It's funny, the races I've recently done pretty well in recently have been the ones that I told myself I'd just take it easy at the start.
Today I ran in the Inman Middle School 5K, which is only a few blocks away from my house.
The neighborhood is pretty hilly so I just thought I would take it easy. The race started pretty fast, possibly because of all the middle school kids in it. Even a dude in a stroller was faster than me. But near the end of the first mile, a serious incline started to happen and my hill running legs started to fire up. 1st mile: 7:15.
The second mile was sort of a helping of the first. You climbed up Hillpine, which I remembered from the steep Hillside 5K run from last year and then it went down and around past Hillside school, basically the first part of the Hillside 5K.
Then it came back up Park Place and up the monster hill behind Inman Middle School. Even on this hill I could feel my legs really trying to work. I wasn't sure if the kids and a couple of people behind me would try to kick on the other side of the hill but I was pretty beat and didn't care.
Coming down the monster hill, there was a second hill and then the turn to the finish. I told myself I would kick on the hill and see what happened. What happened was that I felt like I was at my VO2 max -- I felt I was at my limit.
But I saw the time and the clock was nearing my old PR of 22:49. I went to the red zone again and then saw "22:48" when I crossed the finish.
It's pretty awesome because I never thought I would be able to run faster than that and having my original PR in Eugene, Ore. -- a mecca of runners and running greats -- was a pretty magical thing. That race was much different as it was flat and fast and at the end I got behind a much faster runner and let him pace me in.
This time it was just hills and more hills and I pushed hard by myself for the milestone.
Time: 9 a.m.
Temp: 44-52 degrees
Gear: SST (Jingle Bell run), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D4