Monday, November 16, 2015

Race Recap: Hot Chocolate 15K

This race was honestly NOT on my radar. Three years ago, I ran the Hot Chocolate 5K as my first-ever race (it was my "graduation race" from the Couch-to-5K program).  A few weeks ago, after I ran the Donut 5K Run with Molly, she mentioned that she thought I should run the Hot Chocolate 5K with her and pace her to another PR.  Later that week, a few other friends mentioned that they were doing the 15K.  I looked at my training schedule, and sure enough, I had 10 miles on the schedule.  A 15K is 9.3 miles... hmm... the higher-than-usual price of $72 was a turn-off, but when someone on my local Moms Run This Town Facebook page posted a $10 coupon code, I registered before I could second-guess my decision.  

And I am so glad I did--this race was awesome!  Best swag and post-race food, hands down.  All of the runners in both the 5K and 15K got a sweet jacket.  It really is an incredible jacket--that's what we paid for, though.  

The blue zipper one is the woman's jacket
Also, the 15K finishers got a really nice medal.  

And everyone who raced got a big finisher's mug with hot chocolate, dippable chocolate and treats to dip (banana, rice krispy treat, cookies, marshmallow and pretzels).  Definitely my kind of post-race food LOL!

I had a hard time deciding how exactly to run this race.  I had plenty of options.  I knew people running anywhere from a 7:45 to a 10:00/mile pace.  I didn't want to truly "race", of course--I haven't trained to race at all yet.  Amy and I agreed to run together, have fun, and make it a good training run.  We figured we'd run at around an 8:30-8:45 pace.  I really should've known that would never happen... neither of us are good at controlling pace in a race situation!

Amy picked me up at 5:50, as the race organizers recommended we arrive downtown to park by 6 AM.  We figured 6:15 would be fine, and it was honestly plenty early.  We ended up sitting in the car until 7:00 to stay warm!  It was actually the perfect day for a run, with temps in the low to mid 30's at race start, and not a drop of rain (or snow!) to be seen.  By the time the race started at 7:30, the Ohio sun had risen and it made for a gorgeous day to race.  

We headed to the porta-potties after we left Amy's car, and then straight to the starting line.  Hot Chocolate does corrals (thank goodness, with 15,000 runners!) as well as two wave starts. We were in Wave 1, Corral A, and it actually wasn't too crowded at all.  Amy and I looked pretty awesome in our throw-aways, I have to say ;)  

I freaking love this picture!

Tamara and Jon found us in the corral immediately, and we hung out with them for the 10 minutes or so that we had until it was go time!

Amy, Tamara and me with her friend Kayla, right before race start!

The first mile or so was really crowded, and things didn't really thin out until the 5K'ers turned off at mile 2.5.  Amy and I ran into several friends during this time--Dani, Felicia, and my new friend Megan are a few who I remember seeing.  Everything felt pretty easy during the first three miles, although we did have a bit of trouble with pace during mile 3.  Our watches both lost satellite reception, so we didn't know our true pace.  It ended up being our fastest mile on accident, but we slowed down after that. 

Our friend Lynn captured this shot as she was cheering at mile 3.5!

Throughout the race, Amy and I both kept checking in with each other, making sure that we felt good.  We both are so very in tune to our bodies after a spring/summer full of injuries.  I, unfortunately, did not feel good.  My heel had been tight when the race started, despite stretching and a ton of massage before the race while we were in the car.  I kept thinking it would warm up and feel better, like it usually does... alas, this was not the case.  In fact, as the race went on, it went from mildly annoying to a bit painful.  By the time we hit mile 6ish, it was a level 5 or 6 on a scale of 1 to 10.  I was able to block it out by telling myself that a) it was "just" plantar fasciitis, which was fine to run through, and b) focusing on Amy's stomach issues, which started at around mile 6.5.  You just never know how a GU is going to affect your body, and Amy's fuel at 5 miles definitely didn't settle well for her.  I could tell she was not feeling great when I started to pull ahead a teeny bit and she didn't respond by pulling even with me as she usually does.  The plan was to stick together, and I really didn't need to go any faster than we were already going, so I relaxed a bit and tried to chat as much as I good at a semi-uncomfortable pace of about 8 minutes per mile.

It was great to see the finish arch at the bottom of a downhill (I HATE it when races finish going UPhill!).  Amy and I sprinted in and crossed at the exact same time, of course :)  I felt great in every way possible, except for my stupid heel.  It just felt awful. I couldn't wait to get my shoe off and massage it.  We saw a few friends and then headed over to the Finisher's Tent to get our yummy treats.  

I didn't run with my phone, so no shots of the deliciousness--this stock photo will have to do!

We met up with Amy's daughter Teagan, who had raced the 5K with her friend, but didn't stay much longer after that, as we were both getting really cold (sweat dries fast!).  Breakfast at a local Westerville diner (The Pancake House) was the perfect end to our morning, although by that time my own stomach had started its revolt against the GU I had taken during the race.  That didn't stop me from enjoying my omelette and toast, though!

All in all, I was super happy with this race.  Our splits were 8:29, 8:11, 7:47, 8:08, 8:07, 8:00, 8:01, 8:05, 8:01, and 2:55 for the final 0.4 (a 7:13 pace), for an overall time of 1:15:42.   We both placed in the top 25 in our age group out of several hundred runners (not a goal but still pretty cool, considering this truly wasn't a "race" for us).  The pace didn't feel terribly hard; we were both able to talk throughout the race to each other and others on the course.  The only real negative was my heel, but boy, was it a big negative.  After I got home, I massaged it, iced it, and soaked it in Epsom Salt.  Nothing seemed to help.  It just HURT.  It never got loose, and never really lessened.  My friend Steph brought over her Strassberg sock, which is a semi-torture device to be worn when a runner is sleeping to help with plantar fasciitis.  I was excited to wake up this morning, hoping after a night in the sock that I'd feel 100% again.  Nope--zero relief.  It was then that I started thinking that maybe this was NOT plantar fasciitis.  Typically it warms up quickly when I start walking around in the morning, and when I wear my Oofos sandals it always feels good.  Not so much today.  I made an emergency appointment with my chiropractor this afternoon to see if he could work any magic. His diagnosis: NOT plantar fasciitis.  I knew it!  The pain is in my lower heel, and not at all in the upper heel or arch of my foot.  Right now, we are thinking I have a mysterious syndrome called "heel fat pad".  It's a lot like PF... here's a video explaining the difference between the two.

Tonight I did the taping recommended in the video, and I'm happy to say that it worked like a charm.  Even though in the video, the doctor says you can run and workout once it's taped, I am going to be a super-smarty-pants and wait until Thursday when I see my sports med doctor to do anything; I want him to verify the diagnosis.  I'm hoping this is nothing more than a tiny blip on my running plan leading up to marathon training starting in just three weeks.  I've worked so hard to rehab and be smart for the past several months... I need for this to just go away, please and thank you!

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