Disclaimer: I received free entry to Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k 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!
This weekend I had the pleasure of running for chocolate! Now, I usually reward myself after every race I run…just because. To me, there’s nothing better than a post-run brunch with lots of bacon and coffee. This weekend, however, the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K was giving out chocolate at the finish line.
I’ve never done a Hot Chocolate race so I was thrilled when the Tampa came up with BibRave! The race was super easy to sign up for through Athlinks and the rest was history. You’d think, of course, that since I signed up for the race a few months ago that I’d been training for it, right?
Well, it’s like you guys don’t know me at all. I did run a 15.9ish Ragnar Relay the weekend before, however. Does that count as training?
Anywho, I headed up Saturday to pick up my race packet since the race is a big one and they didn’t have race day pickup. I was going to be running the race alone, so my dude made the trip with me. I tried to convince him to run too, but no dice after the week before’s Ragnar. We still had fun walking the Riverwalk Saturday and prepping for the race with pizza and drinks. (My go-to prerace dinner!)
The next morning my dude dropped me off at the Tampa Convention Center for the start of the race. The course and start line were the same as Gasparilla and I knew parking would be difficult. Having a driver for the day worked out nicely. The morning was chilly and I seriously considered taking my sweet Hot Chocolate hoodie with me. I’d opted for my BibRave tee and my SkirtSports Pocketopia in Bonita print, knowing it would warm up once the sun was out.
Before the race started, I did my usual rituals: walk around aimlessly for a few minutes, visit the porta potty, and eat a bagel.
You could tell the crowd was excited and ready to go. (To the bathroom.)
Everything was great at the start line, despite still being cold. It was nothing like the temps for Ragnar, but I was still feeling chilly.
The sun was up once we started and I was excited for a strong beginning, too. I was nervous since I hadn’t run since Ragnar. After the first half mile I started with some intervals, knowing I wouldn’t be able to run the whole 15K without stopping. For intervals I went with a minute long high and a thirty second low. The intervals were perfect and I kept a fairly steady pace for the first part of the race and was happy with how things were going.
There were aid stations every couple of miles with potties and, of course, chocolate!
The course was familiar as I’d run the Gasparilla 15K twice before, so I was used to the road and the scenery. I do love taking those “sun shining over water pictures” though.
I maintained my pace and intervals for the majority of the race, even with stopping at the bathroom twice. Michelle wasn’t there to yell at me for going to the bathroom, so I did what I wanted! My pace was a pleasant surprise because, again, Michelle wasn’t there to yell at me! She’s usually the one motivating me on these long races, so I hope I made her proud. Ha!
There was the usual watching who/where others were around me that helped me know I was keeping a pretty steady pace. I always love to see the same runners throughout the course. It helps me to know that I’m still doing okay, even when I feel like I’m not.
It’s easy to get frustrated or fall behind when you’re running by yourself, but I felt like I did an okay job for this race. I finished strong and my pace was close to the other races I’d run on that course. After I crossed the finish line I headed to grab my chocolate goodies and wait for my driver. I was impressed at how well everything was organized and set up. It seemed much easier to navigate than Gasparilla (which is one of my favorite races).
This is definitely a race I’m going to keep on my watchlist for next year. If you’re into tasty treats after a run, you should too!