Hot Chocolate 15K Philly Recap

By Janelle @ Run With No Regrets | race recap

Apr 13

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K Philadelphia as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

It’s been a few days but I’m finally able to share my recap of the Hot Chocolate 15K!  This was my first time running the race and I had a really good experience!

I’m linking up with MarciaPatty, and Erika for Tuesdays on the RunSusieDebbieLora, and Rachel for the Running Coaches Corner and AnnmarieNicole, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday!  I’m also joining the new Friday 5 2.0  with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy – hopefully, this post won’t take too long to read!

I had a blast at the Allstate @hotchocolate15k in Philly! Check out my race recap! #hc15k #bibchat Click To Tweet

I'm sharing my recap of the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K in Philadelphia! I definitely recommend this race for new and seasoned runners! Find more race recaps at runwithnoregrets.com!

Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K Philadelphia Recap

Whenever the Hot Chocolate 5K and 15K comes to town, I’m either out of the city or running a different race.  Finally, the stars aligned this year and I was able to sign up for the 15K, a distance that I’ve always wanted to try.  It really worked out well because I was due to have my second 20-mile long run as part of training for the New Jersey Marathon.  My first 20 miler didn’t go so well, so I was looking forward to some redemption, plus a nice medal at the end of the day!

Race Expo

Make-a-wish-hot-chocolate

I worked a half day the Friday before the race then headed to the Pennsylvania Convention Center for the Race Expo.  After a lot of wandering in the convention center, I finally found the Expo, and while it wasn’t the largest I’ve been to, it wasn’t bad at all.  I was fortunate to get there before the crowds so picking up my bib was a breeze.  Since my entry to the race was free, I wanted to buy myself some swag.  Unfortunately, most of the clothing was either way too small or way too large, but I did find a nice sweatshirt.  I also donated $10 to Make-A-Wish to get one of the goofiest pictures ever, lol (see above).

The two highlights of the Expo was getting some tasty marshmallows and chocolate (natch) and getting my feet taped at the KT Tape booth.  I told the woman at the booth that I’ve been having some plantar fasciitis pain and she immediately got to work.  I could instantly feel a difference – if only I could remember exactly how she taped them!

The Night Before

For whatever reason, I’ve been really bad about getting ready for a race the night before.  I just wait until the last possible minute before I figure out what to wear!  The weather was predicted to be awful, so I knew that I’d need my jacket, but not too many layers since I easily overheat.  I also decided to try something new and wear my new Bibrave singlet (that’s a little large on me) and my Bibrave Boco hat.  I didn’t really do anything special the night before the race, just had a nice dinner at home.  I knew I had a lot of hard work to accomplish in the morning!

Race Morning

Unlike the Love Run Half Marathon, where I had to tack on 5 miles pre-race, figuring out my mileage for the day was much more tricky.  The race started at 8 am so I wanted to run as many miles as I could before the 15K.  I knew there was a good chance that I’d still need to run more miles after the race…even though I’d be stuffed with chocolate, lol.  I started on Kelly Drive a little bit before 6:30 am and while it was chilly and windy, it wasn’t nearly as cold as it was predicted all week, thank goodness!  I wore my bib during this run so I wouldn’t have to go back to my car and waste time getting set up for the race.

About 5 or 6 miles in, I really needed to hit the potty.  Maybe I shouldn’t have had all that caffeinated tea before I left home?  Thankfully there were several facilities available and I was able to TCB and get back to the run.  I ended up running a little over 9 miles before making it over to the race.  Many of the 5K runners were either finished or finishing up, and the 15K was already in full swing.  I can’t deny I was jealous of everyone who was already heading back home with chocolate in hand!

The Starting Line

I was supposed to be in Corral K, but by the time I got over to the start line, they were already pretty far in the alphabet, even though it was just a little after 8 am!  I guess the waves were moving much faster than anticipated!  At any rate, I started with group O or P, which was perfectly fine.  I guess it took about 10-15 minutes to get back going again.  The announcer was pretty animated as he tried to hype us up, so that was entertaining.  I took a couple of pictures and then, we were off!

