36:47 a 3-second post mayan apocalypse PR, possibly. I actually ran 36:45 at the Classic 10k in 2013, but I believe that was short. 37:05 last year
Didn't feel great on my warmup, just a general feeling that I get prior to workouts and races that I'm not going to be firing on all cylinders. I think it's due to lack of electrolytes. I decided that I would therefore try to be conservative at the start.
The race started very similarly to last year. One guy in grey leapt out to about a 5-10m lead almost immediately and a large pack coalesced behind. I ran next to Graham Merfield, a fellow brit, who was 2nd last year and I decided that I would try to stick with him for a while.
The first half mile is a little chaotic: down a very steep hill, 90degree turn, steep uphill, 90 degree turn, uphill, 90 degree turn, downhill. Then we start to run down a nice long downhill (which we'll run the other way to finish). During this, some guy in black passed me and caught the leader. Things started to sort out and we were left with 4 people together and 2 guys out in front. Right before the mile, there's a steep uphill (there'll be lots of those in this race) and that spread things out. The top two guys pulled away and the chase pack spread out. I was 4th at the mile in 5:46 (5:41 adj), about 3 seconds behind Graham in 2nd and about 10 seconds behind the leading two. I was 5:40 at the mile last year.
I catch up to Graham again briefly on a downhill, but again lose him on the subsequent uphill. This is exactly how the race went last year. Two guys were out in front with Graham and I in 3rd and 4th, and me mostly suffering to stay with Graham. Reach two miles in 11:22 (5:46 second mile, 5:35 adjusted) and it seems like the guys in front of me are getting further away. "That's ok", I think to myself, "maybe they'll get tired". However this doesn't seem likely as during the 3rd mile their lead stretches to about 100m (20-25 seconds) and I start to hear footsteps.
Right before the 3 mile mark Aaron Roseberry catches me. This is also just like last year, as he caught me at the same point last year. The 3rd mile ends with a steep uphill (there are lots of those in Atlanta) and I feel like I'm running about 7min pace. Hit mile 3 in 11:39 (6:07, 5:50 adjusted) in 5th place. Someone informs me that it's 'downhill all the way', which is certainly false seeing as it's a 90ft net gain in the second half. However there is some downhill for a time which allows me to catch back up to Aaron who sniffs and promptly drops me again. Well I tried.
Then something funny happens, I look up the road and see that the top three guys have gotten closer. I decide to see what happens if I surge. I first pass Aaron, then close the gap to Graham and pass him. Next, one of the leaders starts to flag and I catch and pass him. I go from 5th to 2nd in about 3 minutes. Mile 4 is a mere 6:06, but I suspect this mile is long by about .08. The course itself is about .08 long and this seems to be where the error is. This means that my actual pace was 5:39 and my adjusted pace was 5:16. Doesn't seem all that plausible, but I did make up a ton of ground.
That 4th mile really took a toll and I'm feeling nauseous and faint, but I'm only about 2 seconds back of the leader so I figure I may as well try to win. I catch up to him and just stick on his shoulder for about half a mile. When the course starts to go up again I throw in another surge and there's no response, but I am not feeling well at all. 5:55 for mile 5 (5:33 adj).
I just barely hold on at the end 6:00 (5:36 adj) for mile 6 which allows Aaron Roseberry to catch back up to me. I absolutely crush the last little bit (67 for .2, 5:13 pace, 4:46 adjusted) to win by six seconds over Aaron.