I went to Sacramento to race this weekend... in brief:
Saturday: 20 min with strides. Felt a bit sluggish and awkward to start but warmed up well and did 5:59/km for the 20 min with four strides; I did 3.35km. Legs felt good afterwards. Walked around the Davis farmer's market with my brother and his family and Grace (who came with me, but didn't end up doing the race).
Sunday: Race day! I was about 40 min from the park where the race was, so Grace and I left Davis about 6:25am, and arrived just after 7am at William Pond park. This was a USATF Pacific Association 20K race with a concurrent 5K, so the 20K was the main event. I will do the 20K next time, I hope :).
I warmed up for just 1km; I was a bit nervous about my legs holding up. Turns out I needn't have worried, but better safe than sorry as long as I was warmed up. I did strides after that in the parking lot near the finish line. I felt good but wasn't sure of myself at all. I talked with my friend Alex Price, and he said that he, Mark Green, and Adrian Zamudio all planned on going out at 29 min 5K pace for their 20K, with a goal of a 1:56 finish. Perfect! I could just go with them and have help with pacing. Turns out I didn't need it too much; I stuck with Adrian for about 4K then he pulled ahead. Mark and Alex were just behind me but because I felt good and was a little under 29 min pace, I didn't worry about that. There was a cone marking the 500m mark on this 1km out-and-back course, so it was super easy to get my splits.
Turns out I paced things pretty well with the guys - here are my splits: 5:43, 5:44, 5:46, 5:50, 5:47. That's pretty darn good. Seriously, I felt really good for the whole race (maybe it was the sea level altitude?); on the 4th km I eased back just a touch to make sure I had enough, but probably didn't need to - it was nerves? I dunno, but I am super happy with the outcome. Yeah, not nearly as fast as I used to be, but that will come back with time and training and losing a bit of weight, IF I continue to feel good. That's a big IF, but I'm hoping and hoping it will be true.
Photos: me with Grace, me with Robyn Stevens (winner of 20K in 1:46:xx), me with my award.
Edited to add: race temps were chilly at 48F (8.9C) but it was just perfect, actually! I warmed up with gloves on but ditched them and was perfectly comfortable in short sleeved shirt and shorts, with the sun warming us gently.
Garmin data here for race.
Today: recovery day - 20 min elliptical, bike to work (it was cold! my toes got chilly! I think it was about 41 this morning (5C)).