i am happy to report that i finished the kona chocolate run 10k! finishing this race was a huge success for me. the most i had run up to this point (since the half marathon) was 5 miles and it was a slow, ugly 5 miles. i have been running so slowly and my feet have been inconsistent in pain levels... i really wasn't sure how this 10k would go. i went into the race just hoping to be able to finish without having to stop and hobble.
somehow, this was my third inaugural race in a row. i'm really not sure how i keep signing up for first time races without realizing it. either way, you wouldn't know this was a first for this race as kona does a series of races throughout the year. this event was very well organized from packet pick up to finish line. packet pick up on saturday was smooth as butter. brandon and i got there three minutes after they opened shop and picked up our bibs within a minute. the expo was a little light, so we didn't stay long. brandon got pasta samples from noodles & company and then we headed home. easy peasy!
race morning we were up and at 'em, arriving in downtown plymouth around 7:30. downtown plymouth is super cute. i am ashamed to admit i've never checked it out before but we're going to have to plan a trip there after seeing how quaint and adorable it is!
|posing at the start line, pre-race|
my two little complaints about the race before it started is 1) lack of porta potties. there weren't enough. period. 2) confusion about the start corrals. the race website said there were two start times but there wasn't a lot of direction on who was in which corral. my bib didn't say anything either. it wasn't until about 10 minutes before the 8am start that i heard the announcer say the first start time was for runners finishing with a 10 minute mile pace or less. this didn't affect my race plan much, but it would've been nice to know this ahead of time. maybe other runners did and i just missed the memo. who knows.
the first corral started right at 8am and once we were off, i knew i dressed in too many layers. i only wore my flyte long sleeve (by far my favorite long sleeve shirt, btw) for the base and my oiselle singlet, but i had to stop at mile 1 and strip off my base layer before i could run any further. it was an unusually warm and humid november sunday so i am guessing a lot of folks were inadequately dressed (saw lots of people tearing off layers as the race went on).
i really enjoyed the scenery in this race. the course looped around downtown, in and out of little neighborhoods. the homes in plymouth are so freaking cute and i had fun pointing out different home styles to brandon as we ran by. its never too early to start thinking about your dream home ;) the constant turns down different streets also made the course not feel very long. sometimes running in neighborhoods makes me want to poke my eyeballs out, but i didn't feel it during this race because you were changing direction frequently.
my pace started off slowly, but to my surprise, i started to find my race wings. with each mile i started to feel stronger. while my feet didn't hurt (hallelujah!!!), i did feel pressure points the entire time that made me nervous, but nothing painful enough to stop me from running. so i will consider that a victory as well.
with two miles to go it started pouring! i didn't mind because i was warm and the rain felt cool against my skin. i think subconsciously it encouraged me to move a little faster, too. my last mile was the fastest and it was the first time since the detroit women's half marathon that i hit my cruising race pace! elated doesn't describe how happy and excited i was to be running fast again. since this pace was a good minute faster than what i had been running over the past month, i wasn't sure if i'd be able to hold on, but i managed to finish out the race strong and it felt so damn good!!
this was only my third 10k race and wasn't a pr - but i'm considering this race a big win. it really gave me the confidence i needed and it reminded me of why i love to race. i love the burn in my lungs and in my body while i'm pushing myself in a race. i love the little bit of a rush i get each time i pass someone en route. i love hitting the finish line with my arms above my head in victory. its just the best. this race was everything i needed it to be.
brandon and i didn't stay for the post-race chocolate festivities. the line was too long and it was still pouring so we booked it to the car. i will say that i'm a big fan of the race swag. instead of a t-shirt, you got really nice full length zip pull over (women's were pink, men's were blue). and the race medal is huge. pictures don't do it justice.
|post-race panera, medal & zippy|
|medal & zippy. yes, i took this pic in my bathroom.|
don't judge me.
all in all, i would totally do this race again. maybe next time i'd stick around for the chocolate after the race, though! ;)