The "Inaugural Race for the Chase 5k" in Athens was a little chilly but I managed to get 1st in a race that sadly only featured 150 entrants. I believe there were only 2 guys in their twenties (including myself) that came to race, which is understandable in such a college town. Who in their right minds, within the ages of 18-24 would be up at 7am on a Saturday morning?
The race started off pretty slowly, with a group of about 5 guys off the front immediately. Everyone except for the guy I was behind sounded like they were breathing quite hard. For about a mile I stayed with the guy who eventually came in second. The first big hill came up and I took the lead, making sure I kept my strides short and my breathing controlled. I kept up my 'speedy' pace for the next mile and passed the 2 mile marker at ~11:40 or thereabouts. So my pacing was exactly where I wanted it to be for a 5k: around 5:40 for the first 2 miles-ish and then cranking it up in the last mile+.
So things were going smoothly and I was just cruising along when I managed to turn right as opposed to going straight like I was supposed to. I went about 50-60 yards the wrong way before I heard the shouts of "You were supposed to go straight!" So I angrily turned around and got back on the right track, all the while cursing under my breath (hopefully...). The guy behind me, who I had managed to put about 30-40 seconds on in about a mile to a mile and a half had caught up until he was only about 30-40 yards behind me. I was pissed but still managed to hold on to the lead spot. He kicked at the end to make up some more time on me but I knew he wasn't going to catch me so I didn't speed up at all. I felt like I had a good bit of juice left in me at pretty much all times during the race; I never felt as though I was going all-out.
Kat and Jeremy were nice enough to wake up early to take pictures and cheer me on, even though as opposed to shouting that I went the wrong way they just said "What an idiot!" Typical. Not a bad race; I PR'd by a little over a minute but the hilly nature of the course and my wrong turn didn't help much. I still think that on a flat course I can go sub 18. That did not happen today, sadly. Next time...