I wasn't sure if running a 5k today was a particularly good idea given my recent calf issues, but I wanted to get out and at least try and get a read on my current fitness. I figured if things didn't feel right with the calf then I would just run easy.
Got to the race venue a half hour before the start and jogged around a bit to see how the leg was feeling. It felt pretty good - a dull throb, nothing more - so I figured I would go out easy from the start and assess from there.
The conditions were not good with snow coming down, dusting over patches of crusty ice which was particularly prevalent on the many turns. There can't have been more than 100 runners assembled at the start, so I wasn't expecting much competition, although Mr. RunColo had made the trip up from Denver to keep me honest.
A guy in a 2007 Barr Trail T-shirt set the pace from the off and I sat 10 meters back through the first mile or so. There was barely any strain in my calf at the up-tempo pace, so I decided to push a bit harder somewhere towards the end of the first mile, taking the lead and then sitting on a comfortable pace for the remainder. The lead bike broke his chain at about the two-mile point leaving me to lead the train. Fortunately the course was sufficiently marked and marshaled that I was able to follow it. Until, the last .1 that is.
I had presumed when I rounded the last corner back into the Moby Arena parking lot that the finish line would be in the same location as the start line, but the finish line was nowhere to be seen, so I took a detour into the first line of parked cars looking for it. Seeing nothing, I detoured back and then saw the race director frantically waving at me to keep going to make another turn, around which the finish line was hiding. I crossed (breaking the toilet paper finish line) in 18:08 with Simon a few seconds back in second. The effort was about where I had wanted it to be given the conditions, my leg and current fitness. I didn't wear a watch, so didn't get splits, but it felt like I was getting progressively faster as the race went on.
Check out the blistering finish:
Salida when I go up against Ryan B, Timmy P and Nick P, among others. But that's all fine, as the only real goal in Salida is to beat Brownie by more than last year (26 minutes), thereby securing a 12 pack of some local delight.