Temp 55 Humidity 59% Wind 7 mph.
5K and 10K. 10K is a relay, but you can run as either a 1, 2, or 3-person team. Looking around, who's a 5Ker, who's 10Ker, who's a relay team. Know Hammer is 5K. Know Joe W. is 10Ker. See maybe one other fast 5Ker and maybe one other fast 10Ker. Unable to pick out any potentially fast team. Line up behind Hammer in row two. CT walks up and jumps ahead of me right between us. (Come on, dude, you've ran enough of these races now to know better. Rude AND overly optimistic.)
First mile is a climb. Ever-so-slight for about 3/4 a mile, then almost straight up for another 1/4. Hammer and 25-year old 5Ker out fast. I go with Joe W. Three runners between us and front two. All drop before first mile split. Brian J. the last to go...long after CT's short morning jog he was in such a hurry to get to is over. First mile split is 6:43. That's probably too slow. (Joe W. said pre-race he was going to keep it around 6:45ish.)
Mix of hills for second mile. I need to drop it some. Joe W. stays with me and we do a 6:27 second mile. He ask for the split and knowing that's faster than he wanted I give it to him. Where I want to be now. Heading back to the park for a mostly flat 3rd mile. (JW asked for second and third time, "How you doing?") Best part of course is slight downhill followed by a 1/3 mile straight. Only today, it will be into a mild wind. Third mile split 6:32. Make sure JW knows. Hammer splits off for 1st OA in 5K. 17:50 in first race back after 4-month layoff with HS. The Game is back on the field! Kid peels off to finish 5K leaving me and Joe to run in front.
Know he's a better kicker and I have better fitness. Decide to push the 3/4 mile uphill and try to open about 20 seconds or so. Make good progress and open up. Playing the steep part of the hill smart...until...the yard sale incidents. Large cover on road repair hole I try to go right of. SUV squeezes me due to car coming in opposite direction. Have to almost stop to go to right around hole. As I get near the top, Toyota stops short in front of me to park. Another almost stop. Lost stride both times and work way too hard to get up hill. Sucking air at top. Mile split suffers to nearly 6:50, but I think I still have my separation.
Get bad stitch coming down hill. All of a sudden in O2 debt. Hammer at bottom of hill, paces a few meters and tells me I have about a 50 meter lead and to focus on upcoming hills. Less than two miles to go, that spread should be good. Attempt to bear down, focus, recover through the hills, and block out the stitch.
Back to the park and I'm hurting pretty bad making the left onto the Optimist Road straight. Wind seems to have picked up. Gut it out thinking that if I can hold around 6:30 - 6:40, Joe will have to do a low 6:00 to catch me. He can kick, but he can't kick like that six miles into a race (yet). Swing around and pick up the wind at my back for final kick down Lions Road towards the finish. Cross the line running a 5:55 pace, in some pain, and disappointed to see I'm not in under 40:00.
First time 10K. An Overall "W" without an impressive time. OK with how I raced, but so-so with how I ran. May have little cause of concern with fitness going into Dogwood-Azelea. Still SplitMaster/Ghisallo 1st OA in both 5K & 10K.