Holy cow, was this race a blast! After running the 12ks of Christmas last year, my coworker Traci and I decided to try out the Hot Chocolate 15k this holiday season. And after the experience I had with it, I think it will be an annual event! This race was just pure fun!
Since my parents were in town that weekend and my sister-in-law, mom and I were going shopping in Scottsdale, I dragged them to the expo and packet pickup. They did seem enthused about this but that changed as soon as we arrived and were immediately handed a cup of warm and delicious hot chocolate. Yes, this expo was fabulous. In addition to hot chocolate (which was incredible), you were also handed little chocolates as soon as you entered. Larabar and Food Should Taste Good were also handing awesome full samples.
One of the biggest draws of the Hot Chocolate 15k – aside from the chocolate – is the swag. They go beyond a tech shirt and give participants some form of jacket or sweatshirt. This year, we received a light-weight zip-up hoodie. I was really impressed with the quality of it and have worn it many times since the race.
Onto the race, Traci and I carpooled and left very early to make sure we got there on time. It was a standard Arizona December day – very cold until the sun came out then really nice. To prepare for this, I wore my holiday ProCompression calf sleeves, shorts, a t-shirt and the arm sleeves I received from the 12ks of Christmas last year. My arm sleeves were off before the race began but they were helpful while we were waiting in our corral.
I had zero expectations for this race and just wanted to enjoy it. I took advantage of every chocolate aid station (except for the tootsie roll one, yuck!) and went at a comfortable pace. There was a woman I kept in my sights throughout the majority of the race and I definitely targeted to pass her at the end. I had one mile over 10 minutes and averaged 9:42. After not running for six weeks, I was really happy to finish 9.3 miles in 1:31:12. The course itself was very flat. There were several nice neighborhoods we went through and a few areas with great views of the mountains. The volunteers were awesome throughout the entire course!
My parents surprised me at the end of the race and cheered me on at the finish. After chatting with them for a bit, I collected my medal. This might be my all-time favorite one. It’s shaped like a chocolate bar with a bite out of it and personalized with an Arizona scene on it. It’s fantastic. Not only did we get a medal but we also got a plastic mug with hot chocolate (duh), chocolate fondue, a banana, marshmallow, wafer cookie, peppermint sticks and pretzels. It was fantastic. Traci and I enjoyed our goodies before taking photos on the podium and hugging blow-up marshmallows.
This race was easily one of my favorites and I am fully planning on running it next year. Even if I’m injured, I’m going volunteer for it because I loved it so much. Huge thumbs up Hot Chocolate 15k!