I tried to break 20:00 in a 5K for the first time ever, but I didn't as I need more speed training. This is a tiny race, 170 registered, and with it being cross country season, no college or high school kids showed up. I led the race the first 2.3 miles - how weird is that? I was trying to maintain a 6:24 mile to break 20:00, but I wasn't even close: 6:32, 6:37, 7:21.
I ran the course to warm up, tried to go slow (but didn't turn on GPS during the warmup so maybe I went too fast?). I planned to only do part of it so I could know all the turns, but ended up running the entire thing. 15 turns, so a very weird thing through a neighborhood. Kind of cool, though. The race started and ended at a city park. It was a gun time, and I started at the very front. I expected to get passed like I do in all races, but it didn't happen until the last mile. 30 feet into the race I heard footsteps and a guy came to my left and said "you look like you know what you're doing" and I said a few words, but I was not running a conversational pace so I stopped talking and kept running. He slowed down fairly quickly and finished 4-5 minutes after me. There was a small hill about .5 miles, and that slowed me a bit, but for the most part I thought I was running a 6:29 the first mile. I guessed a few seconds under my actual pace. Second mile I was struggling to breathe - my throat felt constricted - so I tried breathing differently. Seems that slowed me a bit, but I thought I was doing close to a 6:30 mile. I need more speed work to get the feel. With .8 to go, I was still in the lead, felt rough, but I was trying to push it and I felt like I was starting to go in oxygen deprivation. I wasn't going to beat 20:00 so I gave up trying to hit that goal as I knew it was out of reach. I stopped and walked for 10 seconds or so, and a guy passed me. I started running again, close to a 7:00 mile. Turns out nobody else was even close behind me as I kept asking the course guards if anyone was back there. I took 2nd place, which didn't matter to me. I didn't get a prize as only top people got prizes.... I wasn't racing for a place, I was racing the clock. Onward and upward! If I can keep doing 25+ a week and add in some speed work, I have no doubt I can break 20:00 in the next few months.