Hot Chocolate 15K

SF Hot Chocolate 15k 2018

I had my race report all written up Sunday night and then my home phone line went out. It won’t get fixed until Friday so I’m re-writing my blog post to get it out a little sooner.

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At first light, before the race

The Hot Chocolate races have been in San Francisco for five years. I have run them every year, as it’s one of my favorite races. There are many reasons why I love it so much, but here are just a few. For a big race, it’s extremely well organized. There are always more than enough porto-potties. I’ve never had to wait long to use one, either and that is a major bonus! It’s very affordable considering all the swag participants receive. Each runner gets a great jacket, medal and lots of chocolate. The early bird price right now for next year for the 15k is $59. Not a bad deal!

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Waiting for the start

And the course itself is superb. The starting line is just outside the Japanese Teagarden in Golden Gate Park, then is winds up past Stowe Lake, then down through the park to Ocean Beach, down south one end and back up through the park to just left of the De Young Museum.

Last year with all the rainstorms, Ocean Beach was completely flooded, so they shortened the race to a 10k, cutting out the beach portion completely. This year, it was chilly, but completely dry. In fact, the weather was perfect, no wind at all!!! If you know San Francisco beaches, then you’ll know how rare it is that there was zero wind! It was a glorious morning for a race!

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Ocean Beach on a winter’s morning

Due to having a very nasty cold over the holidays, I was sorely undertrained. But I hoped if I just ran slow, I’d do OK. I started out in a faster corral as my time last year was pretty good. That was nice. For most of the race, I maintained a good pace. I drank nothing but water for most of the course, although I did gulp some Nuun at one stop. I wish I hadn’t, because it was effervescent and it upset my stomach. I ran slowly to get rid of that icky feeling, which did finally go away. The only part of the race that gave me any problems was the last mile or so. Due to my lack of training, my hip started getting sore and I had to take a couple walking breaks and that slowed down my time.

But I still consider it a good race. I ran nearly 9.5 miles undertrained with very little discomfort. I kept up a good time (for me). It’s another successful Hot Chocolate 15k to add to the books!

Keep Moving Forward!

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Chocolate in the Rain

This is the fourth year the RAM Hot Chocolate race series has been in San Francisco. I’ve always enjoyed this race series. Every year it’s run with professionalism and grace, something that doesn’t always happen with these big races. But this one has always done a great job.

Some things are beyond anyone’s control .Like weather. All week long I’ve been checking the forecast for today and it said nothing but pouring rain with winds. And that’s exactly was it was most of the morning, with the hardest rain coming down just as I left the house around 6:30am.

It was a miserable morning to prepare for a race! I wouldn’t have blamed anyone for deciding to have their medal shipped to them and doing the distance on their own. But, that’s just not me, so I braved the wind and rain and took MUNI off to Golden Gate Park.

The ONLY saving grace was that is wasn’t cold. The temperatures hovered around 59 degrees so I was VERY happy it wasn’t freezing when I was soggy wet!

The 15k course was shortened to a 9k course, due to the Great Highway along the Pacific Ocean becoming part of the ocean. That happens due to high tides and winds. Sand doesn’t like to stay in place and during winter, the highway does close occasionally. I didn’t mind at all running a shorter distance, my feet were soaked before the race already. I chose to wear my race running jacket for the race, which turned out to be a really good decision. I was a little warm, but inside my jacket, I wasn’t soaked and that was a good feeling.

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The rain is coming down while we wait for the start….

My time wasn’t bad; I placed in the top half of the women in my age group and even though I would have run faster had it not been as rainy and slick, I’m still pleased with how I did.

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Here I am, trying to stay dry!!! 

Had the RAM organization not been so organized and great at communicating the course changes and weather conditions, this could have been a disaster, but as it turned out, things went through smoothly. They did a great job.

Now I need to get serious about losing this weight. I’ve been slacking and not really focusing on it as I should. That ends and my focus will be on losing 20 pounds and being a faster runner.

Cheers!

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The medal and chocolate (!!) make it worthwhile! 

 

 

FIT, FIERCE & FRUGAL – HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I fell asleep at 10:30 last night. New Year’s Eve isn’t my deal. I don’t drink and the thought of being around a club or bar filled with people partaking doesn’t appeal to me. Maybe if there was a band in town that I’d like to see I’d go out, but it seems like the best time to cuddle up under the covers, get some rest and wake up early on New Year’s Day.

What I DO love is running early New Year’s Day. Even though it’s really cold out, I love it!

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Conservatory of Flowers

So, I forced myself into the cold, dark morning street air. All was quiet as I walked to the bus stop. Surprisingly, there were quite a few people on the MUNI 5, making their way or to work or to wherever they were going.

I started my run on the Panhandle, trying to stretch out the distance on the park as much as I could, for I knew that Ocean Beach would be colder and windier. Very few people were out. There were a couple other runners, dog walkers and cyclists, but really, Golden Gate Park was near empty. And that’s exactly why I went out early. The weather was, in spite of being cold, beautiful. There was hardly a breeze until I got to the beach.

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Empty park streets

I noticed the clues of the high surf on the beach. Small pools of water remained close to the sidewalk, far away from the ocean. I don’t think I’d ever seen the surf that high before, so when the weather warning says “Dangerous High Surf”, it’s probably a good idea to pay attention.

I finished out my run on the Great Highway. By then, there were a few runners and walkers out and I had finally gotten warm. I’ll be running the Hot Chocolate 15K next week right here and it was worth nothing how the weather was this morning.

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Ocean Beach – windy & cold

During my run, I thought of the year passed and the one ahead of me. I probably set my goals too high last year, as I didn’t reach half of them. I am running faster, I got my personal trainer’s certificate, I did finish the San Francisco Marathon and I finished running 1,000 miles, but I didn’t run all the races I wanted to, I haven’t found the job I’m looking for and I have yet to lose the weight I would like. So, there are things I need to work on this year.

And I will work my hardest to get them done. In essence, what I want to accomplish this year, can be said in three words: Fit, Fierce, Frugal

I need to keep running, keep sticking to healthy eating, stay on track at the gym. I must not be afraid by self-imposed fears of inferiority, instead I need to jump in and take chances and go for what I want. I also have to keep track of my finances. Things are going to be tight, moneywise in 2017. I will not have the choices to do many of the fun things I did in 2016, so I have to take stock in priorities and never lose track of the prize.

May you All have great 2017s, and may you run many miles and do great things!

Cheers!

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