Result: 1:21:37, 43rd overall, 3rd in age 20-24.
Pre-race: This is a very fast course, there's a net elevation drop of 300 feet over the course of the 13.1 miles which makes for an average of only -0.5% gradient but there are very few hills. It was 38 degrees F at 7:00 am when the gun went off. I wore exactly what I wore at the Rogue Distance 10k, my typical singlet and shorts along with gloves, arm sleeves, and a neck warmer. Not sure if the neck warmer was a good idea or not because although it did help keep my neck warm early on it got so wet later in the race due to the humidity that it wasn't much good at that point.
Miles 1-3: I told myself I would head out at 6:15 pace and see what happened, but when the gun went off there were enough people in front of me that I got excited and had a hard time slowing down. Somewhere around mile 1.5 I finally reeled myself into what felt like a comfortable, sustainable effort, although the effort was giving me a pace of 6:05. I slowed down even more around mile 2 but at this point people were starting to pass me since I started fast which continued to make me want to speed up. I finally settled in around 6:10 and let my body do it's thing.
5k split: 18:52 (5:57, 6:02, 6:09)
Miles 4-6: Somewhere around mile 4 I forgot that I was trying to conserve effort for the next 9 miles ahead of me and I picked the pace back up to 6:05. Toward the tail end of this segment we started going by an area close to where I typically run so I think I might have been excited and that contributed to the pace, not sure though. Shortly before the water stop around mile 6 I took 2/4 Gu Chews that come in a packet. When I passed the 10k marker I knew I might be in bit of trouble since only two weeks ago I ran a 10k PR of 37:13, and here I was only 45 s off of that mark and I was less than halfway done with this race.
10k split: 37:58 (6:11, 6:05, 6:06)
Miles 7-10: The first three miles in this segment are still in my regular training grounds, specifically mile 7 so even though that was the flattest mile of the race I still pushed the pace pretty hard. I have no rational reason for doing this other than the particular straightaway we ran down is conveniently placed for tempo runs so it feels good to run fast on that section. Around mile 8 I finished off the remaining Gu Chews before a water stop where I absolutely nailed a beautiful no-arc laser into the trash can. I heard the volunteers poking fun at the guy 10 feet ahead of me for missing so when I made my shot they started cheering and I gave them a thumbs up. That was the last time I felt happiness for another couple of miles, especially since mile 10 was slightly uphill. When I came across the 10 mile mat my first thought was about how the course record was 61:30 and the winner of that year's race would be finishing right now while I was essentially lining up at the start line for a 5k. What I should have been thinking about is my most recent 10 mile PR (taken from the Decker HM 10 mile split) being 64:18 and that I was almost three full minutes faster at this point.
10 mile split: 1:01:21 (6:06, 6:02, 6:08, 6:20)
Miles 11-finish: To get to the 10 mile mat I pushed up a hill because I'm fairly good at ascents, but I still had another 3 miles to go. I don't really remember much about mile 11 other than there were a couple spectators lined up and I wondered to myself why a mother would let her young kids look at such wretched faces. Mile 12 was downhill to UT Austin's campus and I was able to really stride it out here. I had run this route many times before - the problem was that I never continued on to finish the last mile of the race. I haven't mentioned any other runners recently and that's because from around the 5k mat until mile 12 there wasn't much changing of position, everyone stayed in about the same place. That changed for me once the hill was over and course leveled out again. I didn't have much, if anything left at this point and I had two people pass me in front of DKR stadium. I managed to find a bit of a second wind about a half mile from the finish but even that would only last until the final lead in to the line. As soon as I got across the finish line I simply bent over. It took forever for me to finally make my way out of the chute.
Finish: 1:20:37 (6:08, 6:03, 6:20)
Post-race: Mentally, I'm really happy with this race. I had a very hard time in the two weeks separating the Rogue 10k from this race. Training and diet wise I just didn't have the motivation to stay on top of it all. Even with the difficulty in preparation I still felt that I was able to put that aside and "leave it all on the track" for this race. I do however need to work on my pacing. I typically have a problem with starting too fast but I think the crash at mile 12 underscores the importance of not making this mistake. For the Austin HM (coming up three weeks from now) I hope to keep even splits and finish a bit stronger than I finished this race. Super happy about the result overall though and very pleased about my new PR.
Distance Challenge: This was a very typical race with regard to the Distance Challenge. I think most everyone in the top 10 finished in their current ranking order. I know the top 3 did. I finished third, but only 30 s after the current second place. On the one hand I'm disappointed since I beat him in the Rogue 10k, but on the other hand prior to that race the closest I had gotten was within a minute. The last race of the challenge is coming up in three weeks!