Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hot Chocolate 15K


On Sunday morning Todd and I got up at 5am so that we could drive downtown and run the Hot Chocolate 15K race.  I hate getting up early to run a race.  Almost every single time I’ve run a race, I have contemplated trading a DNS (Did Not Start) for more sleep and not having to get out of bed. That’s how much I hate it. 

I was not going to run the 15K originally.  Todd was supposed to run the 15K with his sister Amy.  They have a tradition of running races together and making an event out of it.  Last year she came to San Diego and did the Tough Mudder with Todd.  However, after Todd signed up for the Hot Chocolate 15K, Amy couldn’t get the days off work to come run the race with Todd.  So I paid more and upgraded my 5K race to the 15K.  Todd and I had planned to run it together, even though I am slower than him. 

About three weeks ago, the IT band on my right leg started to get very sore after running.  I’ve had problems with my right leg IT band for a few years now.  If I run too much it gets very tight and sore, and then other parts of my right leg starts compensating for it and get sore too, such as my knee, quads, calves, and even my foot.  So I scaled back on my training for this race.  The longest training run I did was six miles about three weeks before the race.  Because of my injury, I was going to be even slower than usual.  So a couple of days before the race, I told Todd that we should just run our races separately and not together.  I didn’t want to hold him back.  To tell the truth, I was afraid that I wouldn’t even be able to finish the race.  15K (9.3 miles) is not a distance that I was confident that I could run with an injured leg.  But I figured that I would take it easy and it would be a huge victory just to finish the race.

The start of the race. Tons of people lined up! Todd had already gone to the first corral at the start line.  The faster people get to be closer to the start line.

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The only thing working in my favor was the perfect running weather. It was overcast and no sun the entire time, with temps in the low 60s. 

Right from the start of the race, it was going uphill.  I get angry when races have a lot of hills, and this entire race was a doozy. I studied the route map the night before and I told Todd, “The first four miles from downtown up to University Avenue in Hillcrest is like, entirely uphill!”  I was pretty much right.  So I struggled.  My pace was much slower due to both my injured leg and the hills. 


See the big hill? This was during the first mile.  Made me angry, ha ha!  The first 5K (3.1 miles) felt like forever.  I was tempted to stop and just walk back. But I struggled on.  I ate a vanilla GU after running for 40 minutes and felt better.  Onwards I went.

After four miles, it was finally downhill for a while back towards Balboa Park. This flat part of Balboa Park was great.

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Even some of the downhill were pretty severe.  This was with a view of the Coronado bridge.

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Non-runners may not know this, but even downhills can be dangerous.  If you go all-out and run fast and over-stride, you could hurt yourself in a bad way.  So a race course full of uphills and downhills just makes for challenging running.  Period.

This steep hill was during the last mile.  Really pissed me off.

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I didn’t even take a photo of the finish line, because I was running fast towards it and just wanted to be done, lol.  Todd had texted me and I knew he was done and waiting for me.  I’m actually really proud that I finished the race without further injuring myself, despite my slower time.  I finished the 15K in 1:51:21.  According to my Garmin I actually ran 9.34 miles.  I’m very happy with the time given it was so hilly.

Here are the details of each mile.  I did not know that I ascended and descended over 2,500 feet during those 9.3 miles until I uploaded my Garmin stats!  Holy moly.  No wonder I was so angry.


Guess how excited I was to get my finisher’s loot of hot chocolate and chocolate fondue?


Pretty darn excited!


Finishing this race was a huge victory for me.  Well, really just getting out of bed and starting the race was a victory already, I suppose.


Here are my current thoughts on running.  I’ve been running since 1997.  I’ve run a full 26.2 mile marathon (2000 Honolulu Marathon).  I’ve run two 13.1 mile half marathons (2009 Seattle RnR, 2010 San Diego RnR).  I’m done with running long-distance races longer than 15Ks (maybe even ones longer than 10K).  Why? I don’t want to spend so much time running and training.  I really don’t enjoy runs that are over an hour. I don’t want to spend so much time running, when I can be doing weights and other workouts besides running.  Every time I’ve trained for a distance race over 10k, I’ve gotten injured.  I’d rather be more varied in my workouts and build up muscles and do strength training.  When I train for long distance races, I tend to neglect weight training and that really bothers my body.  There are only a limited number of hours per day and I just don’t want to spend it running that much!  I have too many other interests to do that.  So no more long-distances races for me.  Yes to being strong, yes to cross-training.  Yes to lifting weights.  No more running for hours at a time.


  1. congratulations christine! that is awesome! i'm with you though... i'm not a runner either. :) proud of you for getting up at the crack of dawn and doing all those hills! woo hoo!!

  2. Wow, you did awesome! I'm a new runner (started last year) and I've always said the most I will ever run is maybe a 10k, tho a 5k is perfect for me! I really think running long distances plays havoc with your body.Totally agree about having enough time to do strength training. It is SO important, especially for women, in my opinion! good job!

  3. You are pretty fierce, Christine! especially with such a hilly course.
    I'd love to do a Hot Chocolate race but there aren't any in New England. The closest is Philadelphia. Chocolate at the finish line is definitely motivating!

  4. Congrats Christine on getting up and finishing the 15k! And congrats to Todd!

    My husband is running in the Philadelphia HOt Chocolate 15k in 2 weeks. He's been running on the treadmill bc of the constant snow we have here. Even today we woke up to ice and snow. He's alittle worried but hopefully he'll just do his best and enjoy it.

    I'll be waiting at the finish line to document his triumph and sneak some of his fondue. LOL!

    OH YES to fav!

  5. Not enough chocolate to make me wake up that early and to run that long. . . just sayin'

  6. congratulations on the race! I should have come out to cheer but couldnt get out of bed in time. The course literally goes down the back and side of my block. The stupid hill you hate at the end is my hill repeat hill. :) I've looked at the course before and it looks way too hard. I hate hills and running hills in my own neighborhood seems even hard. I'd want to ditch and just run home. :)

    Just remembered.. if you want to repurpose your tutu the GOTR 5K is Sunday May 11th at Liberty Station. All 550 girls will be in tutus!


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