains though, just felt slow at points. My 5k split was right around 17:30ish just off the top of my head. I think sub 17 is totally possible on a 5k. This course was, dare I say it, rolling. It had some decent ups and downs.
I also just found out from looking at the results page that they gave me the 3rd place age group trophy (20-24) when I should have gotten 2nd. Those bastards!