Category Archives: Race Recaps

All Day 20K, All Day Fun: Carlsbad 5000 Recap Part 2

I had a fun weekend of running planned at the Carlsbad 5000 in Southern California. On Saturday, I ran the 1-mile race, and then I was back on Sunday to run the All Day 20K which is about 12.5 miles. 

What is an all day 20K? It is an event unique to the Carlsbad 5000. Basically, you run the 5K (Carlsbad 5000), 4 times. The 5K is split into age groups, Males 40 & Up, Females 40 & Up, 30-39, and 29 & Under. If you are participating in the All Day 20K, you run with every age group. 

I picked up my bib and shirt on Saturday, so Sunday I just had to get there, check my gear bag and run. Parking on Sunday was not as easy as Saturday. There were many more people participating in the 5K, so parking was scarce. Had to park much farther away & barely made it to the Rock N Blog meet up before the first 5K.IMG_3519

It was so great to meet some of my fellow Rock N Bloggers in real life! DianeSmitha, Debbie (who I had met briefly at Blogfest), & Kristin. 

It was off to the first start line! I was trying to run the first 5K slow. I wanted to run negative splits, meaning I wanted to run each 5K progressively faster. I figured that having a break every 3.11 miles would make me less tired. 

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at the first start line of the day!

Wrong. The break every 3.11 miles actually made me feel more fatigued as the day went on. It was nice though because you could get fluids, use the bathroom and grab a snack every 3 miles, so I was well hydrated and fueled! 

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course view – as you can see the sun was just coming up

Crossing the first finish line, I grabbed a water and a snack and headed back to the all day 20K tent. Thankfully we had our own area that had port-a-potties just for us, snacks & water (incase you didn’t grab any at the finish line), tables, chairs and our own gear check. 

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all day 20K lounge

I loved that we had our own gear check because you could access your items in between each race. I kept taking off layers in between races. The port-a-potties were also nice because it kept you from having to be in huge lines. 

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ready for race #2!

Between races, I had anywhere from 5-30 minutes. It all depended on how quickly you ran the 5K. For me, the quickest turn around between 5K #2 and #3. I only had about 5 minutes between those two races. I literally went from finish line back to the start with no time in-between.  

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finish line #2

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About a mile into the 3rd race, I saw a gal ahead of me in a really cute outfit. I thought, “she has a pink hat like Jenny!” Then I realized, it was Jenny!! I was so excited. I sped up to say hello and take a runfie! 

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I spotted Jenny and her cute outfit!

Jenny (aka @runnylegs) is a fellow BibRave Pro and an Insta-friend. I love her outfits, she has the sweetest husband (more on that later) and her runs and posts really inspire me. It was so great to finally meet her!IMG_352212439184_10209587502994213_1278341234095093026_n

As I was going thru race pictures, I realized I ran right by fellow Rock N Blogger, Carlee! She was in front of my on the course and I didn’t even realize it.

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how did I miss that sparkle skirt?! 

I felt great all day. It was warm but not unbearably hot. The last 5K was the hardest of them all; the finish line felt so close yet so far. The last 2 miles were mentally hard. My legs were tired, I was getting hot, and I wanted to finish that last 5K fast. I wasn’t running as fast as I had hoped, but I stayed strong thru the finish. When I crossed the  finish line for the last time, it felt so good! IMG_3549

I checked my stats, and I achieved my goal of running each 5K faster than the previous one. While I didn’t finish in the top 250 of my age group like I had hoped, I still had a great race + lots of fun. The fun factor is what really matters. Carlsbad was beautiful, I got to meet a lot of running & blogging friends, and the swag was awesome. IMG_3536

I loved the course. We ran through downtown Carlsbad, right by the iconic ‘Carlsbad’ sign, along the beach for at least half the course, and had a downhill finish. The views were great. I was concerned about getting bored running the same course 4 times, but it was so beautiful I was glad I got to see it 4 times because you could really take it in.

