This morning I set out to run the Hot Chocolate 10k. I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect. They promote it as Asheville’s flattest 10k (which it is) but it’s also an ugly course. It takes you through some of the roughest parts of the city….and I tend to train on this course for my half and full marathons.
I met up with Suzanne and Aileen before the race. I thought I was going to hang back and run slow because of my achy legs. Turns out, the downhill in mile one fooled me and my legs. My first mile split was 8:55. I looked at Suzanne (who I was pacing off of, and it turns out she was pacing off of me) and thought we didn’t just do that – but the guy yelling the times and my Garmin said that we did run that fast.
Mile two, while not downhill, was much of the same – just over 9 minutes for the split. My 5k split was around 27 minutes.
The course takes you to Amboy Road park, which was pretty confusing. I just remember seeing tons of people running in various directions (the paths kind of twist around and intersect at one point) and I was SO thankful that there were volunteers pointing us in the right direction.
Once you got through the park and back on the road, you were almost at mile 4. Just before the fifth mile, Suzanne was maintaining her pace, but I was starting to slow down just a little bit. At one point, I was on track to finish at around 55 minutes. After the fifth mile, though, my knee started giving me major trouble. I looked down and noted I was at mile 5.3, so I was lucky that it held out that long.
Finally, a guy told me to go right and I had 0.3 mile up the hill before the finish. It was 0.3 up a hill, turn left and then another 0.2 mile up another hill. What a blow to my ego! I saw Stephen Miller, one of the Citizen-Times photographers, and he managed to get this picture of me about a tenth of a mile before the finish line (and I was going uphill. No idea why I’m smiling so much!)
My finish time was 58:35 – and I’m pretty sure that’s a personal record for me. Before this race, I believe my PR was around 1:03 or 1:06 – I need to go back and check.
The downsides to this race:
–SOOOO many people. They capped it at 800 runners.
–There was no mat to start your time. You started at the same time as everyone else, whether you were at the front of the pack or the back. I was about 15 seconds from the actual start line, but my race time won’t reflect that.
–The finish line on the hill. (Go look at this photo gallery – you can actually see the finish line from the bottom of the second hill.)
Will I run this race again? Most likely, yes. It really was fun. The shirts are cute, we got socks (which I have to give to the husband – they gave me men’s socks.) And I got hot chocolate at the end. Totally worth it.