As much as I love the super competitive, alpha male sweat fest that is Obstacle Course Races, it is nice to get in a “fun run” once and awhile. For me the first one of the season is usually the Hot Chocolate 15K in Philadelphia. It’s got a great party atmosphere with a fun DJ and loud music. You get a really sweet hoodie when you register. When you finish you get a finisher medal shaped like a chocolate bar and a bowl with a cup of hot chocolate as well as various snacks to dip in chocolate. Oh and they also give you chocolate and marshmallows as you run!
First time I heard this I was like “who would eat chocolate while running.” Well after trying it I realized I liked it, and that sugar can help during a race! Too much would probably cramp you up, but I only eat a few.
Even though I said this is one of my “fun runs” it’s still not a quick race. It’s 15 kilometers or 9.3 miles. It’s all streets and it’s very flat except for one hill in the beginning. Last year was my first time doing it and I finished at 83 mins. So my goal for this year was 80 minutes.
Because of the cold I haven’t been running as much as I normally do. Most of my running has been on a treadmill, and I hadn’t ran for more than 5 miles. So I was a little unprepared and worried I was undertrained.
It was pretty cold and windy that day. By the time I got to the registration my hands where already frozen and I was debating running with the hoodie. But I figured I would warm up once I was moving and that ended up being the right call. The hoodie would have really slowed me down.
Luckily this race does starting corrals so you shouldn’t have too many issues with slower people blocking your path. I started at the 8 minute mile corral this year and I didn’t have too many issues with people being slower than the pace they entered. Wish people would kinda pay attention to where they are running though. Had a few people kinda drift into me, which can be annoying when you have a good pace going.
Also eating marshmallows while running is pretty tricky. For some reason that chewing motion while running felt really awkward, probably because normally I would be breathing not swallowing. So I did slow down a little at the stations.
I like that this race also supply’s pacers so you quickly know where you’re at. I use my Apple Watch to track my run, but having a pacer to keep up with is fun and helpful.
I started out at a really fast pace. First couple kilometers where under 5:20. Near the end though I started to get gassed. Thighs felt tight, feet were heavy (palms where sweaty). But I knew I was ahead of my pace from last year so I kept pushing.
Got to the 9th mile and up that last hill. It slowed me done, but I was able to finish at an hour 81 minutes. Didn’t quite reach my goal that I set, but I was still happy I had beat my 15K PR time.
All in all, I had a blast again at this race. I recommended it to anyone wether a serious runner or someone just starting out. The race is well organized and there’s lots of helpful volunteers. Oh and did I mention lots of chocolate?!?!