My first race of the 2014 season was the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K.
I originally wasn't sure I was going to even run this race.
I was supposed to be traveling to Orlando this particular weekend, but those plans got cancelled. Even once they got cancelled, I still hadn't signed up for any events.
But I realized that:
a) I need races on my schedule to keep me motivated and
b) The Hot Chocolate 15K/5K was on my racing bucket list.
And with the event being held right in downtown Nashville, it was too easy to go ahead and sign up!
Plus, They always have a pretty sweet swag bag. More on that later!
Now, I'm going to be honest.
I've heard the bad things people have to say about the organizers of the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K. The horrible experiences with packet pick-up, parking, course, etc.
So I prepared myself for the worst.
And I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised.
I like volunteering at races, but even I'm not that dedicated.
So Friday night, after work, I ran downtown and found my way to the hotel to check in at packet pick-up. There was plenty of parking and plenty of signs to direct you towards the registration area. And even better, there was a nice man handing out chocolate as you walked in the door. SCORE!
Once inside the venue, there were hardly any lines at all to pick up your bib on one end of the room and to grab your swag bag and hoodie on the other end. Getting your gear was probably as smooth as you could hope for. Plus, there was the added bonus that they had an area where you could try on your hoodie and exchange it for a different size if it didn't fit the way you wanted.
I actually parked about two miles away from the start line. Not a huge issue except I had wanted to avoid bag check and so I didn't wear any extra layers. Combine that with the coldest morning we'd had all week in Nashville and it made for a very chilly walk!
I met up with a twitter friend before the race and we got to chat a bit and eventually, about 5 minutes before the start of the 5K, I made my way towards the starting corrals. I dunno how I managed to be in the first wave, but I actually found myself in Corral B. Apparently, I'm no good at reading corral breakdowns. Oops. #sorrynotsorry
But, one mile in, there it was again. That damned knee pain. There's just no escaping it apparently. Just when I think I've finally got my knee and my running back on track, it acts up again and throws a wrench into all my plans.
This time, at least, the pain wasn't so bad that I couldn't keep going. So I scaled my pace back a bit to where my knee wasn't bothering me as much and kept on putting on foot in front of the other. The race was actually going pretty well, despite the knee and I was making good time. The worst part was a hill around the two and a half mile mark that I was pretty sure was never going to end. I managed to keep up a run, but my pace dropped off a bit. Considering a lot of people gave up running and just walked the hill, I was still pretty proud. You can see the change in elevation and pace in the picture above. Pretty intense.
I was pretty excited that even despite my knee bothering me, I still managed to keep an average of an 8:52 pace, hills and all. The time for this 5K was only about a minute off my best 5K time from last year, so I can only imagine how well I could have done if my knee had been at its best!
The knee added a few more challenges to my second run that afternoon, which I'll talk about more in my next post, but the good news is I have an appointment tomorrow for an injury screening to try and figure out better exactly what's wrong and hopefully get it fixed! YAY!
Ok, more details on Race #2, The Cupid's Undie Run in my next post! Until next time!