The Five College Realtors 10 Miler Race took place in Amherst, MA on February 22nd, at Noon. The cost was $45 and while the price of being able to finally run outside was priceless.
This wasn’t on the race schedule and this wasn’t planned, so how did I end up running a 10 miler on Sunday February 22nd in Amherst… a good 2 hour drive away?
Well… a friend mentioned that she’s running this race earlier through her running club and I looked at it, noticed it was too hours away and decided I was saving a bit up for a few other destination races, so I passed. Then weeks (although it feels like months) of snow and ice and the terrible winter of 2015 that is happening in Boston occurred…. and after realizing that I literally haven’t stepped outside in over a month besides a half block walk to the gym from my office and two block walk from the car garage to the office, that I should try to get outside no matter the cost. Boston and Malden sidewalks are pretty much icey death traps unless you’re in a shopping area.
I just wanted to run outside and not worry about falling on the ice that has replaced all the sidewalks in my hood. Rumor had it that Amherst got inches compared to our feet of snow and the photos I looked were runnable.
So there, I found myself texting Sonia on Saturday night wondering if she has extra room in her car the night before a race. She was driving up with a few running clubmates and they had just enough room for little ole me!
The Five College Realtors 10 Miler Race was race # 1 in the USATF New England Grand Prix race championship. What exactly does it mean? That I am surrounded by some of the beset and fastest runners in New England. And yes there was nothing more humbling than seeing my results post race. But back to the story from the start.
The night before it snowed as it seems to be everyday lately, but luckily the drive up was easy. We stopped at one point at Dunkin and I picked up coffee and an egg white flat bread with cream cheese. Note ideal pre-race meal, but I had more than four hours before guntime and I really didn’t want to feel hungry mid-race. We got there at about 10AM, giving us enough time to mingle, me to sign up for the race, and all the bathroom breaks I needed. The race start was next to a school and we got to hang out in a warm cafeteria with plenty of bathrooms for all the anxious runners.
If funny… when you get to a race two hours early, it always seems like you got forever to go before gun-time, and yet it still sneaks up to you. I edged myself in a comfortable 10 lines to the front. I knew I wasn’t in any shape or even league as a lot of the runners to weasel my way to the front like I normally do.
The first 2.5 miles or so are pretty much a down-hill ride. I was trying to keep it easy, but saw myself slipping in and out of 6:30 on the downgrade. The race had mile markers so it was nice to see my pace as I didn’t have complete faith in my Garmin after not using it for over a month.
It was nice to start off fast, but I reminded myself I’m going to really regret this downhill part when I have to climb this back up to the finish. The race is what they call a lollipop loop so what goes down, will be coming back up to smack my heart right out of my chest.
Mile 2.5-7.5 – They say this course is hilly and that’s not a lie
It was up and down for a bit and somewhere in the middle around mile 4-5 we hit the dirt path.
I was a bit worried that it would be muddy or slippery because of the snow, but for the most part it was perfect. Only a few parts that were more snowy than others and felt like running on a sandy trail.
After the nice break, it was back to rolling hills for a bit. I started getting into a groove and enjoying them a bit. My pace even started to drop around 7:20s.
And then the last 2.5 miles came… It felt terribly hard… I forgot just how hard running a real hill is. Nothing to make you feel even more out of shape than hill. It felt like my heart was going to explode straight out of the chest as my brain went into an aneurysm. I spent a great dealing of walking in parts of it as I watch my pace tumble into slower times. And the whammy of it all as it took its toll was a stomach cramp .4 miles from the finish line! I tried to kick, but instead slowed to a jog/walk as I tried to make it to the finish line in one piece. I saw the clock say 1:16 and I fought my way through to not break another minute! Success.
There are no medals in this race similar to a lot of local races, but you do get a fairly nice, but not gender specific long sleeve shirt to add to the collection.
Additionally, the race advertises showers, but by showers they mean two small dark stalls in a high school locker room that forever reminded you why high school kids are smelly… yea, needless to say I skipped the shower and just changed out of sweat clothes. They did have some refueling with bananas, bread, soup, cookies and candies. Calories.. calories… calories. Maybe beer sponsor next year?
My ending results:
Overall Place: 288/565
Gender Place: 76/221
Division Place (0-39): 58/106
I felt like I did a pretty good job despite it being far from my half marathon PR. But with fighting injuries this year and all the snow, you take what you can get and enjoy it the most. I think I could have put a harder effort in it. Since I’ve been mostly running marathons or 5Ks, I haven’t figured out a great way to pace myself on these middle distances.
If I lived closer to the area, I would definitely do this race again! I wouldn’t mind if the cost was a little lower since it’s so far away, but the roads were mostly clear of cars. I only saw like 2-3 drive by and all drivers were really nice to the runners. It was also nice to warm up in the school before and after the race. All in all, a well-organized race!