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This Sunday, I’ll be running my first race of the year, the Hot Chocolate 15K here in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. I ran a very slow Hot Chocolate 15K with a friend in San Diego last March while I was visiting.

Sprinting to the finish line last year.

Sprinting to the finish line last year.

I don’t have any real goals for this race – my first “A” race this year is the Great Race of Agoura (Jesse and I are turning the race into a mini vacation, venturing south to San Diego for Jesse’s first visit to the glorious beach city).

I’m using this race as a benchmark before “real” training begins next month for running races and for Wildflower and Vineman. I’ll try to run this race as a tempo, around 8:30-8:40 for me. The last time I ran this race, I was running with a slower friend and was very sore from an ill-timed weightlifting workout (I’ve since learned not to lift during the week leading up to a race).

This Sunday’s race runs through familiar turf – Golden Gate Park down to Ocean Beach. I haven’t raced a course similar to this since the Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon in 2011. I’m excited to practice race pacing strategy – a 9.3-mile race is too long to sprint and not quite long enough to qualify as a long, slow run. Race recap to come on Monday!

hot chocolate course

From Hot Chocolate’s website.