Yes, I said Hot Chocolate. What? Is this post about Jason Reeves aka the Jamaican Sensation? Oh no, I mean I guess you could call him Hot Chocolate, but get your head out of the gutter. That’s the name of the race we did this weekend.
First race of the new year. Silly us to schedule an early January race. Like anyone’s going to be in shape for that after the holidays. And in the cold nonetheless. Yuck.
So the Goat was on a long hiatus. We went on a family fun trip to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. Me, Pooky, Little Brother, my parents and the inlaws. Yep, good old fashion family fun. But that’s for another post.
Let’s back up. At Thanksgiving we went to Jamaica (No, not with the Sensation, with another Jamaican. I guess we have an affinity for them.) for a friend’s wedding. During the trip I fussed and fussed about getting my training in. We had been busy before I left, and I missed a couple days. During the trip I only got to workout twice. One run. Which was during a soccer game involving all of the groomsmen and male friends of the groom. All the wives and girlfriends went and sat around in the bleachers drinking and watching the game. Being social and normal.
Not the Goat. Nope. I tried, I really did. OK, no I didn’t. By I tried, I mean I sat on a picnic table in my running outfit, with my Garmin and iPod, just waiting for the moment I thought it was socially acceptable to go run circles around the nearby field. Poor Pooky, he can never have the normal wife anywhere.
I forgot to mention that all the wives and girlfriends at this wedding looked like super models. Super nice, super friendly, super models. Let’s just say none of them where wearing spandex and dry-fit. Not a Garmin in sight.
I got a good 6 miles in…and some local kids from the nearby school did a ton of laps with me in their uniforms and dress shoes. I really wish I’d have gotten a picture. It was pretty awesome.
So back to the point – there is a point. I think. So I didn’t do much before Jamaica because we were slammed. Didn’t do much in Jamaica because there were lots of events and nowhere to workout. Then we got home for one week, a very busy week, and were off again to the land down under for two weeks.
I came back from the trip out of shape. I ran and swam a couple times on the trip, but that’s for another post. Suffice it to say that I came back from the trip and did nothing for three weeks. New Years eve I got my butt in gear. No worries, the race was only ten days later. Sheesh
At this same time, I recalled I had signed up for the Publix Marathon on St. Patrick’s Day. There was a coupon. Goats love coupons.
Uh oh, 12 weeks to go. Better hurry and write up a marathon plan.
And on Hot Chocolate Race day, according to said plan, I was due for a 16 miler.
Friday, JS and I met up at the World Congress Center for the Race Expo. It wasn’t bad, and we took what free stuff we could. Best part was the hoodie they gave out! I vainly ordered a size small. I picked it up and it looked tiny. I said, let me slip it on to be sure. I put it on and exclaimed that it fit just fine. JS, the good friend he was, noted its sausage casing like nature, and upon reevaluation I did realize that I couldn’t breathe. Back to the desk for a Medium and we were on our way.
For whatever reason, I could not sleep the night before the race. I was up at 5 AM for an 8:30 AM race, which was about 10 minutes from my house. Aside from excessive bathroom usage, my pre-race ritual is not long…so what was I to do with all the extra time?
I thought, oh hell, let me go run a few miles so I’ll be closer to the 16 I had on the schedule. I got outside and despite it being January, it was shorts weather. It was beautiful and I felt amazing. Just one of those days you’re in the zone. Before I knew it, I ticked off 6.5 miles. It felt so good to be back after so long.
Back in the house, and I see that Jamaican Sensation was already here. I changed my sweaty clothes quickly, woke up Pooky (our escort), and packed up some of my GoGo Applesauce packets and a bottle of Nuun water. All set, you bet!
Jamaican Sensation and I loaded up in Pooky’s family sedan, the Highlander Hybrid. He’s typically like the soccer mom driving his kids to the game. JS and I feasted on GoGo Applesauce packets, and we were ready to go.
We got to the race and it was busy and crowded and of course I had to go to the bathroom. We waited in line forever. Luckily due to Pooky’s driving prowess, we were there early, so we still had time to burn.
There was some crazy DJ person there playing songs like “Who Let the Dogs Out?” and LMAFO so we ran a half mile or so of warm up while enjoying the tunes and feigned enthusiasm of our host. (Let me ponder again, what’s with the cheesy “hype men” at races???)
We got to the start and separated to our corrals. This is the point in the race where JS usually looks at me like, “Why did I let you talk me into this.” And that’s when I look at him and say, “That’s what you get for being my only friend.”
Got to the start and took off. The plan was to take it easy since I already did seven and was just using it as a training run. It was a bit crowded in the beginning, but I was feeling it so I started bobbing and weaving. I finally got my own space and settled into a rhythm. I saw a friend’s husband (who apparently has no idea who I am) and smiled and waved (still had no idea as I screeched at him, “Hey your Laura’s husband!”). Then cruised past him. I was feeling good. It was warm outside, I was running again and all was right with the world.
Passed mile one to learn I was at about a 7:30. Whoa, that was not the easy pace I planned for so I tried to ease off. Mile two, same thing. Hmmm, how is this happening? But it felt good and I just took it one mile at a time. And I pretty much hit the split every time. Pretty rare for an erratic runner like me.
Discovered a new song pre-run, “The Only Way I Know” by Jason Aldean and Eric Church and Luke Bryan I think. Anyways, awesome song. Great running anthem. “That’s the only way I know. Don’t stop until everything’s gone. Straight ahead, never turn round, don’t back up, don’t back done. Full throttle, wide open. You get tired, and you don’t show it. Dig a little deeper when you think you can’t dig no more. That’s the only way I know.”
Just kept digging a little deeper when I thought I couldn’t dig anymore…And when I got tired, well, I probably showed it, but I didn’t back up or down, and didn’t stop until everything was gone…and…I finished at 1:09 something or other! Darn near a PR!!! 43rd woman (of 5,680). 7th in my age group (of 952). Not bad for a race with over 8,000 people! I was pretty pumped.
I finished and went to the tent to get my hot chocolate although it was hot as balls outside (not quite hot beverage weather), and I probably wouldn’t drink the sugary milky artificial mess they gave me anyways…
I ate the banana and waited for JS at our designated meeting place. He soon joined me with his mug and we commiserated. I was so hungry that I finally broke down and ate the marshmallow and pretzels. Probably should’ve had more than a GoGo Applesauce pre-race lol.
We packed it up and headed for the Marta. With one more photo op. This one came out good if I do say so myself. Although my attempt to look “gangster” came out pretty bad.
Luckily Pooky swooped in and saved us after a half-mile walk. Yay! A ride! JS parted ways as he had to go into work (boo, on a Sunday postrace!)
Pooky and I headed to the Flying Biscuit and I wolfed down two salads, black bean cakes and the biscuit. Gluten and all. To hell with it. I was starving. And I deserved it after my triumphant come back from sloth. I still got it. At least for now.
Happy Trails my friends!