For a while I've been looking to get under 20 minutes for the 5K. Here is my previous progression.
July 2007 - 22:22
June 2011 - 21:54
June 2012 - 20:47
Mar 2013 - 20:03
June 2013 - 20:25
Last week I ran a trail 5K in 22:05 and my idea for the summer is to race often (2 or 3x per month) and try and get my 5K time down. I ran my second race yesterday: a 5K in Riverside Park through NYCRuns. The race drew 197 people and was on some fairly hilly paths in the park between 96th and 116th streets. They did a good job with the $10 race and I was surprised that they brought out a timing mat.
I drank too much the night before but got enough sleep. I treated myself to a chipotle burrito for lunch (sponsorship??) at 12:30 and had some pretzels and herbal tea around 5:30 (7pm race). 1 mile jog to get there, plus form drills, plus 3x 100 meter strides to warm up. Then I milled about looking for anyone I knew. Recognized a couple folks, but in Philly I would always know a bunch of people at any given race. I miss that.
I went out a bit slower than the pack and rolled them up during the race. I think I was probably in 50th a quarter mile in and ended up finishing 17th. I tried to stay within myself for the first mile and go up hills conservatively. I tend to run up hills slower than average, but bomb down them. I felt still OK at the 2-mile mark, and figured I was running too slow to PR. I started to wind it up with a mile to go and then with 800m to go I tried to really get going. There were some other runners around me at that point and I was able to use them to finish strong.
I walked home with my chest puffed out and a smile on my face. Then when I got home I saw that my close friend / running mortal enemy ran a 19:35 5K the same day. I feel great about my accomplishment and look forward to getting even faster throughout the summer.