Friday, February 28, 2014

Hot Chocolate 15k Recap

You'd think since there is a race almost every weekend here in Nashville that I'd be jumping on board to fill up my schedule and earn some extra bling. That is just not the case since I've been saving money for traveling, and of course Nashville can be quite hilly. Now that the states are over,  I have  more funds, and my weekends free, (although hills are still here) one of my small goals for running this year was to participate in more local events.

For the past 2 solid months I've been on a hot chocolate kick. I blame the less than stellar temps (come on mother nature, we're in the south!) + my sweet tooth for my nightly relaxing hot chocolate binge. When I caught wind that the Hot Chocolate 5k / 15k series was coming through our city, I knew I HAD to do it.

Since I'm not in any 'speed' kind of shape, nor do I have any desire to "race" anytime soon I chose the 15k option... since its a new to me distance and I can go into the day without any expectations.

Jen and I before the race

For those of you that know me... I don't sugar coat things. I tell it like it is both on here, and in real life. This race was not all bacon and cupcakes (this is my replacement for rainbow and butterflies since I'm not 12 anymore and neither of those things gets me excited.. bacon and cupcakes, well they do). 

I feel like a "broken runner" - my attitude for races just sucks. I have zero desire to push myself. Seriously ever since Hawaii I've been averaging 0-3 days a week of running... most often 1 day. The only reason for going through with this race is because I was carpooling with above friend Jen and I didn't want to let her down. 

Why it sucked:
  • 23 degrees + wind + no sun = miserable temps. It was strange because after awhile I started sweating, yet my hands and feet were numb... make up you mind weird body! 
  • HILLS. Ya ya ya, Nashville has some hills. I can run hills just fine, however, ours are long and never ending. When you think you're done, you have more to go. In my 4 years here I have actually never ran up West End before. For those that are familiar with Country Music Marathon- this is the street you run all the way down in the first mile (although course is changed for this year)--- now imagine having to run up that in the wind- gah. 
  • I never found my groove. Just as all things Lisa fashion my first mile was just following everyone and when I clocked in at 7:19 I pulled back knowing I would eventually die (one of these days I'll just wait till that happens and see what kind of time I can pull off) Since I decided to take it easy, apparently that meant shortening my stride. By mile 6 my hips were so sore from change of gait and I couldn't stride out if I tried because they had gone into robot mode. 
  • And the other big reason for me on why it sucked is I just didn't care. Seems silly, but having no goals and no expectations, and frankly no desire to even do well apparently means that I will hate every minute of said activity while doing it. Noted. 
Since my experience was less than stellar, I debated on even blogging about it, however all my negativity had nothing to do with the organization RAM racing put into the event, so I figured for all those who are interested in a Hot Chocolate event, you might want to know about what a fabulous job they did.

  • Expo was quick and painless in and out. I found a code if you registered by a certain date to receive a free travel mug with registration. My current mug is too big to fit in my car cup holders, this is the perfect replacement and I used it daily
not mine, source 
  • Typically the swag aka race shirt is subpar and ill fitting. I'm not kidding when I say I FREAKING LOVE this hoodie. My race was Feb 15 and I've probably worn this bad boy 7x since then, even brought it with me last weekend to Phoenix and got so many compliments (so many others with it on as well) They let you try on sizes to exchange, since it was slightly fitted, I opted to change my L for the XL so it could be more roomy. The inside of the hoody and the stitching is what inspired my newest nail color as well 
  • The 5k started at 7 and the 15k started at 8. We had slightly different starting areas, hence why corral "A"  is actually "I" for 15k.  I loved loved loved that the first few corrals they explicitly call out "no walkers" As I'm sure is the case for many of you, this is a huge pet peeve of mine when you have to bob and weave around walkers in the first mile of the race. 

  • Every mile was marked AND had a clock with it- so rare to find that these days. I will say that for our course we apparently shared the first 2 miles with the 5k and the first mile marker was for us, but then maybe a min later there was another 1 mile marker for the 5k, same thing for mile 2. If you didn't have a GPS watch on  I could see where this would be confusing. 
  • Water stations aplenty. They were perfectly spaced out about every 1.5-2 miles If it were hot I might have been upset that most were water and only 1 had gatorade, but in the cold I don't care. The first aid station I was handed a cup of ice so I had to swap it out for one that wasn't already frozen over. They don't supply you with gu, so if you feel you may need it for 15k, just bring your own. 
  • There are a lot of out and backs which I actually like. Although it personally didn't help motivate me for this race, traditionally I love getting to pass by other runners, see friends if applicable, and just feed off everyone's energy. 
  • Lots of spectators for this race. My philosophy on this is because its a unique concept to get a bunch of chocolate goodies at end of race, you have people that traditionally don't enter races do it for fun, hence more spectators to cheer on their friends in their rare 'race day performance' 
  • Quite a few photographers on the course- dont be fooled by this photo- was actually rounding the corner to finish line, hence the smile

  • Saved the best for last, but the after refreshments... OBVIOUSLY
hot chocolate. liquid chocolate to dip banana, wafers, pretzels, and rice krispie treats in. Pretzels were my fave for the sweet/ salty combo. Since it was FREEZING, my rice krispie treat was rock solid hard

Trying to get as much chocolate on my mouth as possible. 

Despite my misery, I'm glad I got a 15k under my belt. It did run long so I had 9.5 on my garmin, finishing in 1:18 with a 8:20 pace. Not bad for hating life and walking a ton. Aside from the mounds of chocolate consumed and getting in a 9.5 mile run I surely would have not done on my own, another good did come from the race-- I realized how greatly my attitude affects the outcome of not only performance, but also outlook on the race. Although I was originally excited when I signed up to run, on actual race morning I went into it with an "i don't want to be here" negativity. This continually grew as the miles ticked by and just made the entire run a train wreck.  I did learn from this and shifted my attitude for my next race following weekend (Ragnar Del Sol), which I will be blogging about next, but what a difference it made. 

If you have one of these events come to your city, I'd recommend checking it out. Next year I may just do the 5k--- all the same swag but about $27 cheaper! 


  1. Thanks for posting today so I can get excited for the Hot Chocolate 15k in Seattle on Sunday. I'm glad it is well organized, and I think I get a travel mug too. That mug and jacket are awesome.

  2. I wish they would do one of those here! You got some great swag, love the hoodie and the travel mug, too bad the weather was so crappy. Good pace too especially since you haven't been running much since Hawaii. I wonder if I can convince that race to come to Billings. I am going to work on that.

  3. love the hoodie and LOVE the no walkers signs. i don't understand why it's so difficult to comprehend... no one cares if you're walking, we don't think we're better than you, but get the heck outta the way! lol

  4. We had this race in DC and it was sooo horrible! The swag was horrible..everything was horrible.. so glad that things changed and it sounds like it is a much better race experience now. Although I will say i think part of their problem was the venue for the race.

  5. love your honesty...seems like the race organization does a great job! I skipped it in ATL-so expensive. and that pic of you at the finish is SO CUTE! i wonder if it's just nashville races? or would you not be excited to travel for a 1/2 right now either?