Spoiler Alert – GREAT race!
I will be 100% honest, I was not entirely thrilled about doing this race. The only reason being I was just tired of racing. After I healed from my injury in July, I went a little race crazy, & scheduled 6 races in 2 months. Two of them being half marathons, a 10 miler, & this 15k. so, 4 big races out of 6 total, & by the time EQT 10 miler was completed, I was beat.
My friend Jenn & I got to Columbus late afternoon to check into our hotel (Drury Inn & Suites) which I HIGHLY recommend to anyone in town for a race in the city. Once we checked into the hotel, we headed over & met up with some other runners from the Elite group & walked right next door to the Expo. Yes, I lucked out with a cheap & really nice hotel directly next to the Expo. (score!) The expo was pretty neat, & there was chocolate EVERYWHERE. I was in heaven.
I got my bib & my goodie bag (which was really just a drawstring bag with the zip up hoodie in it.. was a little disappointed no other goodies were included) & walked around a little bit. They had hot chocolate samples out & marshmallows dipped in chocolate. Yum 🙂 There were randomly selected participants that got their zip up hoodie with an embroidering on the front that said “Columbus finisher”. It was pretty neat, I was jealous I didn’t get one. But, the jacket is still nice!
After the expo, I went back to the hotel & just relaxed. From 5:30 to 7 the hotel had a free hot dinner (huge perk!) so I went down & ate some dinner (hot dog & mac & cheese.. pre-race dinner of runner champs). The remainder of the night I relaxed watching the National Treasure movie marathon on TV 🙂
Jenn & I woke up around 5:30am Sunday morning totally.. not excited. haha. It was dark, we knew it was cold & we were not looking forward to running 9 miles. I hadn’t packed anything too heavy, since I know I run hot so I wore long running tights & a long sleeve tech shirt. I wore my ear warmers & took my gloves with me. The hotel was having a free hot breakfast served with eggs, sausage, biscuits, etc. We indulged after the race but I enjoyed a muffin & a few bites of a plain bagel before we left. Well, we were right.. it was something like 30 degrees outside. We had about a 10 minute walk to the start line but it wasn’t bad. We were all in Wave 1, which had a start time of 7:30am.. we got to the start line around 7am. BRRRR!! We stood there & tried not to freeze.
7:30 & we got to start the race! Thank god.. I was freezing. The entire race flew by. Mile 1 my watch beeped & said 11:42. I thought.. sweet. I don’t even feel like I’m racing. I’m just comfortably running. And those were my thoughts the entire 9.3 miles. I cruised along & the miles clicked on by. They had “treat” stops set up along the way giving out chocolate chips, chocolate & strawberry marshmallows, m&ms, etc. I didn’t take a SINGLE one of them.. all I could wonder was how people could even eat those things while they’re racing. First, I’d probably choke on the marshmallow. Second, I would for sure have stomach issues & the race wouldn’t end well.
As I said, the miles just clicked by. Before I knew it, I was at mile 6.. & I still felt amazing. Columbus is really beautiful! We ran through some neighborhoods with some really nice houses & it was pretty flat. There was maybe 1 or 2 hills but they were barely hills compared to Pittsburgh.
For the first time ever, I felt I had enough energy to open up a little for the last 2 or 3 miles. It was slight, but I was able to pick up my speed. That has NEVER happened to me before & it was amazing to still have energy at the end of a long race. I finished with a huge smile on my face knowing I did better than I even imagined.
Check out those negative splits!!!! First time getting negative splits in a race 🙂 When I finished, I got my medal & headed over to the tents to get my finishers mug. It was full of hot chocolate, chocolate fondue, a rice crispie treat, some pretzels & cookie, etc… I could hardly eat it. But, I ate the rice crispie & drank the hot chocolate & it was delicious!
So, as for my last big race of 2015, it was amazing. I felt amazing, & in the end I was happy I did it. (I always am). But I am glad my long races are over for a while. I have 2 5ks left & I plan on crushing them both.
Did anyone else run any Hot Chocolate races? What was your experience like?