Hot as Chocolate
My HC San Diego 15K Race Recap
Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Allstate Hot Chocolate San Diego 15K race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!
It’s been over a year since my last in-person race. The month following that last race, I got sick with an upper-respiratory infection that we will never know for sure was or was not COVID. In my very long recovery I have tackled several virtual races, all 5Ks. A few months ago I decided I was ready to push myself again. So I signed up for the Allstate Hot Chocolate San Diego 15K.
I had never run a 15K before, but it seemed like just the right distance to get me back in the game, plus, who doesn’t love an automatic PR?! Near the end of 2020, the race series confirmed that our race, like many others, would be going virtual. “Woo hoo,” I thought, “now I don’t have to run those terrible downtown San Diego hills everyone dreads.” This allowed me to really just focus on building up my distance.
I had only run about a maximum distance of 4 miles at a time, in December when I started training. The Hot Chocolate race series does send you a training plan, which is really nice. I didn’t follow it because I was so far out of shape still, I really needed to just do what I could to get to the distance.
I worked my way up weekend after weekend: 4 miles, 5 miles, 5.5 miles, 10K, 7 miles, and then I did two long run weekends with 8 mile runs. I left the rest up to mental strength and chance.
About a week before the race, my fiancé’s race packet arrived, complete with bib, medal, commemorative race hoodie, packets of hot chocolate mix, and some other sponsor goodies. As of now, my packet has yet to be shipped. I did get a message back from the race support site and they said that due to shipping delays, my package hadn’t been sent yet, but I’ll receive a notice when it ships. It’s kind of a bummer, given that the packet really makes a virtual race feel anywhere near like a real race experience. At least my fiancé was willing to share his 5K support packet goodies.
So, the day came, February 28, and we drove down to Mission Bay for another COVID virtual race. My fiancé ran his 5K while I set out to round the bay and pick up 9.3 miles. I came out of the gate pretty darn fast for me with first mile splits at 11:29, 12:12, and 11:55. For someone who’s been struggling to pick up the pace as I recover from illness, these were looking pretty good! I did slow down on the second half of the run, which is to be expected - I have had a lot more practice with 1-3 mile runs than I have with 9 miles in the past year.
In the end, I made it back to the start in 1:54:59, pretty pleased with my 12:18 pace. No medal to hang around my neck yet, but I did log my time on the race website, so I’m official. The race timing is all honor system, so if you’re looking for a highly competitive virtual race, this might not be your thing. However, if you are looking for some delicious hot chocolate - step right up! A couple of nights this week I dove into my fiancé’s hot chocolate packets, and dang, are they yummy! I hope I’ll get a chance to run this race in person someday so I can enjoy out of that big ol’ hot chocolate cup they give.