This was my first Hot Chocolate Race and it was a great experience. I flew into Houston on Friday for packet pickup and to settle in at the hotel before the race on Saturday morning. I used the afternoon to get a post-flight nap, follow up on a couple business calls, and to figure out how to get to the start line about 3/4 mile from my hotel.
I registered for this race last fall, but as the date crept closer, the mileage fell right in line with my current training plan. Needless to say, I decided to use this race as a training run and try out the Galloway Method for the first time in a race environment. Here is a link to a good article that explains the Galloway Method. I programmed a 3:15 run / 2:00 walk interval into my Garmin and headed off to the start line.
The weather was perfect for running, mid 40’s at 7:00 am with a daytime high in the low 60’s. As usual I under fueled before the race, so the gummies and Gatorade were greatly appreciated at the various hydration stops. The route was full of rolling hills which definitely challenged me more than the flat, sea level routes back home. Overall I felt pretty good through mile 7 and fought for the last two miles. For a very brief period I felt slightly defeated as my watch clicked over mile 9 and I could see the race maker for mile 9 was still about 1/4 mile down the road….ughhhhh! Then seemingly out of nowhere one of the pacers came running up behind me and shouted (in general to the group), “how bad do you want it?!?” This spoke to my soul at this point, so I slightly picked up pace and cruised to the finish line.
The finisher treats were amazing! A giant bowl filled with a cup of hot chocolate; some dipping chocolate accompanied by a marshmallow, graham crackers, and a rice crispy treat; and a banana.
Of course I stopped at a local pizza shop for my celebratory post run pizza. Frank’s Pizza was just a couple of blocks from my hotel and had good reviews. You can buy whole pizzas, but they mostly sell pre-made slices (at least that seemed to be the case during lunch). This was perfect since I was planning to make my way to the airport after lunch. I ordered a slice of mushroom pizza and a slice of Hawaiian pizza. The slices were huge and so delicious. They really hit the spot!
The afternoon weather was perfect for walking around downtown Houston and this was my first trip to use my new 5.11 Tactical backpack. This bag is amazing and worked well for travel – I was able to pack all of my weekend clothes and gear with room to spare. And if you are curious, I used my ordinary backpack to carry all of my airport snacks, charger cords, reading materials, writer’s notebook, and travel blanket – basically everything I like to have easy access to and can store under the seat on the plane.
Even tough this trip was a quick in and out of Houston, I am really glad that I made it here for this event and it checks off another state on my race map.
” The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready” ~ Henry David Thoreau