The Hot Chocolate 5k & 15k was run this last weekend (10/6/2013) in Denver. I got excited when I heard this race was coming to Denver. I was excited to get a race in before my marathon but also excited that it was a new race to Denver. I think I’ve ran in just about every event that comes through town so it’s nice to have a new event to run in. The race was scheduled at 7am, which is early…really early! This race runs through downtown Denver and they had a bunch of streets blocked off, which is awesome, but also makes it difficult to find somewhere to park that is somewhat close to the start line. It was a very chilly, brisk morning so I was really glad that I wore the amount of clothes/layers that I was wearing. I got to my corral and began the waiting game.
Start line corrals are entertaining. The people watching factor is awesome. I am always fascinated at the different types of people I see at events. You have people that range in age as well as ability, which is cool. It’s always great to see families and friends running in groups. That is what makes running fun. As I look across the corral, people are stretching, bouncing and doing whatever their pre-run routine is. My pre-run routine consists of watching everyone else! The event organizer and event emcee did a great job of getting the run start on time. The air horn went off promptly at 7am. And…we were off. I was assigned the first corral (who knows why) but right as we started I knew I was out of my league. Everyone in my corral was much faster than me. This is a problem, as it made me start out way too fast. I knew I was running too fast, but decided to go with it and see what I could do. When I took the first look at my watch, a mile had already passed and I knew I was in trouble. I ran the first mile in 9 minutes, which is great if I was only running a mile. I had another 2.1 to go! I slowed my pace to something I knew I could sustain and got in a groove. I was running pretty good until we made a right and went uphill from Lodo back into downtown proper. While it’s not a huge hill in its steepness, it is persistent and took a toll. Once I got to the top, I had to walk for 40 seconds to catch my breath. It was at this moment where I found out I was wearing too many layers. I was hot and sweating and there was nothing I could do about it but suck it up and finish!
The course continued to weave through downtown until we hit Broadway. From there, it was a straight shot down Broadway back to the Civic Center and the finish line. This was playing a bit of a mind game with me as I could see the finish line, but it seemed so far away! I kept the finish line in sight as I sped up my pace. I always want to finish strong! The closer I got to the finish, the faster I ran. I was in a full out sprint when I reached the finish line. I checked my watch and the finish time board and they were not in sync. My Nike + GPS watch showed I ran a 10:27 pace and the event results show a 10:45 pace. No big deal, I wasn’t there looking for a particular time. I am very proud that finish in the top 50% of both my age group and my gender group. This is a stark contrast to events I’ve run in the past where I was near the bottom in both categories. To me, this is a huge accomplishment and one that will help my confidence as I look forward to my marathon in two weeks. Below are the race results posted to the event website.
After finishing, runners are shuffled down a corridor to the finishers area. Here they have music, tents and of course, the finishers medal. However, the Hot Chocolate run changes it up a bit. Instead of a medal, finishers are given a mug that has a cup of hot chocolate and chocolate fondue with a medley of different dipping items. Pretzels, a banana, a marshmallow and a rice crispy treat are all part of this awesome finishing gift. The picture to the left is the mug in all its greatness. I took my mug and walked down the road a bit where I found a great spot to sit, cherish the hot chocolate and fondue and watch the 15k runners. As I watched the runners go by, I was very impressed by two runners in particular. One was in a wheel chair and participating in the 15k. I’ve got a ton of respect for people that don’t let their limitations hold them back. I also watched a runner push his disabled child in a jogging stroller. These images pull at my heartstrings and make me want to be a better person. I have no doubt in my mind that both he and his child had a great run and enjoyed every mile.
After I finished my hot chocolate and fondue, I made my way back to my car, took off some of the layers I was wearing. This is a good lesson learned and I won’t make this mistake again! All in all, this was a great event and I’m really glad RAM Racing brought the Hot Chocolate 5k/15k to town. If scheduling works out, I will be running in this event every year! It’s a lot of fun to run through the streets of downtown Denver when the streets are closed off and the finishers mug is awesome!
