The Chase Corporate Challenge was not a race I had booked marked for a good performance. It was 1 week before my goal spring race the McMullen Mile, and it is an odd distance, 3.5 miles. It is hard to get too excited about a your time in a nonstandard race distance. None the less I signed up to run and along with 50+ other Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES employees headed out to RIT on a beautiful spring evening. After a few weeks of mid to upper 80’s, 65 degrees felt almost chilly.
My race plan was simple. Stay with the lead pack for as long as I could then finish. I thought the leaders would probably run the first mile in 4:50, but they went out in a fairly conservative 5:00 minutes and I was right in the lead pack with about 10 other runners as we went through the mile. The pack stayed together and I hung with it until about 1.5 miles when a few of the leaders made a strong move and the pack disintegrated. I spent the next 1.5 miles battling back and forth with one of the Fleetfeet runners and was feeling surprisingly good as I went through 3 miles in 15:42. It was just at that moment that James Derick from Corning went by me. A few second of indecision on whether to really start my kick was all it took for him to open up a gap that I was just never able to close. I ran the final half mile in 2:37 which was 6 seconds slower than James and 5 seconds faster than Andrew the Fleetfeet guy.
In the end, a race I didn’t care about and was only doing as a workout for the McMullen Mile turned into one of my best performances in the last few years. I finished in 7th pace out of nearly 10,000 people in 18:19.7 (which Chase apparently thinks is the same thing as 18:20) which is equivalent to about 16:09 for 5k. I have renewed confidence in my ability to finally break 16 minutes for 5k this summer, and I’m feeling great about my chances for a PR in the mile next Thursday. Huzzah for team building and for my Superintendent finally knowing my name.