20 In Fitness/ Running

Nashville Hot Chocolate 15K Recap

Hi friends!

How was your weekend?! I had a BUSY weekend, including a super fun 15K that I’m about to recap for you!

As you know, the fabulous Hot Chocolate 15/5k race series came to Nashville, TN this weekend, benefitting the Ronald McDonald House. I participated not just as a runner, but also as a blog ambassador! I was given a promo code back in December, as well as some pretty sweet race swag. After it was all said and done, 128 of you registered through my promo code! More than doubling the next closest ambassador’s totals. I am beyond proud and excited, and so happy to have possibly gotten 128 people up and off the couch and RUNNING on Saturday!! YAY! From what I’ve heard, the race was a huge success and I’m already looking forward to participating again next year!

Let’s chat about the actual race now!

Guys, the course was so easy and flat and man oh man was it nice and warm! I wish I could replicate these race day conditions for every race from here on out!


1. The weather was 20*, “felt like” 12*. With wind.

2. I’d forgotten how HILLY downtown Nashville is. Long, steady, mountains really.

In one word: painful.

But before you think I was miserable the entire time, let me preface this by saying that this race was VERY well organized, there were fantastic volunteers at the aid stations and all were stocked plentifully, the roads were well marked and I felt safe the entire time, they gave me chocolate somewhere around mile 6 and I thought I had died and gone to heaven, the crowd support in the finisher’s chute was wonderful, all of the tents were clearly marked, and there was live music. And it was fun! (But I think every race is fun, so I may be biased!) Props to anyone who stood around watching the races, because if you weren’t MOVING, you were freezing. Right then and there. Freezing to the ground.

We got into town around midnight the night before, then woke up promptly at 5:30 AM. A solid 5 1/2 hours of sleep is definitely not what I recommend before a long run, or a race. But, it had to be done! Adrenaline is your friend.

We also totally missed the weather forecast, and apparently assumed that “if it’s going to be 60 in Little Rock on Saturday, then it must be pleasant on Saturday morning in Nashville.” Right? Nope, prime example of a failed If/Then statement!

We headed up to downtown Nashville around 6:20, and after running into traffic and closed streets, I finally threw Adam out of the car at 5 ’till 7, so he wouldn’t miss the start of the 5k! It went something like this:

Adam: “It’s almost 7, where is the starting line?”

Me: “I’m not sure, somewhere over there, follow those runners, they look like they know where they’re going, I’ll go park, ok bye!”

And he was off to the starting line, while I somehow, magically, wound up in a parking garage nearby. I really don’t know much about downtown Nashville, just enough to navigate the basic streets, so I was little stressed trying to find the starting line, especially when I realized the route I was going to take was closed. Note to self: figure these things out before 6AM race day. I sat in the car and continued to add on as many layers as I could find, put on all my race accessories, grabbed Adam’s coat to take to him after the race, and followed a crowd of 15k runners to the race location. The 5k started at 7, while the 15k started at 7:55, in case you’re confused at this point!

It. Was. So. Cold. About 99.9% of me wanted to say nope, not happening. It’s too cold to run. I’m out! But I was not going to let the weather win! Thank goodness I grabbed my Hot Chocolate goodie bag hoodie to throw on because I definitely needed that extra layer! The hoodies were AWESOME, and I will definitely be wearing it again and again! It is excellent quality, had thumb holes, and even a small zip pocket on the back! The women’s have purple detailing, and the men’s have blue. Super, super cute.

hot chocolate 15k race hoodie

By the time I made my way to the finish line, the winners of the 5k were just coming through, so I found a gap in the crowd and parked it until I saw Adam come through at 31:00 exactly! He PR’d, and I’m SO proud of him!!!! Not just because he PR’d, but because he didn’t back down from the cold weather, and still gave it all he had! So happy for the hubs! We huddled together for probably 5 minutes, and then it was time for me to go to the start line for the 15k, and find my corral. By this point, I was sufficiently frozen from standing around, that I could barely use my hands to get my music set up on my phone, let alone re-pin my bib number on my outer tenth layer. I was still messing with everything when the gun went off, talk about last minute!

