It's been a long time since I did a hard effort after lunch, but the weather has been turning to be nicer in the afternoon than right away in the morning. Plus, the rain was stopping for a few hours. My stomach did pretty okay considering this. The ground was surprisingly hard despite 3 days of rain (it was very dry before this) and only a bit of a wind from the North.
The plan was to run 4miles on the XC course in 22min (5:30 pace) and stick to that whether it felt good or bad. But in the back of my mind I'm thinking, "If I feel great in the first mile then maybe I'll just go for it and see what I can do." So of course I hit the 1st mile far too fast in 5:18. Annnnnnd, I'm committed.
The 1st mile did indeed feel great. Then the 2nd mile contained the easier parts of the loop (I did 3 1.33mile loops) so I pushed through to a 5:22 and 10:40. Under pace for a PR (which is 21:30) but I knew the 3rd mile would be critical (with it's stereotypical 3/4 of the race and it containing both main hills). My pace stalled a bit as I started gauging how much I'd have left for the 4th mile and I hit a 5:27.
So now I needed a 5:13 to get back on 5:20 pace but just a 5:22 to beat my PR. I made a good initial push and even did well through the "hill" before things starting to hurt more. Mainly I was starting to wonder if I could literally keep my shit together before finishing. Thankfully I did, and while I didn't have much of a kick, I did finish with a 5:20. Adding in decimal points, this worked out to a 21:29.1.
So yeah, PR right? And while I'm very happy with my apparent fitness, it does get more complicated than a straight PR. First off, it's a time trial. 2nd, I'm going by GPS, which has been fairly accurate on other XC races, but there wasn't a 4mile course map so I did 4miles of the 10k course and that inexact gauge make it look like my GPS could possibly be short by ~10sec. 3rd, my fastest 8k pace is still faster than this.
Questions! So where do I go from here? Does this count as fulfilling my Fall goal of running a PR? What should I do in 2 weeks when I was planning on actually doing this time trial: another 4mile or bump up to 8k, a freaking 10k!?