On Saturday I marked my return to running by running in my first ever 15k race, the Hot Chocolate 15k. I was kinda worried about how things would turn out since I hadn’t run in a number of weeks. Now, there were a number of things that went wrong with the event itself, which you can read about here, here, and here for starters. As I’m not one to beat a dead horse, I’ll just give a brief overview of the event:
Course: was very hilly; the last hill leading up to the finish line was evil. Additionally, we were running with traffic…not ideal. There was a gravel portion that was unexpected…and kinda sucked, along with a smaller gravel portion along the water, which didn’t seem too safe.
Logistics: was kind of a nightmare. I don’t think these folks were organized at all…the race itself didn’t start until a good hour after it was supposed to have begun for a number of reasons.
Chocolate Fondue: my new love. Though…not the best idea to have that RIGHT after a race. It REALLY messed my stomach up. 😦
Race Swag: they gave us jackets…which were too small, but thankfully their volunteers were helpful in swapping. The jackets themselves sucked. But the volunteers had AWESOME t-shirts and sweatshirts…neither of which were for sale 😦
As for my personal experience…Well I started off kinda slow, partially because I wasn’t sure how my leg was going to hold up and also because for the first mile or so I was fighting to keep my undies from sagging. Eventually I gave up on that effort, and just continued to run the race. The hills really wore me down though; if I would have known the course was so hilly, I don’t know that I would have been so gung ho about the race. I wound up having some serious cramping going on throughout the race, especially in my lower calves and down to my toes, but I made it through. I ran about half of the race, and spent the rest walking or doing random bursts of a jog/shuffle thing just to get closer to the end faster, lol. But snafus and everything else aside, I had a good time that day. It was definitely a memorable race, for many reasons, but a part of what made that day stellar in spite of all the things that weren’t going right were these women:
I think I’ve mentioned before that I belong to a running group called Black Girls Run!; these are women of all shapes and sizes who just come together for a love of all things running. A bunch of us showed up and showed out for this race. What a feeling it was to see them at the end of the race, cheering on the remaining BGR! members and everyone else. One member, having already finished the race, even came back out onto the course to run with me toward the finish line, all the while encouraging me and pushing me to dig just a little deeper to make it to the end. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me; it’s a moment that I’ll never forget. We were there to support one another and to finish strong. And we did just that – every last one of us. For me, it was these women that made the race worth the hassle. If I’d gone to the race alone, as I usually do, I know I’d have been in a completely different state of mind about the day’s errors and muck ups.
But…I’m ok with it all. Would I do this race again? Honestly, no…not on that course…not at that location…and not with that running company. I don’t think I’ll ever sign up for a race held by RAM Racing. My racing time was decent enough (2:16:41…a PR…i think) and I was in good company, but I can say that sometiems you only need to experience certain races once. The Hot Chocolate 15k was one of those races.
Next up on the race calendar…Jingle All the Way 8k this Saturday. We actually get bells to put on our shoes! I went out and bought some holiday accessories to wear on race day since I couldn’t find a Santa Suit that I’d want to wear. I’m really excited about this race. I’ve been running really well this week, very strong and it seems as though I’m in good shape to get out there and go at it. Till next time!