It’s Wednesday, which means, well…it means it’s the middle of the work week. It also means that we are one day closer to the Hot Chocolate 5k & 15k in Denver on October 6th! I previously wrote about this awesome event in a previous post including the amazing charity that is being supported by participants like you. The race is only 4 days away, which means you still have 4 days to register! Remember to use EXWORKMUG promo code when registering to get more free stuff!
I have checked, double checked and triple checked the weather report for this weekend and it looks like it’s going to be a perfect day to run. Looks like we are going to have a high of 66 degrees, which is a great running temperature, but will be considerably cooler the morning of the run. Good thing there will be Hot Chocolate there! Dress warm and be ready to consume massive amounts of hot chocolate to keep you warm.
Packet pickup is just around the corner as well. I might be weird, but I love packet pickup. It’s always a little hectic and chaotic, but there is so much excitement and buzz about the event that it’s hard not to get excited about the upcoming race. I love the feeling when I open the goodie bag and see my racing bib. It makes me feel like I am part of a group. Part of something that only a few are brave enough to experience. Annnnd….I always love getting free stuff! My closet and drawers are filled with free event shirts; my wife hates it, but I love it!
Packet pickup is being held on the following days:
Friday – October 4th from 9am to 7pm
Saturday – October 5th from 9am to 6pm
Runners Roost – Denver
1685 S. Colorado Blvd
Denver, CO 80222
The event organizers have also worked out a cool deal with Runners Roost. Hot Chocolate 15/5k runners will receive 15% off all in-store purchases at Runners Roost during packet pick-up hours. This is a great opportunity to get a discount if you are looking for a new pair of running shoes or new running gear.
Hope to see you at the start line and at the finish line!
There comes a time in every marathon training plan where you have to run 20 miles. The topic of 20 miles is always brought up when I talk to people about running a marathon. For some reason, 20 miles is the physical and psychological wall. It’s the distance that should be feared. But why? During training, I’ve ran 15 miles, 18 miles…all distances that are very close to 20 miles. Why is 20 any different? I don’t know the answer, but I do know one thing…20 miles is no joke! My 20 miler was this last Sunday and I learned first hand how hard 20 miles is and the accomplishment that comes with completing something so grueling.
I knew that if things went well, I could finish around 3 hours 45 minutes. I also knew that if things went bad, it would take me about 4 hours to finish. So I prepared for the worst and hoped for the best by hitting the pavement at 5:56am. Running before the sun comes up is something I cherish. It gives me a boost of motivation, a mental edge so to speak, to know that I am running when other people are sleeping; that I am trying to improve myself when others think it’s crazy. I fully understand this may not be true, but to run long distances, I need to play mind games with myself to complete the run. I know that running is mostly a mental game and I intend on winning that game.
As I began my run, I felt strong and excited to be embarking on 20 miles. It was not something that I feared or was intimidated by. I was actually excited to get a chance to tame the beast. The early part of the run was peaceful as I didn’t encounter any cars or foot traffic until I hit mile 5 or so, which is another reason why I like running before the sun comes up. At that time of day, there is only me, the road, the music and the thoughts bouncing around in my head like a racquetball game. I’ve worked very hard at understanding my thoughts while I run and injecting positive thoughts to keep the negative ones at bay. This is easier said than done, but I needed to rely on positive thoughts if I wanted to complete 20 miles.
The sun was starting to make an appearance as I was approaching 5 miles. The morning air was a bit cool and the few rays of sunshine was a welcome feeling. 5 miles in and I was running strong. My pace for five miles 10:26/mile, which is a fast for me. I would normally be really concerned about going out too fast and that thought crossed my mind but I felt felt really good and believed I could keep that pace up for a while. Right after I took this 5 mile picture is when I saw the first car of the morning and it startled me a bit. I was so into the run and thinking positive thoughts and focusing on the task at hand that I wasn’t paying attention to my surroundings. In retrospect, I appreciate that car for getting me out of a trance because it helped me look around, pay attention to my surroundings and enjoy the journey I was on. There are so many cool things to see and absorb while running, it would be a shame not to allow myself to experience that.
