After a FULL YEAR of not racing due to a knee injury, I finally got back out there and chose the Hot Chocolate in Philly as my comeback event. Because…chocolate. I started training in January and honesty was a bit worried that I’d get swept, because the race requires a 15 minute per mile pace and, well, my first mile after my knee was recovered was a lot slower than 15 minutes (like 22 minutes. Ouch).
So I trained a lot, and was pleasantly surprised to see myself getting faster and faster each week, and on race day (spoiler alert) I clocked in at about 15:07 per mile and that was with a very light effort. Once I knew I wasn’t in danger of getting swept I just chilled out, slowed down a bit, and enjoyed the run.
And seriously, this is one of the most fun races in Philly! Lots of spectators, a fast and flat course, and of course a whole pile of chocolate at the finish line. Even the Expo has chocolate!
One of the great features of this race is something they just added this year – packet mailing. Instead of driving into the city, paying $25 for parking just for 10 minutes to run in and out to get your race bib, the Hot Chocolate people will mail your race packed and the legendary hoodie right to your house. There’s a fee, but it’s a hell of a lot less than parking in the city.
However, I knew I was going to be in Philly on Expo day, so I decided to make an appearance and scope out the cool stuff anyway:
The other thing I love about the Hot Chocolate race is that it’s on a Saturday – you still have your whole weekend left after you cross that finish line. So Friday night I got my Flat Jill ready:
Bright and early Saturday morning, I drove into the city and made a stop at the Sheraton lobby restrooms – (always clean and never a line). The obligatory bathroom selfie in my favorite Enell hoodie:
It was a cold and rainy morning, so I threw on a jacket just in case, and it was time to head to the start line, where I met up with some other NYAR community members:
And then it was time to get in my corral!
I was in the last corral, which meant a 20 minute wait before getting to the starting line. But eventually we got going and it was time to run:
The first mile felt amazing. I hadn’t realized how much I missed racing, and despite the rain and the cold I felt amazing. I clipped through the first mile in about 14 minutes, realized I was going to be in great shape for the rest of the race, and slowed down after that. I really wasn’t interested in running a fast race, just fast enough not to get swept.
Since it was pretty rainy, I didn’t take my phone out for pictures during the first couple miles, but when I saw my favorite Philly view on the final approach I couldn’t resist:
Every time I see that skyline I smile.
Shortly after that, I ran up the only hill on the course (seriously, why do they put it right at the finish line???) and finished in 47:11. Totally sprinted at the finish line, too. And because HC is such an awesome race, they take finish line videos of everyone. Here’s mine. That’s me coming out of nowhere with a yellow jacket tied around my waist, hands in the air!
Sweaty but happy:
Afterwards, I headed immediately to the chocolate tent! Check out this goodness:
And of course the obligatory pose with the enormous marshmallows:
Just like last year, this was a crazy fun race in the best running city on the planet. Can’t wait for 2017!
And a HUGE thank you and shout out to Enell for sponsoring me to run this race two years in a row! I literally couldn’t do this without Enell’s support, because their bras changed everything for me! Check them out at Enell.com and try one for yourself!