Then came race day. And we changed our minds. Sort of.
The Sous Chef even went to packet pick-up after work one day this week to get our jackets, race numbers, etc. That's where he found out that we'd have to park a mile away and take a shuttle to the race.
We were nervous anyway about the crowd (20,000+ people at National Harbor?!), the traffic, and the early hour we'd have to leave to get there on time. The satellite parking was yet one more thing to be nervous about.
So we made another plan: We'd put on our race jackets and head to our local park, which happens to be a three-mile (read: 5K) loop around a beautiful lake.
When we got there, we came upon a big surprise:
That's right, we had accidentally stumbled upon another 5K! We parked and started moving with the crowd towards the packet pick-up. We asked if the park was closed for the event or if we were allowed to walk on our own. A rather haughty woman replied, "Well it is a charitable event."
Well excuuuuuuse us. We'd already spent $45 a pop on a different charitable event (which we were avoiding at this very moment), thank you very much. We weren't about to spend another $40 per person.
We had about 45 minutes until the event started, so we decided to go for it. We started walking. The best part was, every time I heard someone come on the loudspeaker in the distance, I got nervous that pretty soon there would be a wall of serious runners coming up behind us, and that burst of adrenaline gave me the push I needed to jog a bit! I have to be careful about running, given my back and knee issues, but it sure did feel good to run. It reminded me of my old crew days, running in the freezing cold before practice. Sous Chef said running in the cold reminded him of playing soccer in high school.
We finished in about 40 minutes - my best 5K time ever. We got to the starting line just in time to see the runners/walkers start their official charitable event. Listen for the jingling bells everyone tied to their shoes - isn't it festive and fun?!
Avoiding crowds/traffic + Peaceful park atmosphere + Discovering a 5K I want to do this time next year
P.S. And as for that hot chocolate that we missed out on? I made a batch of my delicious homemade hot cocoa...
...which we enjoyed while watching - what else?: