The Hot Chocolate 15k (2013) was the very first race I ever did, so it was a good way to get back into the swing of things this morning. My feet have not been bothering me at all, and I managed to get some decent running in over the last week. Still, my expectations were extremely low going in today. My stamina and pace have not been great lately, I haven’t put in a lot of mileage this year, and this is a fairly challenging route. (Although by Seattle standards it’s probably just average. We have hills here. I don’t know how you can avoid them.) I tried to be relaxed about this one. I was certainly not expecting a PR, and was not really even expecting to finish without walking parts of it, so there should have been very little pressure on this. But I’m always kind of a headcase before a race; I had a very hard time sleeping last night, and I was second guessing myself to death at the start line. Did I eat enough did I eat too much am I underdressed wait maybe I’m overdressed can I make it up the hills why am I even doing this I hate it. This was exactly how I felt at the start line four years ago, and I’ve done at least 30 races since then and I’ve felt this way at the start of every. single. one. Why do I do this to myself? Oh, right! It’s because I love it. Once I’m about two miles in, I remember. I love running and I love the camaraderie of races and this one gives you some seriously good swag. I felt like quitting on the first mile but I reminded myself that I always feel like quitting on the first mile, and once I’ve settled in, I feel like I could run all day. I got very lucky with the weather; it’s been pretty terrible here lately, and the last time I looked at the ever-changing forecast they were predicting rain and snow. I was very pleasantly surprised by a clear and sunny morning. So sunny, in fact, that even though it was in the 30s and I was in a skort, I felt a little overdressed at times. That was fine with me because I hate being cold. It’s amazing how nice 33 can feel when there’s no wind or rain. I tried very hard not to pay attention to pace and just do what felt good, and surprisingly, I felt good the whole time, and I never once stopped to walk or take a rest. This is a favorite race of mine, partly for sentimental reasons, but also because I love running hilly city routes, and we had a gorgeous view from the Aurora bridge. They give you a really nice hoodie and an adorable medal and of course, hot chocolate! I’m already trying to talk my kids into doing the 5k with me next year, but if they don’t want to, I’ll do the 15 again and try to beat today’s respectable finish time of 1:33. See you in 2018, hot chocolate!