Miles 1-5

hot-chocolate-15k-early

The one thing that was weird about the waves was that there were SO many pace leaders.  I was confused because I started with the 9-minute milers and there was no way I was running at that pace.  Meanwhile, I’d see 10-minute groups in front of and behind me.  I tried to ignore them because it was messing with my head a little bit!  But in any event, I was feeling pretty good despite already running 9 miles.  Early in the race, as we headed around Logan Square, a woman ran past me and kept looking back at me.  Then she asked me if I blog and I said yes!  She’s a reader :).  I didn’t get your name, but thanks for saying hi and I hope you had a great race!  That definitely brightened my day – I never get recognized!

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I wanted to remember the lessons I learned a couple of weeks ago and stay focused – I drank my water/electrolyte mix every mile, and I ate my Honey Stinger chews every 3 miles.  And thankfully I had virtually no knee pain!  At some of the water stops they were giving out hot chocolate, water, or Nuun.  I wasn’t bothering with any of that stuff, lol, but at least they had options!

9:45, 10:22, 10:25, 10:23, 10:27.

Miles 6 – Finish

I was hoping to see some of my running friends out on the course but it was so packed and there was no telling what waves they would have been in, so I was pretty much on my own for this run.  But this ended up being good practice for the marathon since I plan to run it solo as well.  My new 2000-2009 playlist kept the music rocking the entire way, so I was in the zone!  I felt really comfortable in the 10:20’s and knew that I could probably push harder, but why?  I wanted to fully enjoy this run and not think too much about my pace.  I did have a brief walk break about 15 miles in (which would have been around mile 6), but otherwise I was rocking it!  The last couple of miles are always the longest, and while I wanted to finish as soon as possible, I didn’t have a strong desire to power through the finish line.  Still, it was great to see all the people cheering as I made it up those last few hundred feet!

10:23, 10:17, 10:10, 10:03, 10:11.

Race Results

hot-chocolate-15k-finish

My official race results for the 15K was 1:35:52.  I had no time goal for this race and since it was an automatic PR, I can’t complain!  I actually felt really strong after completing the race and felt like I could keep running!  That is definitely a weird feeling, lol!

After the Race

But that was a good thing because I still needed to finish my 20 miles!  I ended up 1.4 miles short upon crossing the finish line, so after the race, I picked up my Finisher’s Mug, enjoyed the marshmallows and chocolate, guzzled down my hot chocolate, and headed for a run back to my car to finish up the distance!  I literally ran with the mug in my hand and medal around my neck – I know I looked crazy but hey, you do what you gotta do!  I ended up finishing my 20 miles total in less than 3.5 hours (not counting the break starting the race), so I couldn’t be happier!

Takeaways

The Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K is a really nice race.  I can see why so many people do it year after year!   It’s a great fun run with high-quality everything!  While I’m glad to take this race off my bucket list, it’s probably a one-and-done for me.  As you know, I’m always looking to try something new!  If you’ve been on the fence about this race, I would highly recommend it!  And being a Bibrave Pro ambassador, my discount page has special codes on upcoming Hot Chocolate races that you can use to earn an extra hat when registering!

Pros

  • Fantastic swag – the race medal is gorgeous and the zip-up jacket is one of the nicest I’ve received at a race!  I can’t wait to wear it!
  • FREE race photos – you know that this is always one of my favorite perks!  I was fortunate to get a few nice photos, though not as many as I did at the Love Run Half Marathon!
  • Very well organized.  Again, there was no confusion at all with this race and they started on time, if not earlier!  They’ve got a system and they know how to execute!  The mile markers were accurate as well.

Cons

  • Boring course – if you live in Philadelphia and run a lot of races, running down Ben Franklin Parkway then doing an out and back on MLK Drive is the same-old, same-old.  Too bad there weren’t too many cherry blossoms blooming that weekend!
  • Tons of potholes on the course.  It’s definitely not the race’s fault that Philly’s streets are awful LOL, but it would have been great if they could mark out all of the potholes, especially since parts of the course were so narrow!
  • No bananas with Finisher’s Mug.  Okay, maybe it’s just me, but I was disappointed when I realized I didn’t get a banana…it would have been so good with the chocolate, lol!  Maybe they ran out with all the 5K runners and speedier 15K runners?

Shoutouts

hot-choco-medal

Thanks so much to Bibrave for giving me the opportunity to finally run this race!  And a special shoutout to all of my runner friends on Instagram that ran either the 5K or 15K – I’m sorry I didn’t get to see most of you out there, but it seemed that a lot of folks had a great experience!  Spring racing season is in full effect!

Have you done a Hot Chocolate run?  Ever use a race to complete a long run?

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