I’m calling it a victory! My quest for a sub-20 minute 5k is over.
The Garmin may think 3.09 miles is not 3.1, but it’s not the boss of me.
In my recent race—a rare evening run in the last of the summer heat (90 degrees at start time)—my watch told me I’d crossed the line at 19:29. A bit less than a minute later, as I wobbled around the finish area, my watch buzzed. Apparently I hadn’t really hit the stop button, and it was happily informing me I’d set a new 5k record—20:10.
Later I put it all together. The watch recorded the race as 3.09 miles, but my fatigued stumbling after the finish gave me that extra .01 miles… and in a mere 40 seconds after my 19:29 finish.
I could have surrendered to the will of the GPS gods, I suppose, but this one was too much—or more accurately, too little. So when I got home I ran the numbers and figured .01 miles represents about 4 seconds at my pace. Then I edited the activity, and, just for good measure, added six seconds (a whopping 50% penalty!), and changed the distance to 3.1 miles. Voila, a new record!
Frankly, I’m pretty thrilled. I figured I could break 20, but to do so on a ninety degree day, and on a course that included some trails and a lot of grass, is better than I expected.
Oh, and I beat my nemesis.
Of course, the question now becomes… What next?
In the short term I’m going to start prepping for the McAllen half marathon in January. Last year I ran a 1:42, but I was absolutely crushed by the wall at mile 10, so there should be plenty of room for improvement. My new goal? 7:30/mile pace, or about 12 sec/mile better than last year, which should put me at 1:38. All the calculators are telling me I’m supposed to run at seven-flat given the 19:35 5k, but all the calculators clearly have no freaking idea what they’re talking about. I am quite aware that the farther races get from 5k, the worse I am. Still, we’ll see how it goes over the next eleven weeks. Running Science surely has some ideas.
And in the medium term… maybe a sub-19 really is possible in 2018. Maybe. Probably not. (But maybe!)