Race Recap: Hot Chocolate 15k – San Diego

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Hot Chocolate 15k San Diego race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) We are looking for new Pros, and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I have had the opportunity to run the Hot Chocolate 15k in Scottsdale twice.  You can read my 2014 review here. So when Bibrave & Hot Chocolate gave me the opportunity to check out the San Diego race, I was super excited.  Of course at the time, I didn’t realize that I was going to be running a 50k (race recap will be up on Friday) the day before, but go big or go home, I guess.

I ended up having to be in Phoenix the full week before the race for work and then with the 50k (and not knowing how long it would take me to finish – as well as not realizing that the 50k was about 1.5 hrs from home) I had a small problem with how to get my packet.  By the time that the expo info came out, I was too late to have my packet mailed to me.  Fortunately Haley, another BibRave Pro, was going to be running and she graciously agreed to pick up my packet for me.  So I unfortunately didn’t get the opportunity to check out the expo.

One of the things that I found really interesting about running the race this time was that they sent out a training plan every week to help you get your training on for the race.  There are a lot of first time runners that come out to this race and I thought that was awesome!

About 2 weeks prior to the race, the Hot Chocolate folks sent out an email with all the info for the race.  There are 2 distances, a 5k and a 15k.  The 5k started at 6:45am and the 15k at 7:40am.

When you sign up, you can put in your desired pace and then they will assign you a preferred corral if you are inside a certain pace.  All runners must maintain a 15 min mile pace.  I was originally in Corral I but I guess with my BibRave registration they put me in the first corral H, because that is what my bib said.

I didn’t notice too many people that weren’t running the pace they were supposed to be but I was kind of surprised to see an 11:00 min mile pacer pretty close to me.  It seemed like the pacers were all over the map and I’m glad I wasn’t running with one because it seemed really confusing where they were starting.

The morning of the race, Sean & I headed downtown to Petco Park where the race start was. We took the 94 downtown and once we got to there we immediately got stuck in traffic.  I was supposed to meet Haley around 7am, but with all the traffic I was starting to get nervous.  Sean finally dropped me off near the finish line and I ran over to the start line to meet her.

There were tons of people but fortunately without too long to wait, we finally met up.  I got my packet with my sweatshirt goodie bag and immediately after I put on my bib and got a photo with Haley went to check my bag.  Sean was looking for parking & I wasn’t sure if he would make it before the start.

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As I was waiting in line for the bathroom (there were lots of port-a-potties set up), I ran into Jenn, who I chased to the finish at the San Diego Half last weekend. She was telling me that this wasn’t her favorite course but really my goal was just to finish & I hoped I wouldn’t have to walk too much.

I made my way up to my corral, I decided to stay in the I corral because I wasn’t sure how my legs were going to feel and I didn’t want to hinder any of the faster runners.  Not long after I got in the corral, Sean texted me that he was on his way but stuck behind a bunch of people in the J corral.  He eventually made his way over to me and got a few photos.

Bibrave, Bibrave Pro, Hot Chocolate 15k, 15k, san diego

After wishing me good luck, he made his way in front of the start line, where he got this awesome photo.

Bibrave, Bibrave Pro, Hot Chocolate 15k, 15k, san diego

As I ran by, he got a few shots of me starting the race, which interestingly, the start line is on an uphill that flattens out shortly, but a little odd.

Bibrave, Bibrave Pro, Hot Chocolate 15k, 15k, san diego

I decided to test out my new Aftershokz Trekz Titanium headphones for this race, which are unique, I’ll be doing a more detailed review in the next few weeks, but basically they use bone conduction technology to allow you to hear things around you.  They don’t work well in big crowds, but as soon as I started running, I was able to hear my music clearly.

I was just taking it step by step, my hips were really tight along with my hamstrings & glutes, not a good combination with all the hills, but I just kept moving.

It was also incredibly humid, the marine layer was quite thick at this point of the morning, but the cooler temps were a blessing after the 80-90 degrees from the day before and since my shoulders were burnt I was happy to have a little reprieve from the sun.

Bibrave, Bibrave Pro, Hot Chocolate 15k, 15k, san diego

I ran until about mile 2 when I walked 1/2 way up the hill.  This was a very interesting course.  There were rolling hills, we get a good downhill and then go back up again over & over.  All in all there was about 620 ft of climbing, which is nothing compared to most ultras but it seemed like a lot.

I ran into Jenn again on the first big hill around mile 2.5.  We chatted for a few minutes, got a photo and then I headed down the hill.

