The race was a fun one. With a 700 person drawing for a 5k, this race was big. Tons of fast elite athletes showed up with credentials that make you swoon over how fast they can run. Looking at last years results, I felt that a top 10 could happen maybe a 10-15 place finish. Little did I know, this year was the deepest year that Thater has ever had.
My race plan was simple: *****DO NOT GO OUT IN 4:30!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In a race this caliber it is so easy to go out too hard from the gun and then suffer for 2 miles of sheer agony as people who have raced smarter than you pace you easily.
The played out well. From the gun, I was in the second wave of runners so I had to make my way through people as I found my place in the field. Did I lose time from my position? I did. Was it crucial to my performance?....NO. I ran as best as I could on the day. I matched up with Fred Joslyn and could tell he was out to run a strong pace but not a crazy pace. At the half mile I felt like I was in about 60th place. So what did I do at the mile mark in about 4:48? I decided to tell Fred to run a 4:30 mile. I initiated the strong pick up and Fred followed. It was cool to run with a solid marathon runner. We passed the second mile in around 4:36 or so as we had passed about 15 people at that point. Making up ground and feeling strong I continued to work on bringing down the pace. As I started to hit more of what felt like some of the top contenders, I began to run more and more with the small groups of runners and I soon noticed that the relentless pace was slowing. I just ran the pace with a small group of 4 and then caught another group of 4 until we hit some small hills and made the turn onto Beethoven street. At this point in the race, I had worked my way up through the clusters of runners. I had felt like I had raced a perfect race. As I hit the final stretch I relaxed into the finish and probably costed me some time and some places. As the line drew closer I say 15:00......15:10.....15:20 . I had crossed the line right at 15:20 and because of my start in the first wave, I really ran a 15:18. Not bad for not running a 5k since December. Overall, I wish my pace turned in a faster time but 29th place in the deepest Thater field ever with a winning time of 13:48 and the top 10 running now slower than 14:09 I would say I did well enough.
It was great to market Confluence Running and to get a nice speed work-out in. I felt great the entire race and even as the mercury began to rise, I still held my own in a super competitive race. I was proud. I never felt like I was gassed and always had some juice in the tank. If it was a 50 degree race, I think the 14:40-14:50 would have come. But because of the stress of work and the high heat and humidity, it was just not the best conditions for my liking.
All in all, the Chris Thater Memorial 5k draws in the best talent from the country and it was amazing to have that chance to run with such distinguished runners right in Binghamton, NY. Thank you to my sponsors and to Grace for putting on such a great event. Maybe next year I will shoot for the sub 15.