Monday, November 19, 2012

Hot Chocolate 15k - 2012

I wanted to write a play-by-play, but sometimes these breaks in time between posts get to a point where it's just ridiculous. Busy, busy, busy at work, which is where I do most of my computer stuff. So here's the short version.

Despite all my grumbling and worrying and complaining about this race (most of which I spared you, believe it or not), I had a really good time.

I've liked the course every year I've done it (and it's been a new one each time), but it's never been big enough to handle the number of runners participating. So that's been a frustrating experience with bottle-necks and running off the edge of the road and the like. This year they staggered the starts in such a way that it rarely felt crowded on the course, which was lovely. The drawback to this of course was the long time spent standing before the race started (I crossed the start line at 41:50 and was only in corral K - it went through corral T) which then resulted in my needing to stop for a potty break shortly after mile 3 and that early in the race there were still lines for the porta-potties. So I lost time there. But that's a logistics issue to keep in mind for next year or any other race with a lot of participants (I heard this one was just over 20,000).

Oh, and the swag was better this year too (photos below).

Lots of elevation fluctuation on the course, which I like (makes it interesting). Lots of great views.

Right from the start I was running on tired legs because I just didn't get enough rest the week before. So the challenge for me was going to be keeping my pace steady and then, if possible, bring it up again in the last 5k. And I did! There were two key difference between this race and previous ones that I think made it possible. First, I've gotten better at "sucking it up". I've practiced this in long tempo runs, figuring out what I need to do mentally to be able to tolerate discomfort longer. And two, in the past I would have only taken one gel, and this time I had two and also carbo-loaded a bit more the day before and even before the race started --- I could really feel the difference on the second gel and I'm sure that's what allowed me to push harder in the last 5k.

I finished in 1:33:41 at a pace of 10:04/mile. So I didn't make my first or my second goal (to break 1:30:00 or 1:32:30 --- I was so close to that last one but that potty-break is what blew it for me), but I did hit my third one of (nearly) 10 minute miles. Most importantly to me, my last 5k split was the fastest one, at 29:32. (Actually, it was so much faster, it shows me I can do better overall.)

So, lots to work on for next year. Logistically, I want to remember three things:
  1. Bring a throw-away shirt for the time between gear check and the start.
  2. Don't enter the corral until the last possible minute - I could have entered 20 minutes later and gotten another pee in.
  3. Stop drinking an hour or so before when I plan to have my last pee - chew gum instead for dry mouth.
The other thing I want to keep in mind with my training for this next year is to not start training for this race so soon. I'm probably going to train for the Chicago Women's Half again along with this one for my longer races of the year; if I do go that route then I'll make sure to take a longer break after the half so that I'm not running out of steam in October again.

All-in-all, lots of lessons learnt through training for this and running it!

Finally, they have a decent looking item that I have been wearing.

I liked the emblem on the back shoulder - also the little one running through the picture.

1 comment:

  1. Great job! I'm glad you had a good time. I think 15k is an interesting distance...I may keep an eye out for a similar run in my area.