How was your weekend?! I had a BUSY weekend, including a super fun 15K that I’m about to recap for you!
As you know, the fabulous Hot Chocolate 15/5k race series came to Nashville, TN this weekend, benefitting the Ronald McDonald House. I participated not just as a runner, but also as a blog ambassador! I was given a promo code back in December, as well as some pretty sweet race swag. After it was all said and done, 128 of you registered through my promo code! More than doubling the next closest ambassador’s totals. I am beyond proud and excited, and so happy to have possibly gotten 128 people up and off the couch and RUNNING on Saturday!! YAY! From what I’ve heard, the race was a huge success and I’m already looking forward to participating again next year!
Let’s chat about the actual race now!
Guys, the course was so easy and flat and man oh man was it nice and warm! I wish I could replicate these race day conditions for every race from here on out!
HA! JK. OPPOSITE DAY.
1. The weather was 20*, “felt like” 12*. With wind.
2. I’d forgotten how HILLY downtown Nashville is. Long, steady, mountains really.
In one word: painful.
But before you think I was miserable the entire time, let me preface this by saying that this race was VERY well organized, there were fantastic volunteers at the aid stations and all were stocked plentifully, the roads were well marked and I felt safe the entire time, they gave me chocolate somewhere around mile 6 and I thought I had died and gone to heaven, the crowd support in the finisher’s chute was wonderful, all of the tents were clearly marked, and there was live music. And it was fun! (But I think every race is fun, so I may be biased!) Props to anyone who stood around watching the races, because if you weren’t MOVING, you were freezing. Right then and there. Freezing to the ground.
We got into town around midnight the night before, then woke up promptly at 5:30 AM. A solid 5 1/2 hours of sleep is definitely not what I recommend before a long run, or a race. But, it had to be done! Adrenaline is your friend.
We also totally missed the weather forecast, and apparently assumed that “if it’s going to be 60 in Little Rock on Saturday, then it must be pleasant on Saturday morning in Nashville.” Right? Nope, prime example of a failed If/Then statement!
We headed up to downtown Nashville around 6:20, and after running into traffic and closed streets, I finally threw Adam out of the car at 5 ’till 7, so he wouldn’t miss the start of the 5k! It went something like this:
Adam: “It’s almost 7, where is the starting line?”
Me: “I’m not sure, somewhere over there, follow those runners, they look like they know where they’re going, I’ll go park, ok bye!”
And he was off to the starting line, while I somehow, magically, wound up in a parking garage nearby. I really don’t know much about downtown Nashville, just enough to navigate the basic streets, so I was little stressed trying to find the starting line, especially when I realized the route I was going to take was closed. Note to self: figure these things out before 6AM race day. I sat in the car and continued to add on as many layers as I could find, put on all my race accessories, grabbed Adam’s coat to take to him after the race, and followed a crowd of 15k runners to the race location. The 5k started at 7, while the 15k started at 7:55, in case you’re confused at this point!
It. Was. So. Cold. About 99.9% of me wanted to say nope, not happening. It’s too cold to run. I’m out! But I was not going to let the weather win! Thank goodness I grabbed my Hot Chocolate goodie bag hoodie to throw on because I definitely needed that extra layer! The hoodies were AWESOME, and I will definitely be wearing it again and again! It is excellent quality, had thumb holes, and even a small zip pocket on the back! The women’s have purple detailing, and the men’s have blue. Super, super cute.
By the time I made my way to the finish line, the winners of the 5k were just coming through, so I found a gap in the crowd and parked it until I saw Adam come through at 31:00 exactly! He PR’d, and I’m SO proud of him!!!! Not just because he PR’d, but because he didn’t back down from the cold weather, and still gave it all he had! So happy for the hubs! We huddled together for probably 5 minutes, and then it was time for me to go to the start line for the 15k, and find my corral. By this point, I was sufficiently frozen from standing around, that I could barely use my hands to get my music set up on my phone, let alone re-pin my bib number on my outer tenth layer. I was still messing with everything when the gun went off, talk about last minute!
I felt great right off the bat, and really had high hopes for the race. But, I quickly decided that I wouldn’t put pressure on myself, and would run what feels good and just work with the cold as best I could! I did end up PR’ing though, but not with a time I’m super proud of. However, racing is all about improvement so as long as you improve on YOUR best, that’s all that matters! I finished in 1:31:03 officially. The next one will be better!
Here are my splits:
Mile 1- 8:56, Mile 2- 8:57, Mile 3- 9:33, Mile 4- 9:58, Mile 5- 12:52, Mile 6- 9:45, Mile 7- 9:27, Mile 8- 9:16, Mile 9- 8:50, .3- 3:28
I’m sure you can guess where the big hills were, and it should be pretty obvious where epic foot cramp of 2014 occurred. Yep, you read that right. That there is a 12:52 mile! GAH. I’m not sure how many expletives went through my mind, but I finally just gave up and walked until it stopped. I still blame post-marathon body for this, and know I should have given myself longer to recover, and Adam has told me multiple times to just REST. What is rest? This girl doesn’t do “rest”. I wasn’t the only runner having issues with cramping though, as it seemed like every few minutes you would see runners off to the side of the course stretching things out. Cold weather can definitely effect your muscles negatively! There were also a lot of runners walking on occasion, and Adam noticed it during his race as well. I think the cold got the best of everyone. I did notice though that going up the hills didn’t feel as hard as it usually does and I think adding in more strength training is really helping! I finished strong, and immediately found Adam, took a few pictures, then went to the Finisher’s tent and got our Finisher’s Mug, full of hot chocolate, fondue, and snacks. Except our fondue froze pretty quickly, which really was hilarious. But even though the weather was miserable, and the course was challenging, I still saw lots of smiles, laughter, and joy, something that is always prevalent amongst runners! That’s the reason racing is so fun, because it’s a unique thing to have hundreds or thousands of people all striving towards the same goal.
All in all, Nashville’s Hot Chocolate 15k and 5k was a BLAST, and another great race to check off my list! I would definitely recommend it to runners in the area, and look forward to next year’s! It really was so much fun, and an awesome post-race snack to boot! Little Rock Half Marathon is in TWO weeks! Crunch time!
Thanks again RAM Race Series for letting me participate as an Ambassador for Chocolate! I LOVED it!
I’ll be back tomorrow to tell you all about our Valentine’s weekend.
Have you run a Hot Chocolate race? Have you ever run a race in the COLD?