The "race packet" included my bib and a map of the course.
I glanced at the map just long enough to scope out the 10k course and see that it was broken into a loop and then an out and back. I should have paid closer attention because I thought the two segments of the course were about equal, but that first loop was actually just under two miles. It messed with my mind a bit during the run and I was glad I wore my Garmin. The map needs a big "not to scale" disclaimer.
Both the 5k and 10k races started at 10am. I'd guess there were a couple hundred people running. I didn't have a specific goal pace in mind so when the race started I just took off at a pretty brisk pace and decided to keep it up as long as I could. I found a runner to use as my pacer and kept him in my sight for the first few miles.
The loop took us through what I think was the main downtown area and La Conner seemed like a nice, quaint little town. Then we headed out into the county roads for the out and back portion. I was breathing hard, but overall still felt pretty strong. That is until we turned a corner and were running against the wind. A few times during this stretch I tried drafting behind another runner. It actually seemed to work in conserving energy, but I didn't draft for too long because it was disconcerting not really being able to see the road ahead.
Somehow along the way I passed the guy I had been following and managed to stay ahead of him for about a mile until he caught back up somewhere during mile 5, and then slowly pulled away during mile 6. I never completely lost sight of him though.
It seems kind of silly to say the last mile of the race was hard. I mean, when is the last mile of a race ever easy? But I was definitely feeling the effort and kept thinking to myself "just one more mile, less than 10 minutes, you can do anything for 10 minutes". This worked until we turned another corner and hit what felt like the strongest headwind of the entire race. It was really tempting to slow down, but the rest of the race had gone so well that I knew I couldn't give up now.
When I hit the six mile mark and I could see the finish line in the distance, I tried to give a final kick and pass the girl in front of me, but I just didn't have it in me. Looking back, I think I could have given more physically, but mentally I didn't care enough to push through the pain. I wonder whether I would have acted differently if I had a personal time goal or knew there was a definite chance of placing in my age group. This mental aspect of running is something that I need to keep working on.
Anyway, I finished in 48:06 which I'm quite pleased with. I accomplished my basic goal of getting out for a faster paced run than I would typically do on my own.