Running for Chocolate!!

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San Francisco Hot Chocolate 15K
 
Well what can I say – a race dedicated to celebrating chocolate and marshmallows – a race after my own heart!!  Yes I love chocolate – especially when melted with marshmallows to dip.  A perfectly good reason to get up and be out the door by 5 am on a Sunday morning!  After collecting Rosaura & Shawna we head into SF to find parking in Golden Gate park – turned out easier then expected and we found a spot quite quickly.
 
After spacing out in the warm car for a short while we head off to the start line to cheer on the 5K runners recognizing John Hill, Brian Collett and a few other friends running. After winding our way through the crowds we find  ourselves at the porta potties – and wait – there’s no line.  An absolute miracle considering there are thousands of people still to start the 15K!  After the pit stop it was off to find bag check – easy – challenging was the weaving in and out of people to find our way to the front of the pack for a warm-up run.
 
The gun goes off.  The course is basically downhill for a couple of miles winding through Golden Gate Park.  I look at my watch and wow – impressive first couple of miles.  Say to myself that’s ok it’s downhill so no energy expensed.  Once out of the park it’s an out and back along the great highway.  By then the sun was shining, the waves crashing and just beautiful scenery to be running through.  I enter the park and the beauty disappears – I spy uphill – not a short uphill but long, lingering uphill – think last couple of miles!!  It wasn’t steep but noticeable – especially when I did apparently expand my energy on the downhill portion.  Naughty, naughty – I should have known better.
 
I struggled, really struggled the last 2 or so miles.  Breathing heavily with arms pumping furiously to take some of the effort off my legs.   Too late – the last mile was extremely painful with legs burning & wondering if I was going to make it.  I see the finish line and no matter how fast my mind was racing the legs weren’t following at the same pace.  I finish but not feeling great, gasping to breath and walking with a wobble.  Thankfully Rosaura whom had finished ahead of me was at the finish line to help walk me over to the side where I could rest, drink fluids & just gather myself.  Going through my mind the last few miles was “well, If I feel this crappy now how on earth am I going to run a half marathon the following week!!”  Of course that didn’t last for too long – knowing chocolate was waiting!!
 
Rosaura & I wait for Shawna to finish then the 3 of us head over to where the finish line feast – oop’s I mean ‘festivities’ awaits us!  Yes, a cup of hot chocolate, melted chocolate, and numerous treats to dip.  Suddenly I’m in heaven and all memories of those terrible last few miles disappear! 
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