Driving in this morning to Milford, it was pretty clear this wasn't going to be a race about time. Sliding on the backroads I decided I was out there to beat as many club racers as I could, and do some good racing. 12 degrees, with 15mph wind, and the roads were no where to be seen. Snow last night covered all blacktop (except for some stretches on mile 1 and mile 3). It was a slippery mess out there. Lots of people with trax on - but not sure that was a great option either. Lose either way I think. Corners were treacherous (and mile 2 was all corners), and every few steps it seems foot would slip out pushing off.
Long story short - windless spring day, I crush this. Today, I race.
First mile, a bit more maneuvering than I'm used to - it was a pretty big race with some good runners, and some ambitious folks looking to score for their clubs. So it was about a third of a mile before it settled. The lead pack formed, and about 8 of us were in a tight chase pack about 20 seconds behind at the mile. First mile is downhill, straight and had the best footing of the race, and it was still slow. We came through in 5:36. Which means lead guys were like 5:16 - slow.
Then we went into a loop through a nieghborhood with about 8 90 degree turns. Brutal. Each one was a risk. Got to two miles at 11:27, so big slow down with the turns and zero blacktop.
Right at mile 2 our tight little pack started to string. 8 became 4. Up a little hill 4 became 1 a little ahead and 3 of us.
Then 1 a little ahead and 2 of us at mile 3. 17:17. Another slow mile. But we were working.
Right after 3, I ditched the one dude who was working with me, on a good downhill I took a risk on (footing wise). From there till the end, I slowly reeled in the dude in front of me. By mile 4 (23:02) I was 5 steps behind. He really pulled me up that big mile 4 hill.
Final turn, 0.6 to go, he picks it up. I pick it up with him. He does not want me to pass. But I know what I know, and that's that I can kick. No matter how much I've given in a race, I can kick. And I feel like we maybe all held something back on this one because of conditions, so there was definitely something in the tank. We make the turn into the school driveway (unplowed by the way - nice!), and it's about 250 m to go. I kick. Audible "ugh" from the dude, and it's over.
28:35ish. (unofficial). Disappointed conditions weren't better, but it was fun to have guys to run with, and to think about moves, and think about running a smart race for place. I have no idea what place by the way, I'm guessing top 10 at least - because I'm pretty sure I won the "chase" pack, and I think there weren't more than 6 guys in the lead pack, but not 100% sure. MTA: yep, 4OA
Solid day. More good stuff to come.