Sunday, March 2, 2014

Seattle Hot Chocolate 15k Race Report: HILLS, HILLS, HILLS!

This morning I ran the Seattle Hot Chocolate 15k.  Thank you thank you THANK YOU to Andrea for being an AMAZING Hot Chocolate Ambassador, hosting a race entry giveaway on her blog, and then picking me to win!  I'm so grateful and thankful.  I'm so glad I got to do this race and I'm sure I wouldn't have if I hadn't won an entry!

The weekend started off on Friday GORGEOUS with freaking 60 degree sunny days.  You can bet Baby J got out in the sun to enjoy it!

He loves to swing!

But by Saturday the weather had taken a complete 180.  But we still made the best of it by accidentally joining the March Forth 5k around Greenlake (Baby J's first race?!) and then a lovely (but sad!) going away party for Robyn at Patty's Egg Nest. 

 Baby J had a lovely time.  Lindsay is a good sport!

Don't leave us Robyn!

And by Sunday morning the forecast was downright terrifying:

38 degrees (with winds up to 10 mph making the feels like temperature closer to 30), 90% chance of precipitation, and this precipitation being rain and snow?!  EEK!  Considering the longest I've run in any recent history is 5 miles, I knew today's 9.3 wasn't going to feel grand.  So coupled with the weather forecast and I was kind of dreading the race.  But, since I'm also running a freaking half marathon in just two weeks, I knew that running this distance was also required. 

Luckily the weather (for the race... dom dom DOM - more on this later) was amazing.  It drizzled at most, and although the entire first mile I couldn't stop shouting I'M FREEZING I'M FREEZING with the wind and the ice rain droplets, after that the weather was pretty much perfect.  I even took my jacket off pretty quickly - in mile 3 or so.  AND since I had put the race bib over the front of the zipper, that sure made it annoying to remove.

Lessons I never seem to learn no matter how many times I learn them: 1) I ALWAYS overdress.  I need to get dressed, and then remove one layer on top before I run.  ALWAYS.  2) The bib goes on the BOTTOM!  That or I need to get a bib belt.  I never think I'll take my top layer off and then I always do and then the bib is gone.  This time it was especially bad since there was a full zipper involved.  3) ALWAYS bring a ziploc bag for your phone, even when you plan to carry it zipped into said jacket's pocket (that even though you swear you won't take off you do).

 The start

We got there bright and early, parked without much trouble, got in a corral, and off we went!  I was kind of poo-pooing the out-and-back set-up before we started the race, but it was actually kind of nice, especially because I did absolutely zero researching about this race's elevation, aid stations, port-a-potty's, etc.  After about two miles easy with Jordanne, I felt like this was a good opportunity for a test of my current fitness, and I decided to go pretty medium-hard effort wise for the rest of the time, until the last 2 miles or so when I went all out hard effort.  And I felt great!  I mean, I wanted to be done at 7 miles, but I really loved how most of the uphill was in the first half of the race, saving the lovely downhill for the second half.  It was pretty darn evil to have the last half mile be uphill though!

And that's the one word description of this race - HILLS!  I swear you were either climbing them or going down them, there was practically no flat parts.  Which I actually kind of liked, though I bet I will feel them tomorrow. 

 Can YOU spot a flat part?!?!  Total elevation gain 679 feet.

And then I was done!  And I was immediately FREEZING.  Like FREEZING FREEZING.  Like I've never been so cold before.  And we had an hour to wait or so and it was just miserable.  I also wasn't feeling very well, like so often happens to me after a hard effort in a race.  I didn't even eat any of the chocolate treats they gave us (the hot chocolate would have been wonderful to make me warmer if it hadn't been sooooo chocolatey.  Way too rich for my taste, or at least for after a race!).  I wasn't really a fan of the fondue either. 

Total Time: 1:24:47  (Average Pace: 9:06)
Splits: 10:03, 9:41, 8:57, 9:21, 9:00, 9:43, 8:46, 8:44, 8:32, 8:40
Can you spot the hills?!

This is getting long!  Final thoughts: I have never been more proud of myself for not walking once (NOT ONCE!) during all of those huge hills.  I'm seriously so proud.  I'm also impressed with my fitness.  I mean, I had a good day, there's no doubt in that.  I felt good and I gave a good effort and this time was much more than I hoped for.  But it does give me hope that maybe I'll be fast again someday?  I hope???