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Yesterday was race day, my first race for 2018! Hot Chocolate hosted their 15k/5k series in Charlotte for the first time ever. I’ve previously ran a Hot Chocolate race in Atlanta in January 2016. The 2016 race was extremely windy, cold (14 degrees) and hilly. It was so cold that it took two miles of running before I could feel my fingertips. But the sweet deal about Hot Chocolate races is that there are chocolate treats at each water stop. They also give out a SWEEEET finisher’s medal and nice gear (hoodie or pullover).

When registering months ago, I anticipated cold temperatures for the 2018 race since it was being held in February. February (in my opinion) is the coldest month for Charlotteans. Well I was surprised that it wasn’t the cold that I had to worry about. A week prior to the race, the forecast predicted rain on race day. The forecast did not change throughout the week. I began to research alternatives that the race officials could make in the event of inclement weather. At best, it looked like they could have shorten the course if it was raining on race day. I was willing to run in a light rain, but not in heavy rain. In the event of heavy rain, I was willing to forfeit the monies invested. I didn’t want to risk getting sick afterwards.

The night before the race, I still did not know what I was going to do. A friend gave me some encouragement and told me that I CAN DO IT. So at 6am on race day, I stepped out my front door to take an assessment. The grounds were wet, but there was no rain. I checked the forecast one last time before making my decision. The forecast changed and now most of the morning was expected to be cloudy with a little chance of rain. It was on from there! I dressed in layers, grab my race essentials, stopped for a bite to eat and met the thousands of runners uptown Charlotte.

I did not train for this race (I would recommend that others do though). Since I didn’t train, I decided to conquer the 9+ miles by doing intervals (1 minute of running, and 30 seconds of walking). This turned out to work well for me. My toes/feet never went numb, circulation was good, breathing was good, I didn’t get any cramps, I was ahead of plenty of people, and I finished in 2 hours 15 minutes. Not too bad.

There was a drizzle rain at some points during the race, but it was doable. Because the weather was yucky, there were hardly any supporters along the route and absolutely no DJs to hype us up along the way. I had my headphones on so the cadence of the music helped me to get through each mile. But all in all, it was a good race. The treats at the end make it soooo worth it. And yes, the BRAGGING RITES make a sister feel so accomplished!

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