The rain, wind, and cold scared me. I only did a mile warmup about 20 minutes before the start, then a few strides right before the start. I started off too fast (5:30 pace) with the HS XC team, but I backed off when I looked at my watch. Most of the XC runners burned out early, so I picked a lot of them off throughout the race.
I checked my watch a lot to stay on pace. My mile splits were 6:24, 6:29, 6:26, and then 0:29 seconds for the last 0.11 miles (~4:31 pace). The last 1/4 mile I was running as hard as I could go because I could see the finish line. I think I sped up the whole way. It hurt quite a bit, but I knew that (a) I was going to make it under 20:00 for the first time and (b) I was going to win my age group. The pain was worth it. Plus, I was the first adult to finish, which was a nice feeling. It was all HS runners in front of me.
I won a door prize too. It and the age group prize were worth way more than the $18 race registration fee.