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views from the course

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Crossing 4 finish lines in one day was such a crazy and cool experience. You got the race day adrenaline four different times instead of just once. There is no other way that I know of to be able to run that many races in one day! We got a 5K medal, and we also got a HUGE All Day 20K medal. Not only is it huge, but the detail is amazing. It has real sand!
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At certain races, Rock N Roll will bring out elite runners. This race is one of them, and the elite runners get their own heats which take place after all the ‘regular’ runners are done racing. The women race first followed by the men. I grabbed a coffee and met up with Jenny and Sean to watch the elites run. Getting to spend time with this adorable running couple was so great. You know those ‘best friends’ you have on social media, but they don’t know they are your best friend… that is how I felt. Only thing that would have made it better was if Andy was there. Jenny & Sean (@ultrarunnerSD) are both awesome and inspiring people! So glad I got to connect with them in person. Made me wish I lived in San Diego so I could run with them more. 12963852_10209587503034214_40629760095393671_n

Watching the elites race was so cool. They are so fast!! The Carlsbad 5000 course is referred to as ‘The World’s Fastest 5K’ because it is where the world record for a 5K road race has been set multiple times. 

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elite women lined up at start

Jess O’Connell, a fellow Ultima ambassador, was racing in the elite race. It was SO cool to watch her do her thing and cheer her on!IMG_3567

I even got to meet up with her after the race. I was totally fan-girling when I met her. I can’t wait to watch her at the Canadian Olympic trials this summer. IMG_3571

I had an awesome weekend out at the Carlsbad 5000. It’s a great race, in a great location and totally worth running. I highly recommend the 5K or the All Day 20K if you are looking for a unique experience or more miles. 

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pint glass is what you got if you ran both Saturday and Sunday

I can’t wait till my next Rock N Roll tour stop: SEATTLE! Join me! There is an 8K, half marathon and full marathon. Use code SWEETBLONDEFIT for $15 registration (any Rock N Roll race).rock n blog red

My First Mile Race: Carlsbad 5000 Recap Part 1

Traveling and running are two of my favorite things. When I get to combine them, it’s the best! Running is a great way to see new places, and I got to do just that this last weekend.

As a part of the Rock n Blog team, I was able to go down to SoCal to run the Carlsbad 5000. There were 3 events to pick from, the 1-mile race on Saturday and a 5K or 20K on Sunday. I signed up to run both days. I had never run a 1-mile race before, so I was pretty stoked about that. I wanted to see just how fast I could ‘race’ a mile. More on that later. IMG_6483

I was so excited to get down to California. I wanted to eat all the smoothie bowls, drink all the green juice and soak up the sun. I had spring fever so bad that I was dreaming of sunshine. Of course, the weekend I was gone to sunny Carlsbad, Seattle decided to show off with 70 degree weather. Oh well 🙂 IMG_3437

One of my college roommates signed up to run the 1-mile race with me on Saturday. I was really looking forward to running with her. Saturday was all kids races except for the adult 1-mile race at 9:15am.  IMG_3435

We got up early and headed over to Carlsbad to be sure that we had enough time to pick up our bibs before the race. Parking was not nearly as bad as we thought it would be, so we had plenty of time to walk around the expo and watch some of the kids run. It was the sweetest thing ever. They had 1/4 mile to 1 mile races depending on age. IMG_6488

The expo was awesome, lots of fun stuff to look at. We got to sample Glukos, the race fuel that is on all the Rock N Roll race courses this year. I was pleasantly surprised. I don’t use gels because I can’t stand the texture and I’m not a fan of the ingredient list. However, Glukos is much different, it’s not a gel, it’s a liquid and the ingredient list is much better! I liked the gummies too. Looking forward to seeing these out on the RNR courses this year. IMG_3440

Sambazon was there with smoothie bowl samples too! I am obsessed with smoothie bowls, so I got pretty excited about this.IMG_3441IMG_6485

At the start line, they had us line up by what we thought our mile time would be. It was one big wave, but the people who were going to run faster were in the front. I lined up with the 8 minute milers. I wasn’t sure how fast I could race a mile. In longer distances I run 845-930/mile so I figured I could at least run an 8 minute mile.IMG_6492

The race started and we took off fast. 1/4 mile in I started to feel nauseous. I started too fast. (When I looked at my times after the race, I was running a 6:00/pace, and my stomach wasn’t having it!) I slowed myself a little bit, and after the next 1/4 mile, I was able to turn up the speed again. Before I knew it, we were passing the 3/4 mile sign. WHAT?! We just started! It was all downhill to the finish line.

