As is probably clear from my post-race smile over there, the 5K went well once I showed up on the right day for it. The weather was cool, grey, and raining, which suited me fine, as that meant I was in no danger of melting in the sun as I might have been on Saturday. I relaxed even more when I saw a few people like me in the group of runners assembling for the start, people with a little extra padding on their bodies and a few grey hairs on their heads. I was feeling so good that I went out entirely too fast; I did the first mile in about 10:35, almost a minute and a half faster than what I needed to make my target of 37 minutes. I paid for that exuberance in the second mile, which I did in something like 13:22 (I’m pretty sure the volunteer at mile two said 23:57 as I passed him), taking more walk breaks than I’d planned (but shorter ones). I did manage to speed back up during the third mile; I knew I was doing well when I had to skip ahead on my iPod to get to the triumphant finish section of my playlist as I came into the last turn onto the track where the race ended. Still, when I got close enough to the official clock to see I had a chance at a personal best, I was surprised. I sprinted that last several hundred yards and the clock said 34-something when I hit the line. 34-what I didn’t notice, but since my fastest ever 5K was 35:55 pre-ITB trouble, 34-anything was a big improvement. When the results were posted, I found I had finished in 34:07. Wow. That’s almost 3 minutes faster than I did the Father’s Day 5K this past June. What’s that about? I can’t imagine the cooler, wetter weather could have made that big an impact, though I’m sure it helped. I weigh about the same now as I did in June, so it’s not a matter of being faster because I’m lighter. Could it be the strength training I’ve been doing at the Y? I think it could. I wasn’t doing any weight work before the June race but leading up to this one I was in the gym on the machines twice a week and doing some extra ab work on top of that. I had no idea it could make this big a difference this soon. The hard part is going to be sticking with it, but perhaps my curiosity about how much faster (well, less slow, anyway) I can go will keep me motivated.
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