Hello and happy Monday! I can officially report that I am no longer sick and finally feel like a normal human being again! Saturday morning was the big Hot Chocolate 15k race, and I woke up that morning fearing that I would still be a congested disaster, but thankfully I felt pretty good! This would be my third year participating the Hot Chocolate race, and second running the 15k course, and with a half marathon booked for next month, I was due for a long run. Aside from it aligning with my half marathon training schedule, the Hot Chocolate race is my all-time favorite race for two reasons:
- Instead of a race tee, you get a SUPER awesome jacket (or in some years, hoodie). Like I’m talking high quality, purchased from the full price section from some fancy pants athletic store. You know the kind. Starts with a Lulu, ends with a “WHO PAYS $95 FOR LEGGINGS?” That’s the one.
- Free chocolate. Duh.
This year I opted for the men’s race jacket because it is orange, and I love orange (I also run with orange earbuds and orange sunglasses. I’m hoping one day to sponsored by Florida Orange Juice)! Also it’s longer in the torso, and since I am shaped like a 1930’s boxer I’ll take all the help I can get. Plus, the jacket is stitched with an emblem of the Dallas skyline!
It is super comfy with a fleece interior, and has two front pockets, so it’s basically perfect. My other two Hot Chocolate jackets are still in great quality and I wear them often, so these bad boys are meant to last and are worth the registration fee. Now I’m going to make like Mr. Rogers, change into this jacket, and start reminiscing, so let’s recap this race, shall we?
What I wore:
- Run Project long sleeve zip up jacket
- Too Cold to Hold Race tech tee (underneath)
- New Balance cropped running tights
- Injini toe socks
- Saucony Kinvara 5 Run Shield shoes
- Ear covering headband (it was cold!)
- Apple Watch
The course took place 100% on the road, weaving through Dallas streets and nearby neighborhoods. While the course is primarily flat, there were two big hills to tackle, the first in a neighborhood around mile four, and last being at mile eight, because of course I want to think to myself “Only one mile left!” and then be met with a monster incline! While there were 7,000+ participants running the 15k course, it was at no time overly congested and I didn’t witness, nor experience any instance of someone right on my hills, or constantly having to be in check of someone right next to me. This is probably due in part to the race being released in waves and sectioned off into corrals, much like at a half or full marathon. What I enjoyed most about the course is that every mile marker was a celebration. Each mile marker had a digital clock, race volunteers, and at every second-third mile there were race volunteers ready with water, or a sample of Nuun (my favorite electrolyte drink!), as well as marshmallow and chocolate treats.
How I felt:
I felt great! Despite being not even 24 hours removed from a heinous cold, I felt energized and comfortable throughout the entire run! I only stopped to sip my Nuun drinks when they were offered, and I had to make a brief pit stop shortly after mile one (thanks water!), but at no point did I feel like stopping was necessary or that my cold was returning with a vengeance. Granted, the promise of chocolate kept my momentum going, and the post race goodies did not disappoint this year.
After the race we were provided large sectioned bowls (think like a chips and dip tray), complete with a small cup of hot chocolate, melted chocolate for dipping, a banana, pretzels, marshmallows, a Rice Krispie treat, and pirouette sticks. The hot chocolate was delicious, and I had an impromptu fondue session by dipping the banana in the melted chocolate (and promptly making a mess everywhere), and it was delightful.
I cannot recommend this race enough. Whether you’re a newbie runner, or you casually log an ultra marathon every weekend, the Hot Chocolate race caters to all runners and makes the entire event feel like a party. Come for the sweet jacket, but stay for the chocolate, oh and the run, The run is good too.