The Hot Chocolate Series has been on my radar for a few weeks but I hadn’t been all that commited to going, the laps bit had been putting me off. And then I was looking at my marathon training plan for this week knowing I needed to do 13.1 miles and trying to come up with an interesting route just wasn’t happening. So I decided, after seeing the very cute medal on their facebook page, that I needed to check out this event!
It was possible to enter on the day so I arrived at 11:30 which the website said was the earliest we could arrive and joined a queue which weaved through the marquee and back out again! The staff on registration were working really efficiently so I’m not sure why the queue was as big as it was but it just got bigger! In the end this lead to a delay in the start time which wasn’t ideal, it was a funny race time of 12.30 anyway so fuelling this morning had been a bit awkward involving two breakfasts! I was ready and raring to go! Eventually though after about 20 minutes we were lined up on the start line ready to set off. During the wait the MC was always keeping us updated over the PA system so it felt like it was under control.
We started on one side of the lake and then the course took pavement routes around the side in a lovely sheltered part for about 2.5km which was just lovely, it was nice and warm and just slightly undulating, nothing that knocked the wind out of your sails or anything. The course then crossed the Olympic bridge and then took the very straight and at times it felt ENDLESS road back along the straight side of the rowing lake back up to the start. We had been told that if we were doing multiple laps we had to cross the finish and thus the chip mats each time. After the first 5k there were lots of people around cheering, after 10k there was still quite a few, 15k a scattering and 20k – next to no one!
I took the first lap and was chatting with two lovely ladies and ended up going out really fast for me, I kind of knew I would anyway though because I always do. Although I was keeping pace happily I knew I would suffer later if I continued the pace I was doing so I decided to step it back a bit. Lap 2 I still wasn’t minding the route, I appreciated the sheltered side and the long straight windy cold section wasn’t feeling too bad. By lap 3 that section felt NEVERENDING! and on the last lap I felt like someone had stretched it out an extra mile! I could see the finish and just couldn’t quite get there!
I crossed the line and was greeted by the race director who was really friendly and didn’t make me feel like I was a problem by being the last over the line. A beautiful large shiny piece of bling was popped around my neck and a lovely hot chocolate in my hand along with my chip time slip. I was really impressed with the way the race was organised and I will definitely be returning again. I want to do the 10k and chase my 61 min current 10k pb, I feel like its the course I could get it on! My chip time was 02:21:45 and I had run a section of the route pre race so I could reach my 13.1 goal for the day so my garmin shows it as 13.10 miles 2:29:02 so I’m happy with that. My 20k time is just outside what I had predicted by just under 2 minutes so I’m pleased. It was a faster run than my training plan dictates as I’m still struggling to slow down as much as I’m meant to but I enjoyed it. I wore my skins and my legs felt strong the whole way. My feet were another matter! Really need to go and use the Sweatshop 30 day policy!