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One of the unique things about the Hot Chocolate Race is that they have 4 Sweet Stations on the course.  There were locations with semi sweet chocolate chips, strawberry marshmallows, M&M’s and chocolate marshmallows.  Very few people that I saw were partaking but they did have them on the course for those that wanted a sweet treat.

There were 4 aid stations on the 15k each with Nuun and water.  They were all well manned and stocked.

I was moving along pretty well and next thing I knew I was at mile 6 at around 1:03 give or take.  I texted Sean to let him know and then probably 5 minutes later I saw him on the side of the road.  He ran the course backwards so he could come get some photos for me.

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We were running down the hill, I’ve run this hill before at Rock n’Roll San Diego, then we had to turn and run up instead of continuing down like you do at RnR SD.  I watched Sean run up the hill so he could get a few more shots.  He told me that there wasn’t a lot of hill left and then it would be mostly downhill or flat.  We had actually run this portion of the course on my birthday last year so while it wasn’t my favorite hill, I was familiar with it.

Bibrave, Bibrave Pro, Hot Chocolate 15k, 15k, san diego

We eventually got near Balboa Park and then did a weird out and back to finish up mile 8.

Bibrave, Bibrave Pro, Hot Chocolate 15k, 15k, san diego

After mile 8 it was mostly downhill, and steep downhill at that.  I was like holy quads as I was running down.  We did a few turns and then finally we climbed the last hill.  I turned and started going down, and almost literally went down as I tripped over the sidewalk and I knew my toe was going to be black.  In fact I almost thought I broke my toe, that’s how hard I hit it.  This older runner (probably around 70ish) asked me if I was ok and I was like, I guess that’s what you get for running a 50k the day before, tired legs. lol

We made our way down 14th street the finish line in sight.  I sped up as much as I could to make it over the finish line and even did a little leap over it.  Not sure if they managed to get any photos of that ;).  I managed to finish in 1:35:50 for a 10:17 avg. pace.  Not too shabby for having done 50k the day before.

Bibrave, Bibrave Pro, Hot Chocolate 15k, 15k, san diego

I did it! 65k in 2 days, I was pretty excited and tired.  Surprisingly though my legs didn’t feel as bad as they did the day before after finishing.

Once I finished, I saw @runmeganrun who I’ve never had the chance to actually meet, but we follow each other on Instagram and run tons of the same races.  My phone was having issues, I had it in the pocket of my Orange Mud VP1 and I was sweating so much that it disabled my phone.  I kept getting a message saying, iPhone disabled, try again in 1 min or 5 min or worst of all 15 min.  I finally had to take it out of it’s case, turn it off and eventually it turned back on.  So after a few minutes we finally got a photo together.

Bibrave, Bibrave Pro, Hot Chocolate 15k, 15k, san diego

I then went to get my medal and finisher stuff.  The medals are pretty cool with a bunch of roses and the kissing sailor statue on them.

They were handing out cups of Nuun and bottles of water in the finishers shoot.  Then we had to walk over to get my gear bag.

I was soaking wet, with all the humidity, I was super sweaty so I changed out of my shirt and put on my new jacket.  Unfortunately the zipper is semi broken so it doesn’t zip up perfectly but it fits decently.  I even was able to wear it in a photo with a few our new instafriends, @taymiville & @rob.rene.in – Thanks for the photo ladies :).

Bibrave, Bibrave Pro, Hot Chocolate 15k, 15k, san diego

After getting my bag, we walked to the other side of the parking lot to get my post race food.  They had blue hot chocolate mugs fill with a decent sized cup of hot chocolate, a banana, more chocolate, pirouline wafer cookies, a rice krispie treat and some pretzels.  It’s not a lot, but it was sufficient for me.  I shared some with Sean and then we took a few photos, which didn’t come out unfortunately and headed back to the car so I could change before we went to breakfast.

Bibrave, Bibrave Pro, Hot Chocolate 15k, 15k, san diego

Pros: Awesome Medal
Decent course
Nice goodie bag jacket with San Diego embroidered on
Chocolate snacks at the end
Free Photos (although they aren’t up yet)
Awesome volunteers

Bibrave, Bibrave Pro, Hot Chocolate 15k, 15k, san diego

Cons: Paying $15 for parking
Expo hours are short
My jacket was broken
It’s a pricey race if you don’t register early

Overall, I’m glad I ran the race and I was impressed by the course, even with the hills it was a good one, better than the first year in Scottsdale.

Have you ever done back to back races in a weekend?  If so which ones?

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