The minimal goal for this race was to run a PR. Last year at the OUC, I ran 1:45:53 (8:06/mi), so I would have been satisfied with anything faster than that.
The plan, though, was to attempt to run under 1:40. I planned to go out at 7:40 for the first 7 miles, then to drop to 7:30 for the next 4 miles, and then to run the last 2.1 at 7:20 (or better). Overall, that plan would get it done in 1:39:05 (7:34/mi).
The start went well: things felt controlled (and I avoided getting kicked in the knee like last year). Lots of people started too far up, of course, so there was a good bit of maneuvering for the first 1200m or so. After that, I fell in with a pack who was running 7:40s pretty consistently, so I just hung out with the pack, feeling very relaxed the whole time. Aid stations were every 1.5 miles, which was too often for my liking, but I did stop for Gatorade at miles 3, 6, and 9, and I ate a gel at 6.
As we crossed the 7-mile marker, I picked up a bit--a touch more than planned, but things felt good--and left the pack I'd been running with. I ended up spending most of mile 8 running more or less alone, but within a mile and a half, I'd caught another pack and started to pass them, working but still feeling pretty relaxed. From mile 9 to the finish, I passed people almost continuously, and there wasn't anybody passing me. It was just picking out somebody ahead of me and reeling them in. I picked up substantially starting around mile 11 and finished the race feeling like I'd given what I had at the right times.
Coming through the last tenth of a mile, I ran past a guy--as we rounded the last corner, I had thought he was too far ahead for me to catch, but I caught him after all--who gave up the kick and just said "good job" as I came by him.
Overall, I finished in 1:38:02, which is a PR of 7:52. And the last 10k of this race was 44:30ish, which is significantly faster than my current 10k PR (46:17).
Now, I've got my sights set on 1:30 next December.