I arrived at North Park about 30 minutes before the start and picked up my packet. I had plenty of time to warm up and talk with friends. The 10k runners started 5 minutes or so before we were given the go ahead.
The course was a cross country run with some singletrack with roughly 230 feet of elevation gain. I had planned to run it comfortably hard and hadn't expected much performance wise after the previous day's long run. At the start I held back a little for the first 50 yards and then seeing the trail approaching I passed a few people while there was space to do so running around a 7:15 pace. Once on the trail I slowed up a little. Taking the hills by running a few steps up them and power walking the rest of the way I had a few people pass me, but without spiking my heart rate I was able to overcome them quickly once at the top of the hill. It had been a while since I was on trail and I was feeling good and in my element.
The most technical section of the 5k wasn't very technical at all. It was some windy singletrack with a lot of rocks and roots. By now I was squarely in the tail end of the 10k runners who were taking this area cautiously. Being a little more seasoned to trails I was able to pass a number of others , both 5 and 10k runners with relative ease. As the course came back to meet the road I could see 3 people ahead of me. I broke into a full on sprint somewhere in the mid 5's. I managed to pass two people and coming up close on the third he dug in hard and outran me. I had nothing left to give and happily crossed the finish line.
Afterwards I hung around and talked with friends and watched others finish. Checking the results sheet I couldn't believe I came in 1st in my age group and 8th overall! I have never had a 1st place before and am ecstatic. Lisa took home a 3rd in age group.
Yeah, we kicked butt.
Thanks to Mark, who is the RD, and everyone else who helped put on this great race!