I wasn't really sure what to expect at this race. I didn't know the course and had heard mixed things about the organization of other Hot Chocolate races around the country. Add in 20+ mph winds and I knew it would be quite an experience! However, the focus of the trip was to visit my brother, so I reminded myself that while of course I wanted to run well, the most important thing was to have fun.
My race plan from Coach Matt was to run the first two miles in the 7:00-7:05 pace range and then pick it up during the last mile. I had heard from friends that other Hot Chocolate races were super congested at the start so I decided to line up right at the front. I've never done this before so it was kind of exciting to be among the front of the pack at the beginning.
I was spot on the first two miles of the race and hit the mile 2 marker at 14:07. Perfect. There had been a few unexpected hills during those first two miles, but nothing major and I felt pretty strong thanks to the hillwork I've been doing lately. I did my best to get my legs going for the final mile when ... I hit a major hill. This one was comparable in size to the one at Luck of the Irish and, wow, did it ever hurt trying to get up and over it! The only thing that kept me going at a somewhat decent pace was passing a woman midway up the hill that I had been chasing the entire race. No way was I going to let myself get passed after that effort!
The rest of the race after the hill is kind of a blur, but I remember being super relieved when I saw the finish line. I even mustered up a little bit of a kick down the final stretch!
Here are my race stats:
Pace: 7:03 min/mile
Age Group Place: 1/554
Gender Place: 6/3,585
While I'm happy with how I placed, I wasn't too happy about finishing outside the 21:40-21:45 range. But, the conditions were rough and I do think this was good practice for the race that counts in less than two weeks!
Warming up with hot chocolate post race. It was a chilly morning!
As for the rest of the weekend? It basically involved a food tour of Minneapolis. Joe is a food enthusiast so we had several delicious meals. My favorite? Masa - a Mexican place located downtown Minneapolis. We shared guacamole and mahi mahi ceviche appetizers and then I had tacos for dinner. As is usually the case, the dessert was the best part of all - Tres Leches cake!
My questions for you:
- What is your strategy for getting up hills during races?
- What is your favorite way to explore a city while traveling?
I love sightseeing on foot and trying as many local restaurants and coffee shops as possible!