I was still a ways away but could see the clock and it said 7:15, I thought, “come on, you can get in under 7:30”! I tried so hard to make it, but missed it by 1 second. I am very happy with the results considering I had zero expectations. I am excited to see how my mile time improves.IMG_6520

The finish line was amazing! They had all the goodies, even for a 1 mile race. There were snacks, water and gatorade if you wanted one.  Everyone also got a medal!IMG_6494

Once I was out of the finisher area, I found some shade to cool off a bit. Then we headed over to get our shirts. I really appreciated that we could pick them up after the race so we didn’t have to find somewhere to stow them while running. IMG_3453

Since we were already there, I picked up my bib for the all day 20K the next day. The race is super close to the beach, so soaked up some waves before leaving. IMG_3457 IMG_6518

The one mile distance is a lot of fun. I am totally new to it, but I can’t wait to run it again. It is such a fast race and over before you know it. I am so glad that Rock N Roll added this to the Carlsbad 5000 line up. It’s great for racers and a less intimidating distance for new runners.

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Have you ever raced a mile? 

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing about my race on Sunday, the all day 20K. Be sure to check that out!

The Kirkland Shamrock Run [Race Recap]

What better way to celebrate St. Patty’s day then with a Shamrock run? I was extra excited for this race because my last experience with Orca Running was so great. The Shamrock Run did not disappoint! 
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I hadn’t run a 5K race in a long time. I debated whether or not to run it all out or just take it easy. I have never ‘raced’ a 5K to try to see how fast I can run it. I really just wanted this to be a fun 5K that wasn’t for time. My mom signed up to run with me, so I stayed with her. We ran/walked the 5K and had a great time. Not every race is competitive and go all out, some are for pure fun & that is what the Shamrock Run was for me. 

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can you tell it was cold???!

Start Line

There were tons of people in costumes and lots o’ green! There was even a bag pipe band! I’m telling you, Orca Running pulls out all the stops. IMG_2996

If you wanted, you could register your dog; they got a bib number, a bandana and a collapsible water bowl. They even got their own medal at the finish line! How cute is that? IMG_3008

The race started in 3 waves because the course narrowed and they wanted to make sure people had enough room. I never felt that the course was narrow, but that’s probably because they sent people out in waves! IMG_3007

The Race 

The course was mostly flat with 2 steady hills. One after the first .25 miles and another about half way thru the course. The hills pay off because the views are stunning. You get to see beautiful Lake Washington & Seattle. Somehow I didn’t manage get a picture because I was having too much fun running!IMG_3009

The last mile of the course is beautiful and flat. Once you reach the end of the course, you run past a park with a gorgeous view of Lake Washington. We even saw an eagle flying over us and it landed in one of the trees. 

mid-race selfie!
mid-race selfie!

There is a nice downhill approach the finish line and you finish waterfront. It was cold and windy, but the sun eventually came out towards the end of the race.race_1923_photo_32221063

Finish Line

Every participant got a long sleeve tech shirt, a finishers medal and a 5K magnet at the finish line. The magnet was a total surprise and a really unique item. IMG_3012IMG_3047

Every participant also got FREE race photos. There were so many photographers you guys! There were as many if not more as there are at races where you have to buy the pictures! Orca Running does this at every single race. It’s another reason their races are 100% worth running! 

crossing the finish line!
crossing the finish line!

The finishers area had snacks and lots of vendors. I even found a MORE KALE bell!!! You guys have no idea how excited I was about that.FullSizeRender-2

Orca Running also provided a photo booth again which I loved. It makes for a great place to take race pictures. This is something you can expect to see at every Orca Race. FullSizeRender-1

This race confirmed that Orca Running races are fun & have the best swag! There are no lame cotton shirts or lack luster race environments here. They are so awesome they even gave me a discount to share with you so you run one with me – see below! IMG_3014

Post Race

Another awesome reason to run a race in Kirkland is because one of my favorite smoothie bowl places in Seattle happens to be in Kirkland – Healthy Bonez! They make amazing smoothie bowls & juices, I highly recommend you check them out if you are in the area. Of course I had to pick one up post race! IMG_3029

Run it OR Skip it?

