Idea for a race name in Mapleton: The Gobble Creep.
Anyway: goal for the race was to beat me bib# (1652) which I did just barely. I also logged my first sub 17 in a morning race (which tend to be slower than evening races.
I got out hard, staying on the shoulder of Nick Welch. He is a lot faster than me (2:29 at Chicago this year) so I thought maybe I was being overly aggressive to stay with him, but it felt just about doable. Every time he would threaten to put a little gap on me I would find a little surge and get back on his shoulder. A guy from Seattle Racing (turned out to be Joe Creighton who beat me by about 3 mins at the 10k last week) was in turn on my shoulder. 5:17 for the first mile, which was slightly disappointing given how fast it felt.
In the second mile there is a sharp left turn followed by a short climb and this was enough for the two better runners to drop me at about mile 1.9. Second mile in 5:33 meant that I was going to need to close well to get my 16:52.
In the last mile Joe pulled away, but I managed to close the gap back to Nick with about 800 to go and then I dropped him decisively (5:29 mile 3). I had a solid finish (31s) to just get my 16:50.
Turned out that Nick and Joe were running the 10k which explained why I was sticking with them.
The course was relatively fast, but they didn't close the trail to joggers which meant I had to expend some mental energy on not running into people making it slower than a track race. With that in mind, I didn't really feel like I was hurting at the end, which is positive.