Why Is Everyone Going So Fast?

I was a reluctant registrant of today’s Parade Run. Last year’s race was disappointing for me. This year’s race would be competing with pre-season fitness. I was just released by the MD for competition yesterday. Yes, I have been training but nothing intense for 6-7 weeks. My goal for today was between 14:00 and 14:30. My other plan was to heed my own advice and pace myself (I had given this avice to HardyBreed Rabbit, Matt V., who participated in The Bix over last weekend).
Coming back from warming up I began to panic. Everyone was already lined up and, according to the Garmin, I still had 5 minutes left. I arrived just before the Nathional Anthem. I lined up on the back edge of the front 1/3 of the pack sneaking under the rope.
The gun goes off and everyone starts sprinting. (According to the timer we started 30 seconds early. Man, people are in a hurry). The first 1/4 mile is downhill so people are flying. I am trying to pace myself and keep glancing at my Garmin. I’m running around 6:30 and start to slow down. However, I’m getting passed like a 90 year old on the Autoban. My ego gets the best of me so I speed up. As I accelerate I look up and see HardyBreed Rabbit, Kim. Cool, I think to myself, I will pace off her. I then glance down at the Garmin and read 6:08. Damn, why is everyone going so fast? By this time it is about 0.6 miles into it and I am commited.
I hit the turn around at 06:28. Faster than I wanted but not feeling queasy, yet. Immediately after the turn around I realized we had a tailwind on the way out. I didn’t notice the tailwind but I am noticing the headwind on the way back. By this time I am isolated so I attack the hill to catch runners ahead of me and get a moment of respite drafting off them. After gaining my composure I weave my way around the carnage and use the crowd to kick the last 0.5 mile. As I near the finish line I see Danoh right in front of me and almost run into him as I cross the finish line. I guess he must have been decelerating while I was sprinting.
I finished with a time of 13:12 which is 17 seconds faster than last year. This is beyond explanation. I’m not complaining however and am exstatic with my time.
The irony involved is that apparently I beat Danoh but finished behind him in the race. Thus the confusion of chip timing. Another differnece this year was the size of the crowd. There seemed to be a lot more spectators this year. Probably due to the temps being about 10 degrees cooler than last year.
Hopefully, this is a good sign for my rest of the year.