Disclaimer: I received a free entry into the Virtual Denver Hot Chocolate 15k 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!
Since the Hot Chocolate race series started, I’ve had my eye on that jacket and medal! If you’re a runner, you know exactly what I’m talking about. However, literally, every year since the beginning (in Colorado), I have had to work on race day.
This year was finally my year… albeit it would have to be virtually!
It’s nobody’s first choice to choose a virtual race over an in-person event, not the race directors nor the runners. Ironically, it’s because of the current state of affairs that I did not have to work (timing) a 5k and I got to do the (virtual) Hot Chocolate.
It’s also ironic that literally as soon as I signed up for the race, my body started breaking down. Since having Layton, my running has been up and down, up and down, over and over. I’ve had really good periods of running and then really bad. I’ve had times where I’ve been able to resume a regular training program and other times where I haven’t even been able to squeeze in one day a week for a run.
When COVID first started and the quarantine hit, I was doing really well with training. As the pandemic went on and on and my home/work-life balance became wonky (it is still all wonky), my training plummeted again. Then, as cross country season was approved to resume, I started running with the kiddos again. I don’t know if I started too much, too fast (or maybe not enough stretching and recovery) but before I knew it everything was hurting. Between my hips, low back, knees, and plantar fasciitis, something is usually in pain during or after my run.
I digress… I still wanted to do the Virtual Hot Chocolate race – this was my chance. I wanted to earn that swag, so I came up with a plan. I was going to split my 15K into sections. I decided to do three 5ks, three days in a row.
I really appreciated the communication from Hot Chocolate. We got a couple of emails about what to expect and “how-to” participate.
My packet arrived a few days before “race day” and I was so excited to unwrap the infamous jacket. I’ll wear that with pride now!
On the day of the race, they posted a video of the national anthem at an iconic location in Colorado, Red Rocks Amphitheater. Nice touch.
Part 1 – Friday
I took my favorite running buddy, Layton, out in the stoller for an afternoon 5k. I walked for the first mile, ran for a mile and a half and walked the rest of the way home. This worked very well for me and I kept my pace slow as to not aggrevate any of my “injuries.” Even though there was a ton of smoke in the air and my stroller was broken, it actually turned out to be a good run. Afterwards, Layton and I stretched, as you can see, in the living room.
Part 2 – Saturday
Since we had a morning cross country practice, and I had a babysitter, I thought the trails would be a good place for part 2 of my virtual race. We’re getting closer and closer to the end of season, which means all the remaining athletes are super fast! That leaves me alone during the run. I walked for the first quarter of a mile and walked/jogged the rest! I actually ended up running 3.8 miles on the trails and felt pretty good.
Part 3 – Sunday, Done!
For my last section, Layton joined me again and we got the stroller fixed. The air quality was much better and we had a nice leisurely run around my town. There was actually more running than I expected and this was my fastest 5k out of the three! We celebrated in my driveway where we split our finisher’s medal chocolate!
I uploaded my time, uploaded my photos and the joined the “after party!” On the Denver Hot Chocolate 15k Facebook event page, they hosted an after party with fun chocolate trivia, city of Denver highlights, music and giveaways! I thought it was a nice touch for a virtual event.
I think Hot Chocolate did the virtual race thing well. Like I said, no body that does in-person events wants to do a virtual event instead – believe me, I know first hand. But the crew at Hot Chocolate did all they could to make your virtual experience fun. From the national anthem, email communication, results, photos, and post race “party,” they made you feel like you were part of a real event, rather than just running on any regular day of the week.
Didn’t get into the Denver race? The beauty of the virtual series is that you can sign up for ANY hot chocolate and be a part of the action! Click here to pick a city! The next one is Chicago and it is a Virtual event as well!