Tag Archives: 15K

First Race of 2017: Running for Chocolate!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Hot Chocolate 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!

I kicked off my 2017 racing season with the Hot Chocolate 15K! This was my third year running this race and it did not disappoint. It was not my fastest race ever, but I had SO much fun. This race reminded me why I love running.

Continue reading First Race of 2017: Running for Chocolate!

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. πŸ˜€ 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

How to be prepared for the Hot Chocolate Run!

Are you running a Hot Chocolate 5K or 15K soon? These races are a LOT of fun! Here is everything you need to know to have a great time. The details provided here is based off information provided from the organizers at Ram Racing and my previous Hot Chocolate race experiences. 

unnamedThe organizers of the Hot Chocolate race series, Ram Racing, are really great about pre-race communication. As the race date gets closer, they will email event specific announcements and information to you, along with your registration confirmation, so be on the look out for those emails. 

Packet Pick Up / Expo

Hot Chocolate is a little different in that they do not allow you do pick up your packet on the day of the race. It makes race morning much smoother, but requires that you plan ahead. This is the norm for a lot of longer races, but not for shorter distances like the 5K. The only way around this is select “mail my packet” when you are registering and they will mail your packet to you a week before the race.

Visiting the race expo is a lot of fun. One of my favorite things is checking out new running gear & great discounts from some of the vendors. Even those not running can take advantage of this! The Hot Chocolate expos are particularly fun because there is chocolate!!! You can get your chocolate fix started early. Last year they also had an area where you could make cheer signs too which was a lot of fun. 

Photo Feb 27-3

Once you get to the expo, in order to pick up your race bib and swag bag, you must have your registration confirmation. This is emailed to you a few days before the event. A friend can pick up your bib/swag bag for you if they have a copy of your registration confirmation. 

Here are the details for the expo in Seattle:
Seattle Center Exhibition Hall
305 Harrison St, Seattle, Washington 98109

Friday, March 4th, 2016 – 12pm to 6pm
Saturday, March 5th, 2016 – 9am to 5pm

To see expo info for your specific race, visit www.hotchocolate15k.com

Start Times

There are separate start times for the 5K and the 15K. Be sure to double check what time your race starts and keep this in mind if you are traveling with someone running a different distance. 

As with any race, plan on arriving early. The Hot Chocolate race is a corral start, so you will need time to park, walk to the start area and find your corral.

The times for the Seattle race are as follows: 
5K – 6:45am
15K – 7:55am 
In Seattle, the race starts in the Seattle Center. There is parking close (see below) but you still have to walk a ways to the start area, so be sure to give enough time for that. 

To see start times for your specific race, visit www.hotchocolate15k.com

Parking/Traffic on Race Day

This information is specific to Seattle. Ram Racing does a great job at providing this information for all their race locations. Visit www.hotchocolate15k.com for parking information specific to your race. They will most likely send you an email before the race with this information as well. 
 
From RAM Racing:  The Mercer St exit both Northbound and Southbound will be highly congested. (they were VERY congested last year, almost a complete stop, so much so I thought I might miss the start line) Consider he following alternatives:
  • Southbound – Pass the Mercer Street exit and exit at Exit 166 (Stewart St. / Denny Way) and approach Seattle Center via Denny Way or exit at Exit 167 (Union St) and approach Seattle Center northbound through downtown.
  • Northbound – Exit the freeway prior to Mercer Street and exit at Exit 164A (Dearborn St. / James St. / Madison St.) or Exit 165 (Seneca St.) and approach Seattle Center through downtown.

Parking Garage: Race day parking at Seattle Center will be available at the Mercer Street Parking Garage, the 5th Avenue North Parking Garage and the 1st Avenue North Parking Garage. Parking will be $15 per car. There are numerous other parking options in the area. Here’s a map of additional garages.City parking is also available on the streets, just be sure to check all signage, I got a ticket last time πŸ™

CHOCOLATE!

The signature chocolate fondue that you get when you complete the race is what Hot Chocolate is famous for!  Guess what? You don’t have to wait until the end of the race to start enjoying chocolate! There are chocolate/sweet stations on the course. In the past there have been tootsie rolls and chocolate chips. This year they have added marshmallows! There will be plenty of aid stations on course as well stocked with water and sports drink. There will be 1 on the 5k course, and 4 on the 15k course.IMG_0613

Runner Tracking

RAM Racing uses a really nice timing system for both race distances. There is no chip to put on your shoe, all the timing is done via your bib, so make sure you are wearing it correctly and that it is visible. Thru this timing system, you friends and family can sign up to get updates while you run. Whether they are meeting you at the finish line, or keeping track via their warm bed, these updates are great to keep people in the loop.

There is an option for them to get free updates via Facebook, Twitter or text message as you cross specific points on the course. All you have to do is set it up: 
β€’ Visit www.hotchocolate15k.com/seattle/tracking
β€’ Select the runners you would like to receive updates on and how (Facebook, Twitter, or text)
β€’ Expect updates on race day!

