Just ran a 5k race around Lake Merritt in Oakland - The race was to celebrate Greek Independence Day, and due to the fact that I am completely not Greek, I felt like a little bit of a party crasher. But I've drunk plenty of Ouzo in my time so I think it's OK.
These shorter races are very useful for checking fitness levels during training for longer races and there are many formulae to predict times for different distances. Based on my recent half marathon (1:35:22) I should be able to run a 5k in 20:38 (6:38 pace), but based on the goal for my next half marathon (sub 1:30) I would want to run a 5k at 19:28 (6:17 pace). I decided that today I'd try to run at 6:30 pace and see if I could somehow kick at the end to go under 20 minutes (6:26 pace).
A good plan with bad execution.....
Ready, set, go! I was off like a rocket - way too fast - covered the first 1/4 mile at 6:05 pace and struggled to get onto 6:30 pace. Got through 2.5 miles OK but then faded badly. Finished the 5k (the course was 5.25k but they marked the 5k finish) at 20:38. That fast start really screwed things up and I was completely out of juice for that last 0.6 miles. Stupid mistake.
However, although I didn't beat 20:00 I did cross the 5k line in 5th overall and got the gold medal for my age group (it sure helps to be old and run small races....)
I'll give the sub 20:00 5k another shot sometime in May after the Santa Cruz half as I think with a little more attention to pacing and another month's training I should be able to do it.