After mile 5, the course that I planned out headed downhill. As I was enjoying the downhill all I could think about was “HOLY CRAP…I’M GONNA HAVE TO RUN BACK UP THIS MONSTER OF A HILL TO GET HOME.” Before I reached the bottom of the hill, I was already trying to recalculate a new route home so I didn’t have to face this hill. These are negative thoughts that I don’t want in my mind. I dug down deep and decided that I will face the music on the way home. I want to conquer this hill, I want to prove to myself (and this hill) that I own it. This hill will not stop me!
At the bottom of the hill I am greeted by the awesome view that is the Downtown Denver skyline. To make it more of an awesome view, the sun is rising between the buildings and the scene is majestic. This view fills my mind with positive thoughts and gives me more fuel for the run. The picture on the left is the view that I had running down the hill. A couple of things to note: this picture was not taken at the time of day that I ran, however, it is the scene that I saw. Imagine this picture with the sun behind the buildings. Also, this picture does not do justice to the slope and length of the hill. This thing truly is a monster. It’s steep and it goes forever. I apologize to the hill for not doing it justice and showing its true awesomeness. I cross the bridge (the weird white thing in the picture) and hang a right to get to R.E.I. where I can catch the Cherry Creek trail/path and get off the road and out of the way of traffic. Approaching the path, I heard voices over a loudspeaker. It was loud enough for me to hear it over the music playing in my headphones. As I look up to Speer Blvd and the bridge over the Platte River, I see thousands of people lined up at the starting line of the Race for the Cure. I make a left onto the path and I’m on my way.
The Hot Chocolate 5k & 15k is coming to Denver on October 6th, 2013. Coined “America’s Sweetest Race”, runners receive a hot chocolate mug for finishing the race! The post race party includes hot chocolate, fondue and fun. This race is sure to be fun, however, the charity partner of the Hot Chocolate race serves an important role in our community. The official charity partner is the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Denver. Children in need of medical care are being brought to Denver from rural areas and neighboring states. Ronald McDonald House offers a home away from home for families of those children while they are in the hospital getting the care they need. RAM Racing is promoting and raising awareness of this awesome charity through the Hot Chocolate Race. You don’t need to raise funds when you register, but you can go the extra mile and be a fundraiser for this important cause. If you aren’t a runner or are unable to run but still want to be involved, the crew at RAM Racing would love for you to be a volunteer for the race and make an impact for this great charity.
The Hot Chocolate race has two great courses designed for both the 5k and the 15k. The 5k starts at Civic Center Park and covers a good portion of downtown before making its way back to Civic Center Park for the finish. The 15k flows through downtown and heads uptown before coming back to the finish at Civic Center. The goodie bag and the finisher award has to be the best of any event. I don’t want to give everything away, so you’ll have to wait for my next Hot Chocolate post to see pics of the good stuff! (you can also head to the web site to check it out).
Now is the time to register for this awesome race! If you use code EXWORKMUG when you register, you will receive a free travel mug at packet pickup. Always nice to get some free swag! Speaking of free, I have a FREE entry to giveaway! All you have to do is leave a comment below about why you like to run and like my Facebook page. That’s it…very easy!
Since Google Reader is no longer, I’ve been trying every RSS reader in existence. I have been using The Old Reader since it has a similar look to Google Reader and it functions the same exact way. However, I just got turned on to Bloglovin so I’m gonna give it a go. To set up my blog and to have people follow my blog through Bloglovin, I had to insert the link above in a blog post so they know that I own this blog. But anyways…if you use Bloglovin, please follow me!
What RSS reader do you use?
It is summer time, which means there is always something going on. This is not the ideal time to train for a marathon as training takes up a bunch of time. Like previous weeks, I had to figure out a schedule that juggle training, time with my family and having fun!
Monday 8/5/2013: Cross Training
My knees felt a little sore from the long run yesterday so I decided to not do any activities today and take it easy. Looking forward to having a great week of running!
