Guest Post: Oops! I Did It Again!

Last time you all heard from me I was complaining about how I hate running. Well, don’t you worry… not much has changed. But let me explain what happened.

So one day, I was minding my business when my buddy, Meri, sent me a text about the Philly Hot Chocolate 15k/5k. Without hesitation I agreed to do the 5k. My excited 6 year old self immediately turned to my husband and said, “I’m doing a Hot Chocolate 5K in Philly with Meridith!” He spontaneously laughed out loud and said, “Why? You hate running.” My response was simple. “They give you chocolate and marshmallows as you’re running,” and I proceeded to walked out of the room like a boss.

For those of you not local, the Philly Hot Chocolate run was in early April and last winter was frigid and forever long. But I wanted chocolate and had to train. Therefore, I ran laps inside my house (which is not big at all). I ran up and down the stairs to better my cardio! I even ran outside when the temperature hit 40! Could I have trained harder? Of course, but that’s all I had because I hate running with my soul.

Now, if you want to hear all the details about how we got there, weather conditions, etc, read Meri’s blog. She’s great at that kind of stuff. I’m going to tell you what I learned.

I run for swag. That’s right, I said it. I’m in it for the swag! I can’t explain how excited I was to receive my first race packet in the mail. I open up the envelope to find a drawstring bag, sturdy enough for multiple uses, stuffed with my goodies. The first goody I pulled out was the super warm purple shirt. Next I pulled out my first bib, which I was ecstatic about. 

And FINALLY, the hat that almost never happened. You see, Meri was kind enough to share a code that would award me a hat. Being who I am, I forgot to enter the code during check out. A few seconds after the infamous Homer Simpson palm to the forehead “D’OH”, I sent an email to the magical beings that host these events. I was thrilled with the quick response and generous accommodation for my error. Great customer support!

I have the best friends in the world and I love running with them. Meri didn’t have to run with me at all and I would still love her, but she did. As we patiently waited for our start, she planned out our run asking what intervals I would like to try first.

We started with 1:1 (one minute run one minute walk) which I quickly grew impatient with. We moved up to 2:1 which worked better for me. I’m not sure if it was the intervals, the chocolate, the great crowd, or Meri’s company but I really had a great time.

The run did not feel like torture and I did not dread the next mile nor the last. I have tried running the same intervals at home and it isn’t the same. I love running with a buddy. Maybe it’s the distraction. Maybe it’s the laughs. Or maybe it’s both. Either way, I had a great time and would have run 4 miles that day….OK let’s not get crazy. Strike that.


Lesson Number Three was not realized until Sunday night and affirmed last month when summer arrived. I don’t mind running in cool weather. Actually, I prefer it. Over the years, I have avoided outdoor activities once it get below 55 degrees because I am ALWAYS cold! Don’t get me wrong, I was layered up for the Philly Hot Chocolate 5K, but it was tolerable. Actually it was enjoyable. Now that  I have experienced cold weather running, I no longer fear it.

Lesson Number Four,  I WILL BE RUNNING THIS RACE EVERY YEAR! Where else can you go that they hand you chocolate and marshmallows as you run? Not the cheap Halloween candy kind either! And after you run? You get hot chocolate, fudge, a banana, pretzels, and a Rice Crispy Treat in a nifty little bowl! Jackpot! If you haven’t experienced this race, you should!

Someone once told me that “Everyday you learn something new”. Well, this race taught me five lessons. What’s the fifth lesson you ask? Getting to that.

That I’m a glutton for punishment and signed up for the Run the Vineyards – Good Day for a Run 15K/5K in September. Don’t worry… I signed up my sister too! Maybe both of us will start to like running one day? In the meantime, I have to figure out how to tolerate running in this humidity. YUCK!

Want to join Meri and Ana at the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate Race on April 6th? You should register NOW because the code FALL2018 saves you $5 through tonight, 8/10 at 11:59pm CST. AND, don’t forget to use the code BRHCPhilly to get a free phone armband!

Ana Soley is an entrepreneur who opened her own business with her husband, Fast Response Plumbing, LLC She’s having a great time raising 2 kids and 2 stepkids while trying to keep her humble abode from imploding. Loves the outdoors, kayaking, archery, walking the dogs, and hiking. She’s a big fan of a good sweat but hates running, as can be determined by this blog post as well as her previous one!

Race Recap: 2018 Philadelphia Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Philadelphia Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k 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!

In 2017 I ran the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15k on my 40th birthday. This year I had the opportunity to run the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 5k representing BibRave and I jumped at the opportunity. The swag is incredible and HELLO, there is chocolate. What more could a girl want?

Well, how about a super cool friend to run with? That’s always a bonus and one of the reasons I love running so much – being with friends. Last year I ran the 15k with my dear friend Christina as a celebration for both of us turning 40. This year, novice runner Ana joined me for the 5k run around Philadelphia.

Originally when I signed up for this race, I had visions of 5k PRs danced in my head. However after a rough winter and a broken arm, my training was less than stellar. I settled into the “get it done” mentality and that worked out well because I was able to run with Ana at her first ever road race.

I chose to have my packet sent to me rather than going to the expo for an additional fee. My purple pullover and bib arrived a week and a half prior to the race. It was worth the additional cost for me to save time traveling into the city prior to race day. There was no race day pickup.

The weather this year as brisk but not uncomfortable. As I headed out the door I made a last minute decision to ditch my gloves. I later came to regret that decision but otherwise I was comfortable.

Ana and I took the train into the city from S. Jersey, which is usually my standard when it comes to Philly races. It’s easy, it’s quick, and I don’t have to worry about parking. It was packed with other Hot Chocolate runners. I don’t know the amount of people who run both races but in the 5k there were 3,406 runners. I think that the 15k is the bigger of the two races. Both races get the same pullover and finisher’s mug at the end of the race, but the 15k also gets a finishers medal, which I think is a big draw for many people.

Our quick walk from the train station to the start line served as a warm up and we made it to the Art Museum right around 7am for the 7:15am start. It was perfect timing and we even got to see a few friends before the race!

Representing BibRave with Joe!

We placed ourselves in the G corral = mullet crew, party in the back. Looking to have a good time with this, we set our timer to 1:1 intervals.

The course is similar to others in Philadelphia. Starts at the Art Museum and then winds down along the river and back again. Boathouse Row is always fun to look at, the traffic on the other side: not as much.

We spent the first mile or so bobbing and weaving, as is usually the case with races this size, but we were having fun and enjoying the race and also the people around us.

On the course they handed out chocolate and marshmallows, along with water and Nuun.

This race went by fast! Soon enough we were turning around and headed back to the Art Museum.

Free race photos? YES PLEASE!

There is a small hill right near the finish line that is always there and yet, it always catches me off guard for some reason. We decided to walk up the hill (honestly, it’s not bad at all – just me whining) and then hit the gas for the end. So much fun!

Sure running is fun but let’s talk about chocolate-y goodness, shall we? There are huge tents where you can get your mug filled with all sorts of goodies: hot chocolate, chocolate dipping sauce, pretzels, cookies, banana, and Rice Krispy treat. Last year the ground around that area was muddy and gross due to recent rain. This year there was hay on the ground, which significantly improved that situation and was much appreciated.

The line to get our treats moved quickly and soon enough we were sitting in front of the Art Museum and enjoyed our treats.

And, of course, we ran up the Art Museum steps! How could we not?

Ana is already talking about signing up again next year so I think the running bug has bitten her. (Mwahaha, excellent, everything is going according to plan.)