Went mostly how I planned. Weather was as expected - 50 or so at the start, warming up to 65-70 at the finish with full sun.
I got caught up with the fast guys at the start and ran the first mile in 6:30 - way too fast. But I got back on track and started clicking off 6:55's which is right where I wanted to be. Did miles 2 - 8 at exactly 6:55 pace - perfect. Then something happened and I started going faster - must have been a subconscious decision to stay with the 1/2 marathoners that were finishing at mile 13. Anyway I did mile 9 in 6:45, 10 - 6:39, 11 - 6:50, 12 - 6:45, 13 - 6:45, 14 - 6:48, 15 - 6:42, 16 - 6:49, 17 - 6:32.
Then I started to pay for those fast miles. At 18 I felt my quads starting to tighten a little and knew that by the end they would be barking. 18 went by in 6:38, 19 - 6:45, 20 - 6:52, 21 - 6:56, 22 - 6:44. I was definitely struggling to maintain pace but the great news was that I was only struggling to not slow down. Usually at this stage I am struggling to not WALK!
I must have been focused (yeah, that's it - I was focused, not out of it!) because I missed every single mile marker from 23 to the end! So I got one big lap at the end on my Garmin (not official mile markers). But the big 4.26 mile lap was 29:22 (6:56 pace).
Final Official Time: 2:59:08
Finished 8th overall and 2nd in my AG. The guy who finished ahead of me in the AG turns out was ahead of me the last 3 miles. I could only see him, no one around me and he was way up there. I tried to focus on him and reel him in but just couldn't. He finished 38 seconds ahead of me. Maybe if I'd known he was in my AG - nah, I just couldn't run him down.
Awesome race and I am so glad it's in the books.