I’m sipping my Sunday morning coffee with sore calves and hamstrings after yesterday’s Hot Chocolate 15K. The 9.3 mile race was my longest run since I ran the Charlotte Half Marathon at 14 weeks pregnant back in November 2017!
Taking that into consideration, I couldn’t believe how good I felt during the race and how great the overall race experience was! I really love the 10-ish mile race distance and I wish there were a whole lot more of them!
I’m sharing a recap of the race today. In the spirit of transparency, my race fee was covered by Allstate, the sponsor of the Hot Chocolate 5K/15K series. I worked with them on an Instagram partnership but a blog post wasn’t a requirement. I just wanted to share the experience with y’all! 🙂
HOT CHOCOLATE 15K RACE RECAP
The Hot Chocolate 5K/15K is a race series that takes place in various cities across the country. This was my first time participating in one. The race is very well organized, from the expo to the race course to the post-race party, and the hot chocolate theme is pretty much the best ever.
You are required to pick up your packet at the expo the day before the race. There is no race day packet pickup. Finn and I drove Uptown to grab my packet from the expo at the Convention Center. One of the cool things about this race is that they give you a jacket instead of a t-shirt. I saw tons of people wearing them on race day!
There was also a photo station where you could pose for photos with a giant time clock and have your photo texted to you.
I was a bit of a mess on race day morning. Usually I am organized with my clothes picked out, bib ready to go, bag packed, etc but I was scrambling to decide what to wear and to find safety pins to pin my bib on instead. I was still unsure if I was going to go for the 15K or stick with the 5K but timing ended up making the decision for me. I set my alarm for 6a but after a 4a wake up to nurse, change and get Finn settled back down, I snoozed until 6:30. This put me in a bit of a crunch to have breakfast, coffee, get dressed, pump, get the babysitter squared away, etc. I fully own that I did this to myself but the extra 30 minutes of sleep were worth it.
I was planning to leave the house at 7 but it was 7:15 when I hit the road.
I arrived at the starting area around 7:30…right as the 5K was starting. The 15K was set to start at 7:45 so 15K it was! And honestly, I was leaning more towards it anyway but feeling nervous about the distance. Also, skip this if you’re not into BF talk but Finn was asleep when I left the house and I needed to nurse or pump before the race. I was having major issues with my pump and suction (I have since replaced some parts and gotten things squared away) so I was only able to pump like an ounce before the race. I was not super comfortable in that department while I was running. Ugh.
FYI…they do not allow strollers for this race but that was a good thing because it was too cold and a little long to have Finn in the stroller. And I kind of love running without pushing a stroller when possible. 🙂
The weather was around 43 degrees and drizzly. I walked out of the house in pants but walked back in to make a last-minute switch into shorts. It was a good call for me. I am so much more comfortable in shorts and I was warm enough in long sleeves and a vest. I didn’t wear gloves, although they would have been nice.
Note: this is my favorite long-sleeved shirt of all time for everything from casual athleisure to running. I wear it at least 3-4 days out of the week.
There were around 3,000 runners between the two races with a little over 1,500 doing the 15K. Crazy fact…of those 1,500, 1,162 were women! Lots of ladies for the Hot Chocolate 15K!
The Charlotte course wasn’t especially scenic and was hilly but it’s hard to find a race in Charlotte that isn’t! One thing I did like about this race was the aid stations. At each station they had water, sports drink and a “sweet station.” The sweet stations had things like marshmallows, chocolate and gummy bears.
I also loved the hot chocolate countdown as you approached the finish line!
Overall, I had a surprisingly great race. I just put my AirPods in, listened to music and ran based on feel. I wasn’t trying to get any certain time or pace. I love racing like this. I ended up finishing in 1:18:45 with an overall pace of 8:28.
Here are the stats.
My splits were pretty consistent and I have to say that I really enjoyed the longer distance. I am looking forward to running a couple of half marathons this year…for fun! I have ZERO interest in training hard or working on PRs at this point in life. I am just grateful to be running and feeling great while doing so. It makes me feel so good inside and out!
Is this not the best post-race food ever? I will take a cup of hot chocolate over a beer any day! And the best part was that it was super rich and delicious hot chocolate made from melted chocolate instead of powder.
I snapped a photo in front of the giant time clock and then hopped back in my car and home to Finn. My babysitter stayed long enough for me to take a super hot shower (I wasn’t cold while running but freezing once I stopped being wet and standing in the cold drizzle). The shower was pretty magical and afterwards I fed Finn, rocked him and we took a little morning snooze together.
Looking forward to a 2019 full of FUN miles! 🙂
What’s the best post-race food/prizes that you’ve had at a race?
What would your ideal race distance be?