RUN IT! I highly recommend the Shamrock Run. It was a lot of fun, much  better organized and more picturesque than the other St. Patty’s day runs in the Seattle area. 

Sign up to run another Orca Running race with me!

Amazing swag, well organized races & FREE race photos! You won’t be disappointed. Check out all their races HERE & use code SWEETFIT to get 10% off your registration!!

Day 2: Disney Enchanted 10K – Every Mile was Magic

As I laid out ‘flat Sarah’ for the Enchanted 10K on Friday night, I was both nervous and excited. All these different thoughts were going thru my head. “Was I crazy for wearing this costume?” “How was I going to fall asleep?” “Did I forget anything?” “What is it going to be like?” “Would it really be a magical run?” 

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I was Elsa from her coronation day!

There were so many ‘firsts’ for me on this run. The Disney Enchanted 10K was my first Disney race as well as the first half of the Glass Slipper Challenge. To earn you glass slipper you must run the 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday.  It was my first run in a costume and my first run that started at 5:30am in the morning! So early, but as I would soon learn, SO worth it. 

I was nervous about the 3:50am wake up call, especially because my body was still kinda on West Coast time which made that 12:50am! My alarm went off on Saturday and surprisingly, I popped out of bed. It was the excitement that got me up. IMG_2177

We stayed on Disney property, but not in a Disney hotel, so I was unable to take the shuttle to the race area. I was nervous about the traffic because Disney said it would be bad, but it ended up being just fine! We arrived to the start area about 4:30am. There was plenty to do. I wandered around, taking everything in, then decided to jump in line to try to snap a pic before I had to head to the corral. IMG_2066

I was placed in corral A, the first group to start! Again, because this was my first Disney race, I had NO idea what to expect. Fairy Godmother was at the start line to give us the send off along with fireworks!!!!! 

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so MANY people! This was us walking out of the corral towards the start line.

We were off, and I quickly realized that the tag line Disney uses, every mile is magic, is so true! These were the quickest 6.2 miles I have ever ran. By quick I don’t mean speediest miles, I mean they were the most fun! The enchanted 10K was truly enchanted!

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Elsa & Anna! It was even ‘snowing’!

I ran by Elsa and Anna, Tinkerbell, Pocahontas, and then I arrived to the magical world of Epcot. It was beautiful! I had never been to the park, so my first time seeing everything was while running. Because it was still pitch black outside, the park was all lit up like it is at night. It was spectacular.

While I was running this race for fun, not for time, I decided that I would only stop for the characters I really wanted a picture with. When I stopped for my first picture with Pinocchio, it was so fast and fun, I was instantly addicted! IMG_2079

Next up was Lumiere and Cogsworth from Beauty & the Beast. IMG_2084

How cute are they?!?! 
The character stops were such a fun element to the race and completely unique to Disney. Also a fun way to grab a breather!

I found Cinderella on mile marker #4, so of course I had to snap a picture with her! 

The sun was just barley coming up and I was nearing the finish. I stopped to take one more picture of the Epcot ‘ball’ because it looked so pretty. IMG_2089

Before I knew it, I was crossing the finish line! IMG_2098

I got the beautiful medal, got more pictures taken, grabbed the post race snacks and found Andy. Disney is so freaking organized it makes the race and finish area much more pleasant. 

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example of the organization, the post race snacks come in a BOX!!!!

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In the post race party area, there were more photo opps, this time with princesses! I had no idea these would be there so I got excited. I am glad Disney knows it’s customers so well, we LOVE pictures!

IMG_2113Tiana was stunning! 

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I didn’t know if I should stay off my feet to get ready for the half marathon, or if we should hit up one of the Disney parks. This really friendly girl I met in line while waiting for pictures post race was a RunDisney veteran. She recommended we go to a park because you stay loose and don’t get sore. Besides, I was not running the half marathon to be fast, it was all about the experience! We went back to the hotel to freshen up and then off to Epcot we went! 

