I left after dinner, so when I got there it was just about time to go to sleep. It was very weird being the only person in the barracks, but I slept great. I usually don't sleep well before a race, even in my own bed, but I was really tired.
The actual packet was a small, cloth, camo bag. I like it. I'm going to find something fun to do with it.
By the time I got back to the room, I didn't have a lot of time to change and warm-up. I made it to the start line just as the race started.
The weather was perfect. There weren't a lot of females racing, but there were a few gals that I had my eye on. I passed all of the women early on and basically raced three guys the entire time. Two were in front of me. I actually ran with them for a few minutes. Occasionally, I would pass them at a water stop, but they would easily catch up and pass me. Before the turn around, I kept them pretty close. Another guy was behind me. He would surge occasionally, but I would easily hold him off. At the turn around, the two guys that were running together separated. The faster one took off. I could see him, but he was a good ways away. I passed the friend, but he kept surging. I was so annoyed (in a fun way). I knew if I let my guard down, he would catch me. Right before the end of the race (maybe 1/2 mile to go), we hit a crazy hill. I am one to run hills, but this thing was steep. I made a calculated decision to walk. I knew I could run it, but the energy expenditure was going to be ridiculous. Just as I'm walking, the racer who has been doggedly pursing me for the preceding four miles passed me. He said something encouraging like "You can do it." I said something like, "I can't believe that I was beat by this hill." I had a plan though. I figured it was going to take everything he had to get up that hill, and I could overtake him on the downhill. He looked strong going up the hill, but I knew he wasn't stronger than me, or he would have passed me long ago. Sure enough, for once, a plan worked out. I passed him with gas in the tank.
The course is not PR friendly. There were lots of rolling hills. The route was long. There weren't that many turns, so I can't imagine tangents were the issue. My GPS measured it at 13.74. A few people were annoyed, but if I'm not trying to PR, I don't care if a course is long.
I do love this race. The reason is the competition is always friendly and fun. On the "back" stretch of the out and back, the slower racers yell encouragement and smile. After, there is always plenty of conversation. I race a lot, and I can tell you that all racing communities aren't like this.
After, there was a fat hot link with chips and a coke, and a bottle of wine.