Sunday, November 8, 2015
The official name of this race is the Setting the Pace for Conservation 5K, but it's more often called the Westerly Land Trust 5K or Avondale Farm Preserve 5K or just Avondale 5K. I think it needs a name makeover.
As a member and supporter of the Westerly Land Trust, I would likely run this race on those merits alone, but it truly is a fun and fast 5K course. Steve had designed this course through the preserve and on quiet roads along the Pawcatuck River. For two years, this race was run as the Commitment for Change benefitting the WARM shelter and others, and after they stopped the race, the Land Trust picked it up.
Mile 1: 57-degree start was ideal, although with some wind out of the west. The gun went off, and surprisingly we did not have anyone sprint out. Tommy 5K, Jeff Duda, and I ran together for the first 1/4 mile or so, until Duda said he would drop back "where he belongs". Calls from Tom and me for him to get up front and block the wind were not heeded. By the time we came back through the start/finish line to exit the preserve at 1KM, it was just Tommy and me. Out onto Watch Hill road for a mile 1 split of 5:32.
Mile 2: Turning off Watch Hill Road onto Avondale Road, we headed back into the headwind. Tommy got about 5 feet ahead of me, and I seriously considered just dropping back to a more comfortable pace. I somehow pushed it to catch back up and we ran together turning off to Champlin towards the turn-around. We alternated spots a couple of times, but by the time we turned back into the wind on Avondale Road again, I was just spent. Mile 2 split 5:44 (it felt a lot faster than that).
Mile 3: The pace slowed considerably, as at this point I was just in "hang on" mode. Tom's lead increased, although I kept him in sight the whole way. After what seemed like an eternity, we were back in the preserve. I passed the Mile 3 marker with a 5:51 split, and as I watched Tom cross the finish line in 17:23, I sprinted to the finish.
Final results here. 17:32. A one second PR! First 5K PR in more than two years. Duda finished in 18:07, and Shara notched a new PR in 18:39.