Hot Chocolate 15K Seattle: Race Report

It’s been a busy week since returning home, but I finally got a few minutes to sit down and my HC15K race report.  The Hot Chocolate race series is put on by RAM Racing, based in Chicago.  As soon as T and I decided to go to Seattle, I looked for a race to do while we were there, and found that RAM was bringing the race to Seattle.  Now, when RAM brought HC to Washington DC (I didn’t run) but it was a disaster..well to be polite.  Blogs, the Post, Facebook, local news stations, and well the unfortunate participants of the race wrote horrible review after horrible review, and after reading so many negative comments about the Chicago race on Facebook I was a bit hesitant to sign us up…but we wanted a race to do in Seattle so I bit the bullet and did it.

And I’m so, so happy I signed us up!

That's a biggg mug of hot chocolate!

That’s a biggg mug of hot chocolate!

The Hot Chocolate 15k in Seattle was one of the best organized events I have ever run.  Packet pick-up was a breeze–yes we did go when it opened on Friday morning at 10am, but hey, when you read about the crowds and waiting time at the HC packet pick-ups, you just get smart about it and go early.  So we were in and out in about 15 minutes and had plenty of time to explore the city afterward.  Bonus–if your hoodie was too big/small getting there early you had the opportunity to exchange for a different size.  The medium happened to fit me perfectly.  Speaking of the hoodie, it was one of the nicest race shirts I’ve ever gotten.  No, I wouldn’t work out in it because I get warmed up easily, but it was perfect for hanging around the hotel room in, and now that I’m home, perfect for post ice bath/hanging out around the apartment in.

Packet Pick-up

Packet Pick-up

Cozy hoodie

Cozy hoodie

I couldn’t have asked for better weather on race day.  Sunny, cool in the mid-40s, it was the perfect race weather.  Another great thing about Seattle?  The air is so unbelievably clean.  Here in Virginia…well really on the East Coast, I have all sorts of allergy/asthma problems.  Not a damn one out there.  In fact, we went for a quick 4-miler around a lake on Friday and I forgot my inhaler.  Didn’t even notice until after we finished that 1. I wasn’t wheezing and 2. I was like ‘hey, I just ran that without breathing problems’!!  Anyway, back to the race.

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The race started and ended at the Space Needle, we ran by the Public Market, and up some massive hills with a spectacular view of the Olympic Mountains.  I was in awe, pure awe.  Another nice part about the starting area?  Lots of corals that weren’t overly crowded, and while excessive, the staggered start time between corals was 3 minutes.  It really helped with the crowding on the course and T and I (along with everyone else) were able to keep a steady pace and get into our “groove”.

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And holy hell, the hills were huge!  T and I decided to take it easy on the hills since well….the hills here are flat in comparison.  We ended up running most of the race at a 9:20-30 pace, perfect for a training run.  We focused more on form while running hills rather than pace, and I couldn’t have been happier with the outcome.  Not my fastest race, actually not even close, but I felt good afterward, no pain, no breathing problems…felt the runner’s high without the rest of the things I usually experience and it felt goooood.

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We finished in 1 hour, 27 minutes and 14 seconds (I think, not too sure on the seconds).

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After the race we headed to get our hard-earned hot chocolate and finisher mug filled with goodies.  The hot chocolate was okay, but the chocolate dipping sauce was nice and thick–and I discovered a new (to me) treat that I haven’t had since, and probably won’t ever have again–a rice krispies treat dipped in chocolate.  So good but yes, I know, so bad!

Finisher mug filled with goodies

Finisher mug filled with goodies

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The moral of my post is just because a race gets a bad review in one location, it doesn’t mean the entire series is going to stink.  Will I do a Hot Chocolate race again?  Likely, yes, if I’m in the area where there is a race.  It just so happened we were going to be in Seattle when they had theirs so we lucked out by being there, but there aren’t any locations close enough to any future travel plans and sadly, no local HC races.  I think Virginia Beach would be a great venue…and I know two runners that would happily sign up 🙂

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