Good job. Regardless of what the “official” results say, you know you were 4th. I have a few races now that, whenever I review the results, I find myself putting an asterisk next to my result in them because of these phantom runners.
Interesting comments about the lunges and the knee. It would seem to me surprising that the lunges would make a difference so quickly but I'll be interested to see what you say about the knee in the future.
By the way, warming up over the last mile: I like it. Whenever feasible, I always do that. It gives you the advantage over those who don't because you know what's coming and how far you have to go.