Oh so close to a good (though not great) race. Instead ran a disappointing race. I think I have to be somewhat satisfied that on a disappointing race I still ran a 31:41. I think mentally I was in the race for most of it. I think there was a lingering doubt about my fitness from the tough workout on Tuesday and from this nagging sense of being sick the last couple weeks. Most of the time leading up to the race I was trying to mentally convince myself that I was healthy and strong and rested. For the most part I was able to do this and when the gun went off this wasn't a factor mentally.
Through 4 miles I was running okay but felt a little bit strained to hold pace. I bounced back and forth with Brad Mish, and by 5 miles I was surprised to see a 5:02 split. Then I just kind of fell apart. Once I got passed I just kept letting people go by and the last mile seemed to stretch on forever. I'd really like to believe that it was actually that my legs we just shot and not so much that I just couldn't muster much courage to keep up the pace. I slowed down to a 5:22, but the last quarter was downhill and I split a 64. There's no reason I couldn't have run a sub-5 last mile and run a 31:22 like Timothy Gill did (he passed me just after 5 miles).
Above all this I think I had a great deal of confidence going into the race that sub-31 was within my reach. I know I didn't even come close, but given the conditions (a somewhat rolling course, lots of tight turns, and a strong headwind on the 2nd half) I think running a 31:20 would have felt like I accomplished what I'm capable of. I need to remember this is the middle of my season and given a taper I could have gone through 5 miles in sub-25 and closed strong for a sub-31. Somehow I think that today was a victory. A few years ago a sub 32 would have been awesome (my PR was 32:09, other fastest times were 32:14, 32:19, 32:24), so now I'm disappointed with a 31:41, a 28 second PR.