Race Recap: Hot Chocolate 15k – Dallas

I was so excited to be able to run Hot Chocolate 15k in Dallas this past weekend.   Hot Chocolate started giving out some sweet medals in 2015 but since I was just beginning my come-back from the ITB injury, I was not in the position to race.

Even though Alli had a tournament on the same weekend as Hot Chocolate this year, I decided to take a gamble and run that race.  (The gamble payed off because she played in the afternoon!)  My next *big* race is Cowtown Half Marathon at the end of February.  The timing of Hot Chocolate 15k in relationship to Cowtown works well (for me) as a training run.  Of course, who ever runs races truly as a *training run*?  (Hint: not me)

Getting there was half the battle

Traffic along the way and into Downtown was light, thank goodness, because it came to a virtual stand-still as I neared the parking areas.  I still had plenty of time to get parked and to the start line on time.  The reason that I even mention this is that I was witness (once again) to the stupidity of humanity.  The road on which I was stopped was RIGHT NEXT to a DART station, and yet, people still stopped in the middle of the tracks as if no trains ever came through.  One person came very close to getting the top of his car whacked.  I laughed as he managed to back out-of-the-way, literally in the nick of time.img_7244

Meeting up with friends, old and new

Several of my Twitter peeps were running and we had grandiose plans of meeting up before the race – one even came down from Tulsa!  I was really excited about meeting them, but traffic held them up and we ended up only seeing each other long enough to snap this pic.  Maybe our paths will cross again soon!img_7294

I met up with another special friend before (and after!) the race – Rebecca.  I met Rebecca through Alli’s volleyball team.  It didn’t take us long to realize that we are on about the same level of running crazy and have been pals since!img_7247

The race

Two years ago when I ran Hot Chocolate, my time was 1:37.  When I registered this year, I had to provide recent race results to prove my pace in order to be placed in a corral.  OK….I am much faster now than I was then, but I still have a hard time thinking of myself as a faster runner, so it caught me off guard!

Imagine my surprise when I figured out I was in the very first corral!  I still can’t believe it! LOLimg_7248

I found yet another friend, Kellie, in the corral and we started the race together.  However, my heart rate was being wonky (probably due to the cold) and I sent her on her way about one mile in.

OK...this was AFTER the race - by the time we found each other in the corral, the race was starting!

This was AFTER the race – by the time we found each other in the corral, the race was starting!

I LOVE running by heart rate.  It takes ALL the guesswork out of running, for me at least.  But I’m not going to lie, during the first 2.5 miles, I questioned whether or not the race would turn out well because my heart rate was wonky!  I know that my heart rate is unsteady for the first couple miles when I am cold, but I was still a little concerned when it was still acting crazy during mile 2.

I started pushing up my heart rate after mile 3 (just like I was supposed to), but I was wondered if I would be able to hold that intensity the entire race.  I think because my heart rate was so unstable early on, it made me feel a little fatigued.  Still, I somehow managed to keep rocking-n-rolling along.  I felt like I hit my stride after mile 5…that is, until around halfway through mile 7.  I started feeling tired (again) and started wondering how the last couple miles were going to play out.  Then I remembered that I had brought a gel.  (Apparently fueling concepts have been completely removed from my brain because I have been having trouble remembering ANY and ALL kinds of fuel lately!)  So at mile 7.5, I took my gel and kept on trucking!  But when I got to the bridge in the middle of mile 8, I wanted to scream.  I DID NOT want to run up another hill!! The thing about the bridge is that the finish line is literally so close!  I was SO HAPPY to cross that finish line!

I got my medal and immediately saw my friend, Rebecca.  She had crossed the finish just ahead of me, heard my name announced and turned around to greet me.  Then I ran into Kellie (from the pic above) and we chatted for a bit, then I was off to get the bowl of chocolate goodies.  I’m not entirely sure why I got it.  I would much rather have had a beer.  I drank 3 sips of my hot chocolate then threw the rest away.  I never feel like eating after a race or a long run and that icky sweetness was just too much!

When you can’t believe the finish

I ended up running 1:21:52, which obviously blew my time from two years ago out of the water!  While I didn’t place in my age group, I ended up 63/699, and overall female 306/3909.  I’ll take top 10% any day!

Rebecca and I after the race!

Rebecca and I after the race!

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Happy Tuesday!!

Jen

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Nailing my speed workout and taking the plunge!

It’s been a long while since I posted.  Club volleyball is in full swing and has taken over our entire life!  I am feeling the need to refocus on #myoneword from 2015: balance, but focusing on it won’t erase all the extra-curricular commitments on my calendar!  This weekend will mark the third weekend in a row of volleyball tournaments, and the fourth in a 5-week time span.  Add in Logan’s soccer games, my workouts and the pile of never-ending laundry and you have one very tired Jen.

