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AIF: San Francisco Hot Chocolate 5K

Posted Jan 12 2014 12:00am

bilbl_super This morning FaveCousin, KE, and I woke up before dawn in order to participate in the SF Hot Chocolate 5K , benefiting Ronald McDonald House.  I’d first heard about the Hot Chocolate 5K back when I went to the SJ RocknRoll expo. The name sounded so fun, and I knew it would be a great way to start off the new year.  I was so happy that FaveCousin wanted to do it with me and said I could stay overnight with her.  She and I had a good time at the Mermaid , and this time KE (FaveCousin’s cousin’s wife (in Italian families things can get complicated)) was going to do it with us, adding to the fun.

This race was early – a 6:15am call time for a 7:30 start time.  Luckily, FaveCousin suggested we get there a bit later so that we had more time to sleep in and less time just waiting around.  Still, we had plenty of time for a few photos:

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It was freezing this morning in Golden Gate Park, but after yesterday’s drizzly weather, we were glad that it was clear.  I am so glad that I had the wherewithal to bring my earmuff headband (is that what you call it?), because it helped keep me a bit warmer.

For me, the worst part of any 5K is waiting for the race to start.  To get myself in the right frame of mind and get past my nervousness about running more of the 5K than I ever have before, I got my playlist going.  Music is phenomenal for calming nerves isn’t it?

Soon enough, we were at the starting line.  The pic on the left is the one I took, the one on the right is the one from the 5K’s FB page.  For a small race that few people had heard of, there sure were a lot of us out there.

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The thing I didn’t really think about when planning my 5min run/3min walk intervals was the fact that this is SF, and even in Golden Gate Park, which is relatively flat compared to some streets in the city, it still has some steep inclines.  It became pretty clear to me that I was going to have to wing it – I ran as long as I could and walked when I needed to. I made sure that I was running at every down hill slope and I pushed myself to walk as fast and hard as I could during the inclines. In fact, I was walking fast enough that I was passing some of the slower joggers.  I know I’m going to feel some of that tomorrow.  So while I didn’t keep my intervals perfectly timed or regulated, I am proud of what I did out there today.

I passed mile 1 pretty quickly and easily, and then it was a long haul.  Since the three of us had decided to each take the race at our own pace, I had my music to keep me going.  Well, that and a few other racers who I was pacing myself against.  At one point I was getting tired, but knew I needed to push on and  Gotta Get Through This by Daniel Beddington came on my headphones.  Perfect timing! And then I almost started crying as I ran along when Ali in the Jungle by The Hours came on…listen to these lyrics:

I mean, c’mon: “It’s not where you are, but where you’re going.  It’s not about the things you’ve done, it’s what you’re doing now.”  These were the absolute perfect lyrics to keep my feet running even after my body told me I was getting tired.  I was completely inspired.  (Both songs are on the Wogging My World mix from RockMyRun , if you’re interested).

And just was the song was finishing, I saw the mile 3 marker and the Finish line in the distance.  I took knew I was going to run myself through that line no matter what.  Talk about a moment of pride!
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In fact, I was so overcome at the end of this race for all that I’d just done, that I got really emotional again.  Tears in the eyes and everything. I almost went into the ugly cry, but stopped myself.  It just hits me every time I run a new race about how far I’ve come, all that I’ve accomplished, and how grateful I am for this new life I’ve created for myself.

Soon after, I met up with FaveCousin and KE, and we all enjoyed our Finisher’s Mug of chocolate fondue, complete with the fixings – a mini rice krispie treat, a petite banana, some mini pretzels, and a marshmallow, along with a steaming mug of hot chocolate.  I allowed myself a bit of the fondue with the banana, rice krispy, and marshmallow, but skipped the hot chocolate and the pretzels.  So delicious!

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The entire race was so well run and organized that I’ll definitely do it again next year.  If it comes to a city near you, I highly recommend that you join in on all the fun.

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Oh, and the sweetest part?  I shaved 2 minutes and 50 seconds off of my Santa Run time, even with all the inclines in this race!!! I completed this one in 46 minutes, 8 seconds – a new PR!!

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