Sunday, October 21, 2012

ABC Fall Foliage 5K

Yesterday, Seth and I headed out to downtown Amherst for the Amherst A Better Chance Fall Foliage 5K

The race started at a very civilized 10:30 a.m., which gave me ample time to have an excellent breakfast. Ezekiel bread toast (carbs) with peanut butter (protein), and some chai tea (because a little caffeine can be good before a run).

Seth and I had decided to sign up for this run together. For both of us, this would be our first 5K. Seth had done the 3K at the Bridge of Flowers. I had done the approximately 5 mile Lake Wyola Road Race, the Bridge of Flowers 10K, and the Hogsback Half Marathon. We were excited to do this race together!

They even gave us consecutive bib numbers. 

When we arrived at the Town Commons to register, it was a breeze. This was going to be a fairly small race of only around 100 people or so.

It quickly became clear that this race was not as well organized as some of the previous races that we did. The race started quite a bit late and, it turned out, that we were running along the same course as they were having walkers go along. This led to a lot of traffic. Many times during the run, there were people in my way. Also, they had decided to use clock time to track the runners instead of electronic chips. I started towards the back of the pack and am not sure if they accounted for when I crossed the starting line to start my time.

The race course was very interesting. We started by heading out from the Commons and then running down through the back of the Amherst College campus. We then met up with a trail running through Amherst conservation land. The amount of trail running on this 5K was unexpected to me -- they had posted course details online but not a map, so this wasn't very clear. I would say around a third of the face was on trails. However, the trail run portion was beautiful. The trail crested at the top of a hill and there were wonderful views of the fall foliage and the Pioneer Valley for miles. The trail met up with the bike path, which we took past the Farmer's Supply to meet up with 116 right by the Amherst College gym. From here, there was a significant uphill climb. I had really wanted to do this 5K in 30:00 or better. The uphill climb towards the Amherst College octagon was quite a challenge to this goal (as was the unknown start time calculation, trail running, and walkers on the course). I did my best to power up the hill, my breath very hard. I crossed the finish line at 30:12. Just over my goal time, however eighth out of eighteen in my division -- pretty exciting.

After collecting myself, I headed back up towards the hill to cheer Seth on. He ran hard at the end finishing in  37:24. I was so proud of him for making it!

After the race, we went back to the Commons. They didn't have any traditional race snacks, just a bit of BBQ food, which we didn't want after running hard. We decided to head home.

While this was not my favorite race because of the lack of organization, I did like getting to see new running trails in my local area.

Today, I decided to do a brief morning run. I was able to find the trail that we took during the 5K. It is about a 3 mile run from our house. I was able to take it and loop around. I passed some beautiful areas of Amherst.

Seth and I have fun plans to celebrate the 5K, especially since it's Seth's longest race to date. We have some limited edition Pumpkin wine from the local Amherst Farm Winery that we're very excited to try tonight.

We're also looking forward to our second 5K next weekend, the Revolution Run Homecoming 5K. This race is at UMass Homecoming and will be run through through the UMass campus. The course is mostly flat and all on the road. The course is USTAF certified and they will be using electronic timing. I am hoping that I'll be able to make my 30:00 5K goal next weekend.

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