In this case, the course was a 2 lapper, so I got a preview of the second half of the course while running the first half. I knew what was coming before I got there. Also, Ed mapped the course on mapmyrun, so I could check the elevation profile and know what kind of hills were coming.
Also, I always warm up from the finish line over the last mile, give or take, of the course so I know what the final mile holds.
Finally, it's just a matter of knowing my strengths and weaknesses. Am I in shape to make a move on an uphill? If so, see an uphill, take advantage of it. Have I practiced my downhills enough to take advantage of them? Then, I can take advantage of the upcoming downhill. I know blind turns can help if I can make a break before I get to them.
Typically, the last thing I want to base strategy on is a mile marker or a watch. I want to base it on the conditions, the course, and the competition.