I've wanted to check out Cole's Woods, in Glens Falls, NY, for a while. I got the chance yesterday, when I participated in the first leg of this year's AdiRUNdack Trail Series, put on by The Adirondack Runners and the Glens Falls YMCA. The turnout was a record: 163 runners and 142 finishers. The organizers seemed very pleased with the number of participants.
Around 6pm, the designated start time, we made our way over to the start line. The race director said a few words, explaining that there would be no one out on the course telling us where to go, but it was well marked, and if we were in doubt, just go straight. Then we were off.
I started too far back in the pack, and spent most of the first lap around the track passing other runners. After a lap, we headed in to the woods as one long mass of runners. I passed a few more runners, and eventually found people who were running at roughly the same pace.
The course is a lollipop, with some time on the track thrown in at both ends. In the middle is a hill that goes on for a while. I pushed hard up it, and pushed hard down it, trying not to give up any ground. As we started making our way back to the track, I found myself getting passed. A lot. I did my best to keep up the pace, but I was running low on gas. I accepted my fate, did my best, and ran every second of the course. For my efforts, the timing gods blessed me with a 29:55, which beat my goal for the race by a full 5 seconds.
It was also a PR. The last (and only other) time I ran a 5K was for a virtual race to benefit the Boston One Fund. I ran a 36:06 on the Camp Saratoga 5K course on 4/20 last year.
After the race, as I was recovering, I ended up talking with another runner, named Mike. He said that he had been following me for most of the race, and didn't think I was going to let him pass. I told him I was doing my best not to get passed, but on the final stretch I ran out of gas. We talked a bit more, and then I went up to the finish line to cheer other runners on. Once I felt I had returned to a somewhat normal state, I took my leave and headed out. As I was leaving, an 82-year old gentleman named Walt was coming in, and I stopped to cheer him on, too. He finished in 44:09.
All in all it was fun, and I look forward to doing it again. I love the energy that comes from running with other humans, especially in a competitive environment.
Until next time, be excellent to each other.