Faster Time. Worse Finish.

Last year I placed first of the 48 men in my age group at the Cruise in Shoes 5k. It’s a nice, well-organized race that kicks off the Woodward Dream Cruise, a rolling 10 mile celebration of classic cars. My pace of 7:30/mile last year was the best I had run in several years. I was averaging 45 miles a week then as I was training for an October marathon. This year I’m averaging 30 miles a week training for a half Marathon. So, I didn’t expect to race as well in the 5k on Saturday.  But when the gun went off I found myself sprinting toward the front to get ahead of the crowd before the first turn about 100 feet from the start line. As we ran past the crowds on Woodward Avenue, I kept that pace and hit the one mile mark at 7:15. Then I had a decision to make. Keep pushing and see how long I could hold that pace. Or, ease up a little and run strong but consistent for the rest of the race. I decided to see if I could hold the pace. The sneaky hills in the next mile slowed the second mile to 7:30 but I made up a little in the last mile. Hitting the finish line at 22:55, a 7:22 pace, I felt good. Although I had seen a guy that calls himself Captain America who wins many local races finish just ahead of me and I knew he was in my age group this year. He’s five years younger than me so we only compete head to head every five years. When they posted results I was surprised that someone else had beaten Captain America and I was third. My 7:22 was my best finish time in many years so I won’t complain about a third place medal. I had bettered myself and at my age that’s accomplishment enough.


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