After a late night out on Friday out at one of our favorite date spots, it was time to pack up and get 4 hours of sleep before traveling to New Kent for the “Race for the Chocolate 10k.” We almost didn’t go, but I got a good deal on my registration through a Black Friday sale and was promised lots of swag at the finish line: a long-sleeved tech shirt, an etched wine glass, wine, chocolate, race medal, and even a rose!
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We were racing the clock to make it to packet pickup, and about 30 minutes before we arrived, my son threw up in the car. And of course, it was bitter cold out. Sub-freezing temps and high winds.We would have turned around and driven the 2 hours back home then, but we were so close and had made lots of weekend plans to see family.
My husband dropped me off near packet pickup in time, but I forgot my ID in the car. Luckily he was able to text me a photo of it from the car, and the race people accepted that for my wristband. They ran out of t-shirts in my size, even though I preordered it in November.
By that point, I desperately needed to nurse the baby, so I ducked behind the winery on a porch stairwell, the only place not populated with tons of runners.
As I was nursing Sage outside, someone invited us onto the enclosed porch that had standing heaters and sofas everywhere. While hundreds of runners were crammed in the open-air front porch, we thawed alone on the enclosed/heated back porch! We stayed there until the race began.
The 5k runners had a delayed start because of a medical emergency before the race, but our 10k began only 5 mins late.
I started to get a little worried that I hadn’t really trained for this 10k (6.2 miles), just having run 2-3 mile stretches here and there since the baby was born, with only one 5-miler in December.
Nevertheless, the first mile was a breeze. It felt good to warm up and run after riding in the car all morning. It was crowded at the beginning and the dirt path had lots of grooves I had to be careful about.
Then it switched to pavement as we wound through the winery property, roundabouts, and ritzy neighborhood. After the first mile, I actually felt pretty hot and regretted the extra fleece I was wearing and the handwarmers I had tucked into my gloves.
The first water stop had one man hurriedly filling water cups, but he was so behind and had no help!
I hit a slump around Mile 3-4 but picked up again at 4, knowing we were almost finished. I passed the second (and final) water stop, but they were out of water. I was upset about this because I am a nursing mommy who needs to stay hydrated! I didn’t carry water with me because the course promised 2 water stops. I texted my husband at miles 4.22, 5, and 6 to let him know my whereabouts.
I remembered that a 10k is actually 6.2, and those last .2 miles seemed to take forever as they stretched uphill around the winery building in the bitter wind.
I texted my husband, who was still on the covered porch with our boys. Someone had offered their Lexus to my husband and the kids to sit in during the race to stay warm, which was super sweet, but he stayed on the porch, and E watched me finish from the window:
I sprinted through to the finish and felt dizzy for a few moments after crossing. It was all very anti-climactic after that. At least I was smiling as I was handed my medal, still in its Ziploc package from shipment.
I had to search for water and finally found abandoned pallets of mostly-frozen bottles.
I immediately got in a line for what I assumed was the rest of our race swag and overheard pretty quickly that they had run out of roses and chocolates. I stayed in line anyway, just in case. Most of these photos were taken by the race officials:
It was while waiting in the first line that I met someone who recognized me from my blog! It was definitely the highlight of the race for me – I was so excited to meet someone who’s been following my blog since my Disney guest post on Running at Disney recapping the 2014 marathon. I just wish I had asked you your name… and where you’re from… and how you liked your first Disney Marathon! (Feel free to answer in the comments!) I hope you are all thawed-out from Saturday’s race, just in time for the snow. Brrrrr…
I picked up my tray with almond Biscotti, 2 chocolates, and some heart-shaped marshmallows. The rumors were true; there were no more roses for finishers.
The wine glasses were printed with the name of the winery, although the race advertisement featured the 2013 race glasses etched with the name of the race. Once I passed through the line, my husband joined me in the second line with the boys for wine-tasting. My infant was in the Ergo, nice and warm, but my toddler was miserably cold. I handed him the marshmallows.
The wine-tasting was sooo brief, but it was in that tent that we found the bananas. They were so cold that biting into mine made E cry and throw it to the ground.
We wanted to get the wood-fired pizza and crepes from the food trucks, but it was too cold to be outside any longer, so we trekked all the way back to the car, E sobbing loudly the whole way.
There wasn’t much out there, but we followed our GPS to a local BBQ place. We were excited until we realized that it led us to someone’s private residence – they owned a BBQ catering company. So we found a Subway and then headed off to see family. My parents made us BBQ and fries for dinner, coincidentally!
I will not be running this race again. Not until they figure out how to order the right number of shirts that people signed up for months in advance. And roses. And water. And chocolate.