Temp 46 (36) Wind 13 mph.
Mentally prepare to grind it out. Warm-up not sharp. Should probably be expected following stressful week and more problems with ear blockage this morning. Even notice my nose is bleeding during National Anthem.
HM, 10K, and 5K in shotgun start. Your race is on your bib and I've made mental notes of who is doing what among unknown runners on front couple of rows. I go ahead and line up front and center because HMer Brock L. is on row two directly behind me and I trust him not to run up the back of my heels.
The SplitMaster gives us a "Go!". Small decline into a headwind to start. Surprised to be the one that eases out to the front of the pack. Lasts for about 400 meters until first runner passes me. He's in the HM? Oh well, head up and then back down the railroad overpass. Get back on flat ground, find my stride, then check Garmin to see our pace (not for me, just curious to see how fast this guy thinks he is going to run 13.1.) We are at 6:29 average. Soon, second runner passes me. He is in 5K. No big deal; however, he fades before we hit first mile split. I go through in second position overall and first in 10K at 6:35.
I am very relaxed and rolling comfortably. Pleased after bumpy warm-up. However, trouble starts at about 1.5 miles. On shoulder of banked state highway. Grade close to 10° and covered in gravel. Burn a lot of extra effort getting back to more level ground just as we veer right into a more direct headwind that will be a factor for the next full mile. Worse than energy cost, right shoe is coming untied. How?? (Had double knotted, threaded ends of laces three times under top laces, and even doubled knotted ends at the bottom knowing we would finish on cobble stone street.) Two mile split takes a big hit as I drop off to a 6:44. Frustrated because sub-40 game is over before it really got started.
10K runners will split from HM runners at about 2.5 miles. HM leader is fading and is on inside of road. I need to get around him before turn, so make my move with room to spare. Don't want him to surge and block my turn, so tell him I am in 10K and good luck as I go by. He has on headphones, but guess he heard me? Move ahead and make my turn. Out of corner of my eye, see him take an angle to make the turn also. Surely not? Course is clearly marked. Get over 100 meters down Fair Street and this is bugging me. Glance back and sure enough he is following. Well, crap!! My time is already screwed, so did something I've never done before. Stopped, turned around, went back, stopped him, and got him back on course. Garmin says my "good deed" cost me 0:14 seconds. Mile split three is 6:36 (6:22) with lots of headwind. I would pay for that later.
There is a short out-and-back segment coming up to give the course full distance. Shoe is flopping all over the place and thinking now that when I turn around, if my lead is sufficient, will go ahead and stop and tie my shoe. Hit the turn. No one. Take a knee while asking the course official if she would care to count the runners that make this loop. She says I'm first one here (no kidding) and ask if I think runners are going off course. Tell her maybe and she agrees to count. Did not want to get back and find some other 10K runner had cut the course and finished before me. Laces in a mess. Ends are still double knot tied, but everything else undone. Crap. Just cinch up tops and double knot again. Garmin says "pit stop" cost me 0:17 seconds. Mile four split 6:38 (6:21). End of race bill getting larger.
Mile five spit 6:35. Back on banked state highway. Other side of road not as steep; however, just the right mix of camber and fatigue to beat the holy crap out of my right knee. At this point, my day is over. Hang on tight and don't give this thing away by having to stop.
Did pretty good until second trip up railroad overpass. Short, but steep. Nothing there to fight with. Slowed to 8:00-plus march of death pace. Tried to get some of it back until next climb on cobblestone Broadway. Marginally successful. Mile six split 6:47. Bill paid in full.
Get some decline and flat ground to finish. Average 6:23 pace during kick. Chip Time 40:52. Would make "moving time" 40:21. Not great, very ugly, but not as shameful as it could have been. Course plots to 6.25. Garmin 6.14. Split the difference and probably damn close. 1st Overall. Have never won three races in a row before. CBEGM 5/5 in 2016. Over the years we have somehow managed to have at least one of us upright and carrying the torch. The old relic somehow just keeps on rolling.