The race got off to an inauspicious start when the gun clicked but didn't fire. Somebody started yelling go, so after a couple of seconds, we went. I think I felt the need to "make up" for the lost time and I went out crazy fast, which is completely unlike me. I thought I had backed off after a couple of hundred meters. The garmin said 5:58 pace after maybe 4 minutes and I scoffed. I had lost reception in the crowd at the start and restarted it. I figured the GPS was just gooned up. I get to the mile 1 marker and they read "6:02, 6:03, ..." Oh, crap! (I'd alway figured my mile pace was about 6:00 based on my 5k.)
I look ahead and see a shirtless guy in blue shorts about 100m ahead and think it's an age group runner I know who usually runs about 19 flat. I think maybe I'm not far from where I should be. Maybe they put the mile marker in the wrong place? Then a few moments later, the real 19-flat guy passes me! I hung behind him until maybe a mile and a half and let him go.
The gave our places as we went by the school the first time. I was 19th. I finished 11th last year, but I think there were a lot more high school kids running this year. Before we did the little loop around the neighborhood, the leader came the other way and he was flying (finished 16:11 I think).
I saw my friend who was giving out the 2-mile splits. 12:30. 6:27 for the last mile. Not bad. My plan was to run 6:26 pace (which is 20:00). Some kids start to pass me here, but I don't care too much. Then the first female passes me. My pride stings a little, but then a guy passes me and I instantly think "he's in my age group."
I hung on maybe 5 meters behind the presumed M35-39. Then he opened. I closed a little, but on the track you finish on he pulled well ahead. My one regret is that I didn't try harder to go with him. Still, I crossed the line at 19:47! (19:44 on my watch after the "false" start and the 5 -10 feet to cross the line.)
The awards were kind of chaotic. They did all the first place awards first while they sorted out second place and of course the guy who passed me was in my age group. His time was 19:36. I hung around forever waiting for 2nd place, which I was sure was me. Then they said 2nd place was somebody else. Huh? They didn't announce any times for the second place awards. I said I wasn't sure that was right to the RD who said he'd check. Anyway, I hung around long enough that the race director who had shaken down the community for more stuff than he could give away gave gift certificates to everybody who broke 20 but didn't get an award, so I picked up $25 at Staples.
I'm thrilled about my time, but the confusion about the award thing kind of took the edge off. Now that I think of it though, it's possible that the guy who beat me nipped somebody at the line while I was in the turn and I didn't see it. Now I feel kind of bad saying anything to the RD, but it was so confusing when they were giving out awards and they didn't announce times, so I thought there was a high probability they screwed up. Hard to say anything bad about a 45 second PR! The course isn't certified, but I know the RD and he wheeled the course, so I'm pretty sure it's right. They might not have included the short course correction factor or something, but it's definitely an improvement. I ran this last year in 20:32, which was my old "PR."
I forgot to hit lap at mile 2, but I also forgot to turn off autolap. My Garmin splits are 6:01/180, 6:27/191, 6:24/191, 0:51/192 (.14 miles). The Garmin recorded 3.14 and 19:44 (3 second difference is about right for the "false" start. The Garmin is generally around 1% generous in all the certified races I've and this fell in line, which makes me pretty confident it's the correct distance. Despite going out way too fast, I still maintained a beat or two higher average than I have in other 5ks. If I can learn to suffer a little more late in races and don't go out stupid fast, I think I can improve on this.