I didn't do the 10 mile warm up prior to the race- I just did the race.
It was a lot of fun, and the hot chocolate afterward was a wonderful touch. :) My friend N~ and I drove into the park together to save money on a park pass- it's always a lot nicer to go to a race with a friend. Last year I went alone, and though there were a lot of nice people hanging out, established relationships make life a lot easier.
After a quick warm up and listening to the pre-race instructions (most of which I couldn't hear) the group of us started off jockeying for position. Like many people I think I might've taken the first mile a bit too fast, but it is kind of hard not to when you know it'll be very hard to pass people later in the race and you're running just to warm up. 40 degrees and windy is chilly when you're in shorts! I warmed up nicely, but the first mile or two were a bit nippy.
I cruised up some hills, down some hills, avoided rocks, roots, and runners- took a gulp of water at the first water station without breaking stride and spilling only when I was being deliberate about it. I ran behind a guy for the first couple of miles- he would push himself hard up the uphills but I had to hold myself back during the downhills, and I was content with this situation till I decided it was time to push. My heart rate bounced between 160s and 180s during the time I was following- right about where I wanted it.
Right around mile three I decided to push it into another gear- I was hanging out at about 80% effort and I wanted 85% so I passed him, caught up to another, passed again, and spent about another mile and a half trying to reel in a third. All three were remarkably polite in first checking with me to ask if I wanted to pass, and then stopping and stepping off the path when I was ready. Courtesy is not dead! Even in competition.
Anyway, I finished the race, had some hot chocolate, and waited for the awards ceremony. Sadly, I didn't place. :( Still, I had a great time sitting around camp fire, staring at the flames and participating in the conversations around me. it's a very fall thing to do, and I haven't done enough of it this year. *sigh* Oh well.
Afterward N~ and I went to breakfast and I rewarded myself with three of the largest blueberry pancakes I've ever seen. Honestly, I think they broke the "Don't eat anything bigger than your head" rule. But they were tasty, and I figure I had earned it.
Distance 4.9 miles(~8K)
Pace 8:34/Mile (~5:15/K)
12 minutes faster than last year! Some pretty good improvement between then and now, eh? :)