I have no idea why it has taken me so long to write this post. I ran the Hot Chocolate 15k in Nashville on Feb 13th to celebrate my 39th birthday!!! I have been wanting to do this race or a race in this series for a couple years now and this past January made the leap and registered!
When I registered, I was coming back after recovering in December from my 2000 miles of last year. I finally felt like my old running self and signed up! I was so excited! I was training again, feeling better and getting my running legs back! I couldn’t wait. I have decided my new running goal is to try to run as many states as I can until I’m not running anymore! So with this race, I’d add Tennessee to my list! And off to train I went!
As any runner training for a race, I was stalking the weather the moment they started predicting the weather. It was to be PERFECT! 30-40s at race time! Just my perfect running temperature, especially in the very hilly downtown Nashville area! This was going to be great! Buuuuut, as I stalked the weather each day, degree by degree, the temperature started falling. And falling FAST! By race day, it was 16 feels like 8 with winds! As you all know, I am from FLORIDA! I sometimes get the chance to run in cooler temps, more like 30s though, sometimes 20s if visiting family in Michigan. But this was going to be the worst I have ever run in. And, I started to panic. Panic hard! I had no idea how to dress as it would be cold, windy, hillly and I am a warm runner! I was afraid I wouldn’t dress well enough and freeze or dress too much and overheat!! AHHHHHHH! The 3-4 layers I decided on happened to be perfect, well the top layer on top was supposed to be ditched before the gun went off but I kept it on, and thank GOD! I was needed! I never warmed up. Between a hat, 2 head warmers, a tank, shirt, jacket, sweat jacket, compression socks, thigh sleeves, running tights, yoga pants, and another pair of socks, 2 pairs of gloves, scarf and sunglasses, I stayed cool…..ALLLLLLLL THOSE CLOTHES! Running in all of that became a challenge. I’m used to shorts, light tank or sports bra and warm gross water in my water bottle. Oh, did I mention my hand held water bottle FROZE! So, it was cold, windy, I was wearing approx. 2938298340 layers of clothes and it was HILLY! I swear I was more tired after from all of that than the 9.3 miles I ran! LOL!
I made it to the start line, praying I would finish this, I wanted to finish this. This would be my hardest race ever (due to the conditions ) and I wanted to FINISH! Like agift from God, I met another solo runner, Julie, who agreed to run with me. I do so much better at races when I have someone there and going solo was worrying me too. And there she was. Thankfully we were the same pace, both panicking over the cold, but wanted to do it!
Julie and I set off. Feeling not too bad at the beginning and at the 5k split decided to keep on going. We would get each other to the end come high or hell water! I was holding up well, we were chatting and somewhere after mile 5, started to lose it. I was hitting a wall. I was tired of being COLD. Julie, though, was a rock star. She kept me going. Even with a pit stop we made decent time. Not my best ever 15k but still pretty damn good for the conditions. I still laugh at the water stations frozen water, my lower lip getting stuck to my teeth by the end, and the “hot” chocolate at the end! LOL!
Overall, this was an amazing experience. As a runner, we love to tackle the impossible. I was so proud I finished this race and finished ok! And on top of all of it, once again made a great running friend for life! THANK YOU JULIE!
As far at the Hot Chocolate series? It was great. Great expo, great great communication and worry over the safety of the runners, great course, WELL WELL organized, great support, great bling and fantastic, yet cold after party with hot chocolate, fondue, goodies and check point. You also got a video of your finish, free pictures to download, and the swag bag full of goodies including a fleece lined running jacket. It was totally worth the cold and the story of the race I can tell for years and years to come!! 🙂
Would I do this race again? Sure, but somewhere warmer for sure! But yes, I HIGHLY recommend this race series to ANYONE! It was awesome!