Eh, it's hard not to be disappointed, but in a way, I pretty much got what I needed to know. I'm not surprised the watch measured short with all the tight turns but I'm fairly confident it wasn't a short course. 10k VDOT equivalents to 2:48:14 and 2:50:45 are 36:24 and 36:57, respectively, so I wanted to make sure a marathon goal around there isn't completely off-base. I'm normally hesitant to base any sort of marathon prediction off a shorter race but I don't think it's completely unreasonable considering how my training has looked recently and how far out I still am. It's still not a warm-fuzzy feeling...
Man what a frustrating race! 10k was basically two 5k loops, and the 5k started 15min later. Course met up with 5k at around 3.3mi which was probably about 500m into the 5k. For me (if the race started on time), I'm now meeting up with people who covered that distance in about 5min and am now weaving my way though a crowd of walkers on a path that's maybe 4-wide. In most cases I could hop off the path but in others it was tough to do with trees or people lining the sides of the path. Either way, it was a lot of wasted energy. Of course, the more I ran, the sparser and quicker the crowds were until I started catching up to lapped 10k runners too. Still, it was never really clear sailing on that second lap, even in the last mile. What did it cost me? I won't speculate... certainly not enough to make anything of this performance. Even on the first lap I felt way off. It's a little consolation but nothing more.
But as critical as I am of how that race was run, I don't have a good solution short of running the races separately. They used to do that until last year I believe, so there was some reason for the change. A happier middle ground would be more than 15min between start times, but that just means impacting *fewer* people. Still, even the great Michael Banks probably had a little traffic today... but who knows, maybe he liked that since he's normally 100% alone.
Missed out on the prize money unfortunately. Michael Banks was originally entered in the 5k but must have switched to 10k in the past two days, and that was enough to bump me to 4th ($300-$200-$100 for 10k). Normally, with this undeserving time, I'd be fine with that... BUT 5k top 3 were 18:01, 20:39, and 21:41 ($200-$100-$50) so that's a little frustrating. Bummer, but you never know what you're gonna get.
On the positive side, it's nearly the same pace for double the distance of my last race, but that's not saying too much. Warm, humid morning with a windy course and annoying setup, but what can you do. The real race is in ~7.5 weeks.