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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Cosmic 5k and Hot Chocolate 15k: March 23-24, 2014

So yes, this post is way overdue.  I have been neglecting my blogging duties lately and am frantically attempting to catch up tonight between shifts at the hospital, parenting duties, and continuing to train for the upcoming Boston Marathon.  But I have been healthy and feeling good and in the last two weeks have been fortunate enough to run several unique and fun races.

Friday, March 22nd I traveled down to my sister Lynsey's house in San Diego to run the Cosmic 5k with her and my friends Natalia and Yvette.  Natalia and Yvette are sisters too so it was a sisterly outing.  We had no intentions of actually "racing" this 5k, and if you are aiming to PR or attempting your very first 5k, I do not recommend these gimmicky races as the venue to do so.  First of all, most of these are not even officially timed, as was the case with the Cosmic 5k.  No timing chips, no clocks along the course, hell, I am not even sure if it was truly 3.1 miles.  Didn't matter at all to us, as we threw together our finest neon outfits and had a blast winding around the San Diego Chargers' Qualcomm Stadium parking lot through flashing strobe lights, ending in a high-energy electronic music spectacle.  The beats were pounding and I may or may not have twisted my ankle while simultaneously making a fool out of myself with my "well over the age of 30" style dance moves.  I have zero shame.

Yvette, Natalia, me and Lynsey (my sister) positively glowing.

My electrified flying cat leggings were the perfect touch.

I crashed on my dear sister's couch that night and woke up far too early the next morning to meet up with some of my best running friends, Smitha and Diana at the San Diego Padres' PETCO Park for the Hot Chocolate 15k.  This stadium is in the heart of downtown San Diego so there was ample parking structures and logistically, it was simple to get into and out of the venue.  I was very impressed with the organization of this event; since it is a traveling race with appearances in 14 cities across the U.S., every detail was meticulously carried out, making for a seamless and entertaining 9.3 miles.  This race offered a 5k and 10k option too, and even though I registered just two days before the actual event, it was only $65, and included the best race clothing item I've ever received as part of the registration fee, a half-zip hoodie with thumb holes and a zippered back pocket.  I have already added this hoodie to my weekly rotation, when usually my race shirts just get crammed into the back of a drawer. 

Although this is also somewhat of a "gimmicky" race, it felt more professional than others I have done, as it included details that catered to us more serious runners, such as corralls to keep differing paces from competing for starting positions, and a wave start to separate the varying distances. 

The course was tough.  The gun went off at 7:30 and immediately started up a steep hill, the first of countless climbs we completed, before we crested at Balboa Park just prior to descending the last few miles of the race.  I was worried that my rolled ankle would bother me, but thanks to several years of soccer, I could scarcely feel it in my Hokas.  

Race proof. Love my INKnBURN Dragonfly singlet. 

I pushed myself, and finished in 1:07:20 (pace average of 7:09 according to my Garmin), which put me at 13th overall female and 4th in my age group.  At the finish line I heard the announcer yelling to me, "Oh hey, nice Hokas there!" and I laughed.  Hoka lovers just can't help but to express their admiration for fellow Hoka enthusiasts.  Ha.  I turned to watch Diana finish (she was just a minute behind me) and heard the announcer exclaim that Dr. Andy Baldwin (from the television show The Bachelor) had just crossed the line.  I dragged Diana over to get a pic with him, as he is such an inspirational triathlete in the Southern California community.  Again, I have zero shame.  

We met Dr. Andy Baldwin from the Bachelor...and I must add that I finished before him!

After finishing, we walked over to claim our finishers' swag from an energetic volunteer, and again I was impressed with the detail that went into this race.  We were each given an oversized plastic mug with a cup of hot chocolate in the center compartment surrounded by melted deliciously decadent chocolate sauce in a side compartment with fondue accoutrements such as graham crackers, pretzels, marshmallows and a banana.  Have I enticed your sweet tooth yet?  This is a race I will absolutely be doing again next year without a doubt, and you must look to see if it will be appearing in a city near you too.  I must agree that it was indeed as advertised, "America's sweetest run", as well as was inexpensive, well-organized, had unique race swag and overall, was highly entertaining.

Diana and I modeling our yummy chocolate "medals" just seconds before devouring.

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