While I was out in Chicago for the Chicago Triathlon my cousin Kim and I decided we should sign up for the Hot Chocolate 15k in November. I was battling a calf injury that began the end of July and continued through August so I knew I would have to be seeing Dr. Goldberger and probably taking time off to rehab...I needed a race to come back to and what better than a no pressure 15k! Of course I always have my own expectations when racing, who doesn't? but it was more of a race to see where I was in my training, a confidence booster, a starting point to continue getting faster.
I arrived in Chicago on Halloween, went to workout at the gym and then later handed out candy to some kids, until we ran out of candy! I have never seen so many children! Once the candy was gone we had to get the heck out of the house before more kids came! We went out to a friends "Fall Festival" party across the street for the rest of the night. Friday morning I was dragged to a yoga class against my will. Kim is a super yogi and so I really had no choice. In the beginning of class Kim tells everyone to "set their intentions" my intention was "I was forced to be here, just survive the class." I did just that. I survived...and I felt I needed a nap afterwards...downward dog is not easy...
Saturday I did a shake out run with some strides to make sure I was ready, the usual. I was feeling good and confident but still had really no idea what pace I would be able to average. Partly because this was my first race back from an injury and also because I had never raced a 15k before. My goals were just to negative split and run sub 7s.
Saturday afternoon Kim and I decided to be real tourists and go on a Segway tour, a 2.5 hour Segway tour. We were unaware of the length when we signed up...but regardless it was still a lot of fun and REALLY cold. We learned a few things about the city, but questioned some of it since the other tour guide from the group next to us was saying different information about the same object...So don't ask me anything about Chicago...I still have no idea.
Sunday morning rolls around, rise and shine, time to race! It was cold but not unbearable. My uniform was blacked out and for a specific reason...I had on black shorts, black arm warmers, red sports bra (to match the red "Rangers Lead the Way! on the back of my singlet), and my custom made singlet with the American flag on the front and the names of the 3/75 guys KIA October 5 2013 on the back in support of my boyfriend who is in the Ranger Regiment and his friends who were killed and injured that night. I was bundled up and had my gear check bag with me so I could check all my sweats before the race. I didn't realize how far the gear check was from coral A...Surprisingly the run to the start was long enough for a warm up so once I dropped off my gear I headed to the start line, I was warmed up by then and jumped into the crowded Coral where I was able to stay pretty toasty due to all the body heat! I was planning on starting out at a decent pace, warm my body up more and then go after it. I was successful in my attempt and by mile 2 I was feeling great. With every mile I was picking up the pace slowly and I went through 3 mile in 21 minutes. I went through 10k in 41 minutes. I finished in just over 1:02 for the 15k. I heard from a few people that the course wasn't exact and I had the course quite long according to my watch it was 9.54 and thats even with losing satellites on my GPS when we ran in tunnels for quite a bit. So I can either go by averaging 6:30 pace for 9.54 miles or averaging 6:40 pace for 9.3. Either way I was happy with my time. The lead woman finished in 59 and change. I was 15th, which means all of us were within two and a half minutes of each other! Thats a good race! I will most likely be going back next year to see what I can do, hopefully not coming off an injury and in a little better shape.
Lets back track a minute. When I say crowded I mean 20,000+ people!!! Not all in Coral A but I think there was a Coral for almost every letter in the alphabet. It was insane. There were about 6500 women in the 15k and many more in the 5k that went off simultaneously and split mid race.
Headed home Monday where somewhere in my travels I caught a cold. Off for a few days from training but now I am back at.