It’s super easy and a great way for people to cheer you on from afar or to make sure you can meet up with people after the race. 79b1e79735837f608c902ca8629e282a

 

That’s it!! All that’s left to do is run for the chocolate!!!! I’ll see you at the finish line!

 

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you

I started running because it challenged me. It was REALLY hard. I actually publicly said multiple times that I hated running. It was physically difficult, but also very mentally difficult for me. I did pretty much every other form of cardio there is, but running just “wasn’t for me”.

All that has since changed. I told a little bit of the back story in this video post HERE. Basically, I decided to find out if I could really run a whole 5K or not. Well, I found out that I could run a 5K and some. It wasn’t easy for me, but I decided that I should train for a half marathon to check that off my bucket list and then be done with running…

After running the half marathon, I am far from done with running. I actually still really enjoy it and have KEPT RUNNING!! (Who am I?!?)

Last weekend, I ran the Hot Chocolate 15K in Seattle.Photo Mar 01It was BEAUTIFUL weather, a fun race (although VERY hilly) and, as promised, full of chocolate. I was blazing new territory with this race because 

  1. It was my first race EVER during tax season (I never really ran before this year) 
  2. It was my first 15K! Photo Mar 01-22

When I signed up for the race, I didn’t really realize it was 9 miles. For a 9 mile race you should really significantly train for the race. I did not have as much run training as I would have liked before the race, but it turned out just fine. I had a BLAST!

I woke up at 545AM Sunday morning and made what has become my traditional race breakfast. GF pumpkin pancakes, almond butter, egg whites, and coffee. Then I took off to Seattle. The race started at 7:55AM (6:45 for the 5K). Photo Mar 01-21The race started in the Seattle Center, which is right next to the Space Needle. I hadn’t been down there in a LONG time. It was such  a beautiful day!!

Photo Mar 01-19I was placed in Corral B based on my mile time. When I signed up for the race, I entered my mile time as 9 minutes/mile, and to me that seems like a middle of the road pace right? I guess for this race it was on the faster side! There were Corrals A-O, and I was in B. I felt intimidated to be up with the fast runners, but that is where I was supposed to be. I’ve never been so close to the start line in a corral before!Photo Mar 01-20 It was nice to not feel like I was running over people at the beginning of the race πŸ˜€

IMG_0612can you find me? It’s like where’s waldo πŸ˜›

The course was hilly with ups and downs to start out and then a pretty steep hill at about mile 1.5. Then it was flat until mile 4. I swear miles 4, 5 and 6 were a long, steady, MEAN hill. It was a gradual incline but it never let up! UGH! 

Then there was some much needed downhill running. It was such a relief to settle in on about 2 flat/downhill miles. I turned the “turbo” on to finish a little early. About mile 8 I got his huge surge of energy and ran a super fast mile. Then I rounded the corner, about a .45 miles from the finish line, and there was ANOTHER hill. I chugged up that one, and then AGAIN right before the finish line there was another hill. I thought I was going to die!!! I just kept telling myself “you are NOT tired!”, “this is easy for you!”, “you can do this”!!! 

IMG_0614I FINALLY crossed the finish line, and I was SO happy! The end of the race was difficult, I was coughing a bunch and the hills were BRUTAL, but I finished!  see if you can find me in this video of my race finish

Photo Mar 01-18I got my finisher medal, was reunited with my cheerleaders, and then  went to get the coveted finisher mug. People go crazy for these things. It’s like chocolate CENTRAL!IMG_0613

I didn’t care for the hot chocolate πŸ™ but I really enjoyed the chocolate fondue – so yummy! It was dark chocolate, THE BEST! As you can see, it was pretty messy and I had chocolate everywhere.  Photo Mar 01-17

Photo Mar 01-15Because we were already downtown and the weather was so beautiful, we decided to make a day of it! A true Sunday Funday πŸ˜€ I usually work on Sunday’s so it was a nice to get a long run in and a fun outing. 

Photo Mar 01-14We went over to the Pike Place Market, got some coffee and enjoyed just walking around and exploring. Photo Mar 01-12I feel this was a very appropriate post-race shirt, don’t you? “I earn my chocolate one step at a time”

Found this lovely heart of petals…. 
Photo Mar 01-11We also passed by the famous French bakery, Le Panier. I went in knowing full well that I probably would not be able to eat anything, I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about. They have BEAUTIFUL pastries. 

Photo Mar 01-10

They also had macaroons!!! I LOVE macaroons, so I decided to try one. O.M.G!! Blew my mind. I got a “passion” flavored on and it was amazingly good. I only needed one! Such a yummy treat.

Photo Mar 01-9

 

Of course I also had to get some “market flowers” to take home. That is my most favorite thing about Pike Place Market. I will literally look for excuses to go there in the summer to buy some flowers. They are some of the most beautiful bouquets you will ever see and they are really inexpensive. Photo Mar 01-6 Photo Mar 01-8Then we went to have post-race lunch at a place I had been wanting to try for sometime: Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe 

I had the gluten free french toast with a side of chia pudding and a side salad. I know, weird combo but that’s what I felt like eating. It was delicious!! I know we will be coming back to eat here next time we are in Seattle. Next time I want to try the Raw Enchiladas πŸ™‚

Photo Mar 01-4Photo Mar 01-2Photo Mar 01-5

It was such a fun day exploring the city and enjoying the crisp air and sunshine.

