I had wanted to run the Hot Chocolate 15k for the last several years but I never registered. I think I procrastinated because I noticed it either always rained, was super cold or was super cold AND rainy on the day of the race (mid February). I decided to run the race this year because it is a big one for Team Beef and my Franklin Road Runners group, plus I just wanted to finally do it! I was really excited once I registered and even more excited that my husband decided to register as well!
I was still running pretty consistently since my last race in October but had scaled down a little bit. I was averaging about 25 miles a week and started training with my husband on the weekends. Since the weather has been a little crazy this winter I decided that I didn't want to focus on speed training but just running to do well, to feel good and not have any pressure or stress before, during or after the race. I truly just wanted to enjoy the experience!
We got to the race expo on Thursday night (Valentine's Day) about 15 minutes before it was over thanks to traffic and parking, picked up our bibs and jackets and walked around to the different vendors, got some free samples - hot chocolate, marshmallows, jelly beans and more, and then drove home. We were glad that we went down there to get an idea for how it was going to be on race morning. We figured out where would be best to park, got our gear ready to go and made our plans for Saturday.
The night before the race we wanted to take it easy and relax. We had my typical pre-race meal - chicken, green beans and sweet potatoes and stayed in to do our Crated with Love date night box, had a glass of red wine and tried to go to bed early (never happens). We woke up at 5 am to get ready, take the dogs out and leave by 5:45. We made it to the Nashville Public Library (our favorite place to park, it is never full and only costs $10 in the evenings and on the weekend) by 6:15. We jogged to Centennial Park, met up with Team Beef and the Franklin Road Runners and got ready to start!
Oh, I forgot to mention...it wasn't raining! I was so happy that the weather turned out to be pretty good racing weather that day! It was cold, low 30s, so I just wore long tights and a long sleeve shirt and gloves (I brought an old, free pair that I had planned to take off and throw away when I warmed up but I never did). We did start to get too cold after we were done and had to hurry back to the car since I couldn't feel my hands, but all-in-all, it was perfect weather for running.
I was supposed to be in a different corral than Josh but I decided since we trained for this thing together that I wanted to at least start together! We had originally decided to just do our own race and if we ran together - great, and if not, that was fine too, we just didn't want to stress each other out if we weren't going to be at the same pace. For the first 1/2 - 1 mile we separated to get through the crowd and adjusted to the pace we wanted to be at. It turns out, we were running the same pace so we stayed together throughout the entire run and I absolutely loved it! The course was hilly but not too awful if you normally train on them and I did like how the streets were blocked off so we could space out and weren't running too close with other people. We looked at the elevation ahead of time and knew that it was a slight uphill for the first half of the race and since it was an out and back (with a loop in the middle) that halfway through when we turned around it was going to start back downhill. I had originally planned on eating the chocolate and goodies along the course but the thought of that made me want to die as I was actually running. I stuck with my norm - water and my banana baby food pouch (at the halfway point). We sped it up a bit more on the way back and ended up with a 8:27 average for the 9.3 miles. I finished 242nd out of 1,966 overall, 89th of 1,324 females and 12th of 195 in my age group. I felt really good during the whole thing and so did Josh. I was so proud of him, he did amazing, especially with this being the first race he ever trained for!
We grabbed some free jelly beans and our chocolate goodies (hot chocolate, melted chocolate, a banana, rice krispie treat and marshmallows), walked through the Nashville Farmers' Market since it was right next to where we were and then had to hurry back to the car since we were getting so cold! It was a great race, we felt good and it was so nice to run together. I think this was the first race I wasn't super nervous for and I owe that to Josh! His support and the comfort of knowing he would be close to me throughout the race took my normal pre-race anxiety away and I can't wait to do more races with him. This one was so fun since it was around Valentine's Day, we love the jackets we were given and the goodies at the end topped it all off! You can't go wrong with chocolate.
I am a food loving, activity seeking health coach who resides in Franklin, TN with my husband and two sweet dogs (Lola & Penny).
I believe everyone should eat balanced and not cut food groups if you don't medically need to. All foods can fit in a healthy diet. Unfortunately, I have to avoid gluten and also limit myself with dairy, so my goal is to provide healthy, gluten-free/dairy-free recipes so EVERYONE can enjoy all foods, even if you do have to cut out certain food groups. My recipes are encouraged for everyone to eat, not just for those with sensitivities/allergies! Most of my recipes can be easily converted by using real dairy and whole-wheat in place of my allergy-free substitutes.
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