Saturday morning started early. I woke up at 5am and ate 1/2 a Peanut Butter Crunch Cliff Bar. We made it to the race site at 6am and I warmed up for 10 minutes before the start at 7am. During the warm up I got my heart rate up and ran one acceleration. Some light stretching at the starting line was all I needed to get focused on what was about to go down. I knew it would hurt, and I welcomed those thoughts. I had a few goals to hit, and I was committed to hitting them.
After the gun went off, I weaved through a couple of old ladies and little kids to make my way up to the break away pack. There were a couple of high school kids who went out fast, but we caught them around the first curve about 1/2 mile into the race.
First mile came quickly and I was right on pace at 6:04. I reached down to my watch to hit the split button and ended up hitting stop. I didn't find that out until half way through the second mile, so I ended up starting the clock once we hit the 2nd mile marker.
The route was up and down the whole way. I made sure to keep my pace even on the up hills and to run at least 30 seconds hard once the hill crested. The downhills were a bit rough because they were so long, but I quickened my step and used them to my advantage, making sure to remain in good form though those efforts.
There were a couple of high school cross country runners around me and they paced off the back and side of me during the last mile. Once we were about 1/4 mile out I began to pick up the pace and they matched it. Then, with about 200 meters left I opened up my stride and increased my turn over rate. They could not respond and I entered the finish shoot alone and under my goal pace at 19:23.
It was a great run. Here is how my goals turned out:
1) Race hard and have a good time (Accomplished)
2) Finish under 20:00 (Accomplished = 19:23)
3) Finish in Top 10 (Finished 11th)
4) Podium Finish (Accomplished = 1st Place Age 30-34)