Start - Across the soccer field, a nice wide start and we are sorted out before the first turn. Already one guy is way ahead of me and there is no way I will catch him. The field is wet but in decent shape, not much mud getting kicked up. Soon I am in third place. Across the field I make a surge and pass Amy. Based on recent marathon times and other races I should be fairly evenly matched with four runners here today. Amy, Terra and Heather ran marathons this month in times that were a minute or two faster than mine. Martino is here as well and he is always right up there with me. Turn onto a trail and through the mud spot. No standing water, just a little slippery. Cherry guides us the way to go and I continue on the trail. Flat but loose gravel, very hard to run as fast as I would like. Try the grassy side of the trail but that is just too uneven. Back onto the gravel. I remember that I did the same thing last year.
Mile 1 - 7:11, Way too fast for this course. I feel it in my legs and my breath. Amy catches up to me and we run together for a bit. I can not hold the pace though and she gradually gets out of reach. Bill points the way at another intersection. Apparently I was just far enough ahead of the pack behind me that they did not see me make a turn. Terra, Martino and Heather miss seeing Bill somehow and go off on the wrong trail for a bit. They figure that it cost them 45 seconds to a minute before getting back on track. That assures me third place and I will not have anyone getting close behind me to challenge me or give me inspiration to run faster. The place with waist deep water is dry this year, runnable grass.
Mile 2- Second time on the loop through the woods. My pace is fading, Amy getting farther ahead. I feel good though, ankle feels fine. Keep chugging along in good spirits.
Mile 2.75 - Back onto the field. I can barely see Amy ahead, but lose her in the fog. No one behind me. Eventually I look back and see the pack coming out of the woods.
3rd of 13