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More beautiful vistas during the run segment of San Juan 70.3. In about a minute, we were at ocean level again - 3/19/2011
Christopher Giordanelli
Simpsonville Weather Forecast, SC (29680)

Hot Chocolate 15k Race Report

by G-Man 27. January 2013 10:16

Location: Atlanta, GA
Date: January 13, 2013
Placing: 6th Overall
Format: 15k Run
My Race Photos
Official Race Photos
Results: Click Here

People run for many reasons. Their health; to raise money for charity; they got a DUI; as a social outlet; they like pink shoes; they just stole something; they have an imbalance in their brains; chocolate... Wha?...I could swear I just said chocolate? Oh, I did. And I will say it vehemently in front of God and the world. I WILL RUN FOR CHOCOLATE. I love it - and so does Janis. I'm more of a milk chocolate guy and she's more of a dark chocolate gal but somehow we look past these differences and make it work. There is enough chocolate for everyone. At least there had better be. To say that Janis and I like chocolate is to say that Romeo 'liked' Juliet.

More true than you know...

I've been to Hershey Park, M & M's world in Las Vegas, multiple chocolatiers and the chocolate museum in Belgium. I've taken 'chocolate tours' in San Francisco and Philadelphia. Janis and I have a motto "if it doesn't contain chocolate - don't call it a desssert". As I sit writing this in my kitchen, I see a cannister of 'spicy hot cocoa' and a tray of chocolate-iced, chocolate cupcakes that Janis made yesterday. When Janis is not around, I sometimes dress as an Oompa Loompa and sing about chocolate. I live in a chocolate world my friends. "...you will live in happiness too, Like the Oompa Loompa doompadee do...".

Chocolate covered bacon? Why, yes, thank you.

So last Summer, when I received an email entitled "Something, something, blah, blah CHOCOLATE, blah, something" I practically crushed my mouse in my frenzy to open it. A race where you are served hot chocolate and chocolate fondue when you finish. Seriously? It was just one notch shy of finding a golden ticket in a Wonka Bar. Even Janis, the self-proclaimed 'non-racer' was in. It was in Atlanta and there was a 15k and a 5k but really that was irrelevant; it could have been a 100-mile run in Alaska and I would have had no problem. I couldn't wait to sip the hot chocolately goodness after a frigid January race morning, not to mention the stylish Hot Chocolate hats and hoodies that practically scream "I would take a bullet for chocolate".

Fast forward six months. Janis and I arrived at our hotel in downtown Atlanta and decided to brave the weather and walk the mile to the expo and race registration. We bundled up in our shorts and Hawaiian shirts, applied multiple coats of sunscreen and stepped out into the blustery 70-degree, Winter day. Chocolate, yes...HOT chocolate? Not really on my list of "things to drink on a Summer's day". It was really quite comical picking up our sweatshirts and stocking caps on a day more suited for camels than polar bears.

"Take me to your chocolate"

Our swag was presented to us in a sytlish 'sling-bag' which was a bonus. The bags were several different colors but they were distributed randomly so Janis got awesome red while I got moderately, not-so-awesome white...aka 'vanilla'. Ouch. I haven't been able to use it yet since it is after Labor Day. I tried finagling a mint-colored or a blue-colored one from some other runners by telling them that the research clearly shows those colors as 'slow colors'. But they weren't buying it. We also had what will forever be known as "the bait and switch hat incident of 2013". Now, I'm not much of a complainer* but the truth is - the chocolate drew me in, but the chocolate-colored stocking cap sealed the deal. At least that's what the website showed me as a bonus if I 'signed up today'. And I did. Maybe they thought I would forget after 6 months. Really? I can recite times, paces, distances and placings from races I did 35 years ago (much to Janis's dismay); there's no way I'm gonna forget you offered me what will surely be the biggest fashion phenomenon since parachute pants. Instead, Janis and I got baseball caps. We already had to build an addition onto our house to hold the baseball caps I already DON'T wear. But in a 'Rudolph saves Christmas' moment, a volunteer stepped up and simply said "Well, that's not right. Looks like the race made a mistake. Just give me those baseball caps and take these Winter stocking caps." He restored my faith in customer service and my heart grew 3 sizes that day.

*This is an outright lie. I complain all the time.

Scotie models "the hat that almost wasn't".

Two other memorable things from the expo: 1. I managed to lose my number. That's right, I lost my number 10 mintues after I got it. It's official, senility has arrived. I'll be wearing tutus and capes in races within the year. 2. Biscoff had a booth at the expo. Biscoff is the company that makes the cinnamon cookies that airlines serve. They have a product like peanut butter that is basically their cookie in dough form. DO NOT TRY THIS PRODUCT IF YOU SEE IT. We each took a jar. I ate them both in a matter of days. Each jar contains the devil...and about 17,000 calories.

As usual, the self-proclaimed king and queen of logistics had an unrivaled plan on race morning. We donned our headlamps and helmets and pretended to put on parkas, hopped on our mountain bikes and rode the 2 miles to the start at Turner field. I tried not to laugh as we rode right past the incredibly long line of cars; mainly because I like to believe that Karma is a real thing. "I hope we find a parking spot. Oh look, here's one 20 feet from the start line. -click- (that's the sound of me locking the bikes to a pole)". I felt like I was back in school again and I had just earned 10 extra credit points. BAM!

Keep your eye on the prize, boys...keep your eye on the prize.

