Hot Chocolate Run

At 5:00 a.m. on Saturday my alarm went off and I started getting ready for the Hot Chocolate 15K.  Around this time in the morning the temperature was in the "teens" so it took a while to get properly dressed.  On top I wore an undershirt, a running shirt, a goose down vest, a neck warmer, gloves under my thumb holes, an ear wrap, and sunglasses (to keep the wind off of my contacts).  On bottom I wore tall sock, my running pants and leg warmers.  Despite all the clothing, I was still had great mobility.

I met Grandad and Gigi downstairs at 5:45 and we took off for Nashville.  We met Emily at French Landing (an office complex off of Rosa Parks Blvd where I use to have hearings).  Em and I both hopped in the car with Grandad and Gigi and we headed for the Bicentennial Mall.

Gigi dropped us off at the Rite Aid next to the Farmer's Market and we took a picture.  After that we started getting all geared up.

Here we are at Corral C.  Somehow or another Emily and I ended up in Corral B and Dad was placed in Corral C.  In order to all start together we back into Corral C with dad. 

To say I was nervous would be the understatement of the year.  Prior to the race I had been nervous for an entire week.  I have no idea why these things are such a source of anxiety for me. Standing in line waiting for the gun was THE WORST.  I just wanted to go.  One, so that I could get rid of my nerves, and two, so that I could get warm.  While the temperature had gone up into the 20's, it was still really cold when we were standing still. 

Right before 7:00 they brought out the flag and somebody (not sure who) sang the National Anthem.  The gun went off at 7:00.  Our corral was released at 7:07. 

And . . . we're off.  Check out the concentration on my face.  Emily is smiling and enjoying the day.  I, on the other hand, am a complete ball of nerves.

Once we crossed under the starting gate and got out a few steps I turned on my music and settled in for the long haul.  I know that I am little weird, but I like to remember the music that was playing during a run - so, as best I can I am going to try to list it.  I have a few hundred songs on my IPod shuffle.  The player randomly shuffled through the following:

1. Breathe Me In - Jared and the Mill
2. Karma - Jamie N Commons
3. Back Down South - Kings of Leon
4. Loveblood -King Charles
5. Shadow of a Man - Neulore
6. To the Dreamers - For King and Country
7. Electric Love - Borns
8. More Than - NeedtoBreathe
9. No Turning Back - For King and Country
10. The Cave - Mumford and Sons
11. Radioactive - Imagine Dragons
12. Lady Percy - King Charles
13. It's Not Over Yet - For King and Country
14. Don't Let it Get you Down - Johnny Swim
15. Let Us Love - NeedtoBreathe
16. Bad Wolf - Awolnation
17. Hills to Climb - Tim Myers
18. Sail - Awolnation
19. Seventeen - Kings of Leon
20. The Reckoning - NeedtoBreathe
21. Fix My Eyes - For King and Country

and the last song, as I was crossing the finish line was . . .

22. Eye of the Tiger - no joke.

As for the race in general.  We all agreed to stay together the entire time, to stop at all water and sweet stops and to walk when any member of the team was tired.  When we made the deal I truly believe we all meant to stick to it.  In practice it didn't turn out quite that way.  Dad lead the way the entire race.  Every few minutes I could see him turn around to make sure that Em and I were both with him.  You could actually see the mental inventory as he would spot me and then Emily. This went on for about the first three miles.  Em fell off a little after the three mile marker.  Knowing that Emily is a strong finisher, I wasn't too worried about it.  Dad and I stayed together from mile 3 to mile 5.  Once we got to the park, dad pulled ahead.  There is a spot behind the park that was really hilly.  Dad made really good time on the hills and at mile 6 I could no longer see his head.

At mile marker 7 I went through the water pass.  It was all downhill from there.  At 7.5, I felt both of my calves lock up.  I knew I should have hydrated better.  Anyway, from that point forward I had to stop every 100 yards to stretch out my calves.  At around 8.5 miles I had to stop every 50 yards.  Sometimes I could only take a couple of steps before they would seize up on me.  It was so discouraging. I would lean on whatever I could find to stretch them out and see droves of people passing me.  At one such "stretching post" I felt someone actually kick me in the bottom.  I turned around to see none other than the "strong finisher" Emily.  She hung with me for a few minutes, but I told her go on ahead after I had to make a few additional stretching stops.

At this point I wanted to cry.  I was so afraid that I wouldn't even finish.  I tried my best to run on my heels and not roll onto my toes. (I seriously looked ridiculous)  As I was turning on to last road, I heard a woman yell to us, "You're almost done - its all done hill from here. I wanted to wring her neck. I knew from our practice run, that I was about the scale the steepest hill of the entire day.  Well . . . I was wrong.  It was actually all downhill. (Emily and I must have made a wrong turn during our practice run.)

At the 9 mile marker, I knew that I was .3 miles from being finished.  I was so  happy.  I could see the finish line.  As I mentioned earlier - Eye of the Tiger came on and I gave it one last push through to the finish.  Dad was waiting there for me.  Michael, Chelsea and Gina where there too.  The only thing I could think was, I have to stretch.  There wasn't anything sturdy that I could lean on so Michael pushed against me and I was able to get in a victory stretch.

After that I was SO HAPPY! I couldn't believe it was over!!

I talked to Dad and learned that he finished in 1:34.  Emily finished 1:42 and I finished 1:45.

This picture was taken at the finish line. I was pumped!

Next we went over to pick up our mugs and our medals.  Since signing up for the run I have been looking forward to diving into the chocolate fondue.  Upon picking up my mug, I grabbed a heart shaped strawberry marshmallow, dipped it in the chocolate and took a big bite.  I immediately regretted that decision.  Way to heavy.  So I settled for a water bottle that I found on a table. There were several sitting there so I assumed they were for us.  The problem was most of them looked opened and sipped out of. I found the one that looked the least sipped out of and claimed it. Despirate times.

After taking a few commemorative photos we went out to the IHOP at Bell Road for post race pancakes.

While I am certainly not a runner, I am so glad that I did this. It felt like a great accomplishment, albeit one that I never intend to tackle again. Thanks to Dad and Emily for sharing this experience with me.

Okay, the loot for this run was awesome!

My medal. . .

The chocolate mug . . .  I actually devoured the contents of this mug whilst typing this blog.

(another picture of the mug)

And best of all . . . the hoodie!  

I was really excited about my free hoodie.  Michael promptly reminded me that this hoodie was not at all free as I paid a pretty hefty entrance fee.  I was also reminded that not only did I pay a monetary fee, I also paid a lofty physical fee as well.  After the race I came home and literally spent the rest of the day curled up somewhere in the house with "runner's gut."