Running: It's actually more expensive than therapy
Last Sunday 12/17/17 was the Hot Chocolate 15/5k in Tampa, FL. I participated in the 5k of course. This happened to be the first race I have stayed overnight for. I heard so many great things about it I figured why not. I stayed at the Marriott which was the main host hotel and super convenient too. It was right next to both the expo and starting line. Plenty of other racers stayed there.
Confession time-I've never been to a race expo before. I usually run smaller/local races so this was my first expo ever. I opted for packet mailing (so glad they offer this) but I still wanted to go just to check it out. The Tampa expo is pretty small but the vendors were good and the free chocolate samples are always nice. I didn't see many lines for packet pickup so I'm guessing that ran smoothly. I'll probably go that route next year so I don't have the possibility of leaving my bib at home. The official race merchandise seemed to be priced reasonably. I purchased this short-sleeved shirt for $14.99.
The 5k started at 7 am while the 15k didn't start till 8. Our two corrals started 5 minutes apart (I think) to ensure there were no crowding issues on the course. I walked to the starting line from the hotel, and they started lining up the corrals right away. The weather was a tad chilly but overall fantastic. I knew these could be PR conditions. Despite this being a larger race it wasn't a problem to get lined up at the front of the line. We started at 7 am on the dot.
Mile 1 6:25
The course opened up pretty much right away with no issues. The only weird part was a graded bridge that kind of scared me but I got over it (get it?). Anyway, the first mile was pretty great. The views of downtown Tampa in the early morning were so pretty. This was my first city-run ever and downtown Tampa is such a pretty place.
Mile 2 6:45
Mile two had views of the bay and it was so open. We passed the turnout and at this point, I still felt pretty decent. There wasn't really anyone around me they were either way in front or a good bit behind.
Mile 3 7:02
I felt out of shape at this point. I tried to maintain my pace which got challenging. The last mile always seems to drag on forever. All the miles checkpoints had clocks (based on gun times).
Mile .10 6:05
I saw the finish line and tried really hard to sprint towards it. When i first saw the clock it was still in the 19-minute range so I lost quite a bit of time at the end. I need to focus on my endurance for my upcoming races.
Talk about a party! This was so much fun. Plenty of photo ops, tons of chocolate, and music made for a great event. We turned in our bib tickets for the finisher mug that included the hot chocolate and yummy snacks. The 3 overall male and female winners also got these chocolate bar shaped medals. I was pretty honored to place in this. All the 15k finishers received medals which looked awesome. I loved this race every aspect was so well put together. I recommend the Hot Chocolate races to anyone regardless of skill level. It's just a fun time.
Overall 6th of 1,189
2nd Overall Female out of 857