The race almost got off to a bad start as I had to make a mad scramble to get to the start in time. I got up to the Woodlands a few minutes later than I intended so by the time I hit the port-a-john and got a 15 minute warmup in, I had less than 15 minutes to the start. I was at my car putting my singlet on and changing into my flats and I had planned on wearing my orthotics in my flats so I hadn't brought insoles for my racing flats. When I put the orthotics in, they were too big for the racing flats I had and were bunching up in the toe box and there was no way I could wear them. I thought I had worn them in April in these flats, but maybe I was mistaken. I just laced on my racing flats and tried to tighten them up and hoped I wouldn't get too many blisters. I had a pretty hard run over to the start and made it there right as they were starting the national anthem. As soon as it ended I hopped over the barrier into the corral and looked around to see who was racing. I didn't see anyone there that I knew was definitely faster than me. I saw John Spiller and he made a comment that he half expected to see me come running up and join the pack 1/4 mile into the race like I have a tendency to do on the Saturday long runs. He really wasn't all that far off.
The gun went off and we took off and I was basically in the lead from the very start. I felt relaxed and cruised the first mile in 5:47. At one mile there were 2 guys who were right with me. We cruised the next couple of miles as we started going a little uphill and after mile 3 I decided to start pushing it a little harder and started putting a gap between myself and them. We had a pace car and half of the Woodlands cycling club (or so it seemed) escorting us. There was one guy with an orange vest on that stayed with me the entire time and I guess he was assigned to staying with the race leader and then at various miles some of the other bikers would peel off. They must have been assigned certain miles to cover in case somebody needed medical attention so they rode out with the pace car until they got to their mile. When I got to mile 4, one of the bikers told me that I had a 10 second gap on the two guys behind me and at mile five I was over 25 seconds ahead. I was feeling good and pretty much knew I had the race won as long as I didn't get hurt or just completely blow up at the end of the race. After mile 1, the markers were way off and I just had to rely on my Garmin. Mile 2 was about 40 seconds after where it should have been and I'm not sure if any of the other mile markers were really in the right place. My Garmin showed that I was at 29:03 at mile 5 and after that it is mostly downhill to flat the rest of the race.
Between 5 and 6 I started picking up the pace and trying to hammer it and I ran a 5:32 for the 6th mile. I was cruising the rest of the way and was low 5:30's and high 5:20's the rest of the way in. When I got to mile 8 it seemed like the mile marker was about in the right place and that I really had 2 miles to go and I was at about 45:50 so if I ran 5:35's for the last 2 miles I would break 57 minutes. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to hold the pace for the last 2 miles, but I was going to try. Mile 9 was still mostly downhill so I was able to cruise and run it in just under 5:30. The last mile starts with a hill up a bridge over Lake Woodlands. I felt pretty good going up the bridge, but when I got to the top I knew that I still had ~3/4 of a mile to go and my legs were starting to feel a little tired. I just pushed it hard and once I got back into the market street area I knew I was almost done and started kicking it in. When I came around the last curve I could see the clock and it was at about 56:50 so I sprinted in and finished at 56:58.
My splits according to my Garmin were 5:47, 5:52, 5:56, 5:48, 5:42, 5:32, 5:31, 5:33, 5:29, 5:29. My Garmin splits were about 20 seconds short of the finish, but with the various turns and curves and lots of trees I'm not surprised it was a little off. I'm not sure what part of the race was off the most but it was ~2 seconds/mile. I was thrilled with the win and a 50 second PR and excited about running some more races this fall.