Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hot Chocolate 15k: A PR Story

I have been looking forward to this race for a loonnnnng time.  The second I heard the words "chocolate" and "running" together I knew I had to sign up and luckily my birthday was right before so my mom and dad agreed to gift me with the entry fee, along with my very own box of hot chocolate, and a brand new running shirt (which by the way, was part of the perfect race day outfit).

As I've said I was really nervous about the race from the expo to race day.  I just knew I would miss the expo and not be able to pick up my bib and then sleep through my alarm, be late for the race, and butcher my goals.  Only one of those things happened.  Guess which one?

My friend went to the expo with me because I was paranoid about not being able to find it (my GPS sometimes plays mean tricks on me and we often have communication issues...) and other than interpreting the Hot Chocolate Expo 2 rights the wrong way we made it with no problems.  I got really excited because the National Harbor was pretty and I saw Ketchup which is a restaurant they ate at in that show The Hills in LA, which is a terrible reason to get excited about something, but whatever.  The expo went really smoothly and I hardly had to wait at all to get my race packet.  The entry fee included a windbreaker, which turned out to be yet another part of that perfect race day outfit, along with my favorite Target pretty much spandex pants and my gloves and headband.  The jacket also had POCKETS!  No worrying about what I was going to do with my gloves when my hands got too hot or my ipod falling into the water or something.  You never know.

I stayed at my friend's house before the race because it was closer than my apartment, and as my sister can tell you, I was once again paranoid I was going to forget something.  I had a continuous check list going through my head and I'm proud to say I didn't forget anything.   

Maddux wanted to go, too!

I have a very nice friend who is willing to leave the house at 5:30 in the morning, ride a shuttle through tons of traffic, and stand in the cold for hours to see me a total of 2 times during the 9 mile race, all while holding my bag of stuff.  Said traffic made the race get off to a late start (which is good considering that I made it to the race site 10 minutes before we were supposed to start and I had to sprint to the portapotties to make sure I wouldn't suffer the whole time...which happened anyway, but not because of my grandmotherly bladder).  I was really sad to see all the negativity from runners at this race.  There were a few unexpected change of events, but I mean it happens.  Usually runners are such a fun group to be around, but so many people were complaining about the dumbest things I have ever heard.  Man up or go home.  Anyway.  I just felt sorry for them that they allowed themselves to dwell on the things that weren't going as planned and ended up having a sucky day.  

As far as the actual running part goes (I know, ridiculously long post), I felt awesome for the entire first 10k.   Most of that was on the highway, which was kind of cool at first because a lot of the time I'm stuck in traffic on the highway and have this thought that it would be really awesome to run and see how much faster I could run than drive and that dream came true!  Kinda.  I got a high five from my friend around mile 5 so that gave me a great boost.  Then mile 7 hit and things started to get hard.  Mentally I was saying, "You have less than 2.5 miles left, WOOO! YOU CAN DO IT!", but my ankles were saying, "Excuse me, we don't really run this far.  We're going to tighten up on you now."  Then at mile 8 my IT band said, "Hey, remember that time you ran too far after training too little?  That's what you're about to feel now."  Then at mile nine I said, "THANK YOU, LORD!" and made it to the end for an ever so swift 1:38 finish.  According the the race results, that means I had a 10:30 pace.  Bah.  Not exactly the goal I had planned, but a PR no less.  And the end of the race was really pretty.  And there was yummy hot chocolate at the end.  And more Ghiradelli squares at the end.  And chocolate fondue which I didn't want because I just wanted to get on the shuttle and sleep until we got home.  

I am very sore today, but now I'm more motivated than ever to get my butt in gear for my March half marathon.  This race definitely proved that not taking training seriously isn't going to surprise me with an awesome run.  If I want to meet my 2:05 goal I really need to stop the excuses and start working hard.  Annnnnd for more motivation I am cashing in my birthday gift certificate from that very nice friend from the race to go get my new running shoes today!  I hope they don't make me run to see my stride though.  It might not be completely accurate right now....    

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