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Have you ever ran a runDisney 10K? How was the experience for you?

related posts: 
My First Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend + The Expo

My First Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend + The Expo

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved Cinderella. I loved the movie so much that I actually wore out the VHS tape and my parents had to buy a new movie – who even knew that was possible?! When I realized after my first half marathon that I actually enjoyed running, I decided that one day I had to run the Disney Princess Half marathon & earn my Glass Slipper. This was strictly due to my love for the Disney Princesses & Cinderella, little did I know how awesome the experience would be. This February that dream became a reality! IMG_2005

Like I said, I didn’t know much about the Disney runs other than that they sold out really quickly (like in a few hours), the races were expensive & there were lots of RunDisney fans. The Disney Princess half marathon weekend was my first RunDisney experience, and it was also my first time going to Walt Disney World. I was not ready for the overwhelm and the fun that was about to come at me! 

We took a red-eye flight to Orlando, and arrived on Thursday, the first day of the expo. We decided to spend Thursday finding our way around Disney, checking out the expo and hitting up the grocery store to get ready for the week. Driving to the expo I was already so overwhelmed. Disney was much larger than I could have ever imagined!!! IMG_1987

I wanted to go to the expo Thursday morning when it first opened because I figured there wouldn’t be many people. Boy was I WRONG! We ended up at the expo area an hour early & there were already a ton of people there! 

The expo was at the ESPN complex which is HUGE. There were two separate lines for the expo & packet pick up. I HAD to buy a sparkle skirt at the expo in order to complete my Cinderella costume. Because there were so many more people than expected, we decided to get in the expo line to make sure I got the skirt. 

While waiting, all these people were asking about which line you needed to be in for the commemorative items. The Disney team members kept telling them the packet pick up line. I had no idea what they were talking about. I started to get FOMO (fear of missing out) and wanted to know what this stuff was. 

FullSizeRenderOnce I got into the expo, I high-tailed it to Sparkle Athletic, then headed over to packet pickup. I was really curious about these commemorative item. Little did I know they were selling them in the expo area too & I could have checked them out there. I found that out later… oh well. 

There was still a huge line at packet pick up. It moved quickly and before I knew it I was picking up my Glass Slipper bib! I could not believe this was really happening! IMG_1991IMG_2049

The area where they were selling the commemorative items was not easy to find. When we finally got there, it was crazy. I waited in what I thought was the line to enter the shopping area, but it was actually the line to pay (face palm). I saw a cute grey tank top that said ‘run princess run’ with a castle, but they were sold out of my size. There were a lot of fun items, but I didn’t want to buy something I would never use again. The only thing I absolutely had to have was a Glass Slipper magnet. Since we were already up there, I looked at the Dooney & Bourke Princess purses too. They were cute (pattern below),  but not something I had to have. IMG_1999-1

Then we headed back to the expo, which now had a massive line! We seemed to have done things in the wrong order. Oh well, I wasn’t in a hurry.IMG_2032

The expo had a ton of vendors. All my favorite brands were there & some BibRave partners to! 

2XU. Love their tights, vectr socks & compression sleeves.IMG_2021

Plantronics BackBeatFit wireless headphones. They are the BEST!IMG_2024

On Running also had a booth, so I checked out the CloudSurfers I knew I would be getting when I got home. IMG_2020

Of course there were also tons of cute Princess themed items too.

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I loved these Havaianas! Didn’t get them though.
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OBSESSED with the Momentum Jewelry bracelet. I did get this!

I also saw the New Balance Disney shoes everyone was going crazy for. They were cute but not something that I personally would wear. IMG_2026

While it was really busy, the expo & packet pick up was a lot of fun. I was still processing the fact that we were in Florida!! There was so much to take in and my first Disney Princess half marathon weekend was off to a great start. 

IMG_2017Now it was time to grab lunch & unpack at the hotel to get ready for the 10K on Saturday!

Tell me: Have you ever run a Disney race? Which one would you want to run? 

