Having recently accomplished the ATL Challenge 39.3 that would have felt to be a mere fantasy three years ago, I supposed I had reached my pinnacle in running and faced trouble reigniting my drive to continue seeking physical challenges. I still ran once or twice a week to maintain my unprecedented fitness, built from three years of consistent training. Towards the end of last year, I was drawn to the charming title of Hot Chocolate 15K and spontaneously registered, slightly worried about the event’s taking place at the peak of winter on January 25, 2015, in Atlanta, Georgia.

I asked multiple friends to join me to no avail. I purchased boxer briefs the night before to prevent chafing my Tootsie Roll, which had occurred in several races. Riding my 50cc moped for nearly thirty minutes to Turner Field prior to sunrise cooled down and tensed up my muscles, and I sufficiently stretched and jogged to minimize the risk of shocking my body in the cold. Whether due to the unusually low temperature, exacerbated by powerful winds, or my lack of training, I spent the first two miles searching for my ideal pace. The course unexpectedly but unsurprisingly remained craggy from beginning to end, but I was never physically fatigued even after the final sprint. Nonetheless, because I could not relocate the fire that enabled me to do as much as I have in running, I was mentally drained from the start and could not sense my typical race-day adrenaline rush. Perhaps as a result, my finish time fell roughly ten minutes short of my goal of 1:20:00. Fellow runners have been asking me if I planned to run at the Publix Georgia Marathon again in mid-March, but I waited to complete the Hot Chocolate 15K first to evaluate my condition before answering them. I still do not know, mainly as I doubt less than two months could be enough to prepare me for my second marathon in infamously hilly Atlanta and I am uncertain if I will still be residing in Georgia then. I would not be surprised by either decision, but participating in this insane yet familiar test may refuel my motivation for running.