Hot Chocolate 15k

I really don’t do road races. I don’t like the monotony, the hard surface, and the crowds. My schedule prevented me from attending the December race that Aravaipa put on, but I wanted to do something that would increase my mileage, so I opted for the Hot Chocolate 15k. Plus, the goodie bag hoofie looked pretty awesome, and you all know what a sucker I am for good swag.

Plus, I did figure that the flat course would be an excellent opportunity for me to work on my consistency, form, and pacing, as well as sustained aerobic activity. (It must have worked, because this past Wednesday’s group trail run post-race went really well.)

ready to run, bright and early Sunday morning

Gear Rundown:

Bondi Band headband (and opted for free-flying pigtails)
INKnBURN “Flutter” tech shirt
Oiselle Cable Knit arm warmers (I love these…my new favorite accessory)
CW-X Stabilyx tights
WrightSock CoolMesh socks
Panache sports bra
Hoka One-One Stinson ATR shoes (delightfully cushy for hard surface, but too ankle-rolley for trail)
Ultimate Direction Ultra Vesta hydration vest

The large crowds are part of why I’m not a fan of big road races. Over 3000 people, divided into 5 start corrals, with 10 minute gaps between each corral starting. I was in the third corral back, so had to wait about 20 minutes. It makes for a spread-out course, but difficult if you were hoping to find people in a different corral.

sea of people
in my designated start corral
toeing the start line!

I was there early enough to get right in at the front of the corral, which meant I didn’t have quite so much early on crowding.

The first two miles, I clipped along at just over a 9:30-minute mile…I kept telling myself to back it off and slow it down, because I’ve never been able to sustain that kind of pace. Prior to this, the fastest I’d ever managed a single mile was a 10-minute mile…in junior high. So to break that now, about 17 years later, kind of tickles me.
Eventually, I reeled myself in and finished the rest of the thing at paces between 10:00 and 10:30-minute miles…and ran the whole thing. I took my “walk breaks” at the water stations, because I cant run and chug from a little paper cup at the same time, but aside from that, I kept on running.

clipping along in my own little world,
likely rocking out to my music

Admittedly, much playlist abuse happened on this run, since usually the only way I road run for any sustained period of time is with a killer playlist at my disposal. I left my iPod in the truck, thinking “How bad can it be?”  Fortunately, my phone is synced with my playlist, I had my phone on me, and by mile 5, I was grateful I had at least remembered by headphones and had them plugged in to the phone and rockin’ out.

The course was all roads, and taunted me just a bit by being in plain site of the McDowell Mountains, with the Superstitions in the background. But doing that kind of road work was excellent for my sustained pace-building…too hard to set a consistent pace on always-changing trails…and it was excellent for me mentally to push myself and keep going even when I was hitting mental walls. (And it was all mental, because I physically felt great.)
I shocked myself by actually having legs left at the end to sprint the finish and finish in pigtail-flyin’ style.

The 15k finishers got really awesome medals shaped like chocolate bars, and all finishers got a plastic mug with hot chocolate, chocolate fondue, and all sorts of yummy goodies to dip into the fondue. It was really good chocolate, too.
finisher’s medal and chocolate

One of my endurance buddies was running as
well, and we found each other after our
respective finishes and spent some time hanging
out together.

With that race, I wrapped up my official competition run miles for the year with 48 miles…which is more than I’ve ridden this year. Not sure how many miles I’ve run, total, since I started back around March…I do a lousy job of tracking some of my shorter, casual runs. That’ll be my next project…seeing if I can total up what I’ve done this year.

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