Race Review: Hot Chocolate 15K Minneapolis

Disclaimer: I received entry to the Hot Chocolate 15K Minneapolis to review 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! 

**If you ran the Hot Chocolate 15K Minneapolis, head over here on BiBrave to review it!

This weekend was my first race I ran with entry from BibRave and I couldn’t have asked for better weather! I had the opportunity to run the Hot Chocolate 15K Minneapolis on Saturday. I’ve run 2 previous Hot Chocolate 15Ks (DC in 2011, Columbus last November) and heading into yesterday was batting .500 with good/bad experiences (oh DC).

I flew out from Cleveland Friday morning after presenting Grand Rounds for work. I had a lay over in Chicago and was able to get some food prior to making the trip out to Minneapolis. I headed out and caught my Super Shuttle, which took me to my hotel downtown ($16 compared to a $40 cab). The bonus was that the hotel was right next to the convention center where packet pick up was. I walked over and easily found my way up packet pick up.

Come find me if you're running @hotchocolate15k Minneapolis!! #HC15K

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Something I like about Hot Chocolate 15Ks is that they send you a link with your registration that brings up your QVC. You save it on your phone (in my case, it was saved in my Passbook since I have an iPhone) and when arrive for bib pick up, they scan it and it pulls up your information. They take a bib and the sticker that is spit out from their computer with your distance (15k vs 5k) and your corral. They send you into the expo to pick up your sweatshirt jacket. Pink for women, green for men (unless your me who isn’t a pink fan, then you order a men’s jacket). I do wish they would come up with another color for the women. Just because I am a woman doesn’t mean I like pink.  The expo was small. It had some national vendors (Lara Bars, Bondi Bands i think) and one of the local running stores and a few other stations. They also gave a small hint of what to expect treat wise on course.

What you have to look forward to @hotchocolate15k tomorrow! #HC15K #bibcat #runchat

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Swag! @hotchocolate15k #hc15k Minneapolis #bibchat #runchat

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I did some exploration afterwards and found some dinner. Ultimately, I called it a night and set a bajillion alarms on my phone. I did appreciate that the 15K started at 850 AM (which was 950 AM on my Eastern Standard Time body). I woke up around 7 and put on my gear and headed out. I was going to use one of the public bike shares, but I was stopped by another runner who thought I looked like I was doing the race. We ultimately decided to split a cab and were joined by 2 college volunteers. The start was at Boom Island Park, a good 2 miles from where I was staying. We got there with plenty of time to spare, and time to use the bathrooms more than once. Most people who drove in parked on the other side of the river and walked over, others used the bike valet the race had set up.

Gotta bike? You can park it at the @hotchocolate15k start! #bibchat ##hc15k #runchat

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The 5K runners were sent off first at 810, followed by the 15K runners 40 minutes later. I personally would have done it the other way around just to get the 15K runners enough time to be done. Corrals were sent off every 2 minutes or so. The first little bit was in an industrial park or something along those lines. We got out to the street and had some turns before getting on Marshall Ave. About 1.5 miles in, we had our first water stop with chocolate marshmallows. I should really start carrying those for my long runs, because they do work. We kept chugging along passing mile 2, eventually heading across the Mississippi River. It reminded me of going over the bridges during the NYC Marathon in 2011 and the hills that came with it. After the 5K, more hydration and this time, tootsie rolls (which I passed on). We kept on down Washington Street and really didn’t get to see Minneapolis downtown until 5-6 miles in. I was moving slow for me (my own fault for too much walking the day before, and I have 3 half marathons coming up). Somewhere along the 3rd water stop after mile 5, I had water dumped on me, which was a shock to the system. I definitely enjoyed the view of the city, though I wish I would have been able to run through it. We passed the 10K mark and went out and back along another bridge before heading through some of the park and finally across the bridge back towards the start. We headed down Main St. towards Boom Island park, only to deal with what felt like a ramp with a ginormous hill on dead legs right before mile 8. We did get some fans, especially towards the end. We finally hit Booms Park and the finish, which was appreciated.

After the finish, the 15K runners were met with medals and then had about a 1/4 mile walk to the post race area where people could meet families, Ronald McDonald House had a kid zone, some vendors, and of course, chocolate.

