Yesterday I ran the Rothman 8k for the fifth time. I declared sub 26 the goal.

The Race

The temperature was perfect but the wind was a factor, this made finding a pack to run with important. The gun went off and after the first 1k or so, I settled into a nice pack of 10-15 guys. I knew half of them as good runners and decided I should stay with them.

We hit the first mile in 5:04 which surprised me, as it didn’t feel that fast (26:00 is about 5:14 pace). But things would slow down. The next two miles had a stiff headwind. The pack stayed together and I tried to tuck in as best I could, but it was hard to avoid the wind. The mile splits were 5:16 and 5:18 respectively. If we were going to break 26, we had to pick it up.

At the turn around, my legs felt good, but I had a side stitch coming on. I made a move to the front of the pack because I didn’t want the pace to lag anymore, but it was short lived. The stitch started really getting to me and the pack started breaking up, some dropping off and some pulling away. With a 5:07 mile, we hit four miles in 20:45, sub 26 was within reach, but I had to keep on the gas.

I needed the last .97 to be run in 5:15, but it started to get ugly. The stitch was bad and basically every breath for the last mile had a heavy, involuntary grunt. Guys from the pack were still pulling away from me and despite fighting as hard as I could, it felt like sub 26 might be slipping away as well.

I crested the hill and with ~400m left I got a tiny bit of a second wind, enough to muster a respectable kick. There was no clock at the line so I wasn’t sure if I had it in the bag or if it was already over. I spent a minute composing myself at the finish, unsure if I broke it or not, before glancing at my watch, and by god, 25:53.

Post Race Thoughts

The year of running Sam continues! This was over two minutes faster than last year, and a 45 second lifetime PR.

This might not be the most impressive time of the year, but I think this was the most satisfying. I wasn’t super confident going into this race, partly because of my past failures, but there was no other goal that made sense. I really thought I was coming up short the last mile so to go under by 7 seconds really surprised me. I think on a perfect day I could’ve been more like 25:40, but 25:53 is a PR I’m proud of.

I finally feel like I can put this race, the Rothman 8k, to rest. It’s always a race I consider doing because of the ‘unfinished business’, but now I don’t have to anymore. I have a 5k race I’m doing in a couple of weeks where a PR feels like a long shot, but possible, and then I think it’s a full on transition to the marathon in the spring.

Congrats to all the weekend’s participants and thanks to everyone who came to cheer.