Thank you to everyone who registered for Hot Chocolate Dallas (or Nashville) using my promo code, NADASWEET19!
As promised, I’m back to share my recap of the Hot Chocolate Dallas 5k this past Saturday. In short – it went really well, and as expected. In long – I have lots of feels and am already itching to sign up for another one. I told Adam before we started the race, that it’s just a weird cornucopia of emotions because running used to be a large part of my self identity before I became a mother. And now having become a mother, and having had so much time pass, it just feels weird to revisit what feels like an old season of life. I almost felt like I’d forgotten “how to be a runner” because I’ve been so focused on learning “how to be a mother”. A part of me felt like a newbie, and almost a little bit silly being there. I found myself thinking a few times that I wished I could tell all the other runners around me, “I’VE HAD TWO BABIES BUT I USED TO RUN A LOT OKAY?” I just felt so out of my element, but also back IN my element. If that even makes sense.
So here’s how it all went down. We dropped the babies off at Adam’s parents house at 5:30 AM Saturday morning. Of course, that night both of them decided they didn’t want to sleep, which made the 4:30 AM wakeup pretty exhausting. A doesn’t normally wake up, so it was really strange for her to wake up – bad dream maybe? Once we dropped them off, we were on our way over to Dallas! After a quick stop at QT for some coffee and a breakfast sandwich of course. Normally, I wouldn’t want to drink coffee or anything substantial before a race, but we had ~2ish hours before start time and this mama bear can barely go an hour without snacking these days!
We live on the Fort Worth side of DFW, so making the trek over to Dallas is (without traffic) around a 40 minute drive. We got over there with ease, but ran into a few issues with the GPS when it came time to exit. Dallas roads are always changing, which easily throws off Google Maps. We also had to take a different exit to get to Fair Park (where the race was) because a work convoy had it completely blocked off. Thankfully we were so early that it wasn’t stressful. Finding the main parking lot from there was a bit of a challenge, only because neither of us were all too familiar with the area. But, once we got on the right street and found it, parking was simple and plentiful. We hung out in the truck for a bit, warming up with coffee, and I pumped right before we headed to the race area which was maybe a quarter of a mile walk away.
The weather ended up being in the low 30’s, and before the sun came up it was pretty chilly. We both wore running tights, (Adam wore shorts), and doubled up on layers on top. Spoiler alert – once we finished, we both wondered why we didn’t think to wear gloves because our fingertips were FROZEN! I ended up wearing my Mizuno Wave Riders from several years ago, and even though I know it’s a big no-no to wear something ‘new’ the day of a race, I knew my feet would hurt in my Nike’s. (duh!)
We made it to the staging area with plenty of time to hit up the potties, snap a few pictures, and head to our corral. Since the 5k and 15k had different start times, the 5k corrals were up front, with the 15k runners behind. We were assigned corral B, which was based on 10 min miles. (oof!)
Once it was just about race time, a Make a Wish family was brought on stage to share their story, then the National Anthem was sung, and we were ready to go. Adam and I had already decided that we weren’t going to run together, so as soon as our corral took off, we said, ‘see ya later!’ and Adam left me in the dust.
Mile one felt pretty good, and I tried to stay at a steady, easy feeling pace. I ran the whole time, and didn’t stop until I got to the water station at mile 1.5. I walked for just a few seconds to get down a few sips, then got back to it. Mile two also felt pretty good, but I will say that I was a little disappointed with the quality of the course. By that I just mean the actual road we ran on. I felt like I was constantly trying to avoid potholes, a heavy slope on the side of the road, and even areas of pavement that no longer existed but weren’t roped off or anything. Up until this point though, the course was flat. Mile 3 is where I could feel myself start to slow down, and we also hit our main hill on the course, which was up a bridge. I walked up most of the bridge because by this point I just couldn’t muster up enough strength to run up the whole thing, and I wanted to conserve enough energy to be able to run quickly down the other side, then finish the rest of the course strong without any regrets! I ran down the bridge, made up a few seconds, and knew I could finish without stopping. The final leg of the course was across a large parking lot, with fun Hot Chocolate signs lining the way, and volunteers cheering. In my head I kept thinking, “You’ve run two marathons and birthed two babies DO NOT STOP!” The last .1 curves uphill slightly, then you’re into the finisher’s chute where you can get your water, or medal if you ran the 15k.
When I finished I felt like I’d tried my hardest, and cheesily, left it all out there. I was proud of how I did, even if I didn’t beat 30 minutes, which I knew probably wouldn’t happen. Considering I had my second baby almost 6 months ago, haven’t run a race in 4 years, and have only run a handful of 3 milers lately, I’ll take it! I finished in 33:16, with a 10:43 average pace. Adam finished in 28:10, and killed his goal!
We walked back out to the staging area, where all of the Hot Chocolate tents, merch, booths, photo ops, and hot chocolate mugs were. The 15k hadn’t begun yet, so we could see thousands lined up over in the corrals ready to go. We got our hot chocolate finisher’s bowl, and took plenty of photos together. We also stopped by the Ambassador’s tent before heading out.
The finisher bowls this year contained a cup of hot chocolate, chocolate fondue for dipping, a banana and several items to smother in chocolate, as well as, more chocolate. Basically my kind of treat for finishing a run!
Overall, it was a great experience and we’ll for sure do it next year. The race had a great turnout, 14,000+, so that was fun to see! My biggest complaint about the location for this race was the actual race route – it wasn’t exactly scenic, and felt like we were running through a pretty rundown part of town/industrial area. I always felt safe, and there were plenty of police, and volunteers along the route, but it definitely wasn’t the prettiest race I’ve ever run. 😉
Be on the lookout for my promo code for the 2020 race! It will be my 7th year participating as an ambassador, and I always love promoting it!