AHAHAHA. So the bad news is, I did not come even close to my goal for the 10K. I ran 49:06, which is my slowest 10K since 2008.
...the good news is I was third overall human, and first woman. There were about a hundred runners, I am not really sure. So why, you may ask, the relatively slow time? The answer, my friends, lies in two images.
First, this is the map-corrected elevation plot; for your information, the climb from the low point shortly before mile 3 (the turn-around - the course was out and back plus a second out-and-back section from mile 4 to 5) was 145 feet in 3/4 of a mile. Oog.
And the second photo. As you know, it's been raining a lot in Colorado. The course was on dirt farm roads. What happens when you have rain + dirt roads?
Needless to say, it was NOT a fast course! There were a half-dozen serious mud-holes (each of which we had to traverse twice) and although the worst puddles could be bypassed, that meant zig-zagging and heading off into uneven grass or slick mud.
I lined up pretty much at the line and followed a small pack of men through the first mile and a half. My pace was a little hot to start but I consciously let them pull away, and I lost the time negotiating the mud-holes and the grassy sections, so my first mile was 7:13, pretty much what I was aiming at...though at that point, I didn't realize just how hilly the course would be!
I slowed a lot climbing in the second mile (there were no markers, but I had my Garmin) and my only consolation was that I could see I was gaining on one of the men who had dropped off the pack. I passed him about at the crest of the hill, where a water stop was located, and then tried to make up time on the downhill, but my split was 8:15, and looking at the long downhill ahead of me I knew coming back up would be a bear.
I had not counted the guys when they took off, so I was astonished to discover, as I approached the turnaround, that there were only three of them ahead of me. The next woman was not that far behind me, though, so I knew I'd have to keep pushing. My Garmin ticked off mile 3 at 7:20, not bad. But by then I was going uphill, and it just got steeper and steeper.. I had never thought I'd see paces north of 9 minute miles on a 10K! The only thing that kept me from total despair was seeing that I was gradually closing on the third man - I figured 9:30 pace must be okay, if he was moving even slower than that!
At the top of the hill we passed the water station again, and the third man stopped to take some water. I slowed but didn't stop, and passed him as I drank. Then it was time to fly downhill to try to make up some time, and I was able to claw my way back to an 8:21 on mile 4.
Then came the second out-and-back section with another downhill I was not excited about having to climb back up. The two guys ahead of me looked strong and comfortable and much younger than me. I was just pleased to see, when I made the turnaround, that the second woman was a bit farther back than she'd been before. I made 8:05 on that mile.
Where the second spur rejoined the main dirt road the route was a bit unclear, and I was worried I'd chosen the wrong path until I hit a mud-hole and saw all the running-shoe prints. This stretch was the muddiest, and on the way back it was uphill. I could no longer see the two men ahead of me, and all I could think of was that I had to stay ahead of the woman behind me. I put my head down and chugged in, with 8:24 in mile 6 and an 8:10 pace for the last .2, to finish in 49:06 - nowhere near what I had targeted, but a good effort in these conditions.
I jogged back with my cellphone to take a few photos of the course, and caught the second place guy jogging back with his wife - who was pushing their kid in a stroller! Talk about a serious workout!
Oddly they didn't do overall awards, but my satisfaction in coming in third overall and first female is its own reward. I did get first in the 40-49F AG (the second woman was also in my AG), and so won a bottle of wine from the winery that hosted this event. Finishers also received T-shirts, Balega socks, and a wineglass we could have filled at the tasting room.
Anyway, not remotely a PR, not any sort of fitness gauge, but a fun time and a solid workout. ETA: And to point out how solid a workout it was, I wanted to add that my HR average was 160 (86%WHR), for the last 30 minutes averaged 162, and for the last 10 minutes averaged 164, maxing out at 166 or 91% of HR reserve (working HR). So even though my average pace was just under 8 minute miles - slow for a 10K for me, the same as in my PR marathon - the effort was the level I would expect for a 10K.