Holy smokes. This was a cinderalla race for sure. I started out conservatively in about 40th or so - it was a huge pack and many people went out faster. I wanted to start steady and see if I could negative split, without sandbagging to much. I was in the third big pack at the first mile and after that we slowly crept up on the second pack. We caught them right at the 2nd mile. I was trying to be smart and tuck in to stay out of the wind. But when I saw the split I realized I could feel that 2nd pack slowing down. I decided it was better to pull ahead and set out on my own rather than go slower and take shelter from the wind in the pack. Turned out to be the right choice. Mile three was tough and largely on my own. I caught the people that had started beyond their skill level and by mile 4 (which had a long brutal uphill) I was settled into a comfortable position.
The sun came out and I had a tail wind. It felt glorious. I felt fantastic. I just cruised for the next long stretch. Kasie mentioned how fast her splits were on 4-7, so I wasn't concerned when I hit 4:58. I slowly crept up. By mile 10 I was in 10th place. I ran a 10k in about 31:15 from miles 4-10, which is a PR and hit 52:03 for the 10 mile mark, over 2-minutes faster than Amherst. At the turn around I started to feel fatigue settling in. Despite the strong headwind though I kept rolling and was able to stay at a consistent effort. The last mile was perhaps the toughest, but even that felt even and steady. It was an incredibly easy race. I don't know what that means, but I'm hoping that it's a new plateau. I'm looking forward to running a couple of shorter time trials to test out where I'm at. I wound up finishing 7th overall, which was great, and beating some of the guys who beat me at Amherst.
I think I could have pushed harder at mile 12 and definitely 13. I also would have benefited from a gu or gel or whatever. I'm still struggling to drink water and not sure what the benefit of that is. One of the most helpful things was that I didn't look back. Each time I wanted to I just reminded myself that I wasn't racing the people behind me. I didn't get passed either. I remember remarkably little of my thoughts during the race, it seemed awfully peaceful and quiet and simple. A really odd feeling afterwards - almost like I was an observing wholly immersed in the experience yet completely removed or detached from it.