On Friday I drove to Atlanta for the weekend to spend time with family and to participate in the Hot Chocolate 15k. It rained the whole way from Tuscaloosa to Atlanta. My first stop was the Georgia World Congress Center, which was a little more difficult to find than I thought it would be. I eventually did find a parking spot and just had to walk through the CNN building to get to the right spot. Packet pick up for the race was pretty easy. In addition to a pretty nice sweatshirt, I got a jar of this:
Hills, up and down and switching back and forth
Recall it had rained on Friday as you read this section. I joined Dionne to ride with her cycling club on Saturday morning. I failed to ask the simple question, “what is the route like?” It turns out that it was very hilly. I haven’t been riding much due to being sick and the weather so this probably wasn’t the best choice for a first ride back after several weeks off. The ride organizer, who I immediately thought of as the Michael Hayes of Norcross, came back and rode with me. The group is very nice and no one is dropped. I made it up all but one of the hills and, as I understood from Randy, the organizer, managed the most difficult hill that had a 13% grade. I think the down hills and the tight switchbacks were more unnerving to me. The roads were still slightly wet from the rain so it made the corners slicker than I am used to. I made it about half way. Randy was kind enough to ride me back to the Y since the rest of the ride had more hills than I was used to riding.
Even though I was not able to complete the entire ride, it was a good day. I know that before summer I have to get back out on hills. I also realized that I could tough it out and make it up the hills if I just didn’t give up.
After the ride, I spent the afternoon shopping – needed and well deserved.
Hot Chocolate! Sunday morning was the Hot Chocolate 5/15K. Since I have had bronchitis for a month, I debated doing this race but decided to go ahead and try. I knew it would be hilly -it’s Atlanta. When I registered last July I never imagined that it would be 60 degrees at 5 am on January 13, however. The” hang in the air” humidity was worse than the heat though. It just made it difficult to run.
We had to be at Turner Field by 6:30 and the race did not begin until 8:15. Since we have had experience trying to get to Turner Field for the Thanksgiving Day race, we knew that we really did need to be there that early. This race had 19,000 runners registered between the 5k and the 15k . I think there were more 5k runners than 15k runners, but there were still a lot running the 15k.
My corral went off about 8:30. My first 5k wasn’t too bad. I actually ran the entire first mile in about 13 minutes and that included running up two of the steepest hills on the course. I averaged about 15-16 minutes on the next 5k. At that point I had to start waiting for traffic at some of the major intersections. I could see the clock of the 10k mats across the street as I waited for police to let us go across. I lost between 1-2 minutes there. The problem was that the traffic started for the Falcons-Seahawks game so they could not just keep the streets closed. Much too much going on in downtown Atlanta on this Sunday morning!
The last 5k was the slowest, and in part because of having to wait for the intersections. I think we waited at 4-5. I also started wheezing, which didn’t help a whole lot.
There were lots of up and down hills on this course as well. I was slower than I would have liked to be since I have been averaging 12-13 minutes per mile lately but given the hills and humidity, I am not too unhappy.
One odd thing was that I did not have my watch. This is quite unusual for me but it turned out that it had fallen between the end of the bed and the headboard. I thought it was in my bag and only discovered that I didn’t have it when I was looking for my RoadID because I thought I had left that at home. The course had clocks at each mile so it was fairly easy to calculate my time and figure out how I was doing. I also didn’t worry so much about time. I could just concentrate on trying to keep running. One issue that I need to figure out is the pain I get in my right toes around mile 4.5-5. I am not sure what is going on or why it always begins at around that point of a run. I may just need to switch shoes.
It was a good weekend. I can see where I need to keep working and set goals for the next few months. I know that losing the rest of my weight will really help and I am working on that. I don’t have another race until March so for the next 6-7 weeks or so I can continue to concentrate on strength and speed. (Or whatever Sam gives me to work on.) I certainly feel the results of the work I have been doing on strength and speed since the beginning of December.
Krista posted the photo below over the weekend. I think it is a good thought to close this post.