Enjoying some post race bling and chocolate! #bibrave #bibchat #hc15k #runchat @hotchocolate15k

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After sitting for a bit, I ended up trucking 2 miles back to my hotel and enjoying a $1 million shower. I took the afternoon to enjoy some baseball (and forgot to translate the start time into CST, meaning I missed the first 2.5 innings). After church and dinner, I chilled out in the hotel before waking up for a 7:25 flight back home.

Overall, it was a decent race, however, I think a few things could be different. I think the big thing is the course/location. With the race being in Boom Island Park, there’s no easy way to get there. For people who drove, they had to park across the Mississippi River and walk over. If you biked, you had a place to leave it at the race. If you had no idea where to go, you either cabbed it over or walked in.  I didn’t really get to see Minneapolis either. I would have opted for an earlier start time and more of a traffic diversion of downtown to see the city and have it easier to get to.  I thought the post race stuff was a bit far from the finish, but there was the space to spread out. More than enough port a potties, water stops and support staff, no issues with safety at all. If you get a chance, run it!

Please don’t forget to go to Bibrave to review the race yourself!

BibRave-DeepOrange-Gray-01

Register and Save!

Because why pay full price for anything?!?

  1. Kentucky Derby Marathon and Half Marathon (Louisville, Kentucky 4/25/15): 10% off with BIBKDF10. Registration ends on April 15, 2015, so hurry!
  2. Hot Chocolate 15K Minneapolis (Minneapolis, MN 4/18/2015: Free hat with registration with MINNHAT3
  3. Woodrow Wilson Half Marathon and 6K (Washington, DC 10/4/2015): 10% off with 2015CB10 through 4/30/15
  4. The Endurance Challenge Series (Ontario/Wisconsin/Utah): 15% off with BIBRAVE15
  5. Nation’s Triathlon (Washington DC, 9/13/15): $20 with CHERRY15 through 4/19/15
  6. Race for Respect 5K (Silver Spring, MD 5/30/15): $10 off with CHERRY2015 through 5/26/15

Enjoy!

Product Review: StrideBox

As a runner, any time there’s something to try, I’m willing to try it once. My mom decided to send me a 6 month subscription of StrideBox, a service that sends out running related samples once a month for people who subscribe.

The basics- where to find them!

Website: http://www.stridebox.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Stridebox

Instagram: https://instagram.com/stridebox/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/StrideBox

How it works

If you have a runner you love, you can send it as a gift as a 1 month, 3 month, 6 month or year long subscription. Fees range from $20 to $180 depending on how many boxes you want to send over the year. If you’re buying for yourself, $15 as a sign up fee and $15/mo. Your first box ships the Friday after you sign up and the first Friday of the month.  Each box has 6-8 running related samples in it.

Stridebox, a perfect small box of goodness for any runner!

Stridebox, a perfect small box of goodness for any runner!

February Box

My box came on Friday, so a nice little end of the week surprise to kick off the weekend! What’d I get this month?

  1. Nuun Hydration tab. I get to throw it in a bottle of water and give it a try on this weekend’s run. Hopefully I can find it likable so I can get some flavor into water so I drink more of it
  2. iGloves. Perfect for the negative windchill we’ve been having in Cleveland this winter so I can save my hands and still take calls on my phone
  3. Picky Bars. Never heard of them but excited to try them!
  4. High Protein coffee. Never been a coffee drinker, so this will likely be going to my mom 🙂
  5. Joshua Tree Lip Balm
  6. Skratch hydration
  7. Chia Surge. Another energy supplement it looks like. We’ll see if it agrees with me!
What you get: 6-8 running related samples. February included: iGloves, High Protein coffee mix, Chi Surge, Picky Bars, Nuun, chapstick, and stickers

What you get: 6-8 running related samples. February included: iGloves, High Protein coffee mix, Chi Surge, Picky Bars, Nuun, chapstick, and stickers

I love the idea of this. It’s like a Birch Box for runners and we’re always trying to find new things that work for us, so this gives us the opportunity to try some samples before spending a boatload on something, only to find out it doesn’t work. You can start/stop receiving it whenever you’d like, but hopefully I’ll stick with this for awhile!

Happy Hump Day!

1. Rock n Roll Chicago: $10 off with runthistown

2. Pro Compression Socks: Pair for $19.99 on Groupon (normally $45)

3. 3 in 1 Foam Roller: Groupon for foam roller, $29.99 (normally &69)

4. Energy Bites: 25% off with runchat

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