Tuesday 8/6/2013: 4 miles
My wife went to the gym this morning so I planned on an evening running pushing the jogging stroller. However, she got off work a little early so I was able to go on the run solo. Tonight was a great night for a run. The sky was overcast and it was cool; ideal conditions for a run. I usually run in Mizuno Wave Inspire’s which is a standard running shoe. However, I wore the Saucony Kinvara 4 shoes on the run tonight. This is a bit of a different shoe as it has a minimal style to it as it only has a 12mm drop from the heel to the toe. This is a completely different feel when running. I felt it in my knees and ankles but it wasn’t a bad or painful feeling, it was just different. The minimal type shoe is great, but it takes time and mileage to get used to it. I ran at a fast (for me) pace tonight over the 4 mile run. I ran at a pace of 9:57 (39:51 total time) and it felt great. I felt like I could run another 4 miles at that pace. I was in a groove and running didn’t seem like a chore. I truly enjoyed tonight’s run and I hope I can have the same feeling in future runs.
Wednesday 8/7/2013: 7 miles
Ran late tonight. Started my run at 8:24pm and got home around 9:45pm. I thought I would enjoy running at night as the weather is cooler and there isn’t as much traffic. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The route I planned had me running on a busy street with a sidewalk that was too narrow and had me right on top of the oncoming traffic. I didn’t feel safe which made me not enjoy this run as much which means my time suffered. Once I got off the busy street, I felt a little better but the run still wasn’t enjoyable as I found that there aren’t many street lights in the area I live in. I was running in pitch dark in many spots and that made be worry about stepping on a crack or a rock and twisting an ankle. My intentions were good, but the run wasn’t very enjoyable. I’m glad I got the run in, but would have like to enjoy it. I think that if I have to run at night again, I may go to the gym and run on the treadmill. Even though I didn’t enjoy the run much, I finished with a decent time and pace: 1:15:02 (10:43 pace).
Thursday 8/8/2013: 4 miles
I ducked out of work a little early today so I could get home and get my run in before my softball game. This paid off as I was able to run solo without having to push the jogging stroller as our babysitter was still watching the lil dude. I ran a nice little out and back that I have been running a lot of and I enjoy the route. Even though I run this route quite a bit, I still see new and interesting things everytime I run it. Its interesting that I notice and see things while running that I don’t think I would notice otherwise. I think running opens my mind and allows it to just be, to perceive and that is really cool to me. I am running quite a bit now and I really enjoy it. I have a test coming up this weekend and I am excited to go longer distances. Finished with a total time of 41:47 (10:26 pace).
Friday 8/9/2013: Rest Day
Good rest day. Excited for what running has in store for me this weekend.
Saturday 8/10/2013: 7 miles
Today is my dad’s birthday and I wanted to get a run in early in the morning before my wife went to work so I could run solo without the jogging stroller. I didn’t get up and get going, so I had to push the stroller. I decided to head to Crown Hill Open space and check out the trails and the loops…I’m glad I did. Crown Hill is an awesome place to run with a lot of trails, sidewalks and scenery. About a half mile into the run, my dad called and said he was out and about and wanted to see my lil guy. So he met me at the park and hung out with the lil dude while I ran. As I was running the loops and passing my dad and son, I could tell that my dad was a bit over it and wanted to take off and go about his day. So I stopped at 4.6 miles and packed it in instead of doing all 7. I felt a little bad about not getting it done, but am feeling good about my fitness and running and am confident that I am on the right track. It took me 49:10 to run 4.6 miles which is a pace of 10:32.
Sunday 8/11/2013: 15 miles
I had planned on running the full 15 miles, but I got a late start and was only able to get 11 miles completed before I had to head home and get cleaned up before my dad’s birthday party. I ran at Crown Hill which is an awesome place to run. There is a large/long outside loop around the park and there is a small/short loop around the lake. There are so many trails that go in different directions that allow me to vary where I run on every loop. The weather was great and the scenery is awesome. I am pretty proud of getting in 11 miles. It took me a bit longer (2:03:29 total with a pace of 11:13) than I was expecting and had hoped, but its a good test for me. Being able to notch 11 miles gives me the confidence of long distance running and it helps me with the mental side of running. I know I can achieve and I want to keep pushing myself.
All in all, I’m happy with my training this week. I’ve been working on cutting down on excuses for not running and just going out and getting it done. Not only getting it done, but trying to take it all in and enjoy it. The marathon is fast approaching and I’m getting excited to cross the finish line.