The final 5k of the season at the all comers meets (only 3ks from here on out) so I decided to run it fresh.
I had already run 16:52, 2 weeks ago which is 81 per lap. Based on my track workouts it was hard to envision that I was capable of much faster than that. I therefore decided that I would go out hard perhaps at a pace that I couldn't sustain, and then just try to hold on as best I could.
As this was the last 5k of the season quite a few people showed up including many, many highschoolers. Despite the presence of Max Randal and Tony Hernandez (who ran 9:37 and 9:53 to my 9:59 in the 3k last week), my 16:52 gave me the fastest seed time.
I'm beginning to realize that I don't like being seeded number one as I am not very quick off the line, so I get boxed in very easily. A huge crowd of 10-12 guys hit 200m together at about 38/39 with a couple of the highschoolers up front. I came through the first lap in 79.6 but I head '80'. Although it was PR pace, it wasn't as agressive as I wanted. As we approached 600m I moved to lane 3 and took the lead from the high schoolers. Max and Tony immediately followed and everything started to string out.
I was at 2:38.0 through 800m which is danger zone for me. However, my breathing was fine, especially compared to Max's. The next lap was even faster as I continued my surge: 3:55.5 at 1200m, which is really absurd. I could feel the lactic acid creeping into my legs but I just kept doubling down, trying to stick with the pace as long as I could. I was at 5:14.4 at 1600 and now Max was really getting antsy with the 79 second lap. He took the lead from me and Tony followed. I maintained contact for another lap but then started to fall back 6:34.2 at 2k. I slowed down dramatically in lap 6, and got passed by someone I don't know 7:55.9 at 2400m. Then lap 7 was slower still (83.1=17:19 pace), but 9:19.0 at 2800m meant I was still on PR pace. I hit 3k at almost exactly 10:00, so I knew that a PR was still possible. At 3200 (10:41) meters I moved back into 3rd and I could see that Max and Tony weren't that far ahead of me.
I really suffered the last mile of this race. I dropped another 83.1 on lap 9 (12:04.6), but I was only 3 seconds back from the leaders. At 4k (13:27.0) I finally caught back up to the leaders. I made a strong move with about 900m to go but it really wasn't that impressive (81.6 quarter). I was at 600m to go at 14:48.6 and I remember thinking I needed a 2:03 final 600m or better to PR, which seemed essentially impossible. Just then a high schooler came flying by me. I initially though that I was toast as he quickly put about 10m on me. However, by the time we hit the bell I could tell he was laboring. I passed him back with about 250m left and hit 4800m in 16:08.8. I kicked like mad (35.6) but barely held off Tony who was closing me down in the last 50m.
This was a really hard race. That said I think that a 16:10-16:20 5k is possible for me. I need to do a little bit more V02 max work. 3 year ago I would have thought a 16:44 5k was totally unrealistic (I was still running 17:30s).
Update: Results posted so it's official. I am old (well, not really).