I have done this race twice before, in 2008 (28:39) and in 2010 (29:xx). I was not looking forward to it this morning because I was sure I'd be terrible. In reality, it actually went quite well. Go figure!
I warmed up with Calvin for 1600m with strides, in 10:00 flat. I felt awkward and out-of-sorts in the first 500m but then was feeling decent. Wasn't at all sure I was ready to race well, but figured it'd be a good workout anyway.
It was quite warm at 79F (26C) and humid for Utah (maybe 30-40%; just felt a touch muggy, but boy was everyone sweating up a storm during the race!). I wasn't that worried about the weather since I wasn't expecting much of myself. No pressure is nice in some ways, but honestly I'd rather toe the line of a race feeling prepared. 3K fartleks are not sufficient prep for a 5K race. Neither is being 15lb overweight.
The siren went off to signal the start, which is up a gradual hill on State Street. In fact, the whole first km is uphill. I made it to 1K about 6:04 by my watch and thought I was slow, but decided that the hill thing made it harder and that I should cut myself some slack. Made it to 2K about 11:58, so that was better. [Then there's a little downhill and then another uphill before flat then down a bit then up a teeny hill before the finish. They aren't big hills, but it's not an easy course with 36m of elevation gain and 34m of elevation loss according to my Garmin. The start is close to the finish but is indeed a bit lower.] I got to 3K in about 17:45 by my Garmin, after a nice downhill stretch, and felt more positive. I just really wanted to finish in under 30 minutes! The uphill around 4km felt hard but when I saw 23:38 on my watch I knew I'd be able to go under 30 min. Best of all, it turned out my watch was short - the course is a USATF certified course, so I know it's well-measured, and my Garmin had it at 4.91, so the whole time I was a bit faster than I thought. My watch time was 28:48 but they had me at 28:43 for the official time. Yay! In addition, I got 1st place in the Clydesdale division :).
Of course, Calvin kicked my butt :). He did 24:33, good for 4th place for 11 and under in this very competitive race. Since this is a USATF Utah circuit race, all the fastest runners in Utah come and do it, and bring their kids. Calvin was sad he didn't get top 3, but next year I'm sure he will.
As for my race, I am so happy with my time - not sure where it came from, and I don't care! It's super motivating to finally have a good race. This is the first really GOOD race I've had since the Cold Turkey in 2012, over 18 months ago. I felt so good at the finish, and so satisfied and happy. I have really missed the feeling of a good hard race, and no pain. I hope this continues, but if not, at least I've made one more good memory.