Inaugural Savannah Hot Cocoa Half / 10K

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The day after Valentines Day (aka February 15th) this year [2014] was a blustery one. I hadn’t slept that well the night before because Ceci had suffered a minor chin injury and wasn’t feeling so great. When my alarm went off at 0615 telling me “get up and GO RUN” I popped up and got ready for the day. Initially we were going to bring the whole family to this race but considering the rough night we had I decided to not wake anyone else up. An hour later I told Troy I was leaving and headed out the door. I wasn’t exactly getting off on the right foot with a poor night sleep, little training (hey it’s been cold here lately and I don’t do cold and can’t run on a treadmill this pregnancy I get way too dizzy) and oh nothing in the house to eat for breakfast (it was on the to do list to go shopping after the race). I stopped at the Parker’s down the road [yep of course I already had to go to the bathroom again – honestly my biggest fear about this race was peeing myself because I had yet to run more than 3 miles without a potty break] and overpaid for a sleeve of fig newtons. I ate about half the sleeve of cookies (“it’s not a cookie it’s a newton, a fig newton”) and drank a powerade on my way to Savannah. The race was being held in a part of Savannah I had never been to yet luckily Troy and I scoped the scene out and picked up my packet the day before so I would know where to go come race morning. I really liked the location of this race because it was on the side of Savannah that’s closest to me and usually races are on the totally opposite side. When I arrived at the start/finish area I of course located the facilities first [oh man seriously, how am I going to make it through this race?!]. When I entered the building I ran into some fellow MRTTers [Moms Run This Town] and said I’d meet up with them after a bathroom break. A whole gaggle of MRTT ladies gathered inside [it was a very blustery day out so it was nice to have the warmth of this building to wait in] and we took a group picture [not all MRTT ladies that ran are pictured there were a bunch that participated and I love seeing so many people I know out at a race].

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[photo: above curtesy of Savannahnow.com; below curtesy of Sabrina Jackson]

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After one more trip to the bathroom it was time to head outside for the final race announcements and for the race to start. I didn’t fully pay attention as Steve was explaining the course; I had looked at the course map a few times but I most always get confused and just tend to follow the crowd [rarely am I in a position where I’m the front runner]. After prayer [I love that they pray before races down south] and the National Anthem we were off. It took me a moment to remember to start my watch since this wasn’t a chip times event. I had planned on staying around a 11:00 min/mile pace and taking things easy [I mean come on I just hit 20 weeks pregnant the day before]. Mile 1 was just sub 10:00 min/mile and when I hit the water station I happily grabbed a Hershey kiss to go with my water. We went around a beautiful little lake and hit the water station again on the way out; this time I slowed down to get a Powerade. Mile 2 was just sub 10:00 min/mile and I was feeling good about this race and decided to change my goals a little bit and try to stay around the 10:00 min/mile mark. Shortly after mile 2 I saw a portapotty [there was construction of new homes being built in this quiet neighborhood] and I saw someone run out of it; I thought phew ok if I really can’t make it and need to go I can stop on the way back. I hit mile 3 at sub 10:00 min/mile and took a little walk break to hydrate and eat a couple of Honey Stinger chews [I wore my Nathan fuel belt just in case]. Since I was still feeling good and hit another sub 10:00 min/mile time at mile 4 I decided to finish this thing off by negative splitting the second 5K [which is something I rarely do; usually I start out way too fast and pay for it at this point]. Going back around the lake and by the water stops I stopped again and took some Powerade. Mile 5 was feeling good and just above 9:00 min/mile. With just over a mile to go I decided to push it and forgo the water stop coming out of the lake. When I had half a mile left I realized I could finish this 10K in under an hour [something I never imagined or planned on for today]. I pushed it and caught up to some friends and swiftly went past them. I pumped my arms once I could see the finish line and brought it home. My official finishing time was 59:07 and I was extremely pleased with a sub 1 hour 10K.

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The swag and post race food were unlike any other event in the area. Instead of getting a tshirt we got an ear warmer [many people wore it the day of the race because it was so chilly and windy]. All finishers received a finishers medal with free engraving [I need to pick up my engraving this week] as well as a mug. There was of course hot cocoa at the end which hit the spot considering the chilly conditions that morning; as well as a chocolate fondu buffet with tons of fruits [that was my favorite part, not gonna lie I had been craving berries for days so chocolate covered strawberries totally hit the spot]. Of course there were full sized candy bars and Girl Scout cookies too! Oh and on our bib, a coupon for a free chicken sandwich from Chickfila. Talk about being spoiled! Mmmmmm. I hung out for a bit and enjoyed my huge plate of food and a couple cups of hot cocoa as I cheered fellow runners in. I don’t have many races left here in Savannah, GA and even though I was a bit sad that my family wasn’t out at the event I am blessed to have such a great running family here and I’m truly going to miss them when we move this spring. So KUDOS to Endurance Race Services for putting on a spectacular event! [As a side note to show how cool this event was – there was child care available – sure it was an additional $5 but that’s a deal for runners when it can be so hard to find someone to watch your kiddos on race day so both parents can run. Or if your spouse is deployed or if you’re a single parent that was an excellent deal and I heard good things from some of the kiddos saying they had fun too].

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