nashville hot chocolate 15k race recap and review

I felt great right off the bat, and really had high hopes for the race. But, I quickly decided that I wouldn’t put pressure on myself, and would run what feels good and just work with the cold as best I could! I did end up PR’ing though, but not with a time I’m super proud of. However, racing is all about improvement so as long as you improve on YOUR best, that’s all that matters! I finished in 1:31:03 officially. The next one will be better!

nashville hot chocolate 15k review

Here are my splits:

Mile 1- 8:56, Mile 2- 8:57, Mile 3- 9:33, Mile 4- 9:58, Mile 5- 12:52, Mile 6- 9:45, Mile 7- 9:27, Mile 8- 9:16, Mile 9- 8:50, .3- 3:28

I’m sure you can guess where the big hills were, and it should be pretty obvious where epic foot cramp of 2014 occurred. Yep, you read that right. That there is a 12:52 mile! GAH. I’m not sure how many expletives went through my mind, but I finally just gave up and walked until it stopped. I still blame post-marathon body for this, and know I should have given myself longer to recover, and Adam has told me multiple times to just REST. What is rest? This girl doesn’t do “rest”. I wasn’t the only runner having issues with cramping though, as it seemed like every few minutes you would see runners off to the side of the course stretching things out. Cold weather can definitely effect your muscles negatively! There were also a lot of runners walking on occasion, and Adam noticed it during his race as well. I think the cold got the best of everyone. I did notice though that going up the hills didn’t feel as hard as it usually does and I think adding in more strength training is really helping! I finished strong, and immediately found Adam, took a few pictures, then went to the Finisher’s tent and got our Finisher’s Mug, full of hot chocolate, fondue, and snacks. Except our fondue froze pretty quickly, which really was hilarious. But even though the weather was miserable, and the course was challenging, I still saw lots of smiles, laughter, and joy, something that is always prevalent amongst runners! That’s the reason racing is so fun, because it’s a unique thing to have hundreds or thousands of people all striving towards the same goal.


running the hot chocolate race in nashville

My Swiftwick Aspire Twelve compression socks kept my calves nice and fresh, and I wore my sparkly gold MomoBand headband.

All in all, Nashville’s Hot Chocolate 15k and 5k was a BLAST, and another great race to check off my list! I would definitely recommend it to runners in the area, and look forward to next year’s! It really was so much fun, and an awesome post-race snack to boot! Little Rock Half Marathon is in TWO weeks! Crunch time!

Thanks again RAM Race Series for letting me participate as an Ambassador for Chocolate! I LOVED it!

I’ll be back tomorrow to tell you all about our Valentine’s weekend.

Have you run a Hot Chocolate race? Have you ever run a race in the COLD?


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  • Reply
    Katie @ My Post Grad Living
    February 17, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    I live in Nashville and somehow had no idea this happened on Saturday! So glad you liked the race and sorry about the bad conditions 🙁 How do you like your GPS watch? I happened to have just ordered the same one you’re wearing (in the same color too!) on Friday.

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      February 17, 2014 at 2:45 pm

      Katie- Hey girl, oh man! Next year you’ll have to be on the lookout and run it!! I LOVE my Garmin!! YAY for purple! It’s just really nice to have your stats with you on your run, and it really helps push me! I think you’ll love it, and it doesn’t have a ton of bells and whistles so it’s not intimidating like some of the other big gps watches!

