I beat my goal by 18 seconds and was about a minute per mile faster than my July 4 10K.
This race is at a crossroads of the transition between cross country season (where I get fewer miles due to coaching) and the rest of the year where I hope to resume my training schedule.
The threat of rain and/or snow was lingering all week, but as the week progressed the snow level went higher and the rain chances also diminished. By this morning, it was just COLD. It was 38º when I got to the course at 7:30 (racetime was 9am), but it was very humid and there was a slight breeze so it felt colder. Fortunately the propane heater stands were already in place and so I stood in what I called an "alternate reality" underneath one of them when I got cold.
Since I'm friends with the race coordinator (she's my assistant XC coach) she had me and another school employee go mark the course. Together with our Garmins we marked the out-and-back course with some white spray-paint.
I got back in just enough time to get in a warm-up 1+ miles and then get another pint of water for the race. I set the "training partner" on my Garmin to a 9:05 pace, knowing that if I kept up with that, my final kick at the end would help me meet my actual race goal of 54:00. The 9:00 pace would completely obliterate my personal best for a run of 4 or more miles (a 9:45 pace or so is my best on a 4.5 mile run), so I knew I would need to push.
The toughest mile was Mile 3 which includes a pretty good hill for the last half of the mile right before the turnaround. I wanted to get this mile in under 10:00 and I was actually at 9:18 on this mile. At this point I was only about 180 feet behind my goal pace so I knew it was just a matter of maintaining a pace of slightly under 9:00 on the return.
I had a guy running back and forth with me who was in the oldest age category. We see-sawed for a large part of it, and on a slight downhill at the beginning of the 6th mile I pulled ahead of him by a bit but knew he was right there behind me. I hit my final stride in the final 500-600 feet or so and crossed the line well before the clock hit 54 minutes, eclipsing my goal and smashing my PR.
Afterward, I met "Eric" and thanked him for pushing me the whole race. He said the same of me. I didn't want to lose to someone in the 60+ age range, and he probably didn't want to lose to a slightly overweight 30-something guy.