Bernard Lagat lagged behind his planned pace for the entire 2 miles of his race at the Millrose Games.
He still set the record he came to break.
The 38-year-old Lagat regained the American indoor mark Saturday with yet another victory at Millrose. He finished in 8 minutes, 9.49 seconds at the Armory to beat Galen Rupp's time by just .23, then fell to the track in exhaustion.
"I kept digging deeper toward the end," Lagat said.
He had hoped to go under 8:09, but he accomplished his goal - just barely. Lagat now owns the American indoor records at 1,500 meters, 1 mile, 3,000 meters, 5,000 meters and 2 miles.
Lagat has won a record eight titles in Millrose's signature event, the Wanamaker Mile. The past two years, though, he has used the storied indoor meet to set a different kind of standard.
He reclaimed the 5,000 record here a year ago. But on the same day, Rupp broke his mark in the 2 miles, so Lagat took on that distance this year at the 106th Millrose Games.
With four laps to go, Lagat knew he was behind record pace but thought, "I still have enough left."
"I was counting on that last lap," he said.
The Wanamaker was won by one of Lagat's teammates on the U.S. Olympic 5,000-meter team at last year's London Olympics. Lopez Lomong, who made the Beijing Games in the 1,500 in 2008, showed he still has the speed in the mile, holding off defending champ Matthew Centrowitz.
"This year I'm stronger," Lomong said. "I'm just going to go in and work on my speed a little bit with fast races in the 5k. It will help me a lot in closing in the world championships."
Another U.S. Olympian, Alysia Montano, also broke an American indoor record, winning the women's 600 in 1:23.59.
The women's Wanamaker was won by Canadian Olympian Sheila Reid, but the star of the show was the second-place finisher. Sixteen-year-old Mary Cain of nearby Bronxville, N.Y., lowered her own high school record to 4:28.25. Reid was first in 4:27.02.
Oregon junior English Gardner won the women's 60, beating two pros who earned Olympic gold medals as part of the U.S. 4x100 relay, Jeneba Tarmoh and Lauryn Williams.
Jeff Porter felt his victory in the 60 hurdles was a good sign for his chances to go to worlds this summer considering the Americans' depth in the hurdles. Porter was third at the U.S. trials last year to earn a trip to London, finishing behind the eventual Olympic gold and silver medalists.