Usually I'm pretty good about estimating my fitness for races, but I got it wrong today. I figured I was in about 31:30 shape given recent workouts and the favorable conditions on the course. My primary goal for the race was to beat all the local runners, which is worth $300 all or nothing. The weather was unusually awesome, with about 60F and low humidity with hardly any wind.
My game plan was to run with the elite women for 5k and push the final 5k if I felt good. Usually the women go out in about 16:00, and the local guys are usually in that pack. I should be able to close in 15:45 fairly comfortably off that pace, and that is almost always good enough for the local win.
The pace was perfect through 3 miles. I had straight 5:08s on my Garmin for 1-3, although the pack ran bad tangents and we were 16:08 through 5k. I did a self-assessment at mile 3 and everything was feeling good. I stuck to my plan and ratcheted down the pace. The lead woman and the rest of the pack began to drop back.
One local guy made a surge and caught me a little before mile 4. I've underestimated him before, so I decided to work with him for a bit and try a bigger move in mile 6. Mile 4 was 5:04 on my watch.
The bad thing was that the small drop in pace didn't feel good. He made a surge around 4.5 and all of sudden I was hanging on for dear life. He managed to get a little separation before mile 5 and I couldn't respond. 5:09 on the Garmin.
I didn't run mile 6 well and gave up a few more seconds than necessary, but I was beaten. 5:20. He continued to pull away and ended up 13 or 14 seconds up on me, about 10 of that in mile 6. I may have managed closer to 5:10 if I'd focused a little better, but there really wasn't much left in the tank.
I feel bad about losing this one, but I'm not sure there was anything I could do different. Hoping it's just a case of marathon legs not handling a faster pace. The VDOT for this does point to a 2:28-high marathon, which is pretty much my goal. Not panicking yet.
PM - Added 6 stroller miles with Rylie. 7:08 avg.