Running has challenged me in many different ways, but for all the challenges it has been just as rewarding. I don’t know what other long races I am going to run this year. I want to run another half marathon in the late summer, but I haven’t found one yet. I know it will happen πŸ™‚ Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 1.00.35 AMI also want to start a running group here locally for people who like me, hate running but want to give it a try. I felt like I COULDN’T run, but then I proved to myself that I could. That is such an empowering thing to be able to prove yourself wrong. I want to help other people feel that and achieve things they never thought they could do. I hope to start this once tax season is over… πŸ™‚

Have you ever participated in a running group? Did you like it?

Thank you for being here with me on this journey! I am thankful for you and appreciate you all so much!!

XOXO
Stay Sweet! 
Sarah

 

 

 

 

 

Running & Chocolate!! [Recipe]

I have realized that I partially enjoy running because of all the food and carbs I get to eat. HAHA. It’s embarrassing to admit, but it’s true!! That is not why I started running, but this last week I have certainly been enjoying it.  Tomorrow I am running a 15K!!! (9 miles) In getting ready for the race, I have gotten the “runchies” (runner munchies) pretty bad! 

I have been enjoying all sorts of food this last week. I made this chocolate chunk protein bread  last night… so DELISH! (insert heart eyed emoji!)  This recipe uses the best protein bar on the market, QuestBar.  Click HERE to purchase some Quest bars. You WON’T regret it!
I will post my own variation of this bread on the blog soon. It’s egg whites, protein powder and banana, and it tastes like bread, but it’s PROTEIN BABY! So yummy. This is how mine turned out…

Photo Feb 28While I do love to eat, I’m not over here shoving my mouth full of whatever I can get my hands on. I have eaten larger amounts of peanut butter and also larger servings of carbs. I do not eat low carb by ANY means, but when I eat a little more than normal, I bloat a tiny bit. Bloating = not cool, but the protein pancakes, pumpkin protein muffins and breakfast burritos have been SO YUMMY! I won’t go into endurance nutrition, but I noticed when I ran the half marathon that my nutrition the week before could have been different (newbie learning her way) so I decided to try it differently for this 9 mile race. 

Photo Feb 27-9I am running the Hot Chocolate 15K — CHOCOLATE AND RUNNING! The perfect combo. I told my mom we should start a race that was all about running for (or running on) coffee – hahaha. Wouldn’t it be a huge hit? Especially here in the PNW! 

I am excited to run this race. I always thought it sounded fun, but the distance was “too far for me”. Then last year in May, I decided to try a 5K and actually run the whole 3 miles and since then my life has changed…

There is going to be chocolate everywhere! I picked up my race packet yesterday in the afternoon and there was chocolate ALL over the expo. Photo Feb 27-10I walk in and this is the first thing I see… CHOCOLATE. Chocolate pieces, chocolate fondue, hot chocolate. They really mean business with the chocolate. Photo Feb 27-2

After indulging in a few things, I went to get my bib. I got my corral assignment, I am in corral B!!! There is A-O and I am in B — I put my mile time as 9:00mi/mile, which to me is pretty average…but not for this race! So yah, no pressure to run fast. Haha. It will be fun to be up in the front and in the fast group!!!Photo Feb 27-8Largest mug EVER and my bib with “B” assignment!

Then I went to pick up my “goodie bag”! (that’s what most people run for right?) πŸ˜› Photo Feb 27-6Check out how awesome these finisher hoodies are!?Photo Feb 27-5Photo Feb 27-4I don’t know what that little symbol is on the back, but I could feel it so I was like take a pic! haha. It made me so excited!! I think it was a little sugar high from the chocolate, but also just because I can’t believe the race is here. I am running this one alone. It makes me a little sad, but I tend to be a lone runner anyway. All I need is music, my running shoes and some sunshine πŸ˜€

Then on my way out, I walked past the “rally card making station” … ummm how cool is that?!? Yes, I made myself a rally card. It just says “never give up” – I’ll snap a pic on race day. Be sure to follow me on Instagram to see the picPhoto Feb 27-3
I’ve never run a 15K before, but I have run a half marathon (21K) so I am not as nervous about this race. My training for this race was not as strong as my half-marathon training, so I may suffer a little bit in the final miles, but I know I will be able to finish.
Photo Feb 27

The course seems like it will be flat with gentle inclines, nothing crazy steep. Sometimes I like to drive the course before the race, but I won’t do that this time. It’s a beautiful course and I can’t wait to run it! They have chocolate stations along the course too… check out the course HERE. Fun fact: I am kinda a chocolate snob, I love dark chocolate. I was kinda nervous this chocolate wouldn’t be very good. Let me tell you guys, all the chocolate I had at the expo was DELISH so I can’t wait for race day.

I will have a recap up about the race next week, so look out for that. The finisher medal is pretty sweet if I do say so myself. πŸ™‚

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XOXO
Stay Sweet!
Sarah