On Saturday I ran the Hot Chocolate 15K in Philadelphia. Today I’m going to recap the race and I am linking up with Annmarie from The Fit Foodie Mama, Angelena Marie from Angelena Marie: Happy, Healthy & Balanced, Michelle at Fruition Fitness and Nicole from Nicole from FitFul Focus for Wild Workout Wednesday!
My mom actually told me about this race last year. It was the day after my birthday so I figure it would be a good way to celebrate my birthday weekend. My mom and a few other women from our local Black Girls Run group decided to run the race as well. This race has a 5K and 15K option and we all opted to run the 15K (9.3 miles). Overall the race was pretty good, so let’s move onto the recap!
We traveled down to Philadelphia on Friday morning. Luckily its a short train ride from CT (a little over two hours). Sure I could have drove down there but I just didn’t want the headache of driving and then trying to find and pay for parking. After we checked into the hotel, we headed out in search of lunch. We found this awesome place called The Reading Terminal Market, but it was way too crowded in there so we opted for lunch at Burger Fi across the street.
After a delicious lunch (seriously, Burger Fi had some bomb-ass burgers!), we met up with the rest of the gang at the Convention Center for packet pick up and to explore the expo. The Expo was not large (maybe 20 vendors), so we didn’t stay long, but I did manage to take a ton of photos!
After a carb loading dinner that included pizza and salad, it was time for bed. I didn’t sleep that well (I never do before a race), and 6:00 a.m. approached quickly. After using a ridiculous amount of KT tape on my left leg (like 10 strips), I was dressed and ready for the race. The temperature was not ideal. It was a little cold and very rainy, like I was pretty much soaked by mile 3. Luckily the rain was on and off so we didnt have to run in it the entire race.
I won’t do a mile by mile recap, but I will say that the couse was flat except for a small incline right before the finish line (that was mean, lol). The course was a simple out an back and we got to the “back” part around mile 5.5. I didn’t have any time goals for this race but I tried to run smart and keep a pace that worked for me. I ran the entire race and when I crossed the finish line, I felt like I could have kept running, so I was happy with my time/race.
Sure, there was a time last year when I probably could have shaved 10 minutes off of that time, but I’ve been dealing with a lot of different injuries and issues, so at this point, I just have to run safe, and smart.
My mom also completed this race. It was her longest run to date and I’m SUPER proud of her!!
The course never felt crowded and I felt that I had plenty of room to run, but like with every race, there are pros and cons.
Preferred Start Corrals I’ve never seen this at a race before so I was quite impressed! Basically in order to get place in a preferred start corral, you had to send in proof of your time from another race. I love this because it means you will start with people that are definitley supposed to be in that corral. If you did not send in proof of race time, you could place yourself in the open start corrals based on your minute per mile time.
Hydration Options The race provided Nuun and water on the course! I was SO excited that Nuun would be on the course because that gave me the option to run without my Nathan Quick Draw Handheld.
Goodies on the course There were “sweet stations” on the course that offered M&M’s, chocolate chips and strawberry/chocolate marshmallows. I did not stop to enjoy any of these sweets because I didn’t want to upset my tummy, but I thought it was awesome that they provided these goodies!
Finisher Items The finisher medal is AWESOME! Great quality and super cute design. I mean c’mon, who doesn’t love a race medal in the shape of a chocolate bar?! We also received cool blue cups filled with chocolate, a banana and some other snacks. I can see myself eatting a lot of chips, veggies and hummus from this cup in the future because of all the cute compartments! Also we didn’t get a typical race shirt, but a very nice zip up jacket!
FREE Race Photos You rarely see this offered by racing organizations, so this is a HUGE plus in my book! The free photos aren’t available yet, but if they are good I’ll share them on this blog next week!
Hydration I thought that the hydration stops were way too spread out. I think I may be biased because the NYRR races usually have water located at every mile but in this race it seemed like it was every 2 miles.
Post-Race Food The finisher cup was cute and all, but a banana, marshmallow and pretzels are not the types of food I’m looking for after a race. I think I’m going to start a petition to have bagels available at the end of every race, lol
Space Blanket It was pouring rain when I finished the race and I was freezing. A space blanket would have been much appreciated. I’m not sure why the race organizers would not have had these available at the end of the race considering we all knew earlier in the week that the temperature would not be ideal.
Before boarding the train back home, we all posed for a photo in the Amtrak station. We were all too wet and cold to take photos after the race!
All in all, it was a good race. I’m not sure if I will run the same race next year, I may select another city (you know I’m all about the racecation)!
Before I end the post, I wanted to give a shou-out to ALL of the runners, especially my friend Annmarie, that participated in the Syracuse Half Marathon on Sunday. In case you didn’t see, the runners pretty much had every horrible running condition posible (snow, sleey, ice, cold). Those runners are all complete ROCKSTARS!
Have you ever participated in a Hot Chocolate 5K/15K race?