Dang, frustratingly close to sub34 but overall solid all things considered. DEFINITELY underestimated that bridge. Remember looking at my watch near the top seeing 6:05 current pace and thinking, "that can't be right!" but sure enough, it was. Elevation increase of something like 180ft+ over ~1 miles starting around 1.75mi in... that ish hurt!
But DANG, what an event! HUGE race, awesome atmosphere, awesome scenery... live bands along the way, great supporters... way cool stuff. I'll be back next year 100%. Seeded section (sub 40) got to start right behind the elites, very cool. On the line with guys with sub 28 credentials including Bobby Mack! Definitely some high caliber talent there, though it must have been pretty tactical since the winning time was slower than recent years with a 29:22 (15:29/13:53, DAMN). Windy according to the elites in interviews, but I didn't really think so.
Gun went off and sheesh, I'm not used to being around so many people anymore. Got me a little nervous with how many were ahead but I kept my cool and slowly worked up a lot. Incline started in the second mile and oof, it was an incline. Knew I'd slow down but dang, not that much... my legs were feeling very heavy by the top. Pretty daunting knowing you're only halfway at that point. Saw the 5k split of 17:27 and with how I felt, I was worried I'd have trouble getting under 35 at that rate. But, shook it off knowing the second half would be easier and started working the gradual downhill. 4mi was just about at the end of the bridge, but that 5:20 wasn't too encouraging considering it included downhill... sub 34 was starting to feel pretty distant, but pressed on on 5. Was certainly hurting there but a 5:18 put me back in the hunt mentally, though I knew it would be tight. Knew what it would take and tried to go for it, but legs were really running out of gas. Definitely unhappy with that last 1.2, ran scared when I should have been able to close it down, especially considering I had enough to kick, but it's easy to be critical after the fact.
Place-wise, I just about hit what I wanted. Thought top 40 would be respectable (35), wanted to get top 10 South Carolinian (11th, womp) and top 3 age group (3rd assuming they take out the top 10 overall). Behind my 33:30 goal but honestly had no gauge of what the bridge would do to time. Get me in a flat 10k and I feel confident saying I'm there, but only one way to find out (and yes, I know the downhill helped, but not as much as the uphill hurt). Overall optimistic about my shape right now... I've got such an XC13 complex but those PRs don't seem untouchable anymore. Just a matter of time. On to the next one!
Other fun facts/anecdotes...
1. I passed one of the elite Kenyan women on the bridge. She immediately went right behind me to draft but she COULDN'T HANG... TAKE THAT, 10th PLACE FEMALE!
2. According to results, the guy 3s in front of me was Joseph Ekuom who has had held BHSXC legend status since he dominated the 2009 Brookfield 4miler (looking back, his 20:51 isn't all too crazy anymore but it was to us then). Blast from the past!
3. Didn't get passed after 5k, but also didn't pass anyone. I don't think more than 2 people passed me after the mile 1 shuffle but I've been prone to post-race amnesia.
4. 17:27/16:35 splits.
5. Longest log entry?