After I ran the Atlanta 10-miler, I was in that post-race, I want to sign up for another race immediately mode. So I signed up for the Hot Chocolate 15K. I wouldn’t say I trained perfectly for it. I did all my long runs according to plan but my weekly runs were… sporadic. So when race weekend got here, you’d think I’d be worried about the distance. But nope, there was something else that was much more bothersome – the weather.
The predicted temperature on race morning was 24 degrees with a windchill of 16. Now that’s cold for anyone no matter where you live, but for Atlanta, where the winter temperatures tend to hover in the low 40s, it’s sort of unimaginable. So pre-race, that’s all everyone was talking about – the bitter cold weather. So I went out and did what every experienced runner tells you not to do for race day- I bought some new clothes to wear. I mean, I had to.
TJ Maxx for the win.
The weather forecast was spot on and it was ridiculously cold. I drove to the race with two girls from my running group. The race instructions said to arrive by 6:30 even though the race didn’t start until 7:40. It actually said parking wasn’t guaranteed unless you arrived by 6:30. Lies. But anyway, we arrived at 6:20. We sat in my car for a while before braving the elements and meeting up with some other ladies from the running group and also my friend Megan.
I was wearing a long sleeve shirt, another heavier long sleeve shirt on top of it, a hoodie, fleece running pants, a hat and gloves and I was still cold. My saving grace, however, was that my friend Megan brought some disposable hand warmers. Seriously could not have done it without those.
After we started running, the weather wasn’t too, too bad. Megan and I ran together at the beginning but told each other that if one of us wanted to go faster or slower than the other, we’d just meet up at the finish. I’m much better racing alone, to tell the truth. I like to zone out and listen to my music.
The race started at Turner Field and went into Grant Park. Megan and I lost each other around mile 2. After that, it headed into the Old Fourth Ward and back through midtown through Georgia Tech. At this point, I was feeling pretty good. I was running at a comfortable pace and was, in fact, zoning out to my music. I even removed my hand warmers. Around mile 6, I started to think that maybe I could run the whole thing without walking. The course was hilly, but not impossibly so and there were enough downhills to make up for the uphills. Little did I know that a huge MFing hill was at Mile 7.
At least it’s pretty, right? I let myself walk up the hill but then got a little discouraged when the 11:00 pacers caught up to me. So once we hit the top of the hill, I started to run again. Until I stopped to walk somewhere around the Capitol, which was another cruel hill.
After walking up the second big hill of the race, it was smooth sailing to the finish line.
I ended up finishing in 1:45 which I’m not particularly thrilled with, but whatever. After the race, I went to get my finisher’s cup of chocolate. And I didn’t take a picture. Fail. It was a cup with compartments – one had fondue, one had pretzels, one had cookies etc. And in the middle, there was a steamy hot cup of hot chocolate. All I cared about was the hot chocolate.
All in all, it was a good race. I’d actually heard that it was sort of a cluster because of the popularity of the thing, but maybe the weather made a lot of people stay home because it seemed fairly well organized to me.