I wasn't planning on running this race, as I haven't raced anything under a 1/2 marathon in about 7 years and haven't done anything under a 10k in about 16 years, but my firm, more specifically, my office, appealed to my ego and asked that I represent my firm/office, as they knew that I could easily beat the fastest time from all of the other offices (24:50). So I decided to do it.
6:30pm last night at Crissy Field right next to the Golden Gate bridge. Very flat, simple 3.5 mile loop. I arrived and as soon as I got out of my car, I knew that I'd made a mistake in not bringing warmups. It was about 20 degrees colder than where I live and there was 20mph wind coming in from the ocean. Nice. Fortunately, we started and finished with a tailwind. However, the middle 1.75 miles were a little onerous.
Before I get to those miles, let me back up. This was not a chipped race. The only clock was the race clock, which meant that I was fighting 5000 other people to start up front. Lots of elbows. I was about 3 rows back, which was fine because there were some serious runners out. Like sub-5 minute mile runners. The last thing I wanted to do was get in their way.
The gun went off and off we went. First mile was at 5:58. I wanted it to be faster, but congestion and some tight turns slowed me down a little. Then we turned into the wind. I tried drafting, but the wind was whipping too much and each person I tried drafting off of was either too fast or too slow, so I ended up running the next 1.75 miles straight into the wind. Not too fun. I don't have my exact splits, but looking at my finish time, I'd say they were in the 6:25 - 6:33 range.
As I was approacing the turnaround, I saw the leaders headed back and they were seriously flying. I heard afterwards about the tactics employed and was pretty impressed. Apparently about a 1/4 mile before the turnaround, a breakaway into the wind occured. Then once at the turnaround, the 3 leaders really took off since they now had the wind at their back while everyone else was still headed into it. Smart tactics.
At the turnaround, I finally got the wind out of my face and picked it back up. At mile 3, I really picked it up because I wanted to beat 22 minutes. With about a 1/4 mile to go, I wanted to vomit and remembered why I don't really enjoy these shorter races. I finished in 21:48 for a 6:14 average.
I didn't push as hard as I could have, particularly during the headwind portion of the course and raced it more like a 10k, but was still ok with the time. I probably finished in the top 150, but won't know for sure for a couple of days.
EDIT: I finished 101st out of 5200