What can I say about Hot Chocolate that I haven't said before? Really, I could just copy and paste my last race report, down to the sunny weather, and call it good! Thankfully, this time around I was not running after injury AND went a tad faster. Not too fast, as this was my last long run before the Lake Sammamish Half.
Got to put my splits somewhere, so here's a good spot:
One thing I can say about this year's race was how awesome it was to see so many people from different corners of my little running community in one place. In mile one I finally met a gal who I've interacted with at Gametiime, and I exchanged side fives with Oiselle (and Ragnar) teammate Suzie in mile two. Shortly thereafter I heard another mother runner I know give me a shout out, waved to Oiselle peep Kaleigh on one of the downhills, ran into two Y buddies on an uphill, talked to Twitter friend Amy and then Shannon post race and a whole gaggle of my boot camp brethren while we ate chocolate. Actually, I let mine go cold as I was gabbing too much. (Side note: you can easily reheat the fondue in the microwave and it makes a great drawer organizer.)
One of my boot camp buddies asked if the huge number of participants was normal and, yep: this race sells out every year. There were nearly 5,500 15K participants and nearly 7,000 5K participants. I know that a lot of people aren't into the 'gimmick' races. I myself have no desire to do a mud/color/bubble/foam/what have you race. I don't like the idea of not being timed for my efforts and the increased risk of a ridiculous injury - like tripping because there is foam in my eye. However, Hot Chocolate IS a straight up, chip timed, road race. Sure, there's anthropomorphous marshmallows dancing over the start line and chocolate chips, tootsie rolls and marshmallows handed out along the course. (The marshmallows were excellent, by the way! New race fuel idea - they melt in your mouth easily. Get on that Gu!) Yet, it is a good introduction to the fun of a first race or 5K for MANY of the participants. Now they have a concrete time to show for their effort and many will get the bug to try and better it, set goals and improve fitness. How cool is that? And for the more experienced runner, the 15K is a good stepping stone to the half marathon. Really, the Seattle 15K course is NO JOKE. It is quite a hill workout and a nice challenge for any level of runner.
This doesn't really look as menacing as those hills did during the race, but they were pretty tough.
And this year, yes there were the super cozy hoodies, and there were 15K medals - HUGE HEAVY MEDALS.
And free photos! I like the pic that Stacie snapped (above) better than the official photos since she shouted at me and got me to smile. It was hard to see the photographers because of the sun in our faces, I wish I had been able to smile for them. Next time!