I don’t love New Year’s resolutions, but I did commit to running one race per month this year. January’s event was the Hot Chocolate 5K race in Atlanta this weekend. I mean – a race for chocolate? Helllooo, I’m so there!
The 5K was actually sold out when I went to register a couple of months ago, so I had to do a charity entry for an additional $20… but I found a 10% off coupon on the Moms Run This Town website. I don’t normally shell out that much for a race, but the price of this entry included a technical hoodie for all participants. When I picked it up on Saturday, I pulled it on and have decided it’s my new woobie. It’s completely lined with polar fleece – even in the hand-warmer pocket thingy. It wasn’t at all chilly in Atlanta this weekend (like highs in the 70s), but I snuggled into it every chance I got.
So, aside from the hoodie hand out, the expo was actually pretty lame. We had to pay $10 for parking and then when we got inside, they only had 4 vendors there… one of which was a cosmetology school?!
After the expo, we went for lunch and I did some shopping/browsing at fun fitness-gear stores we don’t have in Savannah… like Lululemon and Athleta. That was mildly motivational since I found an adorable run-skirt that I want, but can’t fit my booty into right now. And stopping at Lululemon reminded me about my vision board project from last year… it’s probably time to do a new one, right?
Even with a relaxing dinner and early bed time the night before, race day morning was pretty stressful… it seems – in addition to the traffic of 20,000 race participants – we were fighting against bumper-to-bumper Atlanta Falcons play-off game traffic. Baaah!
Although they like to call this “America’s Sweetest Race”, it was not the friendliest group of race volunteers by far. I was pushed to the very back corral by a cranky volunteer since the long delay in the potty line put me a few minutes behind the closing schedule of my assigned corral. So I moved to the back and when the race announcer asked the waiting crowd who was running their first race to raise their hand, I found myself completely surrounded by hands in the air. Crap.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m always excited when people get into running and doing races, but a huge group of first-timers meant that I would be maneuvering through a lot of folks completely unfamiliar with race etiquette. In the interest of public service announcements for the running community, let me share a few tips with you:
- Just like in driving, slow moving vehicles keep right… leave the left area open as a passing lane.
- Please don’t run or walk side-by-side with 6 of your friends so that no one can get past you… it just makes everyone wish a fast-moving stomach virus on all of you.
- At the water stops, take your water and keep moving… if you stop right there, you’re blocking everyone else from getting their water.
- Don’t throw your cup down in the middle of the road… throw it in the trash cans or to the side of the road. If you throw it in the middle, you’re creating a slip-hazard for the runners coming behind you.
- Thank the volunteers and the cops working the road closures of the course… even if they’re not at their sweetest when you come across them and they force you into the last corral.
- If you wear ear-buds for music (or whatever keeps you moving), please only use one earbud during the race so that you can hear people around you in the case of an emergency like “OMG! That store we just passed has a huge sale today!”. Safety first.
- Enjoy yourself, but don’t be a rude butthead to people who are older, slower, chunkier, etc. than you. Remember karma? I’ll go ahead and pre wish a fast-moving stomach virus on you right now if you’re that person.
Check it out… this was my favorite runner of the day. He never once passed me – what’s not to love? 😉
Okay, I’ve stalled long enough about my performance in the race.. because, well… it was bad. I could list the 20 reasons I have for sucking wind at this race (hilly course, foot cramp, bad shoes, being 40 and out of shape, missing my iPod, being stopped at a couple of intersections because of the play-offs traffic, etc, etc), but it was just bad. I wanted to quit about every other step, but I talked myself into sucking it up and finishing… even if it was my worse time ever… EVER.
I did finish strong and with a big smile on my face… mostly because I was looking forward to my “finisher’s cup” filled with chocolate fondue goodness! Hot chocolate sauce, banana, marshmallow, rice krispy treat, etc. Mmmm… now that’s a great reward for stumbling along 3.17 hilly miles.
So would I do this race again? Eh, only for the hoodie…