March 31, 2014

will run for chocolate

but seriously, that's what i did.

hot chocolate run 5k 15k san diego
totally worth it

i had a few criteria to meet when picking a race to start the year
  1. supports a charity
  2. longer than 5k
  3. something i wouldn't mind doing alone

the alone part was a very real, um, fear? the only person i've ever done a run with was doing the disney coast to coast challenge, 2 half marathons with 3 weeks in between. i was pretty sure she'd be a little tuckered out for this one. i managed to convince some co-workers to get on the color run in june, but none of them were feeling particularly up to a run in march.

i really, really wanted to do this run. it looked like fun, there was chocolate at the finish line and i've felt super lazy the last 6 months. i decided even if i just drove down by myself, i didn't really care. as it turned out the race weekend coincided with the last weekend of my mom's spring break. she lives in nc and has had to watch my timing chip online for the previous runs. she was more than happy to stand out in the chilly socal air and wait for me to cross the finish line.

the expo

truthfully the only expo i really have to compare with is the disneyland half marathon weekend, which was awesome. i arrived at the expo with about 25 minutes to spare. this was partially due to the insane/unnecessary traffic between santa monica and san diego, and the complete lack of signage anywhere near the venue. if not for my stellar driving skills having been raised in nascar country, we may not have made it in time.

i'd read some recaps of other hot chocolate runs around the country and this seems to be a theme. even the volunteers seemed annoyed i was asking which way to go. since i was so late, the check in was super fast. i will give them credit for allowing you to try on different sizes of the hoodies before you commit to the one initially ordered.

(side note: if anyone from ram racing would like help planning/executing the frozen hot choc run in los angeles, let me know. i've got loads of experience.)

hot chocolate run 5k 15k san diego
this was fun

how did it go?

hot chocolate run 5k 15k san diego yurbuds garmin nike brooks
race day gear

hot chocolate run 5k 15k san diego
before with my picky bar smooth caffeinator and some water

not quite as planned. i was unaware of the hills in san diego. i don't tend to do hill runs on the dreadmill because my long runs thru my area of santa monica has some decent inclines. i would not describe san diego as an "incline."

i had hoped to finish in 1:30, roughly 10 minute mile. having spent my time building up distance instead of speed, i thought this was a happy medium. i ended up with 1:39:45, i blame the hills.

the run itself wasn't so bad, the first 2 miles are always "ugh, what did i get myself into?" luckily there was none of the debilitating side pain from the half marathon. just small cramps i was able to slow down and breath thru. i opted for gu chews this time at miles 5 and 8, they're a little larger and take a bit longer to dissolve than the gatorade chomps, not sure how i feel about that.

unlike the highly produced disney half, the course wasn't loaded with volunteers to cheer you on. the residents of the neighborhoods along the way were nice enough to come out for us, a few kids gave some much needed high fives. the guy dressed in a heineken costume shouting thru the megaphone "hot chocolate sucks, drink beer" was pretty great.

i had also updated my playlist prior to the run, i knew i'd need it to be longer and added some more variety. unfortunately i failed to select "shuffle" so miles 5-7 were all beastie boys, but i kinda needed that. funny result of the non-shuffle, eminems "moment" was actually playing as i hit mile 9. if i had read that in one of my scripts i would have rolled my eyes but, it gave me a much needed giggle and the last .3 miles were cake.

garmin read 9.33 1:39:45

overall thoughts?

hot chocolate run 5k 15k san diego
before i ate it all

this was the first run i did on my own, and i actually didn't mind. i found to runners to secretly keep pace with. got some encouragement from those feeling the hill strain as well "alright, down hill, let's do this!" i also had my mom waiting at the finish line, she was pretty proud. it was nice to have someone there as just a spectator and not a running buddy. selfish maybe, but i'm her only child so deal with it.

even with the stress of getting to san diego the day before, the overall experience was excellent. 9.3 miles was a great distance, just long enough to not feel like my long weekend run, but short enough that i could drive my jeep home 2 hours later. i'll probably trick my 5k co-workers into doing the 10k in los angeles this fall.

self improvement

other than adventure to san diego, my mom and i also watched/listened to every ncaa tournament game from friday - sunday. it's what we love. she said after one of the games that the players should have "played better" if they wanted to win. i got all agro over the "play better" comment. i said "play smarter" was an appropriate assessment, better shot selection vs. shots they usually make that just aren't falling. around mile 6 of the race i passed a woman who was probably in her late 30's, about 5'5" and weighed, i'll say around of 250 lbs (i'm basing this solely on before/after weight loss pics on pinterest). i thought, she's a badass. i've been fortunate to always be slim and enjoy exercise, i played soccer from 5-18 and then stuck with running/hiking/yoga from then on. while friends will joke about the quality and quantity of food i sometimes eat, food has never been an emotional crutch. i certainly appreciate that my biggest obstacle to overcome in distance running is my own boredom and mindset. to have a physical obstacle to overcome, wow, she was awesome. i wish i had told her she was awesome, but i felt like it would sound condescending coming from me as i passed. thoughts?

anyways, my version of "play better" is when i try to convince my non-runner friends that they can do a race. i have actually said "there were people at the disney half who had no business running a half." what i meant was, don't be intimidated by the goal, these people weren't elite runners, neither am i, but it still sounds wrong. so i'm gonna stop saying that. anyone who sets a goal and sticks to it, is a total badass and has every business being there.


  1. Yup, the proud mom here. The one who will show the 10-second clip of Jen making the final turn to anyone who will watch. I've run 2 5-k's, so know the exhilaration she describes. Had to quit running because of back problems, so now I enjoy it vicariously through her! Way to go, Jen!!

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