Ok, it was a PR by only :02, but it's a PR. I finished a great 5k trail run (packed dirt trails) in 18:22 and finished 5th overall (900+ runners) . . . about a 5:55 pace. Considering this was on dirt, I'm very pleased as I probably would have run faster on the roads.
For the first time in a long time, I ran hard (I know because of the pain in my quads). There were a few tough moments but I prepared mentally before the race for some of the inevitable pain and suffering that comes with running hard. I'm happy where I am and I'm expecting to go sub 18:00 in the near future. From this point, improvement will be incremental. I have a lot of work ahead but that's the exciting part. It's amazing how big "seconds" are in a 5k when you truly hard hard . . . running :05 per mile faster is huge (and hard).
I ran in the Nike Air Zoom Streak XCs (my previous PR was in the Evo's on a flat road course).
I'm happy today and then back training tomorrow.