Open and Honest
I trained smart this training cycle only to throw it all away and run stupid on race day. My training plan had me to run a 10:15 pace and that would have given me a PR on my 15k at the Hot Chocolate 15k Scottsdale. On race morning I got stupid and instead ran a 10 minute pace the first 3 miles. But does that 15 seconds really make a big difference? Sure does. I overdid it and my breathing got out of control. Had to walk at mile 4. Yes, I was pissed. Got over it really quick and started running again. At that moment I knew I wouldn't PR but I wasn't giving up so I kept running strong. My dad made some metal art statues that were coming up on the course and seeing those gave me a huge boost. He died unexpectedly about 7 years ago and seeing what he made a year before he died was the positive vibes I needed. The Hot Chocolate 15k Scottsdale was a learning lesson of a race. It's been a long time since I ran one of those, so I guess it was time for another. And this happened a good time too! I don't want to make this mistake come PHX Mesa Half Marathon time. I need to continue to train smart and race smart so I could reach my half marathon PR goal.
Overall Glowing Race Review
Now that I put it all out there, let’s get to some happy stuff. The Hot Chocolate 15k is one of the only 15k races that takes place in Arizona. That makes race day super crowded, super fun and super sweet. I ran this race in 2014 and 2015 and most recently 2018 on December 2.
Pre-race: The people behind the Hot Chocolate brand have one of the most extensive and hype-worthy social media presence out there. If you follow them on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll see they post daily. And that’s a good thing! I was totally hyped up every time I saw their posts push through. Communication on their part was excellent. They let runners know about packet pick-up and how parking will be a struggle on race day. With the Hot Chocolate Scottsdale run, please know to pick up your bib early. I did on the first day as soon as the expo opened. I was in and out quickly and still had time to browse the vendors there.
The jacket this year is incredible. It’s in a lovely, on-trend burgundy color. It’s super lightweight and oh so soft. It has a hoodie and thumb holes and pocket. It’s my favorite Hot Chocolate jacket yet. Yes, I did wear it 2 days in a row and almost wore it work over a dress.
Race day: My alarm was set much earlier than normal and I hit the road knowing the 101 freeway would have closures (I read the email from the Hot Chocolate crew) and that parking will be crowded if I didn’t arrive before 7:15am. I got to the parking lot at 6:45am, there was a long line awaiting us. The volunteers got us through quickly.
My race didn’t start till 8:15am, but the 5k started at 7:30am. I chilled out in my car for a while until my friends arrived. Since the 15k didn’t start for a while, I decided to use the porta potties. This is an area of a missed opportunity. There simply wasn’t enough potties to go around. The lines were about 50 people deep and there were 25 potties. I suggest doubling the amount for next year. Or, maybe take some of the potties from the finish line to the start line. I noticed so many empty potties at the finish.
The corals moved quickly! That was great. And I was off! The course is nice. There are a few out and backs and that’s ok. Those out and backs made it fun to people watch. So many people dress up for the Hot Chocolate and it’s really fantastic to watch everyone. Even I wore a Sparkle Athletic skirt and Christmas tights.
There was tons of water and Nuun at the aid stations. I was grateful for that. I was concerned about the Swedish Fish and gummy bears though. The cold weather made them very hard to bite into and I didn’t want to choke. The marshmallows were perfect. Maybe there could be chocolate flavored marshmallows next year.
The finish line signs were perfect. I loved how a sign said I had 500 meters to go. That made me kick it in high gear. Then 400m to go, 300m, 200m, etc. It was great. I loved how the announcer said my name as I crossed the finish line.
A volunteer quickly gave me a medal and I was off to get my spoils of the finishers chocolate mug. This is the best part really. I chugged my hot chocolate, it was the perfect temperature to do so. And starting eating my goodies after dunking them in melted chocolate.
I noticed tons of empty porta potties and huge blowups to play in or take photos with, but I was tired and wanted to go home.
Exiting the parking lot was simple, it was emptied out quickly and I’m a middle of the pack runner so there was still about 1/2 the 15k’er on course when I left.
Post-race: I love race day photos. Hot Chocolate gives them for FREE. That’s a huge bonus in my book because I will purchase mine. Also, they came the day after the race. I am so thankful for that.
Also, I was able to jump on Athlinks.com and claim my race results. You can check out how I did it here, and while you’re at it, jump on and make an account too. Don’t forget to add me as a friend so we can go head-to-head in future races!
Overall, I encourage you to run the Hot Chocolate Scottsdale 15k once if you haven’t already.