Hi everyone! I had such an exciting weekend! It started out on Friday with volunteering at the Hot Chocolate 5k/15k packet pickup (which you can read about tomorrow!), some new running shoes (you can also read about that tomorrow, yay!), and finished with the Hot Chocolate 5k on Sunday morning! Since I was working packet pickup, I have only good things to say about it 🙂 For real though, it was super fast and easy! RAM Racing opted to do packet pickup from Thursday-Saturday at Philadelphia Runner in University City and Friday-Saturday at Philadelphia Runner at Glen Mills (out in the suburbs) instead of one big expo in Center City. I loved this plan because the Philadelphia Runner in Glen Mills has a parking lot and is in the same shopping center as a Whole Foods, so it was worth the trip! There were 10,000 people running the races on Sunday, so the bibs were assigned by corral based on finishing time and everything was done electronically to make it fast and easy for race participants (and volunteers!). The race swag is seriously awesome and I will definitely be using it again! The moisture-wicking hoodie fit perfectly, and if you put in a code during registration you got a free travel mug too! It says, “Will run for: Chocolate” in each check box!
Now came the tough part: waking up at 5:30 for the race! The 5k started at 7:15 and I knew from the crowd of 10,000 people at last week’s race in the exact same spot that we would have to get there early for parking, so we had to leave the house at 6:15. And even though the weather has been getting warmer, it was in the 30s that early in the morning. I was cold!
I had somehow scored a spot in corral B based on my estimated finishing time of about 30 minutes. This made me crazy nervous and I really felt the need to try to PR during this race. There were just 3 little problems: I had a pretty ambitions 5k time to overcome (28:41), I hate running on MLK drive, and I just ran a half marathon last weekend and hadn’t run since! Plus all day Saturday I’d felt awful and had pretty bad stomach pain, so I wasn’t feeling my best. Even so, I decided to push myself to see what would happen. The course was pretty crowded the entire time so I had to do a lot of weaving in the first half of the race. It was a pretty typical Philly 5k course on MLK Drive with the finish line at the Art Museum. Like I said earlier, me and this race course don’t really get along (my last 2 5ks here were miserable and definitely not PRs) but it does have pretty views of Boathouse Row and the Art Museum along the river. During the second half of the race my stomach started hurting like crazy and I let it mentally get to me. I just felt like giving up during mile 3 and was actually nervous I was going to throw up if I tried to speed up. I really couldn’t push myself at the end, which led to this finish line picture from Andrew where I look like I’m about to fall over!
After crossing the finish line I really felt sick but decided to push through it and get my finisher’s mug! There was not only the greatest hot chocolate I’ve ever had at a race, but chocolate fondue with marshmallows, pretzels, graham crackers, and a banana to dip in it!
We sat down on the stairs for a bit so I could get started, but my stomach hurt so bad that we decided to leave right away. I definitely had a stomach ache all day and was pretty miserable. But I felt a whole lot worse when I saw this:
Seriously! Two seconds away from getting under 30 minutes?!?! I have only done one 5k that was under 30 minutes and all my other ones have been crazy close, but 30:01 is just ridiculous! I was just so frustrated that I started crying when I saw my results. And then my awesome husband saved the day with some early Monday Motivation for me! He reminded me that the last time I ran it was 13.1 miles in the freezing rain, so it was okay to be a bit slower than expected during this race. He also reminded me that after my first half marathon it hurt to run for about 2 weeks, but I’d been able to recover much better despite running faster! He also said that there will be many other 5ks in my life so it’s okay if I don’t PR right now while I’m working on running longer distances. He made me feel so much better! Plus, I discovered that even with my not-so-fast finish time I was still in the top 21% of 5k finishers! That’s actually my best race placement ever so at least I have one thing to celebrate!
So what did I think about the Hot Chocolate 5k?
What I liked:
- The race swag! It’s stuff that I will actually use again and it’s really cute!
- The corrals based on anticipated finish time. Even though I had to weave around people, I knew that no one would be walking (in fact, the corrals at the beginning said “No walkers” on them) and I knew that people were able to line up correctly.
- Even though I haven’t had the best experiences on this 5k course, I do have to say that it’s pretty flat and scenic!
- The finisher’s mug was amazing! Everything tasted so good and it was nice to have something warm after running in the cold!
- Everyone seemed to be having a great time and I could tell how much everyone loved chocolate! It definitely wasn’t a super serious race and it was a great race for first timers!
What I didn’t like:
- The early start time. I know they had to do it, but I hated having to get up so early especially because I knew it wouldn’t be warm by the time the race started.
- It’s a bit pricy for a 5k if you don’t sign up right away. Luckily I got to run this race for free due to a race entry giveaway! But I would sign up for this race only if the price hadn’t increased at all because the people who signed up last minute definitely had to pay a lot!
As you can tell, there’s not much to dislike about this race! It’s been traveling all over the country throughout the winter and should be coming to a city near you soon! If it does you definitely need to sign up because the swag and post race food are amazing!
Have you ever missed a goal time by only 2 seconds? If you’re used to running long distances do you struggle with running faster 5ks? Have you ever run a chocolate themed race?