The race route changed from what it's been the last two years. I'm not sure of the reasoning behind that, but I really did not care for it this year. It was mostly on heavily-trafficked streets, even for a holiday, so there was only one lane dedicated to the runners. The first two miles was tough - not because of the terrain, because it was mostly downhill, but because there were so many bodies jostling for space. It improved as everyone found their stride and the mob of racers turned into just a crowd. It was even better as the 5K participants finished and the 10K runners kept going. Then there was no space concerns.
Another downside was that since the first part of the route was downhill, that meant the second half was uphill. And not just a nice gradual slope like the downhill had been. No, there were a couple of serious hills.
The good news was that since I had done some hill training I wasn't completely unprepared. The bad news was that I had only done SOME hill training, so I wasn't completely prepared. However, I managed to run up the hills and used the flats/downhills for recoveries.
After the 5K herd thinned out, I kept with pretty much the same group of people at about the same pace the whole time. That was nice - it felt like an unspoken support group. The downside to that was watching people run who seemed like they appeared more out of shape than I am or have worse form. That was a little discouraging. *shrug* Eh, oh well.
I had a goal of doing a negative split - which basically means having a faster second half of the race than first, but I didn't accomplish that - probably because I was trying to dodge people the first two miles and couldn't really find my own pace.
The breakdown of my pace/mile according to my RunKeeper app is as follows:
Mile 1: 9:20
Mile 2: 10:48
Mile 3: 10:24 (ALL UPHILL!!!!)
Mile 4: 10:28
Mile 5: 10:29
Mile 6: 11:12 (not exactly sure about that, but again, UPHILL!!!)
Average pace: 10:26. I'll take it. So my total official time was *drumroll* 1:05:15. Woot! I did it! Hit my goal!
I placed sixth in my age group - out of 13. I'll take that, too. The woman who finished in fifth had a time 11 minutes better than mine. Seventh place was only 20 seconds behind me. This makes me the fastest of the slow runners, a self-imposed title I am completely okay with. I finished, I hit my goal, and people were there at the finish line cheering me on. It doesn't really get any better than that.
For your enjoyment (amusement?) here's a video cimblog(tm) took of me at the finish line. I knew I didn't have a lot of steam left in my engine, but I felt like I was going faster for the end sprint than it looks like I am.