Mental prep isn’t just for racing 

Despite of my constant state of exhaustion, I have still managed to execute some pretty sweet workouts, aside from sucking up the speed work!  Thursdays are my speed work days and last night, I FINALLY paced my mile repeats properly.  Since the break after my marathon, pacing on the track has been, ummmmm, challenging.  I have gone out without thinking about how to pace my first interval.  That is, until the warm-up is over, at which point I panic because I feel like I’m running naked and blind!  Needless to say, I’ve been running the first one wayyyyyyyyyy too fast and the rest of the workout basically stinks.

You can’t fix what you won’t change, so I asked for some direction from my coach on Wednesday.  Thinking about how I needed to run the repeats a full day in advance made execution of the workout <almost> a breeze!  OK….I might have thought I was dying by the end, but I did remind myself that I wanted to be uncomfortable this year!  In any case, this was the first speed session this year that I didn’t leave the track angry with myself.  In fact, I might say that I was satisfied!img_7219

Dory makes her debut

I think I may have alluded to the fact that I wanted to make the transition into triathlon.  Just regular tris, NOT Ironman competitions…..yet.  In order to do this, I obviously need to become a swimmer.  Let me be clear: I DIP in the pool; I LOUNGE by the pool; I DON’T “swim”.  One week ago today, after I had gathered all the necessary equipment (this took me the entire month of January – Garmin 920xt, MioLink HRM, swim suit, cap, and goggles), I finally mustered the courage to get in the pool during one of Alli’s practices.  I fully expected to drown.  Thankfully, I was wrong!

I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to swim the entire length of the pool (I DID NOT anticipate being able to do this!).  For the swimmers out there, I know you’re laughing, but this was a BIG DEAL.  I was also able to breathe with proper techniques about half of each lap.  Seriously, I get halfway, become tired and start panicking.  When this happens, I swim the rest of the lap without putting my face in the water.  I didn’t get mad at myself like I usually do when I struggle.  How could I be upset when I faced my fears and had the courage to start?  I swam again Wednesday evening.  I felt more comfortable in the water and even managed a couple of laps breathing properly the entire time!  I am now very excited about this new challenge ahead of me and can’t wait to see improvement over the coming months!!

Branching out into the water has prompted one of my best friends to give me a new nickname: img_7235

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Is there such a thing as too much volleyball?

I love volleyball.  I really do.  But I’m tired. and we’ve only started the season!  Last week, I drove to volleyball 7 out of 9 days.  SEVEN out of NINE days.  Let me remind you that I live 50 minutes from our gym IF there are no traffic problems.  Driving all of those days WORE. ME. OUT.

Even so, I absolutely love it!  Alli is thriving and blossoming on this team.  Both of our coaches are phenomenal and we have the BEST group of girls!  They are an 11-year-old team playing up in 12 Open (hardest 12s division) and winning almost all of our matches.  There is a HUGE difference between 11s and 12s.  It’s almost like the 12 year olds started taking steroids.  The size gap is more like a canyon and the ability/coordination gap is just about as large.  Our girls have very sound fundamentals, which is why they are able to play so competitively in this age group. img_7179

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Why can’t soccer be indoors?

What is the deal with soccer?  It seems like every week we have GREAT weather on Monday – 60-70 and sunny.  Then Tuesday, aka Game Day, rolls around and temps dip into the 30-40s with howling winds.  Have I ever discussed how much I HATE the cold?  Even so, I go to all the games that I am able so that I can support Logan and his team.  This season has been a struggle.  Soccer at BHS is in its 3rd season – EVER – and we graduated some very seasoned and talented players last year.  That isn’t to say that we don’t have talented players now – they just aren’t as seasoned…yet.  But they never give up and fight hard to the finish.  Every game I see improvements, and the games are full of great play so it is fun to watch!  I just wish it was warm!!!

The weekend is upon us!

If I can survive this weekend and the coming week – I’ll have a break next weekend!

Tomorrow I’ll be running Hot Chocolate 15k in Dallas.  I wanted to race it so badly last year when they introduced those gorgeous chocolate bar medals, but, alas, I was still injured.  I really should not have signed up to run this one.  Alli has a tournament and I took a big gamble of missing Alli’s games.  The volleyball and running gods smiled upon me by giving Alli’s team an afternoon pool.  I’ll be running the race in the morning near downtown Dallas, heading back to get Alli, then to downtown again for Alli to play at the Dallas Convention Center.

Alli’s team has a really good chance of a high finish in this tournament – wouldn’t it be cool if we could both medal this weekend?!?

Happy swimming/biking/running/soccer-ing/volleyball-ing!!

Jen