Although I broke 5k on the track last year, that was at an untimed all-comers meet.
I've had quite a few race performances that indicate sub 17 ability: the 17:23 in terrible conditions, my 35:16 10k, 27:42 8k, 9:34 3k, 17:05 at altitude. However, my workouts just haven't quite been there.
I resolved to go out hard in this race and hang on, which is not a very smart strategy but I though it would work for going sub 17 with my current fitness. I ran with Ari Schorr and Lance Thompson, two Club Northwest guys that said they were going to hit 5:15 for the mile. I was a little behind them at the mile and I got there in 5:13. I was really straining to stay with them as we had a nice group of about 4 but I just couldn't hack it. I just kind of died after that running 5:33 for mile 2 and then 5:35 for the last 1.107. Those splits aren't as bad they sound due to the terrain, but I definitely fell off the pace.
When I saw the clock at the finish line I strained real hard to get to the finish and I didn't think I had it until I saw the results just now. The finish of this race is about a 500-600m uphill into the sun (yikes).
After I was done I felt a little woozy, but still managed to cooldown with a few club northwest guys.
For anyone keeping score, that's 3 PRs in 3 races. It's especially encouraging that this race was run in far from ideal circumstances. I think that on the track, with fresh legs, I could take off a few more seconds.