Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Hot Chocolate 15k and 5k in Seattle

Where to begin... The very idea of running for Chocolate is a wonderful one! I saw this race and just had to sign up, there was no question. The expo was fun but considerably smaller than I thought it would be considering the size of the event. There were really great photo ops and they even had volunteers out helping race participants capture their Hot Chocolate memories. They also had a chocolate fondue station with mini hot cocoas as well. That was pretty nice.
The only thing negative about the expo was their lack of directions to get to it!

There weren't any signs around the Seattle Center either pointing towards the packet pick up despite the huge number of volunteers wandering around setting up for the big event. We had to make a full circle before we found the expo (under ground and only one sign saying packet pick up) but we did eventually find it!
The info that was distributed for race day said to be at the race area by 6:30 for a 7:55 start. I thought that was a bit early considering I knew they wouldn't have anything to do for an hour and a half before the race but that was a huge mistake! We got to the Mercer Street exit about 6:55 and ended up parking about 6 blocks away from the start and running to the Seattle Center because traffic came to a dead stand still and if we didn't ditch the car and make a run for it we would have missed the start of the run! So, next time I will definitely listen to the race infor advice a bit more. Because WoW! What a very stressful insane way to start a race!
Once we made it to the start, with a few minutes to spare, we found our corral and ended up waiting another 20 minutes anyway for our turn to run! lol So in reality we didn't have to rush at all but it was also Anthony's first race longer than 10k, so I am really glad that he was able to experience a huge race start with the 6,000 or so other racers in the 15k.
Once we were off it was Hills Hills Hills in this run, thankfully only a couple killers. Mostly they were gently rolling hills that just required a bit of effort. More mind over matter than anything.
The aid stations were a lot of fun, three gave out marshmallows, strawberry and chocolate flavored and one gave out Tootsie Rolls. The Marshmallows were awesome! I thought they were a great race treat, easy to eat on the run. But the Tootsie Rolls were hard and took too much concentration not to choke on them when trying to get back out on the run. But overall, they were a fun way to mix things up and keep with the Hot Cocoa theme.
The race finish was... interesting. There wasn't anything they could have done differently really, due to the lack of space. It was hard to navigate through the hoards of people to get to the Hot Chocolate stations. Then it turned into a juggle of Hot Cocoa, water, cell phone, etc but it worked out.
The weather for the run couldn't have been more perfect! The sun was shining and even though it was chilly it wasn't too cold. We were warmed up by mile three, so glad that we wore our sun glasses! And of course when we stopped running the cold set back in but the Hot Chocolate warmed us back up!    
Over all I'd say this race is a definite go! If it comes to a city near you, sign up! Then gorge yourself on chocolate, guilt free of course! It's a fun and delicious time!
Keep on Running!