The Hot Chocolate 15K: April 5, 2015 {Race Recap}

kneesI don’t talk too much about my sucktastic knees. I did PT for 8 weeks, and while it helped, I still have pain.  However, I’m stubborn, and I sometimes do stupid things. Like the Hot Chocolate 15K… 

I had signed up for the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15K in like December. I knew I was running the Rutgers Unite Half Marathon the following week and I thought this would be a GREAT race to see where I was in my training. {I had lofty expectations for the Unite Half!} This was before I hurt my knee and before I knew I wouldn’t be running for 2 months. But, as I mentioned above, I’m stubborn. I paid money for this race and, dammit, I was doing it.

I woke up at 5:30 am on Saturday morning, got dressed quickly, and was out the door by 6:00 am to catch PATCO into Philly.  I was severely under dressed and spent a good chunk of my morning freezing. {Lesson learned!} I also had a case of tummy butterflies. I am extremely claustrophobic and never use porta potties.  Nope! Never! Well, I did Saturday morning. Ha! I was actually so proud of myself that I texted my husband to tell him of this huge milestone in my life.

This was a race of 15,000 people and I managed to find two sets of friends before the race started.  The one set invited me to hang with them in the starting corral, which was nice.  Plus, yay body heat! {I was so cold!} The gun went off and I started running with my peeps… for like 2 minutes… before my stomach was like “OMG! Find a bathroom stat!” So another “never” happened that day. Without being too TMI, I slowly ran the first mile loop, then visited the porta potty again. After that, I tried to run, but my stomach kept spasming and my knee was not too happy. It was a horrible combination.

It took me about an hour, but I limped up to Mile 4, visited that porta pot, and then called my husband crying. I told him that I made a mistake. That I couldn’t do this. I was cold and hurting and scared. It’s crazy to be surrounded by so many people, but to feel all alone. Dave told me to just turn around and walk back to the finish so I could come home. It was very tempting. But it was a down and back course, and I was already 4 miles in… I told him that I was going to finish, and I would update him along the way. I turned off my music, loaded my audiobook onto my phone, and started slowly walking.

130411-719-029hIt was a loooooooooong morning, but I just kept walking. I took some pictures of people along the way, thanked all the volunteers, and mostly tried not to feel sad. I think my biggest strength as a runner is my confidence. Although I’m not fast, I ALWAYS know I can finish what I start, and this was the first time I was like, “I can’t do this”. It was a horrible feeling.  130411-490-032hI told myself that I would run to the Finish Line and end the race strong. I took several steps, but my knee started shouting “NO” and I knew that I just had to walk. I held my head up high as all the walkers around me started taking off for the finish line and I kept on going…  130411-063-036hAnd then I cried.  A lot.  But I finished.  It was the longest 9.3 miles of my life, but I did it.

10299959_10104989412863509_2975787371971967628_nSo was it worth it? I don’t know. I realized after the race {when my stomach was still so sick} that I had a stomach bug. My tummy issues were my big problem, so maybe things would have been better if I didn’t have that bug. I do know I’m glad I finished. I think it would have just shattered what remaining confidence I had in myself if I had quit and gone home. IMG_2169I spent a lot of time this past week reflecting on my goals, my current health issues, and what I want for myself. The Hot Chocolate 15K was kind of eye opening for me, and it’s giving me a push to make some much needed changes.

Anyone else ever have a really horrible run? How did you recover from it?

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