When you think you have nothing left.

Last week started with something I haven’t done all year (at least I’m pretty sure I haven’t) – I ran four days in a row. I have to admit that this was, in part, because I really want to set up a new course for the Highland Park Run in the Park 5k so that it starts in the same general area as the finish (I think I worked out how to do it in case you’re interested, now I just have to convince Main Street of the benefits, and get it certified).

I did not run on Wednesday, partly because it was snowing, but also it would have meant running the night before the Ashenfelter 8k Classic – this was the last USATF NJ Men’s Team Championship race of the year, but given my recent record I wasn’t expecting too much. I would have been happy with matching my time from the previous year (which was pretty much the same as the year before).

There were still flakes of snow in the air during the morning, but it wasn’t too cold so I ditched the long sleeves before the start (kept the hat and gloves though). The start was a bit of a mess – just started running when a bottleneck point caused everyone to pile into each other – but I was cruising along after that. I thought (knew?) I was going too fast, and fully expected to crash and burn at some point, but somehow I kept it going. The splits were pretty consistent (just look at the last 3 lap paces – all 6:31/mile – the final part was slightly less than 1 mile because 8k is just under 5 miles)

ashenfelter

I honestly felt that I had nothing left to give at the end, but someone came bearing down on me and passed me extremely close to the finish and I had to react and pushed a short sprint to pass them again before the line – if they had gone ahead any earlier, they would have beaten me but I just squeezed out that last bit of speed, and to be honest I have no idea where it came from. I thought I was done, but having that challenge just gave me that boost to sprint to the line. It has certainly made me question what I may be capable of in those closing moments of a race.

As for how I did… the first 5k was similar to my most recent 5k race times, and I kept the pace going, finishing over a minute faster than my previous times (clock time was 32:33 and Compuscore have messed up my chip time because it says it’s exactly the same as clock time – my watch was 32:30, but I know I started it before I got to the line).

(I think this is a great pic of me at the start line, from Race the State NJ):

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