We headed down Saturday morning and spent the day shopping, chatting, and eating. We made a stop at the Chocolate Expo to go pick up our race bibs and registration info. The Expo was cool with a lot of vendors like Skirt Sports, Sole Sports and a bunch of other local races. It was fun to just browse and shop. I always love a good Expo when it comes to this kind of stuff. They also served Hot Chocolate while we browsed. We picked up our bags and got our jackets. Instead of your typical tech tee you got a fun lightweight running jacket. Score! I was worried about long lines at the Expo because I had read some bad reviews from a few months ago about it but they must have got all the kinks out because I didn't have to wait at all.
The next morning we woke early and were told to prepare LOTS of time to get to the race. I am glad we did as there were approx 7000 racers so the line of cars to get off the freeway was miles long. I don't think traffic was being directed that early and that caused for a massive traffic jam. Many people were late for the 5K race which started first. We made it in time but with just a few minutes to spare.
I was nervous about this distance. I have never run more than a 12K and the additional 3K was really freaking me out. So of course I didn't sleep the night before and I have been sick so I knew no PR's would be set in this race.
The course was flat and being at a lower elevation helped. I told myself just run a 10K and see how you feel after that. I found the first couple miles were really tough and I kept saying "how will I ever survive this long?" One thing I love about running races is that I can listen to an ipod (something you cant during most triathlons) so it was nice to have music. Around mile 5 I saw my friend Hilary who was so far ahead of me. I got discouraged for a minute but I didn't let it bother me. She is a fast runner so I should have expected this. I just felt bad that she would be waiting that long for me. About 15 minutes later I saw my other friend Christy. I gave her the thumbs up and she gave me one back so all was good! I decided not to let it bother me that they would have to wait. Besides they had chocolate they could eat to keep them busy!
At the 10K mark I still felt great and decided I to just keep running until I felt like I had to walk. Before I knew it I was at mile 8 and then it dawned on my I was almost done! So at that point I kicked it up a notch and started passing people left and right. I was surprised at where all this energy was coming from. I saw the finish and was so happy (even though I probably look pissed in the race pictures). I was just determined to beat a time of 1:45. I did and actually came in at 1:42! Hilary PR'd at 1:15 and Christy at 1:28. They were Rock-stars!
My friends were waiting for me and said they saved going to get their chocolate bowls until I finished (aaaw such sweet friends). Love them. It was special when we got our mugs and dove into the chocolate together. The chocolate was good, really good. We all inhaled the chocolate a little too quickly because a couple minutes later we had stomach aches. Fail. That much sugar on an empty stomach after running 9 miles probably wasn't the smartest thing to do.
Inside the finisher's mug was hot cocoa, melted dipping chocolate, rice crispy treat, cookies, pretzels, banana, marshmallows, and chocolate squares (which yes I dipped in the chocolate)!
The race was very well organized and we will be back next year!