Sometimes you need an impromptu race that you don’t really train for to give you the boost you need. That’s what happened this weekend with the Hot Chocolate 15k. Honestly, I don’t even remember when I registered for this race. I tend to be really hasty with race registrations. I see an advertisement, someone posting it on Facebook or just get an incling to race and boom, I’m registered. It can be a good thing. It can also be a big fat pain and waist of money.
After the Dallas Marathon in December life got really busy. We had Christmas and after Christmas, sickness galore, and my NASM exam looming closer and closer. So, distance took a back seat. I was running enough to stay sane and keep a decent base but that’s it. No more than 6 miles and lots of shorter high intensity runs with TONS of hills. I kind of beat myself up(you know you do this too) thinking I wasn’t doing “enough.” It’s kind of ridiculous really. I let what other people were doing affect how I felt about my own life and routine and runs. I was doing what I could. It’s totally ok that other things were more important. So, with that said, I went into this race completely(in my mind) unprepared. I knew I could run the distance because I felt my base was still there. I trained for Dallas using the Hanson method. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, it’s intense. Six days of running a week with everything from tempo runs to long runs to speed work. It has built in recovery days but you still run…all. the. time. So, even though I haven’t been logging tons of mileage, I spent 6 months building a really solid base that has allowed me to kind of pick up distance on a whim.
Going into this race I decided just to have fun. I had zero nerves. Zero. I knew I just wanted to enjoy knocking out a longish run with a cool and fun environment. Honestly, my hope was that it would sort of propel me into logging higher mileage on the weekends again. That’s my happy place. 3-6 mile runs during the week, 10-13 mile runs on the weekends. It did just that.
The environment was fun and sweet…literally. There was chocolate and candy everywhere. How can that not be enjoyable? I went with a few friends who were also running and there were tons of people. I didn’t really have a time goal. I knew I’d be happy to be anywhere around a 9:30 avg(my next half marathon goal is to be around an 8:45). Keeping a 9:30ish pace would be a nice easy pace for me. Since I would be increasing my longest run by about 2 miles I knew I didn’t want to push my pace too much. Just relax, feel good and strong and run.
I’m not sure I have felt that great during a race in a long time. I kept a consistent pace and had several miles around a 9:06 and dropped down around 8:45 quite a bit. It was an insanely hilly course so I slowed down a bit on those miles. I still felt strong even with the hills and that is a crazy good feeling. All that speed and hill work kicked in when it needed to. It felt effortless and looking back I know I could have really pushed my pace, but I stayed safe and smart. I enjoyed every second. The time flew by and it was so nice to have a race that wasn’t 26.2 miles. They had marshmallow’s and chocolate on the course…and WHISKEY!! I kid you not. People were taking shots of whiskey. I’m not a whiskey person but I honestly could have thrown up just thinking about drinking whiskey while I ran. But hey, when in Rome I guess. People were running me over to cross over to the whiskey table. I chose to run past crazy whiskeyville and grabbed a marshmallow instead….which still made me kinda sick.
I crossed the finish line with a 1:28 finishing time and the feeling that I could run all day. These runs don’t happen all the time. You know? So many hard and crap filled runs in between the good ones. Running is crazy that way. So, when you have a good day, you soak it up. I headed over to grab my giant mug of hot chocolate and fondu. It was too much. Awesome concept but I can not for the life of me chug sweets after a run. I wanted something salty and filling. I wanted a burger. But, it was a fun race and the swag was great. Overall, I give the Hot Chocolate run a 10. Super fun atmosphere(although south Dallas is ugly ya’ll. I’m so sorry if you are a native to Dallas and love this area. Please don’t hate me. It was just plain horrific).
One of the coolest things about that day is that part of the course was the same route from the Dallas Marathon. Dallas was such a hard race for me. It felt so good to cover some of that ground feeling good and strong and like myself. It made me smile several times while I was running and for that I was thankful.
This is me…asking a total stranger to take my picture. So humiliating. I fumbled out something about having a blog and needing pictures to document. He looked at me like I’d lost my mind. So. Lame. The things I do for ya’ll…(kidding…you know I love you).
So crossing the finish line my watch said 9.4 miles. It was driving me a little crazy to stop at such a random distance so I took Molly for a little shake out jog that afternoon to get to 11. Runner’s are all kinds of crazy.
Yanking her head over, she wasn’t in the mood for pics
Josh loves bunny ears and I’m obviously still forcing Molly’s face close to mine. She was not in the mood for a selfie. She’s fat. And out of shape. That mile and a half did her in.
So what’s the most FUN race you’ve ever done?
Do you do better when you don’t really train and just go in it for run? Curious minds want to know. Happy Running and Racing ya’ll!!!