What a freaking ROLLERCOASTER. Left work with ~93 temps and heat index 110-115. Got progressively darker as I drove toward home. CRAZY thunder when I got home, lightning everywhere, really close. Still decided to head over and see what the deal was, especially since heavy storms pass quick around here. Grabbed my bib and was told race was tentatively still on, but almost immediately started to POUR and STORM like crazy. Took some shelter and waited... storm finally let up around 6:25, so everyone started collecting at the start. Waited around a bit for the official word...they said we were still on, but since there was still lightning they postponed "about ten minutes"... I hate soft start times. Did some leg swings, lunges, about 2min WU, and a stride or two. Waited for a couple min and they said "5 to 10 more minutes," so another ~2min of joggin and another stride so I wouldn't miss it. Shortly after we started lining up and we were off! Crazy stuff.
Certainly an improvement despite the slow time. The rain did cool the temps down but it also made things ridiculously humid. The trails were sloppy and puddle-filled, soft, and often slick and that warmup was practically non-existent... But enough johns... Felt way stonger today. Decided not to dawdle as much and went with the first two guys because they were out at a reasonable pace. Kept with them for 1, relaxed and let them fight each other on 2, then surged with ~1mi to go. Pushed for about a minute, then relaxed since it they were pretty clearly done. Put 17s in on that last mi and was honestly hoping for more considering I went earlier but at least this time I sped up rather than just slowed the least. Had a lot more reserved compared to the last two races, plus that mile tends to run slow as it's the twistiest with some very sharp turns on sand/mud.
No, it's not great, but it's another step forward, a good workout, and a fun (and certainly interesting) day! Just one more to go.