There is something exciting about race day, and there’s nothing better than sharing that excitement with friends (and family)! This year’s Hot Chocolate run was made even more exciting by not only getting to share it with my family, but this was my first race with fellow BibRave Pros!
My family ran the 5K which has an early start time, so that meant getting to the course early to find a parking spot in the city, which is a task itself. After finding a spot way off in the distance, we hurried over to the Art Museum for some pre-race photos. I met up with my friendly BibRave Pros! After a few quick introductions and a picture, we all dashed off to get ready for our respective races (some 5k some 15k).
The race started off with the temperatures in the 40’s, it was a chilly start as we lined up in our corrals. At this point, I was feeling good about my attire: Typical running shorts, Feetures socks, sporting my Brooks Glycerin 17’s, a lightweight BibRave tech shirt, with my BibRave hoodie, lightweight gloves, my BOCO Gear BibRave trucker, and Jaybird RUN earbuds. I was comfortable (still a little chilly) but ready to run.
As my corral was called up, I decided to get up to the very front so I could start off without getting congested in the sea of runners. When the air horn went off, I started off feeling confident and strong. I know that I can run up to 6 miles without the need for water or chews but opted to wear my fanny pack to hold my phone and Honey Stinger chews just in case. I had a feeling that I would be fine this whole race just grabbing water from the aid stations. The fanny pack proved to be a mistake, from the start my music playing from my Jaybird earbuds cut in and out. I guess my phone wasn’t in an optimal spot for the best connection, and given that I was surrounded by runners with Bluetooth headphones, there was bound to be trouble. I ended up holding my phone, which I feel is crippling in some ways, I wanted my hands to be free, I didn’t want to “carry” anything. “Great, is this is how I’m starting my race, already complaining,” I thought as we rounded the Circle at Vine Street and saw the fog laying heavily on tops of the buildings.
I got over the fanny pack within the first mile, reminded myself that I was here to have fun, and embraced the energy of the crowd. The first 5 miles went by comfortably, and I was keeping an eye on my pace and knew I was making good time averaging just under 9 mins/mile. The air was still pretty cool at this point and I was feeling really good as I started to pass those that went out too fast around me in the beginning.
As I pressed on I noticed that I was starting to feel warm, so I rolled up my sleeves in an attempt to cool down a little bit. The effort was comfortable for 2 minutes at best and I found myself getting uncomfortable – I tried to focus on something else. My right calf muscle had been stiff all week, I tried to think of the discomfort I was feeling in my leg, but it wasn’t enough to take my mind off the heat I was feeling welling up inside.
For some reason, maybe I wasn’t thinking clearly, but I had myself convinced I wasn’t going to catch a PR, at Mile 7 my pace lengthened and I saw 9:45. “Sh*t,” I cursed to myself as I started to give in to the overwhelming heat building up under my sweater. I pulled my arms out of the sleeves and let my upper body catch some relief as I rest the sweater on my shoulders. Mile 8, “this is it,” I thought and I stopped. I stopped to take off my sweater convinced I had blown my chances at catching a PR. I tied my sweater around my waist and figured I’d jog out the remaining mile or so of the race and just accept the fact that I did “ok”.
As I came around the corner, under the bridge, and up the hill to the finish I saw the race clock read 1:30:00 – for some reason I looked at my watch and realized I was actually going a lot faster than the race clock, since I started 15 mins after the official start. By the time I put two and two together, I crossed the finish line with a new course PR by nearly 3 minutes. Had I pushed through the heat under my sweater and just ran, I’m sure I would have PR’d by at least 5 minutes.
I’ll take it. The Hot Chocolate Run 15K in Philadelphia is one of my favorite races, the course is perfect and the scenery compliments it well.
See my BibRave race review HERE
Did you run the Hot Chocolate Run 15k in Philadelphia? Or any of the AllState Hot Chocolate Series races? Leave your comments below!