I think I've become an endorphin/adrenaline junkie. After the recent elation of posting a Boston qualifying time and subsequent recovery time, I got depressed. I had finally achieved a goal I had been chasing for over four years. I can't register even register for Boston until the end of next summer. Also, my running recovery program is very conservative. I won't even get back to 40 miles per week until this coming week. So maybe all those exercise induced miles pre-race got me hooked on the runner's high? I decided to enter a Halloween 5k to get my mind off things.
I got a slight reprieve from my gloominess with son's flag football team which I coach. The team had an average season and they only scored one touchdown in their first three games. However, we got better and went about .500 for the rest of the season. The playoffs began after my marathon so it was a welcome distraction. The first playoff game they caught fire. We were up 30-0 at one point and every kid played their heart out. We won easily and I was so wound up after the game I barely slept that night. Our second playoff game saw us score another 30+ points and win again. Our playoff run ended with a loss that would have put us in the championship game. It was exciting to watch and help them win. More natural adrenaline.
Which leads me back to the Halloween Hustle 5k in Palatine. Nothing gets my blood pumping like a blistering 5k. My wife and son came to watch which rarely happens. Not that I blame them since they get to stand around in the cold for however long the race takes. The Halloween theme gave my son an excuse to wear his Darth Vader costume. It was odd though to pick up my race packet inside of a parking garage. Reading the website the actual race used to start in the parking garage!
At least they are leaving the garage with traffic
This year it started on the street. It was a CARA circuit race which meant any age group award was out of the question. I really had zero expectations. After all it was only 20 days since my marathon and my weekly recovery miles were 15, 22 and 17 the week of the race. The only thing I told myself to do was to pace evenly. It was a flat course but there was a pretty stiff 18mph wind out of the northwest.
The first mile as usual started out quick. Like 6:15 pace quick. Which is fall down and pass out quick for me. Thanks to the Garmin I got it under control and passed the first mile marker at 6:40. Mile 2 of any race I tell myself to relax and just maintain the pace. But what usually happens is I go too fast since Mile 1 has my muscles warmed. Mile 2 went down in 6:35. Only 1.1m left and I am chasing this guy who appears to be a bit older than me. I decide to hang near him and blow past him in the home stretch. However, just as I am about to light the after burner my gag reflex kicks in. I didn't lose my breakfast but did cough a bit. To make matters worse the guy I was about to pass runs of the course prior to the finish line. Damn bandit! At least I passed him...I guess. Looking through the race photos I found one of him directly ahead of me near a last turn.
BANDIT MOST WANTED POSTER
As I crossed the finish line, it turned out the last 1.1 was in 7:40 (6:58 pace) and I had a new 5K PR of 20:55 by 11 seconds. One of my goals this year was to go sub 21 and I did it when I didn't even expect it. More endorphin/adrenaline induced fun despite choking near the finish. I could have worse habits.