So when I discovered this race I read all the info and it clear stated that this is considered a trail race. I was fine with that. I actually sent my registration in while I was on vacation by snail mail. I know who does that, but it was easier to pay for the stamp than for fee to be able to do it online. I was excited because that meant I also got to go to the apple fest at Wachusett Mountain which I had never been to before.
On Saturday I went to the mountain to pick up my race packet.
I was so excited because I got bib number 1!! I have never had that happen before and I am so excited that it did. Not that I came in number 1 or anything but still. I also got a free ticket for myself as well three 50% off tickets for others to Apple Fest. My favorite thing was that the t-shirt they gave out is long-sleeve. I have almost no long-sleeve shirts so that was a great surprise.
So this morning (Sunday) I got up and got ready to go. When we arrived there were lots of people there but there was still plenty of parking so that was nice. I had planned to wear just my LIVESTRONG shirt but it was quite chilly this morning and I ended up having to wear my jacket. I really should have prepared a little more and worn a long-sleeve shirt under my t-shirt, oh well. I met a very nice women while waiting to start who was telling me all about the Tufts 10K for Women. I think I might have to try that next year everyone who has every told me anything about it have loved it.
We all lined up at the start which was behind the #2 sign for the parking rows. We all took off and headed out of the parking lot. That was the easy part, we briefly went up Mountain Road but then we right back on trail this was the beginning of mountain hell. It started up the mountain and...just...kept...going. There was no running for me during this time. So I took advantage and stopped to take some scenic pictures.
This was all before the rail climb began. I tried to get a picture of the trail but it just didn't work. The remainder of the up mountain was wet, covered in leaves, huge rocks, mud and huge tree roots. There were many spots where the rocks and tree roots were just like stairs. I think when I saw it was a trail race this isn't exactly what I had in mind. This was the only time that I have seriously thought about giving up, turning around and going back the way I came. We hadn't even gotten to mile one when we started this lovely terrain. But I didn't give up and I just kept reminding myself that what goes up must eventually come down, I just had no idea how long it would take.
Finally we reached the "top" and it started to go down mountain. We hit our first water stop which in my opinion was a joke. They were literally handing out little Dixie cups (like the ones you have in your bathroom for brushing your teeth) that were half full. It was one gulp! I'm sorry but after a climb like that I need more water than that I guess that is what I get for not bringing my own.
I quite enjoyed the down mountain. I was able to run most of it even being on the trail with rocks, leaves, mud and tree roots. The down mountain was a little over a mile so that was nice to know that I was almost done. As we got closer I could hear everyone yelling for people as they crossed the finish line. I decided for the moment I heard that I was going to run until I was done. Running the last little bit was a little difficult because it was packed mulch which was very loose and bouncy but I still ran.
Then of course I crossed the finish line at 51:43 which is probably my slowest 5k however considering the terrain and the fact that at one point I was at a 30 minute/mile pace that wasn't that bad.
Then I was done and got to have my cider and doughnut! I was happy to be done I really don't think I have ever felt that exhausted after a 5k. I will definitely consider doing it again next year, it was extremely challenging but in a good way! And the view from up there was amazing with all the changing leaf colors!
Then we got to go enjoy Apple Fest which was fun and something new to try! All in all it was a good morning!