Fall Back 5 2012
We decided to go back…
For our last race of the season Katie and I rose early Sunday morning to make the 3 hour drive down to Saratoga for the 2012 Fall Back 5 Trail Race. We ran this race last year and had a great time, so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to run it again. The weather turned out to be a bit warmer than last year (40s as opposed to 20s) but the higher temperature was offset by an overcast sky.
The course was basically the same as last year, winding through a series of cross-country trails around Saratoga Performing Arts Center and the surrounding area. They run a section of pavement and added more flags to mark the course. We weaved past the springs itself, up a flight of stairs, and then took a mixture of single-track, gravel paths, and open fields for the rest of the race. The better (and more prevalent) markings really helped, and I avoided getting off-track. (I saw exactly where I had missed a turn last year and come out ahead of the lead runners. No problems this year.)
It was rather hilarious that the Race Director pointed out the the above fact, plus last year’s major issue: dogs loose on the course. A bunch of people laughed when he commented that there would be no dogs this time, though I am not sure people fully understood how crazy and unsettling it was to come around a bend and find a dog snapping at you. Thankfully the only animals I saw were copious numbers of squirrels.
This is a great race for anyone new to trail running: the course is very runnable; it is reasonably flat with only a few short steep ascents; plus it allows for some fast times. A diverse mixture of runners means that you get lots of road runners attempting trails, and lots of trail runners getting a scenic (albeit speedy) taste of the Saratoga foliage. Many leaves were still on the trees, though those that had fallen made the footing a bit precarious. Katie and I both commented on a fun but treacherous switch-back descent that was covered with leaves—”leaf running” can be tricky. (People in Vermont like to refer to this time of year, after the leaves are off the trees, as “Stick Season.” Pretty self explanatory.)
One of the great things about last year’s race was the swag: the long sleeve tech shirt was a rarity among race shirts; but the true gem in my eyes were the samples of Vega Sport products. When we picked up this year’s bag of goodies, (surprise, surprise!) there were again Vega samples! For a smallish race to provide such quality (and vegan) products to participants truly endears this race to me. Though it was bittersweet to finish racing for the year, I cannot think of a better race to go out with.
Neither Katie or I did as well as last year’s run, though I did managed to finish higher (9th and 2nd in my age group). We haven’t been running all that much, and what training we did this past summer was not focused on speed. But it wasn’t a concern: we had a great time. We got to spend time together doing what we love—being together and enjoying nature, and I know that if we can we will come back again next year.
Thanks to everyone who volunteered and put together the Fall Back 5. We hope to be there again next year.
(There were people taking pictures but they haven’t been put up yet. Should they do so I will add them to the post when I can.)