This race starts later than most, not til 10am, but there is little parking and it fills up fast. So I got there around 0840, got in a little warm up jog, then decided it was going to be warm enough for shorts, so made a quick wardrobe change. Got in a little more warm up on the trails, grabbed a drink and half a gel, then headed to the start area. Wanted a banana, but decided against it, don't think I needed it, felt plenty fueled from the oatmeal at breakfast.
There were a lot of fast guys lined up at the start, so I knew the pace was going to be fast out of the gate. When the horn went off, everyone took off through the field...fast. Decided not to push the pace hard, just cruise for the first mile, since I knew the first hill was pretty steep. Might have been a bad decision. The hill was pretty quick, and didn't slow everyone's pace as much as I expected. Had to push had on the next section just to stay in contact with everyone and not get passed by too many. Let 2 or 3 go by, but not get away. Really enjoyed this section too, nice and flowing, heading downhill.
Right before mile 3, we cross the road and start heading back up! Maybe a half mile climb, then a quick down and back up to right before mile 4 where there was another road crossing. This starts the 'dump' trail I think. Another really fun, smooth, flowing downhill section. This was one of the faster miles.
Just after mile 5 we hit the last big climb, and its a doozie. Just have to grit and bear it. As someone told me, 'just go into oxygen debt for about 3 minutes, then push to the end!' Somewhere after the top of the climb starts the 'connector' trail, which is another great section and leads to a pretty long downhill back to the main part of the park. Up and over the road in the park and then we head through the field to the infamous 'creek crossing!' The water wasn't up very high, so there wasn't a large section of water to cross. Feet stayed relatively dry, just a quick skip across. At this point, I could hear people behind me... didn't know who, how many, or how close... But I knew I had to pick it up. The trail along the creek is all flat, so no help there. Pushed as much as I could back to the road crossing and into the field. Wasn't sure where the finish was, or how far... not close enough.
After crossing the road and entering the field, we basically ran backwards the first mile. I definitely had the 'let down' feeling, and pace was suffering. But really felt pressure from behind, so was giving it everything I had. Coming around the last corner in the field, had about 300-400 yards straight to the finish line. I heard people on the side yelling for the person behind me... crap, could hear him moving faster and closer, pressure was on. It was a full sprint to the finish... and I lost by inches. That feeling really sucks. It didn't even help to find out the kid was under 18... oh well, maybe next time.
All in all, pretty good race. Probably could have pushed a little harder in the beginning to get up farther in the lead pack, but then again, it might have left me more tired at the end.
So race is done... 4th place in age group... BAH! Had to leave right away, so grabbed what snacks I could.. cinnamon rolls, trail mix and a veggie burger... and headed to Crossfit26 for 12.1 WOD - 7 minutes of burpees. This really wasn't smart planning on my part. Guess I didn't expect to push as hard during the race, but I was pretty spent. Tried to get pumped for the wod, and actually started pretty strong... but ran out of energy pretty quick. Made it to 50 with plenty of time left... but wasn't sure how I would make another 50+. Turns out, I couldn't. As much as I wanted it, was only able to muster 98. Another disappointment.