Monday, December 8, 2014

Hot Chocolate 15K!!

Do I love running? Yes. Do I love chocolate? Yes. Well, the geniuses behind The Hot Chocolate Run know what they are doing by combining the two!! Such a sweet run! (see what I did there? ;))
I had heard about this race and always wanted to do it, but the higher price always scared me away ($75 for 15k, and I think the 5K is $45). But one of my girlfriends from the track club we were in, said she was doing it and asked if I wanted to do it with her. She is a WAY faster runner than me, but I thought it would be a great experience to practice pushing myself outside of my comfort zone in a race environment. (If you're read my blog for awhile, you know I like to just stay at a comfortable pace and not push too hard. ;)) So, 'Mr. Sprinkles and Glitter' and I decided to see what all the hype was about and sign up.
We went to the expo the day before the race, as right as you entered the expo, there was a booth set up with people handing out cups of hot chocolate and marshmallows dipped in chocolate sauce. This alone made it the best expo I've ever been to!! ;) Once we finally got inside, we ran into our track coach and talked about our goals for the race.
Best way to enter an expo! 
We finally made our way to the packet pickup and a volunteer told us we could go into any line, none of which had a wait, so we each picked a line and walked right up. They asked for my name and printed out my name on a sticker and attached it to a bib. Then they handed me the super cute goodie bag and directed us to the jackets.
I wanted to show the zipper and the logo.... he wanted to show you the hoodie :)
We picked up our jackets and browsed through the rest of the expo and then took some pictures with the marshmallow people. :)
We got some dinner and headed home to watch a movie. Since the race didn't start until 8:15am, we were able to sleep in a little bit later than usual, which was amazing!!

We got down there and got parked pretty quickly. For a sold out race, I was really impressed with how organized and fast traffic was moving. We made our way to the start line and stopped to use the port-o-potties. And again, I was super impressed with the amount of port-o-potties they had. We jumped in one of the longer lines (it was the closest one to us) and it was only 5 people deep.

After, we headed to the start line to find our friend, Sarah. We found her, watched 'Mr. Sprinkles and Glitter' do his warm up, and then headed to our corrals. (Buddy the Elf was in our corral!!) We discussed our plan of starting out conservatively at a 10 minutes mile pace and then slowly increase as we got further into race.

Once our corral finally started, it took us a little bit to be able to find some room to run, but once we did it was great. I felt really good and Sarah said our pace was 9:03.... way to fast. So we tried to slow down a bit, but we are still at about 9:15. She said we could just hold this pace and then slow down later if we needed.

This was the kind of race where the miles just fly by- and I mean FLY!! I felt like we just started when we passed the first mile marker, then it seems like only a couple minutes passed and we were at 2! The aid stations had the BEST volunteers ever! They were cheering SO loud and just seemed to genuinely be happy to be there. (Maybe it was the later start time? ;))

We hit the 5K mark and we were pretty settled into a 9:35 pace. She said we had some extra time (our goal was to finish before 1:30) so we walked through a couple of the aid stations and grabbed water.

There was a super boring out-and-back stretch right around mile 6 to 7.5 that really sucked. I think it's always hard for me to see people on the other side looking so happy and closer to being done than me. ;) But then once I'm on that side, I feel bad for all the people behind me because they all look miserable. haha!

Once we hit mile 8 we knew we were close! We also saw a group of ladies who hadn't even hit the 6 mile marker- cross over and totally cheat! A couple other runners called them out on it and they really didn't seem to care. I told Sarah we had to beat the cheaters so we picked up the pace and passed them. :)

Once we could finally see the finish line, I told Sarah to sprint to the finish line, but she was still recovering from being sick (MAJOR trooper for even doing the run- let alone pushing me the whole time!!) She told me to go and to sprint to the finish. I told her I wouldn't leave her and we would finish together. She said no and said she would be mad if I didn't sprint to the finish and break 1:30 and told me to GO! So I took off and sprinted through the finish with Sarah finishing right behind me.

It was SUCH a great race to run with Sarah. I typically find my comfort zone (about 10 minute miles) and just stick to that-- but Sarah really pushed me outside of my comfort zone and I realized that it wasn't really that hard- there was never a time I was breathing hard (except for the sprint to the finish) or working passed my max. So I definitely learned a lot.
From my Instagram: TeamSprinklesAndGltter
I finished in 1:29:50 and Sarah finished in 1:30 on the dot! We finished, got the cutest medals EVER and headed for the chocolate! Every finisher gets a mug with a cup of hot chocolate. In the mug, you have chocolate sauce and a bunch of different stuff to dip it in!! So, SO good!!

It was SUCH a fun race, really organized, and you got a lot of good stuff to! I absolutely loved it and will definitely be back!! And look how cute the medal were!! Have you ever seen such a cute medal??

What's the coolest medal you have from? What does it look like? 

Have you ever done a race for 'sweets'? This was my first and I loved it!! :)

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