Course was a bit more difficult than I anticipated, so I'm happy with the result. 2 seconds faster than seattle RNR and about 1 minute slower than labor day half (completely flat).
I started out in the 3rd pack for the first mile. My breathing was high but I guess I had a lot of adrenaline because I felt very relaxed. I briefly thought about trying to surge up to the second pack, but we hit a small hill just prior to the mile and it got a little harder. Reached the mile in 5:42 in a group of about 5 with another large group at 5:27 (I could hear a volunteer yell their split).
Almost immediately started to lose ground in mile 2. We turned on to the express lanes and we hit a slight climb that started to go on forever. Eventually I caught back up to couple of people who had dropped me. Missed mile 2 but mile 3 was about 17:45, meaning I had been over 6 minute pace for those two miles.
At mile 3 we went up another hill and emerged from the tunnel into the concrete canyon of I-5, which was a bit weird. Again missed my split for mile 4, but mile 5 was 29:26. This was my predetermined point to start pushing as the course suddenly gets easier. Unfortunately mile 6 was only 6:13, which seemed way wrong as it was almost entirely downhill and I had pulled away from everyone in the 3rd pack.
Then things got back on track with a 5:42 mile 7, so I figured that 6 was long and 7 was short. I could see one guy ahead of me and passed him up with a 5:50. But then it got hard to stay motivated, as I couldn't see anyone ahead of me. I just decided to cruise a little and save myself for the final 5k. 5:56, 5:58 for miles 9 and 10.
The race really starts at the 10 mile mark when you have to climb up Stone Way. Unfortunately, I had very little strength left in my legs. Managed a 6:35 for mile 11 going straight up hill. But the kicker is the climb just keeps going, it was probably 1.5 miles of uphill by the time I crested the Aurora bridge. When I did, I found it hard to get moving again and so only managed an 11:57 for the last two miles (which had some climbing but was a net downhill). 34 seconds for the finish.
I ended up almost 1 minute behind 10th and almost 2minutes behind 9th, although 12th and 13th were hot on my heels at the finish.
Weirdly, this race gives me more confidence in running a good marathon as I felt pretty relaxed knocking out those sub 6 minute miles in the middle of the race.
Afterwards I had enough energy to run back up Aurora to my house.