The 5k went first and I ran along next to Janis from the sidewalk for a few hundred yards cheering her on like she has done for me so many times. I was so proud of her...letting chocolate totally dictate her life. I loved her but I resented her; she would get to the chocolate first. I finished my warmup and then I waited for them to 're-open' the corrals for the 15k. That happened with less than 10 minutes to start, which wouldn't be a bad thing unless you were trying to squeeze 2,000 people through a single, 2-foot opening. I finally made it into the BACK of the corral while the announcer screamed out "One minute!". I hate it when people do this to me, but...what choice did I hve? I pushed my way toward the front. I wished I had a sign on my number that said "this runner will NOT get in your way" because I got some icy stares as I cut through people. Who can blame them? Look at me. Do I look like I can run 6-minute miles to you? People probably thought I was trying to get to my oxygen tank. I was still a good 10 rows back when the gun went off. Lord, forgive me for what I am about to do...

I must've said "S'cuse me" and "Sorry" 2 dozen times in the first 30 seconds before I finally found a hole down the side of the group that I shot through. At the end of the day, any seconds I lost were made up in the adreniline rush of being inside a real, live video game. Out of respect, I sent cards to the people I trampled, but I sm TOTALLY ready if I ever do the Running of the Bulls. I was in about the top 20 or so when we hit the first mile. We were spread out as if someone had strewn us upon the road. The mile clock showed 6:02 and at the same time I was thinking "Hmmm...a bit slow", the got next to me said "Hmmm...a bit fast". That's always a good sign. We weren't even 2 miles in when I remembered something really important. Atlanta is not flat. Not even close; and mile 2 was in fact, a bit slow. But I was in a happy place and really keeping my heartrate in check which can look fairly 'amateurish' as I blast ahead of people on the downhills only to get passed back on the uphills looking like I ran out of steam. But it works. Eventually, I would gain so much ground on the downs that they stopped catching me on the ups.

Felt like I wasn't even working for the first 5 miles. Just one of those good days that you hope happens at the big races. Or when your friends are watching. Or when chocolate is on the line.

I wasn't counting how many people I passed but when I got to mile 4, I pulled alongside the lead female. She was already in the hurt locker but I could tell that the hurt locker was not something new to her. Once I passed her, the road sudenly seemed clear ahead. With all the turns, I could only see one runner quite a ways up ahead. I remember distinctly thinking to myself "I hope someone yells 'looking good'" because I so wanted to yell out "I FEEL GREAT". Seriously. As hilly as the course was, I couldn't remember the last time I felt this good holding this pace. I told myself that at mile 6 I was going to notch it up and watch some fireworks. That didn't really pan out. At mile 5.5 a guy came by me like it was a practical joke. He must not have known about the chocolate at the finish until after he passed mile 3 or so.

Rounding one of the final turns to bring it on home. C'mon...baby needs a new pair of CHEWS!

Mile 6 came and instead of feeling like I could turn up the flame, I suddenly felt like I was actually moving about as good as I could (which was plenty fast enough). Imagine my surprise when I reached for a cup at the aid station and it was not filled with chocolate milk. They totally punked me on that one but I drank the water anyway. I slowly crept up on the one guy I could see...who was slowly creeping up on the guy in front of him. Just before the long grade up to mile 8 I caught them both; one right after the other. I made a valiant effort to give the illusion that I was not going to slow down and that neither of them should attempt to come with me. It worked. Well, either that or they actually were just too tired. I kept the pressure on and during the final downhill to the finish, I looked back and allowed myself to catch a bit of my breath before sprinting the final hundred meters to the line where I was anounced as "Chris Jordan". An honest error as I am often mistaken for the son of Hal Jordan aka 'Green Lantern'. Volunteers were trying to distract me with more water in the finishing chute but I stayed focused and on task. Janis put herself between the finish line and the chocolate - right where she knew I would be. She quickly gave me the instructions for getting my chocolate along with professional tips like "make sure they give you a Rice Krispie treat to dunk in the chocolate" and "don't go to that volunteer - she skimps on the chocolate".

Now you're just showin' off ;-)

I managed a 6th place overall finish and little miss "I'm not competitive" let it slip that she had set a PR. So we both had something to celebrate with our chocolate. And although it was warm out compared to normal January weather, it wasn't so warm that the hot chocolate didn't taste delicious going down. A great start to racing in 2013.


* As usual, I represented Fleet Feet, TeamKattouf, Rudy Project and Garmin. But today I didn't race in my Greenville Fleet Feet race top, I raced in my Fox Valley (Appleton, WI) Fleet Feet race top courtesy of the gang up there who took care of me when Delta lost my luggage during Christmas vacation. I wore it proud!
* I never saw my friends Sarah Parker and Nicole Ramsbey at the event. But later that day - about 15 miles away - we ran into them at the Cheesecake Factory!
* They are sending me my award. Wouldn't it be awesome if it was made of chocolate.
* We managed to escape town before the big Atlanta Falcon game. The tailgaters were in full swing!
* For anybody who has run the Spinx Half Marathon here locally, this course climbed almost double the elevation in 9 miles that Spinx climbed in 13. And I thought THAT was a hilly race.
* The temps while I was racing went from 58 to 61 degrees. Not too cold and not too hot but plenty humid!

Next Up: Jacksonville Marathon (National Breast Cancer Awareness Marathon), Feb 17th

Some kind of wierd, mutated version of a fist pump?

Oh that thing behind me? Just the world's largest solid chocolate egg located at the chocolate museum in Belgium

This is my 'not-so-surprised' face


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