I think I've mentioned before that I really don't like 5k's. I do enjoy this race though. It's tough but it has a great atmosphere and the Knoxville Track Club does a stellar job putting it on. The race itself is held on a farm and is a cross country style race with the race being held on trimmed fields with some singletrack and a little gravel for giggles. It's a neat venue and a challenging race.
I knew going into the race that I would be hard pressed to land on the podium. This was an afterthought race for me and I did it as a speed workout preceded by a bike interval session. Needless to say I was going in on tired legs.
When I arrived at the race, the air was heavy and hot. I lined up near the front. I planned to try and hold on to lead group as long as possible then settle into a hard tempo pace and finish as strong as possible. At the gun we took off. I was running well and the group was pacing around 6:30-6:45. I knew I couldn't hold that pace for long. Thankfully as the terrain got rougher everything settled down a bit. The leaders took off and stayed away, no surprise, but I was running very strong around a group of very tallented runners. I paced with my buddy David Carrell from Team Health Shoppe Zen Evo. I knew something had to be off with him since he's normally a much faster runner than I. Seems a pub crawl and Mexican food for lunch might have had a hand in me being able to keep pace with him. Still, I'll take that how I can get it!
As the race unfolded, I felt very comfortable being uncomfortable. I could tell that the work I had been doing in preparation for Xterra and racing off road was helping my speed. I had a good race but with a stacked field and 10 year Age Groups I was relegated to 7th place in the 30-39 field. Not a great result on the surface but all things considered, I think this was a good race for me and a great workout in my build toward Xterra success.