The main reason I signed up for the Hot Chocolate 15K--Atlanta was because it was the right length and the right time. It was the perfect training run.
But then I saw the goodie bag and the medal.
And then of course there was the chocolate.
With marathons and some of the larger race events they hold an expo with a bunch of merchandising as well as booths with running and various fitness gear. There are often great discounts and free give-away stuff.
The Hot Chocolate Expo did not disappoint.
I picked up some recovery compression socks as well as a nifty new running shirt both at a fifty percent discount. I also got some free samples of healthy sports snacks and then of course chocolate.
Such good deals and such that I came back with Cindy and Skye the next day.
I was concerned about how well my race day performance was going to be, given that I would be running the longest distance since I ran the 50K at Burning Man.
I also had a lot on my mind, trying to get stuff done before starting a new job on Monday.
And then there was the season premiere of the show Black Sails, which shouldn't have had any bearing except that it being a show about pirates, I ended up having a little more rum than I should have given that I had to wake up at 5 am the next morning.
I am usually pretty good about managing my food, sleep, gear management and hydration the day and morning before a race.
Such was not the case this time around.
I didn't hydrate well and got a horrible night's sleep. And I was going to be wearing some new attire that I picked up at the expo and I'd never trained in, something I never do.
But I was going in with the mindset that this was simply a training run. I wouldn't worry about the pace or even if I ended up walking a lot.
I was going to have a good time and however I finished I would be fine with.
The Journey is Half the Adventure
I got going a little later than I had planned but the parking for the race was only 15 minutes from the house and I had pre-paid parking so I felt that giving myself 30 minutes to get to the event which would still put me there an hour before the race would be sufficient.
The traffic was beyond insane.
The freeway was backed up for miles.
I decided to get off and make my way there on smaller side-streets. I had to go the wrong way down an on-ramp in order to manage that. I then went on to run 3 red-lights because I was running so late.
When I got close to parking, there was a closer private lot that was charging $5 dollars. So even though I had my pre-paid parking ticket, I decided it was worth the fiver in order to get parked and over to the starting corrals.
I was very glad I did.
I got in line for the porta-pots along with several hundred other people. A line I thought would take 10 minutes ended up more like 25 and I just barely got to the my assigned corral literally 3 minutes before the start.
The actual race ended up being remarkably well organized.
The start was staggered and even though there were several thousand runners, many more running the 5K than the 15K, there was not a slow, crowded start.
And even though I wasn't really pushing myself and had not trained as much as I would have liked and was rather silly the day before, I had a great race.
Around half-way through, I realized I was doing a little better than a 10 minute pace. I had thought I would be somewhere around 10:30. I had imagined I would finish in an hour and 45 minutes.
I still had a 5K to finish and my right leg was beginning to act up a little. I had injured it in juijitsu a few days before and in the morning had a sharp pain in my knee. So I was concerned that it might seize up at some point, especially towards the end.
So I didn't push myself, in fact I slowed up a bit.
Or so I thought.
As I did the math in my head, I realized I was still keeping a faster pace than I had anticipated and I would be finishing closer to an hour and a half. As long a nothing went terribly wrong.
A mile within the finish line, I was still feeling good and decided to push the pace.
I finished strong and was feeling great.
And going for my chocolate reward.
I ended up with a not so bad time and feeling pretty good physically, except for maybe eating too much chocolate.
As soon as I got home I started the recovery process with a nice warm bath with a lot of mineral salts and then I tried out the compression socks with ice inserts as well as some of the the self massage rollers.
And water, lots of water.