The inspiration to sign up for this run came from a book I bought at some point in the Summer of 2014, with someone's recommendation, The Runner's Bucket List : 200 Races to Run Before You Die; the book lists various races, for various reasons (bling, the course, etc.), across the United States ranging in distances from one mile to ultramarathons.
After reading the book I figured I'd eventually try to run in as many of the races as possible throughout my running journey and that's when I noticed The Hot Chocolate 15k/5k.
After looking at the various locations that host The Hot Chocolate 15k/5k it seemed like Philadelphia was probably the closest to home and within driving distance; with that, I figured that it'd be a nice weekend trip if I could get some friends to run with me. Looking into the next race date in Philly the run happened to fall on the Easter long weekend; what runner would turn down running for chocolate on Easter weekend? Not this one that's for sure. After sending some friends the link for the race it was decided - we were headed to Philly for Easter!
The drive down to Philly definitely wasn't a short one; we left before the crack of dawn and ended up getting in some time around 4pm, hitting rush-hour traffic right before we got into the city. Since we got in at a decent hour we decided to head over to the Expo, which was a quick walk from our hotel, and get that out of the way so we could explore the city Friday since we were heading out on Saturday afternoon.
Considering how my body had been feeling lately, especially my knee left and ankle, I decided it was best to take it easy. There was a group of 5 of us that went down for the run and Kim and I decided we would run this one together, but take it easy and do 10 and 1s (run 10 minutes, walk briskly for 1 minute). Kim and I have run really well together and since I wasn't feeling the greatest and she hadn't run in awhile we figured we'd make a good team.
Gun Time - 01:44:01
Chip Time - 01:37:24
5k Split - 00:32:34
10k Split - 01:04:25
Pace - 10:27 (in miles)
Overall Place - 3439/6709
Division - 476/907 (F 25-29)
Gender - 2336/5115
Last year I ran the 5k as a part of A Midsummer Night's Run and this year I did the 15k and I can honestly say the differences I saw went beyond the distance I ran. Last year the race was held on the Toronto Island due to construction along the race route and this year they were back to the regular location and routing. With that being said, although last year was my first time participating in A Midsummer Night's Run it was evident that the organization in the race wasn't all there and any slight complaints I could've potentially carried over from last year were all resolved this time around.
Unlike last year race kit pickup was available on the day of or in advance depending on your preference; if you were picking it up in advance it was at the same location - The Ted Rogers School of Management at Yonge and Dundas right downtown on the 14th or 15th (gotta love consistancy). Kim (the friend I was running with) and I agreed it would be best to pick up our kits ahead of time so we could purchase a parking pass in advance since parking directly onsite was pretty much non-existant. The parking pass was $10.00 and had us parked approximately a 3 or 4 minute drive from the starting line and shuttle buses ran frequently between the lot and the start/finish line from mid afternoon until the late evening. As for the race kit, it just included the race bib with timing chip, race shirt (long sleeve), along with a few coupons.
The weather before and on the day of was not looking good; 70-80% chance of rain between 2-9pm along with a chance of thunderstorms. It seemed like the weather was cooperating until we both got in my car and the rain starting hitting my windshield. Not impressed. The rain continued as we drove into Toronto and didn't let up while we were sitting in my car killing time.. It just didn't make sense to hop on a shuttle bus right away since it wasn't that far of a ride and we'd be standing outside in the cold anyway. Thankfully by the time we were onsite at the start line the rain had stopped and it looked like it was going to stay away.
The course was pretty much an out and back course with a few spots that weren't retraced, however a lot of the course had really nice greenery which made a huge difference.
The only thing that was fairly anti-climatic (as Kim puts it) was a lack of a banner or something around the start line and similar at the finish… Sometimes thats nice to see.
Kim and I ran the course in 10:1 intervals - loved it considering I've really dwindled on my mileage these days and it ended up getting really hot 2/3k in. This is definitely a race I would run again, especially since I don't know how many races provide 15k as a distance option; this would be a great training run before a half marathon, similar to how I can imagine the 30k at this event would be a great training run for a marathon.
Maybe next year I'll be doing the 30k!
Gun Time - 01:37:28.3
Chip Time - 01:36:28.9
Pace - 6:26
Overall Place - 711/1095
Division - 100/165 (F 20-29)
Gender - 406/729