Running: It's actually more expensive than therapy
Sunday 12/16/18 was the third Hot Chocolate 15k/5k in Tampa, FL. I ran the 5k this year again just like last year. I love this race not only because of the hot chocolate theme, but because of the overall vibe of it. It just feels happy and fun.
I ran the Bulow Trail Half Marathon last weekend; since then I have really taken it easy with the mileage. I wasn't sure how I would run so I didn't have any time expectations or any goals. I knew no matter what it would just be a fun time.
I checked into one of the host hotels then walked to the expo. The hotel was literally right across from the convention center where the expo was being held. They even had a walkway connector so I didn't have to cross the street. The expo was small but had some good stuff. I picked up my bib and shirt then stopped over by the Nuun station to stock up on some tablets.
Another great thing about my hotel was that I had a view of the starting line so I could see when everyone was lining up. The 5k started at 7:00am while the 15k was after us at 7:45. We had two corrals A and B for the 5k. I walked on over to the line and was able to move up towards the front since I knew that overall awards were based on gun times. They made their Make a Wish Foundation presentation/National Anthem singing then we were on our way!
I got off to a really good start. It was not too fast and not too slow just perfect. I felt so good about this race. My first mile was pretty fast but I still felt in control of my pace. The timing clocks at each mile marker really help. The course along the bay is just so beautiful and seeing it around the time of the sunrise makes it even more magical. After the turnaround I felt good still. The weird part was there was no one around me for most of the race probably the final two miles. Everyone ahead of me was way ahead of me and I didn't notice anyone behind me. That doesn't bother me I always try to run my own race.
I felt a little out of shape around the last mile (as usual) but I just tried to keep it going. I knew at this point I could have a decent finishing time. I was a little surprised to see my finish time at 20:04 since that is my second fastest ever, and I definitely wasn't sure how it would go. So yeah I'm pretty happy with that.
This was my last race of 2018 and it's bittersweet. I know I failed to meet most goals of the year, but I have improved my 5k times for over a minute from this time last year, realized I love longer distances, and found the right training plan. I am going into a recovery period for about 6 weeks then jumping into ultra training for the Palm Bluff Ultra Trail Race 50k so I am looking forward to a great 2019.
The after party at this even is one of a kind. We all get to enjoy our hot chocolate goodies in our finisher mugs. An extra touch this year was the photo op at this big clock that the volunteers could type in your bib number and pull up your finishing time, so you could get a nice picture with your specific finishing time. I noticed a lot of small improvements since last year. If you're considering a Hot Chocolate Race, you should really go for it. I signed up for next year's race with the early bird rate and am pretty excited!
3rd Overall Female out of 912
Overall: 10th out of 1289
↓ The Swag ↓
Saturday 12/8/18 was the 5th Annual Bulow Woods Trail Race. They have an Ultra (50k), a half marathon (which i did) and a 4.25 mile run. Last year I ran the 4.25 mile race in different conditions. I remember all the mud and the water up to my knees thanks to the recent hurricane. I knew this year would be dryer even though I did enjoy the challenge that was last year.
I decided to go with the half marathon this year for a few reasons. 1- I like running longer races at my long run paces for training. 2-I wanted to use this to see if running a 50k could be something I'd be interested in. 3-I really enjoyed this race last year and wanted more.
My long run pace is around 7:00-9:00 so I have a pretty good range of times I could run. I didn't really set a time goal and decided to run based on feel. I didn't want to start off too fast because I know trail race paces are different.
8:05, 7:33, 7:49, 7:35
These miles were pretty straightforward. I hiked this part the week before and knew the section pretty well. It was dry for the most part and not super technical. I think my trail running form has improved but I still have work to put in. I felt this was a pretty good and easy pace during this section but knew it would get more challenging.
8:14, 8:56, 9:13, 8:17, 8:37, 9:37
I was right about it getting more challenging. The 50k and half runners split off and crossed a street into another section of trails at this point. It started with this beautiful view then led into a pretty technical trail. It wasn't very wet but there were points here that had quite a bit of mud. My shoe fell off somewhere around here and I had to recover it haha. It was pretty comical to see I bet. I tried to do my best to keep running, and think I only had to walk once over a puddle and mud. The turnaround was around mile 7. They had a nice aid station where I got a gel and some coke to drink. I knew I had to go back through the same action again, but it seemed easier probably because I knew what was ahead of me.
8:34, 7:54, 8:07, 8:18
Things started to get easier back on this loop. My legs felt pretty tired from working so hard. I stopped at two aid stations here for some water and potato chips. Things were pretty uneventful here. The course ran at about 13.91 miles which they told us ahead of time would probably happen.
I didn't get any pictures since I used my phone app and left it in the arm holder the entire time. We got these great finisher medals/long sleeve shirts and a cup that we could fill up with rum runners or lemonade. They also had a bunch of food out for us including sweets, chili, chips, and some other goodies. The top 10 males and females in each race took home hoodies in either red or green (I picked green this year). I am thinking that a 50k is in my future probably in May because of how much fun I had. I really enjoy trail runner especially longer distances. As for now, I have one more race of the year and then an "off season".
Time: 1:56:22 13.91 Miles
2nd Overall Female