Monday, November 8, 2010

Hot Chocolate 15k

This weekend was the last long race of the season- and quite possibly one many people were looking forward to the most- the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k. This was a race that drew a ton of people- it had a long distance for people to work up to that wasn't as intimidating as a half marathon, a 5k for people to either work up to, or run for fun or walk, and, perhaps most importantly, CHOCOLATE! After signing up for this race, we got weekly emails telling us how much chocolate was going to be given out at the race. We also got a really cute chocolate brown hoodie! And friends from all areas of my life participated in this race-including my officemate, who I convinced to do the race, making it a great social affair as well. Overall, a good time!

We awoke bright and early in the morning to trek down to Grant Park. It was really chilly-- under 30F. The el got progressively more crowded, and we were pretty glad that we got on early enough to get seats! When we got there, there wasn't a ton of time before the 5k started, so we hustled to get to the bathroom before the 5k bunch went off. It was COLD. I was not totally prepared, and hadn't put my bib on before leaving my apartment (bad move!) and my fingers were so numb that this was quite a difficult task! I tried to connect with my officemate, but it was impossible, as they were already lining up for the race, and there were like 35000 people there, plus guests. After our 5k-ers started, Mo and I did a little warm up jog. I was wearing a tank top, a light jacket, a fleece and a down coat, and I was still cold- even after our warm up!! It pained me to remove the outer 2 layers but I knew I would regret it after the race had started if i kept on that many jackets! So I gave them to Mat to hold (good boyfriend!) and we were off!

The 15k was about to start, so Mo and I lined up in the crazy crowded 9 min/mile section. Huddling for warmth with the rest of the runners, it didn't feel quite as cold. Finally, we were off. As we started down the first straightaway, we could see the 5k-ers finishing up. I looked for our friends, but couldn't see anyone. It was too crazy crowded anyway. I don't know if I have ever participated in a race this crowded...Mo and I stayed together, trying to weave in and out of the crowd, but for the most part we were parchisi-ed (a term I have coined for a situation where there is no way to get around a barricade of slow people, much like the barricade in the game of parchisi!) I was looking at my watch at each mile marker, slightly disappointed at our inability to maintain a 9 min mile. But it was impossible- there was just no room to go around people, and every time we did, we were stuck behind more. I think around the 5k we were at 28 minutes, and at that point, I gave up on having a "great time" and figured I should just have fun. It was a lovely course on the lake path, and a bright clear morning.

However, in reality, I guess I have become a little too competitive to "just have fun." After Mo stopped for the bathroom, I decided to become really aggressive in passing people, and even spent a significant amount of time on the grass beside the path. Every time I got back onto the pavement, I found another person I wanted to pass. I felt kind of like how I feel driving home on 294. I spend so much time in the left lane trying to pass the slow people on the right, trying to always make good time. Eventually, around the aquarium, the race got really narrow, and there was nowhere to go around people except up on a little stone wall, which I refused to do because I was afraid I would fall! So I took the opportunity to catch my breath a little and prepare for the last mile or so. I was remarking to myself about how hot it got in the sun. Amazing, considering how cold we were before the race began. Finally we rounded the last bend and could see the finish line. Try as I might I couldn't pick up the pace, though I have little concept how fast I was actually running at that point. I saw Mat and company watching, but they didn't see me...I crossed the finish line just a little over my goal time of 80 min, at 81:24. Not TOO bad considering how parchisied we were at the beginning of the race!

I walked through the cool down area and grabbed chocolate and water. I tried to hit up the portapotties but they were all out of TP, so I decided to wait...and walked to where Mat and company were. I couldn't find them, so I decided to jog back, but at this point my ankle was really hurting (something is up with these sneakers...) so i just walked along. I finally found Mat and the 5k-ers at the 12 min mile marker (our designated meeting spot), and Mo arrived shortly after. We hung out, and regrouped there, and ended up meeting up with my officemate, who I hadn't expected to stay for the 15k! We went to get fondue- they had neat little trays with pound cake, pretzels, marshmallows apples and bananas for us to dip- and ate up. It was yummy!

Here's a pic of my runner friends after the race:

Then we decided to go get some brunch at Orange- YUM! I got hot chocolate there, since the line was too long after the race and we decided to jet instead. We had a lovely brunch- good times with good friends! :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lazy workout week and lazy cooking week

Last week I got a cold- I am 99% sure it was due to standing out in the cold and rain after the half marathon for about an hour and a half. So, I sort of took it easy both at work and in my workouts- and tried not to be too upset if i didn't do everything to a T... I think this philosophy worked, though, because the cold was pretty mild, and now its gone. Good timing, because there is another race this weekend- the Hot Chocolate 15k. This is the last long race of the season, and it's really hard to believe that a) its November and b) there's nothing BIG to train for on the schedule! Kind of nice though. Everyone and their mother is doing this race, so it should be a ton of fun...not to mention the copious amount of chocolate that has been promised to us for completing it! Looking forward to a (hopefully not rainy) crisp fall morning run! Tonight's run clinic we did pace workouts for the race. I hit my proposed time pretty well (maybe I'm finally getting the hang of this pacing thing?) and I am excited to hopefully have a good race on Saturday!

Due to being sick last week, and partying it up for Halloween this weekend (and by partying it up I mean, staying up till 3:30 AM playing Rock Band) I elected not to cook Sunday night, and thus did a quick meal last night for my weekly lunches. Nothing to brag about, but very easy and yummy. So I'll just describe that quickly here and then get to bed to hit the bike workout on the schedule for tomorrow...


2 boxes of RiceRRoni
2 bags of frozen broccoli
1 rotisserie chicken

Cook RiceRRoni according to package directions. Cook frozen broccoli according to package directions. Shred chicken. Mix, and enjoy! I got 7 meals out of this!