Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Hot Chocolate 5k/15k

5K Experience
5K a Month Challenge - February
February 8th, 2014 @ Fair Park, Dallas TX

First of all, let me make it very clear that I moved to a more southern state to escape winter.  I hate the cold, but more-so I hate the gray dreary days that tend to be a part of winter, especially in the little valley I grew up in.  So WHAT IS THIS TEXAS WEATHER?  Seriously, the sun has shone maybe two days so far this year.  That does not make for me keeping up with my running training.

Needless to say, I was not feeling good before this race.  This is one of the few 5ks I've signed up for (The first one I'm doing) with a minimum speed.  I have to keep up a 15 minute/mile pace.  Nothing earth-shattering, but with how much I haven't been training it will be close.  (I'm not fast even when I do train, especially in the cold) Packet pickup was a bit of a nightmare as it snowed Thursday when we were due to drive all the way downtown.  The setup was nice once we got there, but it's just a lot to get all the way to the location from where we live and the short time spent was not entirely worth my terrified-of-the-ice mindset.  I like the ones that offer several locations of packet pickup or allow you to pick up on race day.  I get that there was "the expo" but Thurs/Fri nights until 7pm in one location is just not practical somewhere as spread out as Dallas. It was in the same area as the 5k would be, and there was ice on a lot of the paths.

Once we finally got into the Expo building it was pretty painless, check in and get your bib, then over to pick up your swag.  They had "try on" stations for their sweatshirts (so nice to get something other than a T-Shirt) so you could make sure your stuff fit before leaving!  Then there were a handful of vendors set up and a lot of cold-weather gear you could buy.  At the very end there were hot chocolate and fondue samples.  Okay, you give me a hot chocolate covered marshmallow and I forgive a little bit of the agony getting downtown in rush hour :)

So it was still pretty cold come race morning, but not too terrible.  Thankfully we didn't have to pay to park again and we made the trek down to the starting line area (which was quite a hike from the car)  We had no gear to check but that was an option for those of you who just can't seem to travel light.  The corrals were nicely organized although all of the signs said "No Walking" which gave me a bit of a panic attack, as I can not run a full 5k yet but have to go in intervals.  Anyway by the time we got over to F they were already pretty full and we squeezed in.  This was very well organized and they quickly had the first corral off and the remaining folks moving up.  If you were running the 15k, you could hang out and watch as the 5kers cleared out and then they set up the corrals for them!

It was a nice race trek through some of Dallas, which was very interesting.  I had done a previous 5K in this area and we stayed mostly in the Fairgrounds.  While I liked the change in scenery and the cheering volunteers along the way, I did NOT appreciate the dogs barking aggressively from people's yards.  Gosh if anything could get me sprinting that was it.  I'm TERRIFIED of them.  So that happened 2 - 3 times and then I had to really slow down a bit to catch my breath.  Really threw off my steady pace I was trying to keep.

Finally we made it back to the Fairgrounds and music really started getting pumping again, amping us up for the end.  Hey, there was CHOCOLATE on the other side of that finish line, I was gonna get it!  My personal goal was to finish the race in under 40 minutes, and I'm sad to say I didn't quite make it.  But still a good showing and a ton of fun! I had actually gone 3.2 miles in 40:38 according to my Runkeeper app, so I didn't miss it by much!

We waited in a short line for our chocolate cups and headed off to the car.  It was still a pretty chilly morning after all, and we were up early to get down there!  I really enjoyed this race and am looking forward to trying it out again next year!

healthy girly life: Hot Chocolate 5k Dallas 2014
The few pictures I managed to take... 
This is a national race with multiple stops around the country, could you see yourself participating?  Chocolate is a great motivator! :)

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