The Full Boring Full Marathon, Half Boring Half Marathon, and Near Boring 8k took place on the east side of the metro area. Abe and I arrived just 40 minutes before our race started, and easily walked up to packet pickup (moments like these I love doing these small races!). There were real bathrooms available next to the high school track.
Everyone lined up for the race, and the director gave a brief overview of course. Some of the roads were closed, but not all, but it's a fairly rural area and there was pretty minimal traffic out there. There are some rolling hills that made the course a little challenging, at least for my current fitness level.
I'm comparing 8k to my previous 5 miles race for PR/comparison purposes, since it's only 0.03 mile off, well within a normal margin of error from the advertised race distance. Though I haven't been specifically training for speed lately, my goals were to:
A: Get under 11:30 pace
B: Beat 5 mile PR pace of 11:41
C: At least under 12:00 pace
Started off a little slower than I'd like, due to some hills. Mile 1, 2: 11:50, 11:50. Then mile 3 has the worst incline, plus it was starting to get warm, and there was little shade on the course. Mile 3: 12:17. Finally, we turned around (the course was basically a lollipop shape), and had a bit more downhill than up. Mile 4, 5: 11:40, 11:15.
Official time: 58:08, 11:41 pace. So, I guess I'll count that as a PR tie?
I definitely lost some momentum in the middle miles, not just because of the hills and heat, but because of the lack of other runners around me. Though there are a lot of benefits of a small crowd, it also makes it difficult when you're at the back of the pack and hardly have anyone else in sight! I ended up finishing 66 out of 101, which percentile-wise is fairly typical for me. But during the race, I seriously thought I was in the last ten, maybe even last five. It was quite demoralizing!
This also made for some iffy navigation at the end of the race. I'm sure at the beginning the director explained that you'd go back around exactly the way the race started, but after running so hard for almost an hour, I couldn't recall that, I couldn't even recall exactly which way we did start the race. As we entered the school grounds, there were some arrows on the ground from a previous race going the wrong way, and the one girl I could see in front of me started to go that way. When she came back, I wasn't sure if it was the wrong way or just a loop in the course, so I headed that way too briefly before realizing the error. Fortunately, that made up a little mileage, because when I entered the track and totally failed to see any arrows, I ended up heading the wrong way around the track and entered the finish line form the wrong side! Kind of embarrassed, but at least my total mileage was still where it should have been thanks to the prior wrong turn. Due to so few people finishing in that time period, I couldn't watch anyone entering the track, so had no idea until I finished that I hadn't followed the course.
Overall, there were great volunteers at all the other intersections, and I wasn't concerned at any other point about getting lost (just about being the last person on the course). I'm sure instructions were given, and signage was up that would have directed me correctly, but there was sufficient opportunity for confusion in that last quarter mile that I think it would have been very helpful to have volunteers there to help direct runners.
Abe had a better race than I did, though - first in his age group! I think he's more sold on small races at the moment than I am. :)