Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Race Review: How sweet it is! Hot Chocolate 15k/5k Philadelphia!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Hot Chocolate 15k Philadelphia race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Hi Everyone!

Hope you are all doing well. I am here to review the Sweetest Race in Philly! The All State Hot Chocolate 15k/5k Philadelphia! (I participated in the 15k)

Expo: bib pickup was a breeze! Expo was held at the the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The convention center is a few blocks long, best to know where your hall is before parking. (walked a couple blocks). Parking was a breeze. (maybe because I parked so far away). Enter the hall building, blow-up chocolate bar in the lobby. Yup, I'm in the right place! As you enter the hall, to the side is a bank of cashier type computers to check in. Minimal line, bib pickup maybe two minutes. Next, over to the jacket pickup line. Again, minimal line, maybe two minutes. To the side of the jacket pickup area, you can try on your jacket just in case you need to exchange. Tried it on, oh so soft and comfy! (pic in swag section)

Now time to get some chocolate and check out the vendors!


Hot chocolate samples, a cup containing chocolate pirouline rolled wafer and marshmallow with chocolate fondue, and chocolate bar samples!


After snacking, vendor time! (and more snacks!)


Sponsor All State, can take a quick survey to win prizes.

Sports Beans, grabbed 2 samples. Jelly Belly Krispy Kreme, and Quick Performance.
Honey Stinger, tried the organic waffle vanilla flavored.
Power Crunch: grabbed a peanut butter honey snapstick. They had a spin the wheel game. My wife won a chocolate mint protein energy bar, and I won a fanny pack!
Aftershokz! I just stopped by to say hi! They recognized my shirt from right away from all the work BibRave partners with Aftershokz on, told them how much I love my Aftershokz Trekz Air's! #ShokzSquad
Other notable stands:
Make a Wish Foundation
Black Girls Run
A jewelry stand, with race mementos all blinged up!

After checking out the great vendors, stopped for a couple pics by the race mascot, Marshall!

Okay, I may have stopped at the hot chocolate booth for 1 more round of samples before leaving! ;)

Race day:

Met up with fellow BibRavePro's, be sure to check out their blogs! Left to right. Ken Stands on Things, I Run on Beer, myself, and Scootadoot.
Before the start, there was a "heat zone". A few portable heaters to stay warm beforehand! Sponsored by Allstate, I participated in a quick survey and received the below hat for free! There's also a DJ nearby getting the crowd pumped up, the DJ was also doing a little dance party after the race as well.
Race course/map:
Relatively flat! From the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a mile down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and back to the museum, then down along the Schuylkill River (opposite side of Boathouse Row, crew teams were out for practice!) and back, slight incline just before the finish line at the museum. 
Image from Hot Chocolate 15k Philadelphia site
Training: I am currently on a marathon training plan, but custom training plans are available. With weekly email reminders of the upcoming week's schedule!
Weather: the one variable you can't control. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best. Rain all day the day before the race. Clearing up this morning. A light drizzle on the car ride into town, but cleared up. 45 this morning, going up to the 60's later. 50 is the line I am confident a short sleeve is ok for me. I warm up quickly, planned on going with short sleeves. Packed a long sleeve to discard, a space blanket, gloves, and checked a bag for later. Pre-race, used the space blanket and gloves for a bit. Didn't bother with the long sleeve, donated. Comfortable throughout the race.Was a bit chilly after the race, glad I checked a bag, but warmed up in the sun.

My race:

Previous PR, 1:14:something/7:59 pace. Goal 1:13:something. Plan... To hang between pacers, and pace at my gps pace of 7:45-7:50, just in case my gps is off by .10. Found the 7:30 and 8:00 pacers. Got next to the 7:30 pacer immediately at the jump, was comfortable and even thought about jumping ahead. That would of been foolish. Hanging by the 7:30 pacer. At the 1 mile mark they introduced themselves to the group and what to expect. Felt good, but knew that wouldn't be reasonable to sustain for the race. 5k mark, still with them, probably should of backed off by now, but still hanging. Knew by the 5 mi mark I should start being more realistic. Faded a few seconds. Trying not to look back yet. Course turn around near 5.75 mi, maintaining. Eventually see the pacer behind from the opposing traffic. Can tell I have a decent gap if I were to fade a bit more. For the race, I had a 1:14 countdown going, started doing the math with a couple miles to go, could tell if I were to maintain I would be ok, but had to maintain somewhat. Felt some fading, but maintaining cadences and hanging in there. It wasn't pretty at the end, but PR ahead of plan! 1:11:21/7:40 pace.
Swag:
Shirt: Full zip up hoodie! Men's comes in black, ladies comes in merlot. It is so soft and comfy!
Medal: Chocolate bar with city specific design. For Philadelphia, the Constitution Center and the Betsy Ross American Flag!
Chocolate: chocolate fondue and sides for dipping, all nut free. Sides include: marshmallow, Rice Krispie Treat, Snyder's mini pretzels, Stinger organic waffle vanilla flavored, and a banana!
Photo's: Free photo's! Don't you hate all those emails from other races to buy pictures, additional emails letting you know they are about to expire, but continue to get emails anyway.. Well, free photo's from Hot Chocolate 15k/5k! I was tagged in 20+ photo's. Of course I am only presentable in a handful. lol..
Looking alright in the beginning, not so much towards the end, but able to regroup somewhat to power through!
Post Race: (after all the chocolate celebrations) met up with a few members of FB group #RWRunStreak at City Tap House. 
Overall: This is a great spring race to train for through winter. The course is relatively flat. There's awesome swag, and of course... chocolate! This is a pretty sweet race! Would definitely recommend!

Question: Have you ever participated in the Hot Chocolate series? What is your favorite treat?

Socials and Site below! 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HotChocolate15k
IG: https://www.instagram.com/hotchocolate15k/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HotChocolate15k/
Site: https://www.hotchocolate15k.com/philadelphia/ 

If you do any races, please remember to review them on ! Your opinions help other runners decide what races to run!  Follow me on BibRave: Joe G

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