To name a few guys, we had: Rory Fraser (13:39 5k), Patrick Smyth (1:02 half-marathon among other top 5 performances at USA Championships), Ben Bruce (8:26 sc), Jason Lehmekule (5th at the US Marathon Trials, 2:14) and a couple of other sub 14:00 5k guys.
So, with all this talent in the field and a rabbit to pace the leaders through at 8:05 pace for 3k, it was going to be exciting. There was a waterfall start, and since I was seeded second to last in this heat I was on the waterfall on the outside lanes, which was fine. Once the gun went off, everyone took off like a bat out of hell. Our little group didn't cut in, until the 100m mark and I positioned myself around 6th or 7th place through the first 400m. After that point, I was still running in lane 2 so I decided to move up and sit on the inside lane, but there was no way to get in unless I moved up to 4th place behind Rory and Smyth. So, like an impatient runner I did exactly that. I was nice and secure in 4th place through the 800m mark in about 2:13. The pace started to heat up and I was holding on while a few guys passed me as we hit the mile in about 4:24. I was in about 7th place at this time and Jason Lehmekule started to move and pass a bunch of us on the outside. At that point I decided I could go with him and position myself back in 4th place, since at this point the rabbit dropped off and the leaders were now: Smyth, Fraser and Lehmekule. I was in 4th again for a short amount of time as Ben Bruce passed me and then Aucencio Martinetz passed me as well. Naturally, I tried to stick on them but could only hold their pace for a few hundred meters and would fade off of each of them. I could hear the announcer and the crowds going nuts, since it was a great battle between UNM's Rory Fraser and Team USA Minnesota's Patrick Smyth at the bell lap. I could see them killing each other as I was trying to close the gap on Lehmekule, since Bruce and Martinetz passed him, but that didn't happen in the finally 200 meters. The crowd roared to Fraser's win of 8:08 and a wake of runners that still bettered the Stadium record of 8:10. Four guys went under the old record and Lehmekule finished in 8:13 as I was kicking in just under 8:20 with a new PR of 8:19.99.
It has a catchy ring to say 8:19, instead of 8:20... So I was full of smiles and happy to run that fast before the US Cross Championships. I know two of those guys in my race are racing Cross, so its going to be a great race out there in Spokane. I am getting excited and wonder how fast I could run a 5k at sea level...? Sub 14:00? And I don't know if I'll get the chance to do that this year. It would be nice, but it also would be nice to make a US Team. I think I'll go for the US team and see what happens.