The Hunter 5k

Friends from my neighborhood run club and I decided to join in for the Hunter 5k, which is actually held annually in our neighborhood on the weekend closest to Halloween. Only makes sense that we should participate in the event to celebrate the life of a young boy and contribute to a great cause.

After Boston a few weeks ago, I immediately jumped into a 5k training plan for a race in mid-November. My training plan called for “6 fast” this past Saturday. “6 fast” means “run 6 miles fast.” And “fast” means whatever it needs to be on that day. So instead of running 6 fast, I decided to try to run a fast 5k race.

Like Boston, I didn’t go into the race with much of a plan. I’d had 11 days of 5k training leading up to this past Saturday. And I knew this wasn’t so much of a race as it was a neighborhood Halloween fun run. There were all kinds of kids and adults participating who were all dressed up. Although some showed up to run hard and fast. I mean, we all registered, had chips on our bibs and there was a timing mat at the start/finish.

Scott and I met at Frank’s at 7:30 on Saturday morning. We chatted in Frank’s front yard for 20 minutes before humping it the 2-miles to the race in Avaña. We hung around for another 30 minutes before the race started at 9 a.m.

I sort of lined up at the front but, again, this was more of a fun run. Kids. Costumes. Fun times. The horn went off and everyone started squeezing through the shute. I zig-zagged through some kids as I watched the fast and able-bodied grown-ass adults who’d lined up at the very front barrel ahead of the pack. So that just confirmed that there were some who were there to race. And now I had rabbits.

I wasn’t going to try to do anything big, but the temperature had gone from the upper 80’s down to the upper 40’s overnight, so the air was cool and crisp and my legs and lungs were feeling a bit spry. So I kicked. And I clipped off a handful of fast folks within the first half-mile.

It took me a mile before I could get a visual on the next guy ahead of me. I used the hills to my advantage and pushed hard. I was halfway through and told myself to just gut it out. It took me another half mile before I could gain on and pass him. At that point I knew I was somewhere up near the front. And then I saw Eric. I knew Eric was in 3rd place but I wasn’t going to try to catch him. He was too far ahead and I knew he’d kick if he knew it was me creeping up on him. But then I crept up on him on a hill and then as we came upon a turn. I asked him if we were supposed to go straight or make an immediate right. I think he was gassed because he said something, but I couldn’t understand it. Then I could see the 2nd place guy and knew we were supposed to go straight. So I started tailing him. My watch beeped 3 miles, but I knew we had more than a tenth of a mile to go. More like a quarter or a third.

We made a left turn back onto the main street. The last part should’ve been a straightaway back into the parking lot of the school. My rabbit made a left-hand turn too early into the wrong entrance to the school. I didn’t know the course, so I followed him. We both had to run through the vendors, food trucks, and hop through a grassy median to get back on course. That wrong turn added 100+ yards for us both so instead of getting 2nd and 3rd place, we took 4th and 5th.

It was a fun morning and it felt good to push hard, although my lungs gave me hell on the walk all the way back to Frank’s house. Running fast is hard as hell.

I PR’d my 5k time at 18:08. Now I know what I want to gun for at the race next Sunday.

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