Recently, I ran the Salute to Service 5K in honor of our veterans on September 12. It was a very small race but the fastest run race the town of Whitehouse, Texas has probably seen. We had 3 UT Tyler XC Alumni guys there including myself, Nick Huff, and Connor Benson who has one more year of eligibility for track. We also had Ironman Pro Clay Emge, Tomas Moreno from Longview, long time runner from Dallas, Clint Bell and Kenyan Alfred Kiplagat. There were a few young high school speedsters who were looking to cash in on the teen division. The women's side was simply a duel with fast swimmer turned fast triathlete Rachel Olson and the long time runner Sarah Deller.
At the start Kiplagat is already off the front and Huff starts out right there with him. I took a conservative approach and I was in the back of this pack of all the guys mentioned above and I was slowly building into it.
The first mile was mostly downhill but into a headwind. I was staying behind Moreno until around a mile (I wasn't looking at my watch at this time) I finally got my Tomas Moreno and Nick Huff who fell off the front as I felt it was time to start pushing. After circling around this parking lot we ran around I found myself glancing at my watch as we were starting to head back in, I saw we were pushing a 5:10 pace at 8 minutes. This was blazing fast for me as I haven't seen a pace like that in a long time. I was hoping I could hold that up coming back to the city park where it started, however it was a long gradual hill and I started to fade. Moreno caught me towards the last quarter mile and I couldn't quite respond to his move. I may have started pushing too early in the race for my abilities at this time. The course was just barely at 3 miles. I finished in 15:57, which was my fastest 3 mile or 5k pace this year. I'm slowly progressing in the right direction at this time! Everyone else happened to be faster on this day too. This just shows what the power of running with faster people can do, but we are slowly closing those gaps. Kiplagat won the race outright in 14:17.