Feaster Five, Andover, Massachusetts, 8:30 AM. The rain held back and it was a cloudy and brisk Thanksgiving Day, 40F or so. Hadn't run for four days, since 7.2 miles around the lake on Saturday; I've been nursing a new injury, extensor tendonitis on my right foot.
Very crowded, around 6000 runners for the 5K and 5M, both starting together, I'm going for the 5 miler, 5K is too intense for me. I didn't get a good starting position at all, even after I crossed the starting line it was at least a quarter mile before I could get into any kind of decent pace at all, dodging slower runners like a madman.
First mile mostly a gradual uphill climb toward the center of town, a relief when it flattened out, split off from the 5K runners. Recovering from uphill then slowly building up pace, relaxing pretty good but cruising. Worrying about keeping up the pace at 2 miles, but decided to risk it and not pull back; I want to feel deserving of my pending feast. At 3 miles I know I've got a shot at keeping it up.
Heading down one street I hear the Rocky theme blaring, it picks me up, I start shadow boxing even, getting strong now! Met up with the slower 5K runners, and that really picks me up because I'm flying past them at an alarming rate, it's great! I'm sub-6:00, I'm pushing but I'm still relaxed, I could slow but it wouldn't really be any less effort, I'm definitely on a roll, and with a small pack of 5 milers with me.
Pulled out ahead of them at 4 miles, I know I've got a shot at a PR if I don't blow it, starting to die, guts from here out, it's gonna hurt. Gentle downhills help keep my pace up though. Then the finish up ahead around the corner, another quarter, but uphill all the way there, pushing, Garmin shows I've got a chance at sub-30:30, driving hard to the finish. Then I get passed by a guy I thought I'd left behind in the pack; I couldn't run that fast on a fresh sprint, he's flying, you got it champ.
I'm rather surprised, pleasantly so, with my performance, a 5 mile PR - 30:10! And a 4 mile PR - last 4 at 23:57, last 5K at 18:25. Average pace of 6:02. And unusual for me, negative splits: 6:12, 6:09, 6:09, 5:51, 5:48. Came in 29th out of 2334. A tough race, but especially in retrospect, surprisingly strong, relaxed, and controlled. I think a sub-30:00 5 miler is definitely within my ability.
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Here's neat nice animation of the inside of a cell — The Inner Life of a Cell