As the days drew closer to the Hot Chocolate 5K/15K yesterday, my anxiety grew. I was prepared to run the distance (15K = 9.3 miles) because I trained properly and did my first running streak throughout December, but I heard that the parking situation was a mess last year, so I was on guard.
In Atlanta, several races begin and end at major landmarks like Piedmont Park and Turner Field, the former home of the Atlanta Braves. Like the Thanksgiving Day race I did, this race was at Turner Field. And I had received several emails from the race organizers stressing that parking passes were mandatory to park in their lots, but parking space could not be guaranteed if arriving after 6:30 am.
I tossed and turned early that morning, then arrived at the exit to Turner Field at 6:05 am. It took me one hour to crawl around the side streets and finally get a spot. Nerve wracking. And honestly, that was the worst part of the day. It was 10 degrees warmer than the Thanksgiving Day and New Years Day races, but still cold. For some reason, the 5K started before the 15K (I am used to the longest race distance starting first), so I had a long wait before it was time to stand outside in my corral (15K start time was approximately 8:25 am).
One thing I love about racing is the costumes, the volunteers and the spectators! A lady near me at Grant Park was running with a tutu, sash, and cute headband that said “30th.” I wished her a happy birthday as we went up that hill. Next I saw my people, Black Girls Run at a water station. Later I saw a lady on the sidelines holding a sign that read, “WHERE IS EVERYONE GOING?” On another street, cars were stopped and a couple of little kids were hanging out of the window giving high fives. Those kinds of sights do my heart good!
I took a self-defense class the day before and met a guy who has a gun range and training at his home. His name is Tripp. Well, he’s a runner too, because I saw him and his wife passed me at one point. At the finish, I made sure to re-introduce myself. He said, “Yes, I remember you. You had a really good shot!”
My official time was 1:52:10, which is an instant PR since it’s a new distance for me. I did my first 10K race on New Year’s Day, and my split at the 10K mark in this 15K was actually one minute faster than the New Year’s 10K. I have so much respect and admiration for my friends and others who have run longer distances in less time. I hear a popular running goal is to do a sub- 2 hour half marathon.
Just before 10:30 am, I finished and picked up my Finisher’s Mug, I got someone take this shot of me. As I set up my camera, I saw a text had just come through from my daughter, who was at home: “I am so proud of you! 😀 ” That made my day. (I think she remembered that I expected to finish at approximately 10:30 am.) It is hard to keep doing these races and not have anyone to greet you or celebrate with you afterward.
Oh, the Places I Can Go
When I woke up from my semi-restorative nap, I found myself in a convo with my 10-year-old daughter about the places she and have traveled in our lifetimes. Funny thing is, There are only 2 or 3 additional U.S. states I have visited that she hasn’t. In 2014, I’d like to go to Louisiana (new), Massachusetts, Missouri (new), New York and Virginia to visit and/or race.
Because of all the race anxieties I had with the Hot Chocolate race, I need to limit my race calendar (that and the budget–race distances over 5K are expensive!). I’ll probably sleep better the night before if I can roll out of bed at a nearby hotel and be close to where I need to be.
What’s Next – Book Promo
I finished writing a script for my new book trailer. I have to do the voiceover and then send it off for production.
I got some new outfits that I may use for my new photo shoot. I’m overdue for some headshots, etc., but I delayed scheduling it because I still undecided on a hairstyle, as I’m growing out my hair now and in the middle of the “in-between” stage. I don’t want to wear a weave (a longer commitment and bigger financial investment) so I’m either going to braid it up or wig it out.
Once the new photos are finished, I have a designer who is going to create a new card or flyer for me that will include my new book info. Stay tuned!