Sunday, December 13, 2015

Hot Chocolate 15K 2015

This was my third year running this race.  I LOVE this race!  This year when I got sick (first post here), I had already signed up for this race (we signed up in May).  I was worried there was no way I'd be able to do this run.  But I was determined that somehow I'd cross the finish line.  

The first year I did this race, the high was 20 degrees for the day and the race was under a weather advisory.  This year we are unseasonably warm with highs in the 60's (yesterday we hit 70) and today's forecast was all rain.  It's grossly hot in my opinion and unhealthy for animals, but many people are happy that it's this warm.  I was really worried about the rain and watched the forecast non-stop.  I was so worried about getting soaked.  I've been caught in the rain, but never voluntarily started a long run knowing I'd be rained on the whole time.  Needless to say I was stressed. 

Yesterday we went to get our packets.  If you were in the first 15% to sign up, you got special city embroidery on your jackets. 

See the "St Louis 2015 Finisher" below the Hot Chocolate logo?  I thought the StL skyline was nice addition as well.  I love this race - it has one of the best goodie bags that I've ever had. 

We got up bright and early this AM, and it wasn't raining.  Woo hoo!  But the forecast was rain and the radar didn't look good.  I forgot to take a screenshot of the radar before the run - but this was around noon and you can see that basically we are having an all day rain. 

We drove to St Louis for a 7:30 start time and it was dripping by the time we got there.   I started to worry about how exactly I'd get through 9.3 miles with wet shoes/socks.  We walked to the Soldier's Memorial, where the race and post-race set up was.  We immediately used the ports-potty and it was about 7 am.  It was windy, damp and I was chilled.  We headed towards corrals but I wanted to use the bathroom one more time.  It was the whole "I'm cold and need to pee" feeling.  We got in a line and I knew there was no way we'd be able to make it before the start.  So we gave  up and got in our corral.  We were in corral B and I'm not sure why.  There were pacers from 10:30 - 11:30 in our corral, but there were pacers in the 9:xx range in corrals behind us.  I didn't understand that and when those group passed us on the course it really wasn't all that cool.  I felt like I was getting passed by a large crowd. 

The race started on time and it was dripping. I made the dumb decision to put a plastic poncho on while waiting in the corral.  That didn't last the first mile.  I felt like I was in a sauna.  I took it off and trashed it.  I basically got too hot to start and I paid for it.  My face felt like it was fire red through mile 5-6.  My husband ran the 5K and we didn't stick together at the start.  I can't stick with him knowing I have such a long race before me.  But I have to admit that he did amazing and we actually both crossed our respective 5K markers (the course split at mile 2.6) at the exact SAME time.  I thought that was CRAZY.  The time (the actual time of day) was 8:08 that we both crossed our 5K markers.  34:43 was my time.  His was 1 second behind me, I think cause he was a second later across the start.  My husband does NOT run or train at all.  He just does these runs with me for fun and he rocked this 5K.  I was kind of jealous of his time.  I train for this and he practically beat me!

I did really well through the 6 mile and 6.2 mile split.  But then things went down hill.  I walked a few times and then right after I crossed the mile 8 marker we hit a rather long hill.  I think it was about 1/2 mile of hill.  That's why mile 9 was the worse time.  All StL races that I've done end up hill.  Once we got over this hill and headed back near the finish we had a few small hills including up to the final turn to the finish.  It really sucks when you have 0.2 miles to go and are just getting killed by a hill!  I was really proud of my splits through mile 6.  I really need to train on hills more often in order to really improve my time in this race. 

 I beat last year by 52 seconds.  That wasn't as much as I hoped.  But I will say that my only goal was to finish this race!  I always want to beat the time from the previous year, but I was so thankful that I was healthy enough to run this race. 

The chocolate fondue finisher mug is fantastic.  This year it was hard to eat because we couldn't sit on the ground - it was a muddy mess. So holding the mug and eating was a challenge. I should say that the weather held out in the sense that there was never more than a light drizzle.  My shoes only got wet really when I stepped in a puddle or kicked water onto my feet myself.  I'm so thankful for that!

We really had a great time and are already talking about next year.  I asked my hubby if he wants to do the 15K?  Ha!!  Or if he actually trains for the 5k - he'd whoop my butt!!!!

My final finish time was 1:47:06 and a pace of 11:30/mile.  My Garmin was actually pretty close this year.  I tried not to weave like a crazy person through the crowds. 

Here is a close up of my medal and my jacket embroidery:

We continued our tradition of eating breakfast at Cracker Barrel following this race. I always get Eggs in the Basket.  I call them Hole in One Eggs when I make them at home.  I get them with runny yolks and it's so good.  I get turkey sausage cause quite frankly their turkey sausage rocks and their regular sausage does not!

They say that time heals all wounds.  Well it also fades your memories a bit.  I sometimes tend to "forget" just how much pain I was in during that time I was sick.  I tend to forget how painful it was to put my feet on the ground in the morning.  There were mornings I couldn't put my hair in a pony tail.  There were morning I couldn't get my hand to my mouth to take medicine.  I had pain in almost every single joint.  It was horrible and I think about it and try to take myself back to that time every now and again to remember just what it was like.  People are sympathetic to those with chronic pain, but until you experience you really truly cannot imagine what it's like. Even now. . . even when I've experienced this. . . it's faded and I take my health for granted somewhat now.  Whatever I had hit me with no warning.  I know the date, time and exactly what I was doing when it hit.  I have no clue if it can happen again.  Not getting a diagnosis sucks cause I just don't know what happened or if I'll have to go through that again.  I'm so thankful I'm "healthy" right now.  I'm so happy I was able to run this race.  Don't take your health for granted.  And if you are thinking of taking up an activity like running - do it!  Start small.  But just do it!  There are people that wish they could and they can't.  Be thankful for every little step you can take.  Doesn't matter if you walk or run.  Doesn't matter if you move 1 mile or 9.3 :)  Thanks for reading!

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