It had been a strange week, I haven't felt quite right but nothing seems to be wrong other than a noticeable lack of energy. I've been on the early shift at work for the past 4 weeks getting up at 4:30am to be at my desk for 6:00. In order to get 8 hours of sleep I have to grab 6 hours at night and another 2 in an afternoon nap. I've got another two weeks of this before I get a week off.
So I wasn't expecting too much from this race. When I realized I forgot my watch I wasn't the least bit disappointed. I had wanted to try and see if some of the articles that I've read indicating that looking at your watch can slow you down by getting you to run within your known limits.
The race had a bigger starting field than last year and it was chip timed. This allowed the race director to get the 5K runners up at the front of the starting chute and the 2.5K runners at the back. It was so much better organized not having to watch for kids sprinting the first 200 meters at the start.
In hindsight, I probably went out a bit too fast. Starting too fast is not unknown to me, in shorter races I do it quite a bit. This year, when I hit the hill I was running pretty much by myself. I really didn't feel strong on the hill this year. The eventual winner of my age group went past near the bottom and I wasn't able to slide in to his pace and join the other two runners with him.
The downhill went well. Climbing a steep hill is nothing compared with trying to run controlled down a steep decline. I really wanted to catch the guy ahead me me who was braking with every heel slam he took on the way down. I closed quite a bit on him but couldn't reel him in on the flat.
One more small bump before a couple of tight turns before the final 200 meter straight-away. I got passed a couple of more times but had nothing in the legs to try and fight for position. I felt flat the whole race, my form was good, my turnover was good, I just felt like I couldn't shift in to a higher gear.
I finished in good form and smiling. I really didn't have to kick in like last year. I also didn't look at or for the clock at the finish as I made sure I ran across both timing mats.
Checking the results, I finished 25th overall. The 24th male finisher, and 3rd in my Age Group. My time was 21:42:05, which is a 10 second PR over last year.
As bad as it felt, it was apparently a good run.