One thing that has definitely changed for me when it comes to road races is my desire to warm-up before the race.
I got to the race about 40 minutes before it started, quickly registered and went out and ran about a mile and an half. After that I went straight to the starting line, did my strides and picked the straightest course I could through the start by doing about 20 stride-outs. The start is not as all straight- the street kind of winds it way up the road, but you can run a perfectly straight line if you want.
Surprisingly, people didn't really want to stand right on the line. So I was pretty amazed that as we went to turn the first corner I was in about 30th place and some clown in black cut me off at the corner like it was a 1500 indoor track meet. As there was ice at the corner, I let the man in black cut right across me, something I usually wouldn't do. Then it was into the canyon of everlasting night there at the turn and we were running uphill into the wind.
I looked at all the people in front of me and forced myself to stick with my plan. I mean, it was disheartening- I have rarely run a race this size (less than a thousand people) and been so far back place-wise so early (later yes, this early no). And it didn't exactly look like the usual crowd of kids, high school students, and the terminally insane. But I started up the hill- and noticed what looked like a guy in a red-white and blue jacket running on the sidewalk to our right. The running form looked familiar but all I could think as I started slowly moving up was 'Why is some guy in a jacket running as fast as me ?'
That guy was Chris Schulten, who was out for a training run and intersected the race by accident. I won't say that he dropped me on the hill, but it was close to it. I continued moving up and even passed Michael Dolan (who would pass me back after 2 miles). I took the turn and settled in and wouldn't really change places much except to fall behind Michael on the downhill.
The race is really a hard race, because it's a real dash up the hills for the first half of the run. At least this time, none of the motorcycle cops tried to run me over...
I thought I ran the downhill well, and pushed hard to the finish. Not much really happened on the back half of the race- I ran as hard as I could, held my position, and banged out an 18:15, after I which I downed two Guinness and did my warm-down with Charlie Hornak. I beat my time from two years ago by 15 seconds and for the second time this year felt like I ran a good race, which, since I raced twice, I'll take.
But I still went out in the afternoon and ran for 75 minutes because Sunday is my long run day and I'm training for an Ironman.