Hot Chocolate 15k Nashville

Shannon. me and Abby "winning" the Hot Chocolate 15 K
Shannon. me and Abby “winning” the Hot Chocolate 15k

Our training schedule called for a race in February, so when we heard about the Hot Chocolate 15k it seemed like a great idea. the race boasts an adorable hoodie for swag and hot chocolate with fondue at the finish. Chocolate, running and hoodies? Sign us up.

I could hardly contain my excitement for Friday’s prerace expo. With all the chocolate hype, I was expecting the exhibit hall to look something like an 80’s Dairy Queen commercial. On arrival it was only a small room with a couple vendors. The promised chocolate was a single puny square. {Insert sad trombone.} The tables were well organized and picking up the packets was easy but my marathon training appetite was hoping for something more like this:

The morning of the race, the temperature was a bone chilling 5 degrees. Granted, we are accustomed now to running in this weather, but we are not accustomed for waiting around for an hour in the cold before we start running.

Waiting for the race. (Most of the 5,000 participants are huddled in the merchandising tents attempting to avoid frostbite)
Waiting for the race. Most of the 5,000 participants are huddled in the merchandising tents attempting to avoid frostbite.

When we finally started the race, my hands and feet were completely numb. It was the craziest sensation. It felt like I was running with 2 concrete blocks attached to the bottom of my legs.

The course started at the bicentennial mall in downtown and took Broadway down to the Parthenon. The course was hilly, but again cold and hilly is pretty much our specialty.

After about 3 miles, I finally warmed up enough to feel my extremities. All things being equal, it does help to be able to feel your feet while you are running. You may want to tweet that fine bit of running wisdom.

Overall the race was fun, enough people where running to get your adrenaline going, but it wasn’t crowded enough to effect your pace. The event was well organized, and I was floored by the number of volunteers who showed up in the cold to cheer us on and staff the ice water stops. There were 2 “chocolate stations” on the route where they were handing out the chocolate squares, however the idea of eating chocolate at mile 6 of a race was not very appetizing.

The last mile of the race was downhill and we finished strong. I set a PR of 1:21 and we all three placed in the top 20 in our ages groups. At the finish, my “land of Dairy Queen” dreams finally came true. After hydrating with water, we headed to the chocolate tent. Despite the crowds, the lines went quickly and the hot chocolate and fondue was every bit as delicious as promised. The hot chocolate was super rich. The chocolate fondue came with a banana, pretzels, rice crispy and cookies for dipping. It was truly a perfect ending to the race.

Gorging ourselves on delectable chocolate after the race
Gorging ourselves on delectable chocolate after the race

Overall, the Hot Chocolate 15k was a great race. The race course was well organized and the hoodie was stylin’. Despite the absence of chocolate rivers at the expo, I would definitely run this race again next year.