Friday, April 8, 2016

Who Doesn't Love Chocolate?!

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 to review find and write race reviews!

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of running the Philly Hot Chocolate 15K for the second year in a row.  Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate however I didn't let that stop me from having a good time.

Last year, I ran by myself however Emir and the kids came down to support me.  They were planning on doing the same thing this year (what kids don't like candy and chocolate?!) however once Thursday came around the forecast did not look good, we decided it would be best if the fam stayed home which turned out to be an excellent decision.  Lucky for me, my sister Cindy wanted to run this race with me along with her bf Todd so at least I wouldn't have to face the rain alone. 
This year's jacket was better than last year, very nice!
The expo was held both Thursday and Friday.  The times however were not good for me.  Thursday 12-6 and Friday 10-6.  If you work in the city, no problem, it's right at the convention center.  However, for those of us outside the city, making it by 6 on a workday, is pretty tough.  I know the Hot chocolate has a fun, decent sized expo since we went to it last year but I opted to have Cindy pick up my stuff for me since she lives in the city.  I forwarded her the email with my registration code and she said it was super quick and no problems whatsoever.  So it's good to know that packet pickup is fast, easy and you can have someone else do it if you can't make it.  I would recommend though if the Hot Chocolate would like more traffic to the expo, changing the hours to last a bit later especially on Friday.  I saw a TON of posts on the local Philly running FB group that they were having people that worked or lived in the city pick up their stuff because they could not make it in time. 
flat Amy
Since Emir and the kids were not coming, I decided to crash at Cindy's place Friday night.  It meant a little extra sleep plus Todd had offered to pick us up on his way into the city from Jersey.  Coach had also assigned a 5 mile cool down (yes still in 100 mile training mode) so I figured if I went to the race with them then I could just run back to Cindy's after the race and get my 5 miles done right away.  Cindy made us a quinoa and meatball dinner.  It was nice to just sit around and realx for the night. 

It was already raining a bit when Todd picked us up.  At least it wasn't cold out, about 50 so I went with shorts and my Bibrave singlet.  We found parking easily in our favorite, cheap weekend garage however the price has been increased tto $7 from $5!!! WHAT?!  HAHA  still pretty damn cheap.  We walked to the race which starts and finishes in the Art Musuem area.  We used the potties and went to get in our corral.  I do really like that the Hot Chocolate does corrals to break the crowds up.  There was over 6200 people in the 15K so that would have been a huge cluster if you let everyone start at the same time.  Even if people aren't really grouped according to times, just being spread out helps alot. 

The 3 of us started together.  Cindy and I wanted to run together and let Todd do his thing as he has a bit more speed than us.   Really, right now I'm just very focused on the 100 but since Coach said to try to run half marathon pace to fatigue my legs, I decided to look up last year's Hot Chocolate time.  Last year I ran 1:17.22 which is about 8:15 pace so I told Cindy our goal would be to beat that, gotto have something to aim for! 
rainy day
We ran the first 5K together, I think around 8:10 pace.  I felt good and wanted to go a bit faster.  As my speed increased, Cindy faded back a bit but I had caught up to Todd.  I was thinking "oohh maybe I can run with him!" But then around mile 4.5-5, he took off and I was not able to keep up.  There's a turn around point after 5 miles so I was able to see that Cindy wasn't too far behind.  It was a bit confusing for a few minutes as we didn't hit the mile marker 5 until almost 5.4 miles but everyone was saying the same thing so I was assured that my watch wasn't messed up.  Mile 6 was right back on track so it was all good.  I tried to speed up for that last 5k. 
Free race photos, holla!
Cindy looking strong
I've perfected the art of sleep-running 
At first I was feeling good running faster and was thinking I might be able to take a couple minutes off my time but miles 8 & 9, I could feel myself starting to bonk a bit.  I really probably should have done a gel at mile 6 or 7 but since this race wasn't so important and I'm just tryin to get ready for the 100, I didn't bother.  In the end it was fine, I finished in 1:16.06, PR by over a minute.  I was happy but soaking wet ;-) 

Cindy finished about a minute after me so it was easy to reunite.  We got our medals and water quickly and also found Todd.  We also claimed our chocolate goodies.  It was still raining so Cindy and Todd started the walk for the car and I headed off on my 5 mile cool down.  I don't mind running in the elements, it actually was a perfect temperature for racing but it really put a damper on hanging out and enjoying the Hot Chocolate festivities. 
nice and wet!
Overall I think the Hot Chocolate is a fun, well organized event.  I love that they give jackets instead of shirts and this year the jackets were really, very nice.  The medals are cool and unique.  I like the race course as you get to go down towards city hall before going down MLK drive.  They also had plenty of well stocked, well manned aid stations.  I would however like to see more of the chocolate on the actual course as it is advertised.  The first aid station did have marshmallows however that was the only one that offered anything aside from water and Nuun.  The course map indicated there would be chocolate and M&Ms at different spots during the race however it was not the case.  Honestly, I don't think it's a big deal but if you are going to advertise that, I think it should be there.  It's a specialty race and some people are coming just because of these little things that make it different than a regular race. 
chocolate wasn't enough, I had the "kitchen sink" for brunch
So I think we all know what's next for me, now that I'm done eating ALL the chocolate.  C & O Canal 100!!!  I'll be heading down to Maryland 3 weeks from today.   I'm feeling good overall but as it gets closer, I am getting the race crazies a bit.  I know I can do it but a 100 is a long race and so many different things can happen.  I'm just at the point where I just want to get out and do it, I don't feel like waiting anymore but I need to be patient and finish my training.  Here's to hoping my next race report is a good one!!! :-)


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