When my Best Running Friend and I decided to register for the Hot Chocolate 15K way back in January, we were drawn mostly by the promise of a sweet hoodie. I won’t lie, we definitely run for the SWAG! As the winter progressed and illnesses set in, we began to worry. We had a bit of a heart to heart early last week and I think one of us said “but think of the hoodie!” So, despite sinus infections, bronchitis, and promises of massive wind gusts, we loaded up the car Friday afternoon and made the trek from Northern VA to Philadelphia.
Or tried. Mostly we sat in traffic. Somewhere in northern MD (maybe DE. How can you tell??), it became clear that we would be cutting it close to the 7 PM expo close time. My friend reached out to the race via Facebook and was reassured that the packets could be picked up until 8 PM and if we missed that, they would get us a bib in the morning so we could run and mail us the rest of our SWAG. We arrived at the convention center at 6:45 and hot footed it to the expo. We didn’t even stop to pee! Now that’s dedication to a race!
The bib pick up was super easy and we poked around the remaining bits of the expo. Everyone was already breaking down but I did get a chance to pick up a new RooSport 2.0!
Race morning dawned overcast and windy. We were staying at a hotel near the race start so we didn’t have to worry about parking but we did need to hustle the mile and a half to the start. We called it our warm up and walked faster. We arrived around 7:40 and employed a “divide and conquer” strategy to handle the port-a-potty lines and get bag drop done. Brilliant tip: If you are using the draw string race bag that looks like EVERY OTHER ONE, pin something conspicuous, like a lime green sock ;), to the outside for easy visual confirmation!
We squeezed into our corral 10 minutes before the start and just hoped our lungs held out! The race took us toward the city for the first half mile and then we turned around, into the wind, for an out and back along the river. I adore runs near water and loved watching the crew teams, seeing the water spilling over the dam, the old stone bridges and some historic buildings.
There weren’t any spectators on the course but it didn’t feel very lonely. There were several well stocked water and Gatorade stations and they had candy stops but we didn’t use any of those. The idea of a Tootsie Roll at mile 6 was a bit too much.
By the time we turned around, the sun was fully out and the wind was at our backs. I quickly warmed up and I was seriously looking for mile 9. We kept our splits very even – within 10 seconds +/- of a 10 minute mile – but I was pretty much done when we finally reached the little up hill to the finish.
At the finish, we received our medals, stopped for some pics, and then made our way to the reason for the race: the mondo bowl of chocolate!
We hung out at the park for a bit, enjoyed our snacks, did not run up the steps of the art museum, and then meandered back to the hotel.
Overall, we had a great time! We would definitely do this race again!
The Race Director offered options so we could still run even if we didn’t make it to packet pick up in time. They were very responsive to their Facebook page.
Hoodie – I LOVE this hoodie!
The medal is very fun and unique
Very good organization at bag drop and at the finish line. It never felt too crowded.
Oh, and we didn’t die. Always a plus!
Not as Good
It would be nice if the race was on Sunday for those of us coming from out of town. Traffic is insane on Fridays.
The race offers free pictures but darned if I can find ours!