Hot Chocolate 15k 2016 – Philadelphia Race Recap

This past weekend I ran my race for April as well as my first 15k!

I signed up for the Hot Chocolate 15k when I first decided to do my 2016 Race Calendar because it looked like a fun run and it was a new distance for me. I am doing Broad Street in a month so it wasn’t the best training-wise – because I went from running a 5 mile {made 7 miler to prep for this race} and now I have a month to keep my stamina up for the Broad Street 10 Miler on May 1st. HC

But I signed up for the Hot Chocolate because of the new distance + apparently the swag was supposed to be pretty good. You get a fleece zip up jacket when you do the race, which is cool, but the race is more expensive because of it. When I went to pick mine up, I found mine was very big from my usual size and I couldn’t swap it out for the right size, so that was a bit of a bummer. I was disappointed they didn’t have extras to exchange!

But aside from the jacket drama, the boys and I enjoyed walking around the expo – I hadn’t been to one in a long time. It was nice to see all the sights and I enjoyed sampling a chocolate covered marshmallow {or two} and some hot chocolate! Yum!

pre race

Race day was a big of a bummer because it was rainy. It pretty much rained the entire race – luckily, and surprisingly I wore the perfect amount of layers that I was never hot or cold, always comfortable – even with the rain. So that was a bonus!


But aside from that there was a big delay at the start. They had corrals, which is awesome. I was in the 9 min/mile section, which is a perfect place for me. But they let each corrals go in sections to space everyone out, but my corral was let out about 15-18 minutes after the start. So we were standing around in the rain waiting. Wah Wah.

start line

Eventually we made our way to the start and we were about to get going. I will say that during the time we were waiting around, the MC kept us pretty entertained. He was very funny and continued to stay in “character” with all the chocolate references and jokes. Made me laugh on a few occasions! Ha !


And then we were off! This was the biggest and most crowded race I’ve done in a while! So there were lots of people to bob and weave in and around. I was a little annoyed because there were clear signs that said NO WALKERS in my corral, in all the corrals ahead of me and a few behind me – yet, when we were allowed to start, there were tons of walkers all around.


I don’t know why they would push themselves to the start because it’s not safe when people are jetting off and not expecting anyone to be walking in front of them! I’m surprised no one got hurt, because it was very congested, and even more so with those walking within the first half a mile of the race.


The first mile was pretty quick and easy once we got going – we made our walk down the Ben Franklin Parkway around Logan Circle and back towards the Art Museum, heading down MLK Drive.


There were lots of people cheering in the first mile but once we got onto MLK it was pretty empty and a little boring. I was under the impression the whole race that we would be doing the Kelly Drive Loop {running on one side of the river, crossing over the bridge and then back to the Art Museum} – which is about 8 miles. Plus the run we added down the Parkway in the beginning, I thought that was the course. I was a little bummed when around mile 3 I saw the front runner coming down the opposite side of the road. Apparently this was an out and back {not my favorite}

first place

Another surprise of the race – Sweet Stations!


Water stations had, not only water, but sweets for the runners – including marshmallows and chocolate chips! I thought it was a joke but then someone handed it to me. I couldn’t believe someone would eat this mid-run! I took a picture of mine and tossed it! I’m a sweet lover, but not mid-9.3 mile run! Woah.

sweet station
I didn’t take many pictures on the course because there wasn’t much to see since it was a boring loop. But I will say that my old, original iPod {the first color version} that I randomly found on race morning gave me the energy to run! It was a rough race and towards the second half the rain got worse – so having some jamming’ tunes was essential!

Here’s the dreaded turn around point. Blah – I seriously was so surprised that with the money we paid for this race they couldn’t pick a better course – one that isn’t already closed down to cars on the weekends that I run all the time anyway. Seriously, we live in the city, get a little more creative – you’ve got 9.3 miles!


The second half of the race after the turn around point wasn’t pretty. The longest I had run prior to this race was 7 miles the weekend before. It’s not typically how I would train for a race like this – but being a mom with two littles, I take what I can get in terms of training run time, and it usually isn’t much. So I’m proud to have done what I did!

Another fun fact – the mile markers were messed up on the race route as well. I was almost at mile 6 and the mile 5 marker was showing up. I was so confused and crossing my fingers {and toes} that my garmin wasn’t wrong! Ha! Luckily, it wasn’t – but it sure messed with my mind for a little while there!

last bit

This race was a funny one for me. I felt like I was dreading each mile and it was going on and on, but then in the blink, it was all over and I was done right around where I wanted to be. Like I said, I didn’t train like I normally would have, and 7 was the longest I had done {last weekend} pre-race – so every mile after mile 7 was the longest I had run since I ran the Broad Street 10 Miler in 2013 when I was pregnant with Brooks {and didn’t know it yet!}


After mile 7 I took some walking breaks at mile marker 8 and 9 but then got right back into my 9 minute mile pace. Felt pretty good about my pace most of the race, there were moments that were better than others, sure – but for my farthest distance in 3 years, post two babies, in the rain, I was just happy to be out there!


I crossed the finish line strong and while I was dead, I could have kept going should I needed too! I felt pretty good and was in good spirits – ready for my chocolate!

Here are my splits:

Mile 1- 8:42:12 / Mile 2- 8:59:88 / Mile 3- 8:59:51 / Mile 4- 8:55:88 / Mile 5- 9:24:95 / Mile 6- 10:02:67 / Mile 7- 9:44:35 / Mile 8- 9:41:70 / Mile 9- 9:52:31

Not quite negative splits, but not too bad -obviously Mile 6 {at the turn around, where the mile markers were messed up} was my worst.

According to my garmin, I did a 9:22 min/mile pace


My garmin {and my weaving around the walkers} has me going 0.07 miles farther than the race, so I think my pace evens out with the actual race time – 1:27:40 and race pace of 9:24 min/mile – either way, I’ll take it!

I felt good enough to do a jumping picture after the race, so that means I felt pretty fabulous!


After crossing the finish line you get a medal {to add to my collection} and a finishers mug filled with hot chocolate to drink, melted chocolate and a variety of dippers for the melted chocolate – like marshmallows, pretzels, rice crispies {etc.} I have to say, I thought the mug would be a little cooler – the blue plastic is a little meh – but I’m sure Brooks will enjoy drinking cereal out of it, so there’s that.


I would have preferred a beer glass! Ha! But the hot chocolate after being out in the rain all morning did sort of hit the spot.

hot chocolate mug



Here’s my official results:

All in all it was a fun race and I’m glad I got my butt out of bed to run it. Will I do it again? Not sure.

So many races, so little time!


What’s the most fun race you’ve done lately?

Please share!


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