As Allison was coming back from injury and looking for some races she put this one on the schedule. It's a pretty flat course on a square course so it's fast and the competition is usually pretty good for a local 5k. We ran this race back in 2005 and had a good experience. The Tucson folks (Southern Arizona Roadrunners) put on a well organized race for a minimal cost. I was originally going to be on a break but I've been feeling good and have extended my cycle so I decided to join her for this one. Unfortunately Allison came up with an injury the week of the race so it turned out that it would just be me racing in Tucson.
Coming off of a PR at the Carlsbad 5000 and the Eugene Half Marathon I was feeling confident and running as well as I ever had. I was certain that I was ready for a PR (15:44) and I thought that under good conditions I had a 15:30 in me. 15:30 is a time that I always have looked up to and respected as a legit 5k time. I have always wanted to get there and I thought it was my time. Since we are about 2 hours from Tucson we decided to drive down the morning of and make it a quick trip. My mom was awesome and showed up before 4 am to watch the kids. Allison and I had a nice peaceful drive down to Tucson and we made it to the race with about an hour to spare. There were a few people from Phoenix down for the race that we bumped into and then I ran the course for a warm up. I definitely noticed the headwind on the first mile and the slight downhill and tailwind during mile two. I ended up being a little rushed at the end but I felt warmed up and ready to go. I saw some guys that I knew were fast including Craig Curley who had just got sixth place at the US 25k Championships the day before. Surely he was tired from that race and traveling right? I just knew that I was going to compete and not worry about time. The time would come if I competed well. Or so I thought.
Curley and a couple others took it out and I was in the second group and somewhere in the top 10. I was trying to run behind people to block the wind when I could and yet run hard and run my own race. I hit the mile in 5:04 and I thought with the slight uphill and headwind that it was right where I wanted to be. Shortly after that it really started hurting and I focused on just staying as close as I could to the guys just ahead of me. I figured I was losing time to my goal but I wasn't sure. I hit a 5:09 for the second mile and I was really hurting by this point. I told myself that I could still run under 16 minutes and that would be good. The tailwind and slight downhill weren't helping my speed though as I was too fatigued. When we turned the corner at about 2.25 miles the final stretch seemed so long. Normally I have a decent kick but it just wasn't there for me this time. I hit the third mile in 5:15 and didn't have very much left for the last little kick. I crossed the line in 16:02 and I was disappointed. I had not been passed at all during the race which was surprising with my slowing down. I ended up in 6th place and a long way from the 15:30 I had hoped for. I thought that I competed well and gave an honest effort so in the end I can't ask much more of myself. I learned that PRs are hard to come by and cannot be taken for granted. Sometimes everything just has to line up for those specials performances. By the way Craig Curley ended up running a 14:40 which amazed me considering what he had done the day before. I did win a coffee mug for winning my age group which next to the beer mug I won at this race in 2005 was the best prize I've ever won.
|Right at the start. Craig Curley is #2|
|Holding on at this point|
Race Results Here