Thursday, June 2, 2016

Chocoholic 5k Recap

Sometimes even if you feel reasonably fit going into a race, you can end up with a total stinker. That's pretty much how I'd sum up Sunday's Chocoholic 5k.

I'll admit part of the problem was my attitude toward the race. I was maybe a bit too relaxed leading up to race day. While it was great to not be worried or stressed out, there is a bit of an advantage to having some nervous energy on race day - I think it's actually pretty important for tapping into the adrenaline that's necessary for racing hard.

I woke up around 5am on race morning - 4.5 hours before the race start. When I checked my weather app it showed low 70s, 95 percent humidity. Yuck. At that point I knew it would be a total sweat fest from start to finish. So I pulled on a pair of Oiselle Distance Shorts and an older Oiselle mesh tank, crossing my fingers the lightweight top would help me stay a bit cooler during the race. 

This race was my second time running in Burlington. The first time was at a Turkey Trot organized by my friend, Chris. Since the start of the Chocoholic race was in a similar location, I had it in my head it would be the same course. This turned out to be completely wrong. 

I was pleasantly surprised when we started out on a dirt path. The area was pretty shaded and was nice and green. The path was kind of narrow but it didn't really seem to get in the way of running. I was running in the 3rd female position at about 7:15 pace. Kind of slow but I was okay with it given the weather conditions, and I had every intention of dropping the pace during the 2nd and 3rd miles of the race. 

The thing about the dirt path is that all the rain from the day before had created some larger mud/water pits and since the path was narrower, there really wasn't a way to get around them. The only option was plowing through the middle. Needless to say, I ended up with soaked shoes and mud streaked up both legs. The course was an out and back and the first time going through wasn't too bad but on the way back the muddy areas were extra muddy. Ew. 

At least the mud was a bit of a distraction. My plan to pick up the pace went out the window after the first mile. I could feel it just wasn't my day and to be honest the last two miles were a ride on the struggle bus even though I was running slower than I ever run during a 5k race. My third mile ended up being at 7:41 pace. I couldn't help thinking this was close to the pace I ran during a half marathon in the middle of marathon training two years ago. So looking at it that way ... pretty atrocious.  

I was so relieved when I finally saw the finish line. Although I had no kick - I jogged it in just glad to be done. 

The good news is that it's done. The bad news is that I'm questioning my fitness. I thought I was doing well and improving each week but now ... ??? My hope is that the race was just a fluke - kind of like those bad workouts we all have now and then. And now that it's over and done I can move on to better races and better times. 

My questions for you:
  • Have you ever had a race turn out unexpectedly bad? If so, what did you do after to get back on track?
  • Do you think there's such a thing as being too relaxed about a race? 
  • What is your favorite chocolate treat?

Being the Chocoholic 5k, there were plenty of chocolate treats after the race. I drowned my sorrows in a few mini Crunch bars ;)

- ST


  1. I think it was a fluke. I had a terrible trail 10k last August, but the next weekend I raced a road quarter marathon and ended up doing really well. Most of my bad runs are related to humidity. Heat I can handle but thick air? Not so much. Even if it was an off day you still came home with 3rd female! Congrats!

    1. Thanks Elizabeth! I completely agree about humidity - it's the devil. I would take an 85 degree, low humidity run over a 65 degree, high humidity run!

  2. My 50k trail turned out bad due to a knee issue that popped up around mile 8. Finished but I just wasn't able to run very well.

    I don't mind warm but hot is not fun. I have run in hot weather for some of my Ragnar Relays and it can be tough. This last Sunday the Buffalo marathon ended up being a hot race with temps in the low 80s and humid. The race organizers were great with their course support and making sure runners were able to hydrate. The citizens of Buffalo were fantastic. They had sprinklers and water hoses out to cool down runners who wanted it. I wasn't able to break a 4:30 but I did finish with a 4:40 which is a PR for my marathons.

    Finishing your race is always a win in my book so even though you didn't race as well as you would like I think you still had a great finish.

    I actually like white chocolate like the Hershey's cookies and cream bar.

    1. That sounds super rough, Bob - I can't imagine running that many more miles on an injured knee!

      Sorry to hear about your marathon - that was one hot race! But congrats on the PR - that is incredible under those conditions!

  3. I totally agree that in order to perform at your best you need some of those pre race jitters! It sounds like this wasn't a goal race for you so I don't think it's an indicator that you're not making progress. Plus, 3rd place is never considered bad!!

    I've definitely had races that weren't my goal race but I still beat myself up about a less than stellar performance. Usually I don't taper for them and don't do all my normal pre race rituals so it's no wonder they aren't amazing!

    1. I think that's exactly it, Nicole - I definitely did not follow my usual pre-race stuff. I'll admit - I even ate a piece of blueberry lemon cake for breakfast instead of my usual Picky Bar! ;)

  4. Even though you weren't happy with how the race went at least you placed. I've never really been upset with a race. I've been injured for a few so of course I didn't like that but I finished in spite of the injury and that made me feel good in the end even though I knew my time could have been better.

    1. I think sometimes it's best to use disappointment as fuel for the next race. But you're also right - every finish is a victory in itself :)

  5. Even though you weren't happy with how the race went at least you placed. I've never really been upset with a race. I've been injured for a few so of course I didn't like that but I finished in spite of the injury and that made me feel good in the end even though I knew my time could have been better.