Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Did someone say CHOCOLATE?!?!

Philly Hot Chocolate 15K

Disclaimer: I received entry to Philly Hot Chocolate 15K as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Being a BibRavePro is a blast which is why I love to promote for them whenever I can.  That's why when I was given the chance to run the Philly Hot Chocolate 15K it was a no brainer to say yes, even though it was a mere 6 days after the Ocean Drive Marathon

I've never run a Hot Chocolate race so I wasn't sure exactly what to expect.  I assumed there would be chocolate in some capacity but that was about it. 

After I registered, I started investigating what to expect and what I found out sounded pretty good.  All runners would receive a zip up hoodie, a bag and a medal aside from all the chocolate goodies at the expo and on race day.  Sounded good to me!

The expo took place on Thursday and Friday and the race on Saturday.  Unfortunately we could not make it there until after work Friday and missed all the egg hunts that they had for the kids, bummer.  The kids still had a good time, running around, eating chocolate candy and enjoying some chocolate fondue.  It wasn't a huge expo but certainly much bigger than I expected for a 5K/15K.  Despite the size, it was literally seconds to get my number and my race bag.  The electronic system made everything very simple. 
still got a picture with a bunny ;-)

modeling my new hoodie and bag

The next morning we headed back into the city.  We parked in our favorite $5 garage that is about 1 mile from the art museum area and headed to the start.  Both Emir and I were shocked at the sheer number of people that were there for the race.  For some reason we assumed it was a smaller event.  The 5K was just starting as we were walking.  It was a loud, fun atmosphere.  The weather was pretty nice.  It was sunny and the temps close to 50 however it was windy, yes again with the wind.  At first I was ready to have PTSD from the OD Marathon then I remembered that I wasn't going for any kind of PR, just there to have fun. 

We decided to all go as a family to the race because the kids love going to races and love going into the city plus I had seen on the website there was supposed to be a kids play area.  We couldn't find any kids play area however I suspect it was due to the high winds as it was supposed to be bouncy house type things that definitely are not safe in high, gusty winds.  The kids still had a blast regardless running around with other kids and playing on the Art Museum steps, who doesn't love pretending to be Rocky?! 
On top of the Art Museum steps
Back to the race.  There were TONs of port-o-pottys.  Emir wants to do a study on how people form lines for these things.  As per usual there were lines however there were a number of pottys completely empty and not being used.  Niko having no concept that there were lines, ran to one that had green and went in.  No one even seemed to notice so we all went potty without waiting.  The start of the 15K had corrals.  I had assumed they were by time, however they were definitely just a random assignment.  I love the corral setup especially with this course being out and back, it was not as wide so better to keep people spread out.  However, there's not much point to the corral system if it's random.  I still found myself being cut off, having to weave in/out and just stuck in large crowds for a good part of the first half just because it wasn't in speed order. 

The course itself isn't much different than many of the Philly races but it doesn't matter, it's still scenic and fun.  we started along side the Art Museum went towards City hall about .6-.7 mile and then came back past the Art Museum and down West River Drive for an out and back there.  Maybe I missed it, but I did not see any chocolate on the course.  All the aid stations were water and Gatorade which was fine with me however I was under the impression there was some kind of chocolate on the course.  I thought there was a very reasonable number of well stocked stations and I actually preferred that there weren't so many volunteers.  I was able to swing by and just grab a couple cups of water easily every time. 
High fives for my little fans

Right after finishing I received my medal and was able to grab water bottles.  We had to walk a bit to the bars and chips which was quickly followed by the chocolate station.  The strip at the bottom of my bib for the finishers mug had fallen off in the car but I stuffed it in my bra.  Of course after I finished I couldn't find it but the kind people said it didn't matter and gave me my stuff anyway.  It had a cup of hot chocolate, dipping chocolate and a bunch of stuff to dip in the chocolate.  I myself enjoyed dipping a banana as my fuel for my run after the race and the kids enjoyed the cookies and pretzels.  The only downside is that they called it a "mug" however it's really not.  It's a plastic cup with sections.  It's cool because it has the race name on it but it's also at the same time "what do I do with this now?"  Anyone have any ideas???

As for my personal race, I was very satisfied.  I was totally running this to promote for Bibrave and to make my Saturday long run more fun.   I wanted to run at a comfortable pace and I was pleasantly surprised with how fast comfortable ended up being just 6 days after the marathon.  The first 5K was about 8:40 pace, the second was about 8:15 and my third was around 7:50 to end up with overall 8:19 pace. 

And if you are thinking "9 miles isn't that long" just as Niko said the same thing, you are correct.  They kicked me out of the car partway home so I could finish out the day with about 17.5 miles.  With the Double Blue Ridge Marathon in less than two weeks, there's no time to mess around!  I've decided to continue with my original plan for my 2015 races which means now it's all ultras until after my 100 in October.  I think I physically and mentally need a little break from racing marathons to get stronger and faster.  I would just be forcing things too much if I ran another marathon next month and I really feel like it would end up a disaster.  I dropped a lot of time really quickly in the past year so I think I just need more time to do more building so I can make that next drop in time.  In the mean time, I have tons of fun on the trails to be had.  :-)

Hit up the trail a bit on the way home
So moral of the story is that the Hot Chocolate was a very enjoyable experience and I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a fun, inexpensive race with different than the usual swag and goodies.  And 15K is definitely a great distance to try if you are looking to build up towards 10 miles for Broad Street, your first half marathon or just looking to try something more than 5Ks and 10Ks.  And it's always more fun to run with about 10,000 of your closest running friends than by yourself :-)   

PS forgot to mention that I utilized the free runner tracking.  It posted to FB, twitter and sents texts to Emir's phone, all perfectly.  And here are the free race photos I just received! 


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