The Sweetest Race! My Hot Chocolate 15K Recap

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Hot Chocolate race as part of being a BibRave Pro. All opinions are my own. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Running + chocolate sounds like a winning combo right?! IT IS! And that is exactly what you get at a Hot Chocolate run. Whether you run the 5K or the 15K distance, there is great swag, tons of chocolate and lots of fun to be had! IMG_2758

I was really looking forward to this race. I ran the Hot Chocolate 15K in Seattle last year for the first time and had so much fun I could not wait to go back this year. It’s a unique race and a fun experience. IMG_2764

Check out my race review on BibRave! 

The Expo

Andy ran the race with me this year, so we went to the expo on Saturday. I met up with Carleeh and we had a ton of fun checking out the expo booths, busting out yoga poses and eating all the chocolate. IMG_2785IMG_27682XU, my favorite compression brand, is an official Hot Chocolate race partner this year. They had tons of 2XU gear at the expo. Here are some compression calf sleeves with the Hot Chocolate logo! FullSizeRender

Since the expo is at the Seattle Center, if you have the time, you can make a day in Seattle out of it.  Andy and I went over to the EMP (Experience Music Project) after to check out some exhibits and grabbed a bite to eat. IMG_2826IMG_2806

Race Day

The Hot Chocolate has two different race distances, the 5K and 15K. The 5K starts an hour before the 15K; you get rewarded with more sleep for running the longer distance. 😀 The start area, corrals and gear check is really organized, so it makes race morning a breeze. 

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bundled up and heading to the start line area.

I really appreciate that the Hot Chocolate has corral starts. With so many people running, it if weren’t for the corrals, the start line would be a mess. Based on my time in last years race, they placed me in the “A” corral, the first to start! I don’t feel like I run super fast, but being in the first corral made me feel fast!IMG_2847

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waiting to start the race

The weather was crazy. Before the race it was partly sunny and windy, then it decided to start raining. Then it stopped and got sunny again once the race started. A few miles in, a downpour started, and then it stopped. It kept cycling thru sun, wind and rain all day. IMG_2848

The 15K

I don’t know what it was about this years race, but the miles flew by! Before I knew it, I was already half way thru the course. Maybe it was because I was familiar with the course from running last year. Or maybe it was because I have been running a lot more and my training is paying off. Or maybe it was new ON Running Cloudsurfers.IMG_2839

Whatever it was, I was having one of the best races ever! I went into this run with zero expectations. I hoped to run at least one second faster than last year, and halfway thru the race it was going much better than last year.

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feeling good on the course

There worst part of the Seattle Hot Chocolate race is miles 4.5 to 6.2. You are running up a slow and steady incline that is a steep enough grade to be hard and you just want it to end. Once you reach the switchback, you get a nice downhill beak. I felt stronger than last year, but this part of the race is just plain hard. You are definitely rewarded for the challenge though with some great views, so it makes the climb worth it. IMG_2851

Once you pass the 10K mark, the last 5K goes by really quick. I don’t know if it’s because you are that much closer to chocolate or because the hardest part of the course is over. There are two more small hills, but they are manageable. You definitely earn your chocolate!

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saw Carleeh on the course! Of course we had to take a selfie!!

I crossed the finish line, got the super cool medal, and grabbed a few bottles of water in the finishers chute. 

always have my favorite electrolyte!
always have my favorite electrolyte!

Andy finished shortly after I did, but unfortunately I couldn’t get out of the finishers area fast enough to see him in time.IMG_2857

The Chocolate

The finisher mug is one of the best parts of the race. The chocolate fondue is DELICIOUS, I could just drink it. Last year I wasn’t a fan of the hot chocolate, but this year it was soooo good! It started raining when we got our mugs, so we took some quick pics and then went to wait for our friends to finish under cover. IMG_2861IMG_2867The chocolate was the best way to celebrate my amazing race. I set a new 10K PR and was able to maintain an 8:41/mile pace the whole race. I wasn’t sure I was capable of that, especially with all the hills, but I did it! This makes me that much more excited for the race season that is to come! IMG_2895

Overall 

I highly recommend this race. Everything was very well organized from gear check to packet pick up to aid stations to the finish area. It is a quality race with great swag that both experienced and novice runners will enjoy. The chocolate aspect gets people excited and is a fun way to convince your friends to run or walk with you. IMG_2882