I wasn’t sure how I was going to do in the Hot Chocolate Run, the 5K I signed up for back in September. Although I had been running 5 actual Ks since October, a lot of things had crept up that were threatening success. First, I knew there were two hills in the HCR and all my courses had been flat, so I started trying to tackle hills. That did not go well, and I ended up struggling and wrecking my ankles. Then, after running a (flat) 5K on Thanksgiving Day, I got this weird pain in my side that just got worse. Still have no idea what it was, but it kept me from doing any practicing in the week before the race. In addition, the night before I just could not get to sleep. When I awoke on Sunday morning, it was after maybe three hours of sleep.
So when I headed towards the start on Sunday, I put myself in the back of the pack. I had no idea how well I’d be able to do this.
Turns out I had underestimated myself. I spent the first half-kilometer moving up from the back. I eventually found a place I was happy and settled into a pace. The first hill is right out of the gate so it’s no big deal. Adrenaline takes you up it. From there it’s not too bad for a while. The weather was cold and I actually had on longjohns under my running pants (and fingerless gloves I was wishing were fingered) but I wasn’t too uncomfortable.
The second hill, as I feared, killed me. Just knocked all the breath out of me and I had to walk for a bit. This is bad because it is really hard to get back jogging again after you go down to walking, so I figured I was done for, but after a break I was able to get back into a jog and stay there until the finish line. I have to say, having everyone else around you either also working to finish or cheering you on really helped, as well as having a clear finish line.
I got my free mug and filled it with hot chocolate. I had done it! Not completely, in my mind — I’d had to take that walking break — but this was my first real 5K and I’d completed it! I then went home and immediately fell into bed for a nap.
I was in the “fun run”, so we weren’t ranked or anything, but according to the chip times, I did it in 32:54, which seems odd to me, as that’s about the pace that I do 5K with no hills and without walking.
I started running in May with Couch to 5K, and sure enough, did a 5K in December. I’m not done, though. Over the winter I plan to at least hit the indoor track some and perhaps the treadmill, and then come spring I’ll be back on the roads again. Running still isn’t “fun”, but I do get a sense of enjoyment out of it. Next December I’ll be looking to stare down those hills and defeat them.
Many, many thanks to the people who donated to my Hot Chocolate Run! And also many thanks to the folks who have been so kind and supportive of me along the way! You really helped me out along the way!