Hot Chocolate 15K- Tampa Recap
Disclaimer: I was selected as a Hot Chocolate 15K ambassador. I was given a free race entry but all opinions are my own.
Sunday, December 18th marked the first year that the Hot Chocolate 15K series made it to Tampa! This was not my first Hot Chocolate 15K race. I ran one a couple of years ago in Phoenix so I was familiar with race and its perks. Running in Florida definitely has it’s advantages but the weather in the winter can always be a gamble.
My daughter Katie and my BRF Belinda also signed up for the race. Katie registered for the 5K. This is the first time I have done a race where the 5K started first. Hot Chocolate 15K does not offer race day packet pick up so we had to make the trek over to Tampa on Saturday for the packet pick up and expo. The expo was small but it made for an easy pick up. We checked out the vendors, I scored a nice deal on a pair of Oofos, we sampled the chocolate and we were back out the door.
Sunday morning we left home at 5:30 to get Katie to her starting corral on time. Temps were heating up as the clouds started clearing and the sun came out. The 5K started promptly at 7:30 and we still had another 50 minutes before the 8:20 15K start time. Belinda and I jumped into our corral and we were ready to run. My tummy was already growling and the temp was 74 degrees with 98% humidity. I drank some of my Tailwind and waited for the race to start. I located the pacers and mentally got myself ready.
I reviewed my race goals. Goal A: to finish with a time of 1:30. Goal B: to finish with a time of 1:35 (still a PR). Goal C: to just finish the race.
8:20 am and we are off. I think I am up in front with the fast kids and I am hanging with the 9 minute pacer. I am already sweating and wondering where my cool Florida mornings went. The course is a straight out to Bayshore boulevard and back. It is really a pretty course and wait, there is a faint breeze. The first 5K I am averaging a 10:02 pace, not bad, but I think I may die soon. Who am I kidding it is HOT!
I turned the corner at the half way point and it hits me. Let’s just say it is not a breeze. It is just flat-out muggy! I hit the 10K mark and I am not at a 10:18 pace. It is close to 9:30 in the morning. 9:30! I usually am done with my training run by now and enjoying a snack at home, why am I still running? I text my hubby, I am hot. He must have my 10K time and saw I was slowing down. He text me right back, just run faster Skippy! I finished my tailwind and I slowly get my stride back.
By mile 8 I was seriously thinking about just walking the rest of the way in but I knew that the gang was waiting on me so I kept my pace with a run walk. I could see the famous bridge we had to get over and I knew the finish line was coming. Finally, I dug deep and ran it in! Finished! This race was not pretty! Goal C accomplished! It is now past 10am and the temp is 78 degrees.
Katie, Belinda and her hubby were waiting for me at the finish so I grabbed my water and my medal and we headed over to the after party. I quickly got my finishers mug with all the chocolate but I was not super interested in it. I did eat the pretzels and dipped it in the chocolate but I could not stomach anything else. We sat and listened to the Michael Ray concert and tried to cool off a bit, not easy as the temp just keeps going up! We did head back to the finish line to watch a few of Belinda’s coworkers cross the finish line and it was time to head home.
The race swag was great! For the price of the entry you received a nice quality zip up fleece jacket, medal, and finishers mug.
Live runner tracking.
Race results were available immediately.
Free pictures were available for download quickly.
Fun after party with live entertainment.
No race day packet pick up. I would pay the extra pay next time and have it shipped to me.
The race start was way to late for a Florida race. We typically start here by 7 am and that is year round.
Not enough water on the course for the record temps.
In conclusion, the Hot Chocolate 15K is a great race series! You simply cannot beat the swag and fun atmosphere! I do like the 15K distance and I think it is a great motivator those training for a half or marathon distance!