Cold Chocolate

Posted on December 5, 2011. Filed under: Races, Uncategorized |

My first official race recap! Too bad it’s going to be a very, very grumpy one due to the extreme lack of organization by RAM Racing.

I drove with two co-workers on Friday to pick up all of our race packets. It was nice to get a dry run in before Saturday because I was worried about the logistics for this race. The expo was pretty bare bones and there were some issues with the sizing in the windbreakers that came in the race packets, but it was easy in-and-out for the packet pick up.

After a unnecessarily carb-heavy day on Friday, I packed my bag, laid out my outfit and went to bed excited and ready to run. On Saturday, I woke up at 5:15am, made some coffee, drank some water and toasted my bagel thin (only to discover that I didn’t have any butter, cream cheese or peanut butter – go me). I was in my car by 6:00am off to pick up my first co-worker. By 6:20am we had our second co-worker, her husband and her friend and were en route to the race. We were flying down the highway and then hit a wall of traffic on the exit ramp to the race. As the traffic inched forward we started to have a little bit of panic about actually making it in time. We ended up parking by 7:10am, and my co-worker and her friend who were running the 5k, sprinted away in order to be at the start line by 7:30am. Little did we know they had all the time in the world.

The start line was a good 20 minute walk from where we were directed to park. I found my co-worker I had trained with and we made our way toward the start line at around 7:30am (our race was scheduled to start at 8:00am, with the 5k starting at 7:30am). As we approached the start line we couldn’t believe how many people were lined up in the corrals already. I knew 20,000 people had signed up for the race but this looked just insane. As we continued up the hill to the start we realized that the people in line were for the 5k, which was now almost 30 minutes late. Luckily, I did get to see Addy before she ran which was a nice surprise. Our sparkle skirt were able to re-unite and have a photo together 🙂 Needless to say, she wasn’t too happy with how the morning was unfolding. The announcer said that the 5k was going to start shortly, so we wished her good luck and went on our way.

We managed to find our other co-worker who had trained with us and proceeded to spend the next hour and a half huddled together in the cold bitching. I had to use the restroom and people were venturing up into the woods and then stumbling down the hill back to the corrals. That looked unappealing to me and I ended up popping a squat in the parking lot while one co-worker blocked me. It was like we were at tailgate except that I was freezing, not drunk and wearing running clothes. Naturally, there was a huge line of porta-potties but they were in a fenced in area that we couldn’t access.

The sun was rising but didn’t warm us up until we started running. I’m glad I invested in some running tights and wore a throw-away long sleeve shirt but all my stretching was out the window and I was tight and shivering. We stood in the cold for almost TWO HOURS listening to this annoying announcer give us fun facts about chocolate. I’ve never disliked someone I had never met so much in my life. (Later when we ran past the announcer I pointed him out to my co-worker and we both gave him a nasty look.) Finally, at 9:00am the race began (that’s an hour late) and with so many people I did not cross the start line until 9:25am.

We were FINALLY running. Except that we were barely moving due to the sheer number of people, the fact that no one had lined up in the correct corral and the extremely narrow course. The first five miles was an out and back loop on a highway that was not completely blocked off. It isn’t a good feeling to be running next to huge trucks. My co-worker and I were dodging people right and left. People who were WALKING in the first mile of the race. I burned so much energy those first 4 miles that it totally screwed up my pace. Before we approached mile 5, I turned to my co-worker and said, “I’m completely exhausted.” She felt the same way and we spent the next 4.3 miles pushing each other up hills, sharing words of encouragement and getting through that race. I could not have done it without her.

The course was completely packed the entire race. I never had a chance to get into a good groove and there were 4 hills that were pretty brutal. To add insult to injury, the water stations were a complete mess and runners were pouring water themselves because there were not enough volunteers to accommodate the number of runners coming through. The last leg of the race was a steep hill and if it had not been lined with spectators and other racers cheering me on, I would not have made it. I was hunched over, crawling my way up the hill and some random man yelled right at me, “YOU CAN DO IT!!!” and he gave me the extra energy boost I needed to get up there and finish. That’s one thing I really love about races, everyone is out there for the same reason and to support each other. It’s a great community.

Once the race ended we had to walk up a huge hill to get the hot chocolate/fondue tent. I was so unhappy with the whole event and the smell of chocolate was not comforting to my stomach at all so my carload of people and I started the hike back to the car and got the heck out of there. I had paid extra to be in the prime parking lot which we later found out was NOT the parking lot we had parked in. Not surprising at all.

After making our escape we headed to the new bagel place in our ‘hood – Bethesda Bagel. As a former resident of Bethesda, I knew what I was in store for and the new location did not disappoint. I ate a turkey club on an everything bagel that was the size of my face and it was so delicious and exactly what I needed. Take that, fondue! I proceeded to come home and take a three hour nap. It’s amazing how running and large bagel sandwich can knock me right out. I need to bottle that up for a new sleeping pill!

I will never do another race organized by RAM Racing again. The owner of RAM Racing sent out an apology email that was full of excuses and he/she didn’t even sign their name at the end of it. Talk about cowardly. For the expense I spent on this race, it was not worth it. The only silver lining is that I ran the 15k in 1:33:29 which was a 10:33 minute mile pace and I’m pretty darn happy with that. Seeing as how I’ve never run this distance before it’s a PR for me. Woo! I do think we could have kept to under a 10 minute mile pace had we had the room to run and get into a groove.

I’m now working on my fitness plan for December and January and looking forward to next year and other races I want to add to my calendar. It’s true, you run a few races and you do get addicted. At least it’s a good habit to have!

I almost forgot my photo of my post-race domination glow 🙂

Stephanie

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[…] race and I really feel like it makes all the difference. I’m glad it wasn’t another Hot Chocolate debacle. I can only hope that the triathlon in August is this […]


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    Two friends living and working in Washington, D.C. writing about life, food, fashion, design and living an active lifestyle…so, basically everything!

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