Sunday, November 16, 2014

Best Hot Chocolate Ever!

Saturday I made my kids clean the house, and then I packed them off to the sitter so I could go to the packet pick-up and expo for the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k in Columbus.  I met Deidre, one of my running besties, at the Expo, and we crammed chocolate tabs in our mouths right away.  Then we scoped out any other food items there and crammed those in our mouths, too.  There were marshmallows dipped in chocolate fondue, mini Larabars, and sweet potato tortilla chips.

Then we took some silly pictures:

This is EXACTLY how I look when I am dreaming about Hot Chocolate!
We dressed up for the occasion.
I also spotted some Turtles there.  Fear them!

The expo was well-run.  I didn't have to stand in line for anything.   There were more vendors there than when I ran in 2012; I think the race is at least twice as big now.  Also, there were inflatable slides and things for the kids, but since I run to get AWAY from my kids, I didn't care about the inflatables.

After the expo, Deidre and I laid out our gear.  I agonized over my running outfit because I wasn't sure about the temperature, and I had packed several possibilities.  I went with this:
Flat Stephani appears to like blue this year!

Per our tradition, Deidre and I had dinner at Marcella's, a great Italian restaurant in the Short North, where I continued my personal pre-race tradition of stuffing my face with pasta carbonara.  YUM!!  It is also possible that someone consumed some wine.  Maybe.  We had a wonderful dinner, and we enjoyed catching up with each other, so much so that we didn't get back to the hotel until around midnight after walking several miles around the city.  In high heeled boots.  DOH!

The morning of the race was a little rough because of my lack of sleep and the cold.  I went down to eat a bagel for breakfast, but the breakfast bar wasn't open yet--GRRRRR.  Luckily, I am ALWAYS prepared when it comes to food.  I had brought a Cliff Bar, so I ate that and downed some coffee on the way to the corral for a 7:30 start time.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I'm freezing my dupa off in the corral at 7 AM.

As soon as the race started, I felt GREAT!!!!  The cold air woke me up, and running warmed me up quickly.  There was music in some parts of the course and plenty of water and sports drink.  At the beginning of Mile 2, I received some dark chocolate chips (a whole handful!), which I munched on for a bit.  In other stations, volunteers gave out Tootsie Rolls and marshmallows.  I took a Tootsie Roll for later, but I was afraid to try eating a marshmallow as I am clumsy, so I can just visualize choking to death on the marshmallow.

This year, after the trauma of running REALLY HARD for both the Perfect 10-Miler and the Akron Half Marathon, I decided to just enjoy myself in this race, and I really did.  I loved looking at the course.  The first few miles were a run up High Street and through the Short North.  Then we moved to the University and along the Olentangy River for the middle miles.  My favorite miles were the last two, the residential neighborhoods.  I LOVED looking at the old houses, especially the Painted Ladies.  I'm so glad I allowed myself to slow down and enjoy this race because it could have easily gone another way if I had given in to my inner slave-driver.

I finished strong because the last .3 miles were downhill, and I was smelling the chocolate.  I was surprised and happy to see Deidre waiting for me, and we got our fondue together. I ate a little bit of it, but my hands started freezing up, and I couldn't hold the food, so I knew we had to get back to the hotel as soon as possible, which we did.  Unfortunately, that meant I had to skip the after party, which I remember from 2012 as being really fun with a great band.

All in all, this race was worth the 2 hour drive and the run in the cold.  I really enjoyed the course and the chocolate, and what I liked best was being with my friends (even though I couldn't find most of the Turtles--sorry, Peeps!).  Oh, and the swag was FABULOUS!
I LOVE my warm jacket, swag bag, and hat!
And check out my medal--SWEET! (See what I did there?)

I plan to make this a tradition, so I will be back next year--hopefully as an ambassador again so I can get hats for everyone and a free entry to a lucky winner.  Thanks for running with me and following the blog, Peeps!

Keep following me--I'll soon be blogging for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon!

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