March 7th, the first race of 3 this month is also the longest… but it promises to have a sweet ending! It’s Try Events’ annual Hot Chocolate Run. There are two distances, the 5k and the 10.4k. I chose the latter because I haven’t run an entire Stanley Park loop yet so I figured it was a great time to start. The race started at 10 AM which was great, not too early. We took the bus to the Stanley Park Pavilion and we were a bit early but it’s ok… enough time to warm the legs and just take in the moment before the start. I had a game plan… do not bonk like the last race and pace myself for longer than a 10k run because there’s an extra 400 meters at the end… and (un)luckily for us runners, it’s a steep hill to the finish.
Check out my Strava results here.
I started close to the front. It was a steep downhill so everyone was going fast. I noticed that my pace was 5:30/km and I knew I had to slow it down A LOT. I let a lot of people pass me and decided to tune them out. It was a beautiful day for a run… warm and sunny, I wish I wore shorts or at least a sleeveless shirt because it was a bit hot at times. I found myself looking for the shady sections of the course. Stanley Park is not a hilly run at all, only at a handful of points but they were quite short. There are lots of things to distract you from the pain lol. I carried a bottle with me with water mixed with an electrolyte tablet. It did the trick. I drank every kilometre and it kept me going.
I kept my pace at around 6:30/km since that’s what I was comfortable with for longer distances. I was running with a few people that kept stopping around me and then starting up again. It was quite distracting honestly… I really had to force myself to keep going. I felt that when people stop, it’s ok for me to stop too. It was a test of self control and thank goodness, I passed. These run/walkers kept getting away from me when I was about to pass them but again I had to shake off my competitive nature a bit because I knew I had to save some energy for the final hill. When I hit the 7/8 km mark I still felt good… it was at that point that I bonked at the Chilly Chase. I kept my cool and stayed at my pace. When I hit Second Beach Pool, I knew the end was near and that’s where the hills started. That final hill seemed endless and it was very steep… especially after having run over an hour already. The run/walkers slowed down and I made my move… I thought I went a little too hard when I passed them and I was scared that I’d lose my momentum so close to the finish in front of so many people. So I trudged along, breathing really heavily and I did it… my feet touched the mat. Final time… 10.4 km in 1:07:27. Strava says my 10k record was beaten… at 1:03:37 🙂 I’m getting close to the 1 hour mark!
Cuski was there supporting me the whole time and he was also my personal photographer. I am so lucky to have someone cheer me on and not just that, he’s also my personal trainer & tapes up my knee whenever I need it 😛 He’s pretty awesome 🙂 After the race, we had some croissants with fresh fruit jams at the Stanley Park Pavilion restaurant. They were amazing, just want I needed after a good workout… fresh baked CARBS lol!
Try Events did another fantastic job. It was well organized and the course was very clearly marked. Also loved that I heard my name as I crossed the finish line and of course the swag that came with my registration: the comfy technical shirt I wore, my new souvenir coffee mug and a very cute medal to add to my collection. 1 down, 2 more to go… for this month anyway. Next up… the BMO St. Patrick’s Day 5k. Wish me luck!
All photos courtesy Carmen Marin, Instagram photos by @vcbride.