Well, that was disappointing.
Combine hot, humid weather with a course that was tougher than I thought, add in some silly mistakes, and you have a race that I wasn't happy with.
I knew going in that it was going to be humid. I hydrated well beforehand, and warmed up fine. The first mile was a complete downward slope, and I ran it in under 8:30 - so far, so good. There was an extreme hill right after the one-mile mark, and that slowed me down a lot in mile 2, but I was still under a 9:20 pace at mile 2. Mile 3 was flat for the first half, but then the silliness started. A car somehow turned onto the course in front of me and the group of about 8 that I was in. Our yelling to the driver to get off the course didn't help, so I played hero, and sprinted to the driver's window to voice my frustration. The elderly woman finally turned off the road, but that was only the beginning of my problem, as I was winded as the course made a 2-mile gradual up-slope.
The next 2 miles were just short of torturous. The shade of the neighborhood we ran through on miles 2 and 3 gave way to blazing sunshine on miles 4 and 5. This is where I struggled. But at mile 5, I was still sitting at around a 9:30 pace, and there was a downhill slope, which helped. But whoever designed the course was obviously masochistic, as mile 5.5 incorporated the slope that we ran up just after the one-mile mark, albeit on a parallel street. After making the turn at mile 6 for the homestretch, the finish line seemed so far away, but I crossed in 59:35, a 9:37 pace, and about 3:30 slower than I had hoped for.
What went wrong? I have come to the conclusion that the 10 extra pounds or so I put on while I was laid up with my calf imjury last Fall are coming back to bite me in the summer heat. So today begins Day 1 of trying to get my weight back to where it was last summer. I have a 4-mile early-evening race on June 27th and I'll probably run the Loudoun County 10K in early August again before the Rock & Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon in September, 15 weeks away. Hopefully by then I'll be down to my old weight.