So I went into this race not knowing what to expect as far as my performance was concerned. The River City 10k is a flat and fast course, so I knew that I would have no real excuses for running slow other than my own fitness. Keeping that in mind, I decided that I would try to hang onto Eric Charette, a friend from Huntsville who has been running some fairly impressive times recently, for as long as I could. My initial game plan was to run with him for the first mile or two and then make a judgement call as to whether to stay with him or not.
Once the race got underway, I tucked in right behind Charette and rolled through the first mile without much incident. During the second mile, we plugged along rather smoothly, encountering the only "hill," which would more accurately be described as a slight rise on the course. I did manage to inject some humor into the race when I mentioned to Charette as we approached "Oh no, a hill!" We got a little chuckle out of that, both having some trail ultra experience and knowing how flat the course actually is. In any case, we hit the second mile a little slower than the first, and I noticed I was feeling good, so I eased past Charette to take over pacing duties. The third and fourth miles went by in a blur, being the fastest miles of my race, and they, too, proved to be rather uneventful. Shortly after the four-mile mark, I began to slow, and Charette passed me again. I continued to hang on over the next mile or so, but he pulled ahead a little way, and I thought I would have to finish up alone. Fortunately enough, he began to slow as well, and we maintained a constant separation between us until just before the six-mile mark. I then managed to catch up and overtake him at about 5.9, and I felt fine to put together a solid kick; unfortunately, my body had a different plan. Just after the 6 mile mark, my stomach rebelled. Suddenly, I was convinced that I was going to throw up, and rather than tough it out and let it happen, I slowed down a little in an effort to ease the nausea. Charette, being the solid racer that he is, held the pace he was on and passed me with between one and two tenths left. The nausea did subside, and I simply held my pace to the finish line for a time of just over 35 minutes.
I am pleased with a new 10k PR, but at the same time, I am somewhat frustrated with the final minute of the race, during which I both missed out on getting under 35 and lost to Charette. Oh well, I guess that gives me something to shoot for; Eric ran a great race, which was exactly what I was counting on him to do. In any case, the race was a lot of fun, it was well organized, and it made for a great run.
For what it's worth, my mile splits were:
1:23 (last 0.2)
Revised: Final time 34:59. I feel a little better.