Yesterday, after much back & forth, I participated in the Hot Chocolate 5K. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the overall experience.
I had originally signed up for the race about a month ago, forgot (or rather didn’t realize) that it was this past weekend. I ran once this week, on Tuesday, in preparation. I was having back aches and feeling all around crummy most of the week. I really wasn’t feeling like running.
Saturday came and I started feeling better. I went and got my packet. I started to get energized about it. I decided I might as well run because I will regret it more if I don’t then if I do and fail.
I was a little worried. I had read that Hot Chocolate races were not well-organized. That packet pickup was a headache. That they ran out of finisher mugs (and really, why run this race if you don’t get the chocolate after?) My second run was highly disorganized after and it was not fun to finish 5 miles and get nothing. I digress. I thought the packet pickup was great. I went Saturday afternoon and did not have to wait in line. I was a little disappointed in the jacket. It looked so nice online. It will work for the little rain we get in Phoenix. I also got a free hat. It seems nice, although the brim is a little big for my little head. It is white and appears to be made of the wicking material. I will have to try it out when I attempt to run in summer. On the surface of the sun. 😉
Arriving at 6 am was not fun. I was up at 5 and left the house at about 5:15. Traffic was already heavy. I heard the 15Kers had a mile and half wait just to get off the freeway! Yikes. It was really cold. Colder than my races in Wisconsin last month. And it didn’t help that we had to walk through a grass field damp with frost. The moisture got in my shoes/socks and my toes were completely numb.
I did my stretching and walked a lot to try to warm up. Whatever I did, my warmup must have worked. I got a new PR: 32:52. I also feel I did pretty well for my age/gender (151/444 and 861/2847 respectively. Overall I was 1263 out of 3748. The run actually felt easy too. I started off slow and used a couple ahead of me to pace. I was also fairly numb for about the first mile and then finally my body seemed to get warmed up. At the drink station, I grabbed a Gatorade and had to walk/pause a bit because of the crowds but after that I kicked it off pretty quick then settled into a good pace. As soon as I saw that finish sign I again kicked it into gear.
I really liked the wave start they did. It was controlled. Each corral was by pace time and it seemed people pretty much stuck to where they were assigned. The let each corral go 3 minutes after the last so there wasn’t too much traffic rushing at once. The only bad part of the course was a small stretch that was split for each direction but it got very narrow for the start/out. Most runners were still close to running the same speed so it created a bottleneck. The finish/back part of the road was much wider and by this point the runners were more spread out. It seemed it would have made more sense to have it wider at the start.
My finisher’s mug was great. Although I would have liked a bit more fruit and less “treat” like items. And another napkin. Chocolate fondue is messy. 😛 It also was too much chocolate for me. It made my stomach upset to eat that much chocolate/treats (although I didn’t eat it all) after running. I felt bad for some of the 15Kers. They ran out of the fondue for them. They got the treats and hot chocolate but nothing to dip the treats into.
This was their inaugural run in Phoenix. I’d say overall it was a success. I would probably do it again, maybe attempting the 15K next time.
I am trying to plan my race circuit for the coming months. I have quite a few I want to do, including the PF Changs Rock N Roll Marathon which I just found out has a mini (5.4 miles)! I am planning to do the half in January 2014 but I just might do the mini this year. I am going to need to make a racing budget. Wow, if you asked me in high school if I needed a racing budget, I would have laughed at you.
I also wish I had a friend that would run races with me, even if we didn’t run together. I just would like someone to carpool with and hang out with before/after. I am an introvert and don’t go out of my way to meet new people at races. Since most races are on weekends, typically Saturdays, my boyfriend can’t come cheer me on due to work. I am ok with that so now I need to make my friends run muahahahahahaaha