Hoooooooooooooooooooooooooooly crap that was so tough! But not because of the length. First things first, came in 3rd and won prize money for the first time in a race... and it was $100! Guys who beat me were that crazy good guy Michael Banks (lifetime PRs of 13:38 and 3:40, more recently 29:50 and solo 14:30s) and that impressive master Eric Ashton (multiple event SC outright, masters, and single age state record holder) who beat me two weeks ago, so no shame in losing to either of those guys.
This was VERY TOUGH. The temperature was pretty ideal for a 10k, actually around 45 at race time. However, it was already a windy day, and this course goes on the highway over a river, so you were just being blasted by gusts or at least a strong headwind most of the race. Plus, you gotta CLIMB, baby... too bad RA o̶r̶ ̶G̶a̶r̶m̶i̶n̶ doesn't pick up on elevation on bridges (actually looks like Garmin did, check the map tab). That first mile was the probably toughest 5:56 I've ever run. Out and back course, westbound side of the highway out and eastbound back. 1st had the biggest hill with rough wind, 2nd was up for half and down for half with big wind, 3rd was only a little rolly but I'd say had the toughest wind, and the opposite elevations on the way back obviously. Wind wasn't AS bad on the second half but it was still rough... was hoping it would only be at my back but it was coming from everywhere apparently!
Anyway, enough griping, race breakdown... Was aiming for top 5 because money went 5 deep. The race had a 5k and 10k option, so if you ran the 5k you just ran half the 10k and stopped and got shuttled back. Bibs were different so I could sort some people out on the line, but when the race started, I wasn't sure of what everyone in front of me was doing. Past about 0.5mi there were probably 8 in front of me, so I was just going to play it very conservative and hope they'd get fatigued from the conditions so I could run them down later rather than make up any gap right away. By 2.5 I believe I was in 6th, but to my delight only two guys ahead turned around for the 10k! I was a pretty clear 3rd then (the big plus of an out and back course), but I still chilled for the next mile so I had plenty reserved in case anyone behind me started killing the second half. Didn't really start working hard until 1.5 out. Hard to gauge how the effort was overall because of the conditions... Probably a tempo effort for 4.5mi and harder after that, but I think I only ever approached race effort on the last mile. Granted, that's probably close to how a 10k is run anyway but I think I still erred on the side of caution a little excessively (roughly 18:16/17:01 splits).
All in all, though, it was a great time! Even though it made it tough, it was damn cool to be running on that highway bridge and the view was awesome. Ran with a cool guy on the cool down, fun event, nice people, cool course, and a good placing with a big time negative split. Probably would have nabbed 2nd in the 5k (<16:38) but needed a 10k Q time for the bridge run in March anyway. Looking forward to more 10ks!
You have reached the end of my book. Thanks for reading.