Today we woke up early, bundled the kids up in winter gear and drove out to Northampton, MA for the 6th annual Hot Chocolate 5k Run. The weather was somewhere around 35F and more than one weather prognosticator prognosticated snow. We arrived an hour early, picked up race packet and timing chip. I ate a banana.
We met up with Fishadad and his clan. Bill and I went out for a quick jog to warm-up. It has been great to meet friends at the last couple of races. It's a trend I hope to continue through the winter. Bill might even try his first half-marathon with me in 2010!
After warming up, I took my place in the chute, between the 9:00 and 8:20 pace signs, and waited.
The race was running (no pun intended) 10 minutes behind. There were probably around 4,000 people! The atmosphere was more like a marathon than a 5k. And, there were some characters. We saw a polar bear and a turtle, giant marshmallows ran, and paired pajamas ran in tandem. The polar bear says he runs a 7:00 in the suit. Not too shabby!
Eventually we began, and the first bit of the course took us uphill and around the corner for a short stint on Main St. We then went along routes 10 & 66 and through Smith college, eventually coming back down Elm and Main, back to the race start.
I started out slow, running maybe an 8:40 first mile. I picked it up in the second mile, running somewhere around 8:20 but hit some unexpected hills in the third mile and ended up slowing way down to somewhere around 9:41 for the last 1.1. At the time of this post, the results are not posted yet. But my unofficial time was 26:46, for an average of around 8:39. It wasn't a PR, but I feel very good about the results. I felt like I ran strong, on a hilly course, in near freezing weather.
I saw the monkadoos on my way out, and as I made the final descent to the finish, there they were on the sidewalk, cheering me on. I waved. It has been great to have friends and family at the last couple of races!
For me, there are no greater cheerleaders than the monkadoos yelling "Go Dad!".
I'm already looking forward to my next race: The Freezer Five on New Year's Day. I might need to get some warmer gear.
Until next time: run, run, run.