After this game, I thought the only takeaway was playing hideous in time-pressure, thinking about all of the mistakes that I made at the end. Now I realize that just getting to play stronger players is the reward.
I did make lots of mistakes on the clock. I could have played Bd3 (pawn-doubling) about 10 minutes before I did. At one point I hit the clocks so that they stopped for 5 minutes on his time, while I was away from the board (noticed it when I came back).
And yet for all my crazy moves at the end, half knowing I was doomed on the clock in any case (I could have finished with quite solid moves at 30/90 or 40/90, but knowing the game is about to end induces crazy moves even more), I flagged and he finished with under 2 minutes on his clock.
In the final position, material is equal, but Black is easily winning. My last move may have been Rxh7, I am not sure because I spent all of my time looking at ..Rc7, but may have thought that Rxh7 was a quicker move to play and switched to that at the last instant. He didn’t notice I had run out of time for a few seconds, but he never played another move after it happened.
Here is a picture of me playing Alejandro (goes by Alex) in the last round of the City Championship (Dean Brown is seated in the background).