I wanted to keep my HR around 145 for the first 5 miles, but right from the gun I was high 150s, so I gave up on that plan. Instead, I talked to myself - out loud - to make sure I didn't push so hard initially that my HR red-lined and I'd blow up too early.
There was a 13-minute break between my start and the last racer before me, so I had no rabbits on course to chase. Course is essentially a box route. Very simple...all right turns...course marshals at the turns and marking on the pavement. The roads were wide, quiet, and pancake-flat. It wound around a wildlife refuge, so it was quite pretty. The smell of salt air, osprey and eagles around (and loads of red-winged blackbirds), and I saw a (dead) snake and a live (turtle...not sure what kind) on the road.