Ever since I ran 20:05 in last October's United Against Domestic Violence 5K I have been thinking about those 6 seconds between my finish time and the satisfaction of running a "sub 20." I know that on the right day, on the right course, I have a sub 20 in me. I keep telling myself I just want one, then I'll be satisfied.
Today I ran the Russell M. Durgin Memorial 5K in Henniker, NH. Sub 20? Not this day. Not this course. I should have known the course would be a significant factor, just based on its starting point - at the parking lot entrance to the Pat's Peak Ski Area. No, the course didn't go up the slopes, but the roads in the area aren't exactly flat. It was an out-and-back course, and there was a nasty hill in the third mile that just killed my time. I ran a 21:31, which was good for 23rd overall (out of 245 finishers listed in the race results) and 8th out of 33 in my division (M40-49).
Bragging rights go to my work running partner, Dan, who finished with a strong 20:33 - 16th overall and 6th out of the 33 in our uber-competitive division. He pulled away from me toward the end of the first mile, and I just didn't have it in me today. Go Dan.
You think I'm kidding about our division being uber-competitive? Five of the top 6 finishers (all but 3rd place) were guys in the M40-49 division. A full one third of the top 30 finishers were from the M40-49 division. And every race is like that. Every once in a while I think I'll be glad when I hit the M50-59 division (which is now a LOT closer than it used to be), except that all these guys are getting older at the same rate as me!