I got a great start and tucked right into the rail. I cruised through the first 400m in 71 and everyone seemed to put on a little move. We zipped through the next 400 in 67 or 68 but then we began to settle into 70s. I hugged that rail like it was my girlfriend and I hit mile one right on pace - 4:40. There was a little jostling around, but I stayed out of it and (as I told myself in the days leading up to the race) to relax and just hit 70s. Don't race 70s...run them. I had to "check out" every so often to get back on pace. I was worried I might be slowing. As I came down the backstretch, my eyes found Reaves' and he knew what I was asking. "9:25" he shouted. It was a 4:44 (71s) - I was slipping, but just barely. Okay, time to get tough. One more lap until I have 1200 to go. Two more laps until I have 800m to go. Only 600m and then I only have a 1000 left. I shook my head and saw that I was getting passed. I tried repeatedly to creep into lane 2, but I was boxed on the inside. My girlfriend, the rail, wanted a commitment. No, I must leave you now. Finally, on the homestretch I found an opening and I shot forward. I could hear Murphy yelling to get up with the pack that was sneaking away. By now the pace had picked up and/or the pace simply got too laborious. Now I was counting laps and waiting to unleash my kick. With 600m to go I began to inch forward and with 300m to go I went into overdrive. Reaves yelled "you're going to PR big". I was? Maybe I had picked it up? I dipped into lane 2 on the last curve and shot around a Kenyan who I'd been stalking for 4800m (14:12). With a flick of the legs I went all in and ran like hell for the finish. I thought I ran 14:45 (or under) but it was not to be. 14:46.
Am I disappointed? Yes and no. I am always disappointed when I don't run what I set out to run, but I did end up running a 21-second track PR (last run a year ago). I definitely was pretty zapped by the end of the race so I know I did my best. I walked the 200m on the track back to my clothes and I remember being out of it. On my cool down with the Patricks, my mind wandered. How much faster can I get? Is this the end? Have a hit a wall? I had plenty of competition tonight but this was still only 2 seconds better than Shamrock. Or should I be content that this is a big track PR? Time will tell. I then told myself that this is all bonus. My real races are up ahead.
Thanks to the Patricks who got in my face during the race and for Reaves' girlfriend Valerie who has a little voice, but made herself heard.