After the magnuson park 5k, my goal was to run the same pace for 8k today, which suprisingly I did. I ran much faster than I thought my workouts indicated.
Warmed up about 2.5 miles to the startline from home w/ Allie. There were a ton of club northwest peeps doing strides and drills as well as some other fastees. I was feeling good doing warmups, but I also wasn't putting a ton of pressure on myself.
I lined up in about the 3rd row and when the gun went off I made no attempt to move up. I just wanted to try to go with the flow. There was a huge lead pack of about 20 guys in front with a few stragglers off the back, then a gap back to what I would call the chase pack. Pretty quickly we passed over a (non-eponymous) bridge which did not really agree with my skechers.
For the first mile, my breathing was good and my stride felt fine, but there was some burning in my legs that I hoped would go away. The lead group wasn't very far ahead so I was concerned that I had started too fast, but I think they were all just biding their time. First mile in 5:27, but it was slightly downhill. I definitely didn't feel comfortable, but I had a group of 3 other people to run with so I just decided to stick with them as long as I could.
After the mile mark we started to run up a slight hill, I was sticking right on the should of the guy ahead of me and breathing pretty hard. He kept side-eyeing me like "who is this joker", and I felt pretty sure that I was going to fall apart at any moment. Then we crested the hill and I started to feel a little better and push the pace. 5:36 for mile 2, 11:03 for 2 miles. This would be a pretty good 5k split for me, so I just told myself to just make it one more mile. I knew I could make it one more mile.
Right after the 2mile mark we cross the eponymous bridge and went up another very slight, but fairly length climb. I got dropped again by the 3 guys in my group and had to surge to catch back up, then lost them again. It was getting tough. We passed up one of the early leaders who had fallen off the pace, but now they were dropping me. We mercifully hit a downhill and I reflected that I was more than halfway done. 5:40 split for mile 3, 16:43 through two miles, I figured anything sub 17 would be good before the race.
When we got onto Montlake, I just started to churn my legs. I knew that I was in for a good time as long as I kept pushing. I passed one more person who was dropping back and then started to see the leaders coming back on the other side of the street, so I knew the turnaround (which was about mile 4) couldn't be far. Came to almost a dead stop at the turnaround and had trouble getting moving again. Passed one more person. No 4 mile marker, though, so I was unsure of my pace.
The last mile weaves through the UW campus and I didn't have a good sense of how much I had left. I picked off a couple more people, but never caught back up to my original group of 3 who stayed about 6-7 seconds ahead for the last 2miles of the race. Last 1.971 miles in 10:59 (5:34) pace.
This race was very hard, meaning I probably got about as much out of myself as I could. I think if I knew the course better I could have closed harder in the last 800m or so. At the same time, not knowing the course probably stopped me from overthinking things and just pushing.
Very happy with this race. I don't run a ton of 8ks, so I put it into Daniel's calculator. The VDOT is 60.7, equivalent to a 16:52 5k and 35:00 10k, which would both be PRs. Slightly inferior to my 3K PR still.