I decided to scrap the RnR half for a 10k because I'm not in shape yet and I need a 10k time qualifier for the Crescent City Classic. CCC has a 35:00 cutoff to be seeded up front, so that was my goal. My plan was just to run right at 35:00 pace for 3 miles and then ease the pace down.
At the start another guy went flying from the gun, and he must've gone about 15:20 for the first 5k. I reminded myself I'm not in shape yet and to stick to my plan. 5:31 first mile... a little quick but it felt great. I passed 2nd place and he latched on about 5 meters back. It was odd... he stayed 5 meters back pretty much the whole race. I was sure I'd drop him as I caught him easily before mile 1, but he just stayed on my tail.
Miles 2-4 were uneventful. 5:36, 5:40, 5:35. My friend came up on my shoulder after 3 which was helpful to keep the pace honest. I was feeling fine. More importantly, I found that my watch was getting further and further from the mile markers, so by mile 4 I was 15-20 seconds back from the marker when I beeped. Not wanting to leave it to chance and rely too much on the course being measured exactly, I upped the pace. 5:29 for 5, and my friend was right with me. I continued to up the pace. I didn't catch the 6th mile exactly (had to weave around some 5k runners), but I think it was 5:13.
Rounding the turn into the parking lot for the finish, my friend was right on my tail. I opened up my best kick, and found a lot more speed than I expected. I had not doubt I'd beat him. But... as we approached the line, I saw his form in the corner of my eye inching up on me and then passing by. I couldn't believe it. To rub salt in the wound, he's 11 years older.
Most importantly I ended up easily clearing 35:00, so now I can focus on getting myself in the best shape possible by April. I didn't feel completely wiped out, so I imagine I could have targeted low-34's in an all-out effort. Nice to have a baseline to work from. Training hasn't been consistent, but I think I can put together a couple good months from here.