Today the XC Mob made the trek up north to the Hole in the Wall Invitational. It was my first time on the course, and I have to say, it was a pretty nice one. There were several sharp cuts but not nearly as many as courses like Lake Sammamish which zig-zag all over the place. Hole in the Wall is flat for the most part but does have one real incline, but you only have to run it twice. Plus the incline is only about 50 meters long, maybe a tad more.
I felt pretty good during the race. I really felt like I was going at a pretty good pace and had a pretty good shot at beating my PR (19:29). The course ends on a track, and I was pretty surprised when I saw the clock in the high 30's when I rounded the bend for the last 100. I ended up finishing around 19:50. I didn't PR but I'm still pretty happy with myself, especially after my pathetic race last Wednesday (20:59).
I think what ended up happening was that for the last maybe mile and a half I lost my pace for a bit. I picked it up the last half mile or so, but I think that definitely hurt my times. As for my usual issue of starting to fast, I did fine on that front. My first mile split was around 6:15.
There was also one other thing that may have hurt me a little but time-wise (and physically). During the first 400 meters, there was quite a bit of pushing and jostling going around. The beginning didn't really funnel but there was a sharp turn like 300 meters in, and I think everyone was trying too hard to get on the inside. One guy went down directly in front of me. Somehow having been spun around, he fell backwards facing me. His legs came up and his spikes went directly into my shins on my right leg. It didn't hurt that bad, it kind of felt like a punch. I couldn't really assess damages because adrenaline was dampening any pain I might of felt and I didn't have time to check it out visually.
The impact slowed me down and I stumbled a bit. A guy behind me tried to push by me after I got slowed down and shoved me to the side with his arm. I got pretty angry and cursed at him, leading him to saying "I'm so sorry". The apology sounded sincere but I was still pretty damn pissed. You can't win a 5 kilometer race in the first 400 meters!
After the race, I checked out my leg and surveyed damages. I had four significant spike wounds that were oozing blood down my leg. My friend took a picture, but apparently his phone didn't save it correctly. I have a picture of it below, but it was taken after I got home and had wiped off some of the blood. Not as cool, but it works.