This was not my best race, but it was a wonderful return from months of nagging injuries. It was so nice to have a race day with no stomach issues, no ankle problems, and no unexpeected family emergencies.
I don't remember everything I ate the day before, but there was definitely a lot of brown rice, peas, black beans, and a LOT of cheap winco whole wheat bread. The morning of the race, about 2.5 hours before start, I had a piece of toast (made from the same cheap bread) with honey and a little bit of peanut butter. I don't always log my day-before-race food choices, but I felt the need since I didn't have any stomach issues this time. Maybe this will be useful information to build off in the future.
Cheyenne drove me the 5-minute journey to the bus pick-up a little after 5. The race suffered from a volunteer shortage, and the race actually started BEFORE all the buses arrived. Therefore I looked online after the race to find that I had actually finished in 12th place and not 7th like I had initially thought. The age group medals were awesome. The race was Christmas-themed for no apparent reason (who needs a reason to celebrate Christmas in July though?) and the awards were ornaments indicating the age group rank you achieved.
The first 5 miles of this race are a fast downhill, but manageable. I actually did a lot better on this than I intended. I finished the first mile in 6:03 and did not feel like I was going that hard, and I am fairly used to the feeling of racing downhill. I slowed down, as expected, when the course leveled out, but I didn't get that terrible fatigue that you get when you burn yourself on the downhill. Another runner and I played tag for a significant portion of the race, and he helped me perform better than I probably would have.
Like I said this was not my best race, but it was certainly one of the greatest reliefs I've felt in a while.
My garmin measured the course at 13.72 miles (the course was different from previous years due to construction), and I also did a warmup and cooldown. I'm writing this the evening after the race, and feeling pretty good.