The weather yesterday was pretty nasty- just a couple of degrees above freezing, heavy rain, and high wind- perfect for running around in shorts!
My plan for this race was to go out with the leaders, see what happened with them, and either try to hold on, or take the lead (which is what I did last year and ended up winning). When the gun went off I found myself right up at the front with 2 other guys, and by the time we turned into the first trail (about 3km into the race) there were just 2 of us. The trails were great- it had poured rain all night, and the trails there have a lot of clay, so they were very slick, with water filled ruts. Within about 500m of getting onto the trails both of us wiped out- the other guy flat on his face, and me flat on my back. We both got up and kept at it, and stuck together until about 6km. At that point we came up to our first serious downhill- quite steep and very slippery. He was wearing road shoes, and slipping all over the place. When he saw the hill I heard him say "oh no" so I took that at my queue to drop the hammer and left him. I was on my own until almost 10K, when a guy I had been talking to before the race caught up. Before the race he told me that since he's racing the 1/2 Marathon in Hamilton next week (with a goal of 1:19!), his plan for this race was to do the first third easy, the next third at race tempo, and the last third easy. When he caught up to me he was looking strong, and he decided to keep up the pace rather than drop the pace for the last third. We stuck together for a while, and then he started to pull away (or perhaps more to the point, I started to drop off). I knew that 3rd place was way back, and I wasn't going to catch 1st, so I kept a steady pace to finish off in 2nd, almost a minute slower than my time last year. The medals are really neat- they're hand made by a local potter- much nicer than the some of the generic trophy shop medals you often get at small races