5th place in 35:43. Results here
I arrived early enough to do a 4 mile warm-up. I have found during my training runs that I don't warm up and loosen up until after a few miles of running. Figuring today wouldn't be any different, I made sure I had enough time to jog enough miles so I would feel ready to race. My warm-up run ended about 30 minutes before race time so I changed my shirt and hung around inside the gym so I wouldn't get chilled. The weather was perfect for a race - cool and sunny with a slight breeze.
The plan was to go out at a fast yet manageable pace and find a pack that I could run with. So when the race started I quickly brought up the pace and joined the back end of a large lead pack. Within a few minutes this pack splintered into three separate groups. The top 2 runners were pulling away, a gap, then another two, a gap, and then the pack I was in. It wasn't long before I sensed that my pack was starting to slow from the beginning pace as I found myself near the front instead of the back. I didn't want to run in between packs today so as the 1st mile marker approached I surged from my pack and covered the gap and joined the 2nd pack. I got there a few seconds before we hit the marker.
Mile 1: 5:34
I felt the pace. But I figured the high mileage over the past few weeks should give me some endurance to last a respectable amount of the race in a competitive position. By sticking as close as I could to the other runners I gained the rhythm and I spent a lot of time focusing on keeping good form with my eyes straight, arms low, and striding smooth. At times I could feel the pace changing as we went up or down or made a sharp turn. On the inclines the pace slackened just a little (the race is considered flat - there are no real hills) and I was thankful for a little rest. The flat sections and slight downgrades were faster. The turns were the hardest for me since we turned in single file making me work to get back into the tight formation.
Mile 2: 5:50
While the leaders just about disappeared, the race was on for 3rd place in our little pack. Tom McWalters was lead and I was the back. Five feet separated us with Joe Capeheart wedged in between and to the side. A tight triangle running the tangents. Tom put some pace on as the turnaround came in sight.
Mile 3: 5:40
I was very pleased to still be here. Nobody joined us and when he hit the turnaround it was clear nobody would. We raced back and now the pace to this point started to tell on us all.
Mile 4: 5:58
Life was getting hard for me but by this time I decided I would at least get through mile 5 with these guys. I was hoping one of the two would drop off and reward me for all the effort of staying on pace. No joy.
Mile 5: 6:02
Here Capeheart made his move to blister the last mile. Tom surged to cover and I was caught trailing. After a small hill I pushed hard to tighten the gap Tom had put on me and I succeeded in reducing it to 5 seconds. My fastest mile in the race.
Mile 6: 5:33
We finished in a one, two, three fashion with Joe 10 seconds up on Tom with me another 5 seconds behind. The first two finishers were already sitting around chatting when we gathered in the chute.
After the awards ceremony (I got my age group award) I ran another 4 miles to cool down and loosen the legs.
I felt good throughout. Not speedy or with a lot of pep, but I felt strong and aerobically capable of lasting a lot longer than I imagined. I even survived the surge in the first mile to join this pack.
4 miles warm up @ 8:55 pace
6.2 miles race @ 5:45 pace
4 miles cool down @ 9:38 pace
14.2 miles total.