Course looked good with a 100' hill at mile 4ish. Plan was low 6's until the hill, struggle up, and then kick it to the finish, hopefully under 38:38.
Got on the start line and tried to pick out the fast guys I could follow.
Fast start (5:40 pace) as we went slightly uphill, got under control by 1/2 mile and was running in about 6th place. 4 people clearly faster than me (hopefully all younger too!), 1 shirtless/tatoo guy who could be 40+ but I figured I'd catch him. First mile marker off, but cruising at around 6:00 pace.
Mile 2 was solid and we went thru 2 at 12:00. Feeling pretty good, running with a 20 something guy in 6/7 place.
Mile 3 - another younger guy passed us, but we caught the shirtless tatoo guy, who went out too fast. A little up/down in 3 but we went thru in 18:14, so had slowed to 6:14.
Mile 4 started to climb, and I was struggling to hang with the 2 young guys. I was within 5 yards as we hit the #4 marker in 24:35 - so it had slowed to a 6:21 mile.
Next mile was the hill for real, it had started earlier than I expected and was steeper than I remembered. The two young guys were pulling away so I let them go to make sure I got to the top of the hill with something left for the rest of the race. Hit the top just before mile 5 in 31:08, for a 6:32 mile. I figured it was 7 minutes home from there, so was looking like a PR was gonna happen.
At this stage the 2 young guys were about 20 yards ahead, and I decided I was gonna get them. Picked it up to about 6:00 pace and was gaining on them, but not fast enough. Decided, due to some fuzzy math, that I could go sub 38 if I hammered it the last mile, so went for it. Dropped to 5:35 pace, caught the two guys and just kept going. They fell back fast but I was dying. HR hit 190 (highest I have every seen) and I knew I had kicked a little early. Held on at 6:00 pace for the next half mile and got to mile #6 in 37:05. The young guys caught me but I'd tried!
Final .22 I knew would take about 1:15, if I kicked again so managed to get back down to 5:45 pace. Finished at 38:22, which is a 16 second PR. Goof for 7th place and 1st in my old person age group.
It was a good event for a change! Well marked, well marshaled, accurate. I could have done a better job running tangents as there were a fair number of curves, and I think I should have run a better mile 3 & 4 as it wasn't hilly enough to deserve a 6:14 & 6:21. I was happy with my final mile effort, although my devastating finishing kick may have been a little early. But then, the sub 38 was there if I could have kept it up!
I think with a flat course, similar competition, a little more focus in those middle miles and no suicide kick at mile 5 1/4 I have a reasonable shot at sub 38. Thanksgiving day at the SV Turkey Trot looks like the ticket, unless i decide to run in this.....