Hot Chocolate 15K

What a day!  What a run!  I feel amazing!!!  I don’t even know what it is about running events like these that fills my bucket up so much, but they do and I love them!  This run, in particular, was really cool because we started out in front of Key Arena at the Seattle Center, ran down past the Science Center toward and past Pike Place Market, then we turned around, ran up some ridiculous, Seattle hills (if you’re from here, yes, I mean the ones that climb up from the ferries- those steeps bad boys), through a tunnel, then forever on Aurora, across the bridge and a good distance on 99 up a long, slow hill and finally back.  It was steep, windy, rainy, freezing cold and wonderful.  I had Macklemore in my ears and the gorgeous world around me full of fun people who paid to be there with me, running all over Seattle on a Sunday morning.  As I crossed the Aurora Bridge the first time I wanted to raise my hands in the air and holler about how amazing this all was and what a great day it is…  But I didn’t.  Instead I just gave a couple of fist pumps, plastered that grin on my face (as if I could wipe it off), and just kept climbing that long, gargantuan hill that just never seemed to let up.  When I crossed the bridge on the way back the wind had picked up, the rain had ceased to drizzle and was in full force shower mode, gusting into me.  That bridge crossing in the driving rain had me gasping and crying out old lady things like, “Oh gracious!  That’s cold!” I hiked up my hood, zipped my hoodie and hugged myself tightly to conserve heat.  But I still loved it.  I loved it best when I rounded the last corner and saw the Space Needle right there in front of me, one more turn and I saw the finish and I was so surprised that it was already over.  Already over?  That was nine miles, Girl!  You just did that!  I gathered my goodies and got out of there before I started shivering too much.  I was glad I brought dry clothes to change into because I was soaked!


I think I trained just right.  I had some extreme charley horse cramps on Friday that left my muscle bruised and sore.  I babied it all day yesterday and was apprehensive, at best, about being able to run this.  Imagine my pleasure, then, when it warmed right up by the second mile in and didn’t hurt much at all- like in a way that felt damaging- the whole time.  I didn’t cramp or anything!  I was so happy that I managed to massage, salt, heat, chill and elevate it enough that I was able to compete.  And while I didn’t place competitively, I still remain in the 40th percentile for my age group.  While I’m not even close to the fastest in my peer group, I’m also nowhere near the tail end.  While his isn’t a competetive thing for me and I don’t need to feel superior, it’s just nice to know that I’ve got more oomph than I ever thought I would.  And I PR’d my 15k on this race- even with an injury and all those hills!  Yeeehaw!  

Two really great things happened during this race:

The lady with the blue pants?  That’s Shana (like: Shane-uh).  At first I just admired the pattern on her pants and tried to decipher it- was it flowers?  Clouds?  Space dust?  The things one ponders while one runs…  But all of that consideration of her pants made me realize that she was staying right in front of me for the first three miles.  Eventually I thanked her for her excellent pacing and we started encouraging one another.  She’d look over at me and tell me that we’ve got it!  That we are doing great!  And it was fun to have a buddy who just matched me.  At one point I drank a big gulp of Nuun with a big gulp of air and I had to stop and walk for a second- and only a second becasue Shana came right behind me, laid a hand on my shoulder and reminded me I could do it.  It was like she was an angel in that moment, sent to give me a boost.  I smiled for a long time after that and used her support as I climbed that long hill.  I passed her and thought she would catch me, but the hill seemed to slow her down and I last saw her as we passed going opposite and gave a high five to one another.  I love that girl in that race in that moment.  I wish we’d have gotten slightly more official because running with her was pretty fun.

This was after the race, after I had changed into some warm, dry clothes and somehow got routed onto the running route I had just finished!  It’s a rare selfie-while-driving because I wanted to just capture this pure, happy moment of realizing what I just accomplished!  The Aurora Bridge had just reopened and it was marvelous to drive across, measuring with my car what had just been done on foot.  And guess what?  That was a long hill!  Even in my car!  

I don’t think I’ll do this event again.  While I had a fantastic time and I actually really liked the route, hills and all, it was expensive.  You got a lot of cool swag and a very cool medal, yummy hot chocolate, a nicer quality sweater and stuff, but I don’t really need all of that.  Just the medal, I think.  ⭐️It’s so pretty and sparkly!  I also don’t like having to pick up my packet the day before.  Downtown Seattle is expensive to get to and hard to park in.  It’s a two day event, pretty much, and I don’t like that.  It was insanely crowded.  This was both really cool and a minor challenge.  With a lot of people we had to wait a long time to get going so we stood in the rain for 45 minutes before we finally got moving.  Parking and traffic were stressful for me to consider.  All of that said, I liked being able to run like I imagine the Boston Marathon or something.  Looking out and seeing that thick, sea of people is a pretty incredible experience.  I’m glad I did it, but I think I’m a one timer with this one.  😉


  1. I *adore* the Hot Chocolate run. In Dec I did the 15K for the 3rd year in a row. Read about it here:

    I know it’s sucky to go the day before. We can pick up packets either Fri or Sat. But I really like the expo. There are vendors there and I get to see and touch merchandise that I might not otherwise get to see in person. Running stores are limited in my area. I have to go to St Louis to run and get my packet. We drive in and pay to park, but we could take the metro train in if we wanted. So there are options. I LOVE the fondue at the end. I love the medals. I love the jacket. This is my favorite race by far and I also love winter running so I look forward to it every Dec. Unfortunately this year I ran it in a tank top. Not my ideal weather. Congrats on a great run. The 15k distance is fun cause you pretty much have to train for it, but it’s not quite a half. I really like the distance.

  2. Paula

    Great job! I have never done a 15k. Heck, I have only done 2 5k races so far. But I totally relate to how attending races really fills your bucket. I recently signed up for my 1st 5k race for 2016. It is a small race. Last year there were less than 500 people, but I love the cause. It raises money for my favorite park & one local group. This year it is 4-H. I hope to beat my time from last year.

  3. What an amazing race experience! It felt like I was there while reading this post! I have been wanting to do this race but scared since I saw there is a 15 min cut off and I fear I’m still SO slow, even though it’s not till the end of the year lol!

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