Monday, October 6, 2014

Hot Chocolate 15K (Race Recap)

Denver, CO
Sunday, October 5
First 15K, instant PR!
Weather - chilly before the start, then pretty perfect


Supposedly NO race day pick-up for the Hot Chocolate Race (which is a lie), so we headed over to the National Western Complex to pay $5 to pick up our gear. We were received a 3/4 zip jacket instead of the usual race shirt, and a neat feature was being able to try on the jacket while you were there so you could exchange if it didn't fit. They were a bit more fitted than expected, but I still kept my original size. I didn't buy anything, but there was a lot of merchandise and a few additional vendors (the norm - Sweaty Bands, Skirt Sports and Gypsy Runner).


The 15k started at 7:50 and they suggested being in your corral by 6:30 (Can you hear me laughing from way over here?) We dropped off the kids and picked up my dad around 6:15. About a 20-25 minute drive to my work parking garage, where we would only be about 5 blocks to the start area. We arrived just as the 5k was starting (7:00), and in the amount of time it took us to use the bathrooms (no line) and watch my dad try to pin his bib on, the fastest runners had already completed the race. We dawdled around until about 5 minutes before the race started, quick bag drop, and got into our corrals.

Capital building on one side of the street
Civic Center Building on the other
L was in the fastest corral, I was in the one behind her, and my dad was two behind me. I started around 7:53. I have had a bizarre string of "fast" and short runs the last few days and was interested to see how the day would go.

First off, there were only 4 aid stations, and I had decided to use my new Orange Mud handheld (use code BECKASPEEPS to save 10% if you are dying to have one as well!) in lieu of a belt. It turned out to be AWESOME, and all my fluid was grape Nuun. I started in the very back of my corral and tried to take it easy the first mile. When the mile beeped, I was surprised to see it just over 10 minute pace, I had thought it felt slower.

My heart rate never felt elevated and I never had the fire calves, but my lower legs and feet did go numb for about half the race. I walked a bit longer through the first aid station hoping to loosen it up. And THEN, for the first time in probably four years, I had to stop and tie my shoe?!?  I kept my arm sleeves on for the first few miles, gloves stayed on until mile 3 or 4.

Between those two bouts of walking, I felt great until about mile 4, which is when I started to get kind of hot and tired. I was wearing the Newton Fate, which I wore during my last marathon, and they just did NOT seem as comfortable as they did on the dirt. So that was a bummer.

I had thought the course would be similar to that of Denver RnR, but it wasn't. I didn't take any pictures of the course because nothing was interesting. Except my favorite Team Beef guys:

On an out and back section (I was just under 6 miles), I saw both L and Heather. They looked like they were cruising! I saw Ross ahead of me and it took until the last aid station around mile 7.5 for me to catch him.

I don't even remember the last part of the course. Since the race finishes less than a half mile from my office, everything was familiar and I started pushing for the finish with about a half mile to go. I ended feeling pretty good.

There was live tracking, so L knew exactly when I was finished and texted me where they were so I could find them.

No idea what is in my pocket. Gloves?
Pretty sure I have food chocolate in my mouth 
We chatted for a bit with Heather and Dan before heading to the finish area to wait for my Dad, who ended up finishing right as we walked over.

My Dad looks stunned :D
Cool medal, delicious chocolate. A bit pricey, but I would probably do again.

Official Time - 1:37:34
Overall Place - 1653/3110
Gender Place - 11628/2407
Division Place - 229/483
Official 5K - 32:54
Official 10K - 1:05:55
Garmin Time - 1:37:36
Garmin Distance - 9.39 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:24
Mile 1 - 10:04
Mile 2 - 10:42
Mile 3 - 10:29
Mile 4 - 10:14
Mile 5 - 10:56
Mile 6 - 10:26
Mile 7 - 10:32
Mile 8 - 10:28
Mile 9 - 10:12
Mile 9.39 - 9:06 (!)

  • I really don't like to pay to go to an expo. $5 isn't that bad I GUESS, but I hate not having any other option.
  • This was CRAZY organized. Really, very easy to navigate, everything clearly marked. Zero complaints about organization.
  • PLENTY of bathrooms at the start and on the course.
  • "Treats" at every aid station, although I actually did not partake in that.
  • Cool finisher mug with hot chocolate, chocolate fondue.
  • Nice jacket, I may actually wear in the winter for running, if I venture outside.
  • Not a super great course, but mostly flat and pretty fast (if you happen to be a fast runner).
  • Overall, I would recommend this race.


  1. Drives me nuts paying for parking at an expo. Seattle Rock and Roll was in an arena that charged $20 for parking! There weren't any real options that I could find. Maybe a local might know places to park and walk, but we couldn't find anything.
    I did Hot Chocolate in San Diego in March and I'm looking forward to it again! I loved following the trail of chocolates people dropped after the chocolate stop.

  2. I love the fact you get a jacket! Good job on racing.

  3. this came to nashville and I ran it in February---- it was FREEZING and made it difficult to get the chocolate off my face lol

    if the jacket is the same pullover that we got (purple stitching and inside of hoodie, I freaking LOVE mine and saw it at other races I did afterward by many other runners.

  4. Wow, I really wish the Hot Chocolate in Chicago (where it was founded) had the great race organization you described. People around here HATE that race for how terrible the logistics are, myself included.

    A 15K is such a cool distance! I wish there were more races like that. I love the medal, but I agree, it's a little expensive.

  5. Nice work on the race. I had heard the Chicago one was a mess too -- although they get a TON of people for it. Glad to hear this one was organized pretty well. I also can't imagine being in your corral for 90 minutes waiting for the race to start. I wonder if that was a typo in their instructions. Looks like a nice medal -- you have to add a close-up so we can see the details.

  6. Your times were SUPER FAST, you totally smoked it!! That's awesome! I'm dying to do a Hot Chocolate Run! The LA event date is still TBD :( bummer.

    (P.S. L is looking very slender... I may be late to notice but has she lost weight recently?)

  7. this one comes to ATL and it just seems sooo $$$. but if you say it's worth it, perhaps i should look into it. :)


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