  • Reply
    Kelly @ Kelly Runs For Food
    February 17, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    I’m NOT a fan of running in the cold. I ran when it was 25 out one time and that’s the only time I’ve ever run in temps below 40. That said, it looks like it was still a great race despite the cold. Congrats on your PR, even with the setbacks!
    Kelly @ Kelly Runs For Food recently posted…Fabulous date night and turning 29My Profile

  • Reply
    Jenn @ Happy Hour Miles
    February 17, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    I’ve never run a Hot Chocolate race. I have ran a few races in temps below 20*. Not fun. I ran a 5K this past weekend and it was 30*… felt like a heat wave!
    Jenn @ Happy Hour Miles recently posted…Fitness Recap (2/10 – 2/16)My Profile

  • Reply
    Heidi @ Idlehide
    February 17, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    This race sounds like so much fu, and I mean who doesn’t love a chocolate goodie bag at the end? I also love the jacket! Great job on your run, it was a cold one!
    Heidi @ Idlehide recently posted…Why I Want To Run Another MarathonMy Profile

  • Reply
    Beth @ Running with the Sunrise
    February 17, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    I’m so sorry you got a nasty foot cramp! That’s such a bummer. I’ve gotten bad cramps in the middle of races before and it’s absolutely no fun. I’m glad you had a good time at the race and that it was well organized. I’m hoping to run their race in Chicago this year if I can!
    Beth @ Running with the Sunrise recently posted…Thinking About the Full MarathonMy Profile

  • Reply
    Kels @ Blonder Side of Life
    February 17, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    Yay! Way to conquer the weather and kick butt in the race!
    Kels @ Blonder Side of Life recently posted…Always Have a BackupMy Profile

  • Reply
    sara hoffman
    February 17, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    I wish there was a Hot Chocolate race near me but sadly there isn’t. This looks like fun (even if the conditions weren’t that fun). Congrats on the race!

  • Reply
    February 17, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    BRRRR! I love the idea of all the chocolate, but I just shut down in temps like that. I ran the ZOOMA half marathon in what felt like 30 degree weather and winds, and even though it was flat – ish, it was a tough, tough race for me.

    I hope they bring one of these near me, soon!
    Jenn recently posted…happy valentine’s day!My Profile

  • Reply
    jenn @ runnderlust
    February 17, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    I hear ya on the hills! I went to Nashville last year and every run was a mountain climb back to our hotel. OK not really…but really. Congrats on your race! 15k is a rough distance!
    jenn @ runnderlust recently posted…Motivation Monday: Our Nation’s Finest!My Profile

  • Reply
    February 17, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    I was so excited for you at first thinking you had great conditions for race day! You’re such a trickster! Sorry it was so cold for you but glad it was a good race over all. I’ve been cold the morning of a race but have quickly warmed up once I’ve started running. I tend not to do races in the winter unless they are in Florida!
    Meranda@fairytalesandfitness recently posted…Adding Some Magical Accessories to a Run Disney Race.My Profile

  • Reply
    Cassie @ Rural Running Redhead
    February 17, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    Stressful race mornings are the worst! Way to overcome the cold and the rough start and PR! Congrats!

    Hot Chocolate just came to Denver last year and I couldn’t do it, but I’ve heard nothing but good things. I want to try to do it next year.
    Cassie @ Rural Running Redhead recently posted…Weekly Workouts and Museum FunMy Profile

  • Reply
    Anna @AnnaTheApple
    February 18, 2014 at 7:50 am

    Well done! Great effort considering the conditions! Cramp is annoying – it most likely happened because you were so cold so your muscles hadn’t had chance to warm up before you began. I know what it’s like though to just want to stand huddled in a corner before a race begins. You just don’t want to do anything but get warm.
    Anna @AnnaTheApple recently posted…This is what it’s all about – Bright half marathonMy Profile

  • Reply
    February 18, 2014 at 8:03 am

    I’m gearing up to start being healthy again and just picked out a nice, easy start 30 day challenge. I trained for the Olympics at one time in my life but since getting out of college I’ve gained weight and been a lazy sod! Thanks for the inspiration.
    Kim recently posted…George Washington’s Rules of CivilityMy Profile

  • Reply
    Martina @ snapshotsandwhatnots
    February 18, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Congrats on the PR even if it wasn’t as good as you wanted it to be – I love that you got hot chocolate at the end it sounds really cool. Oh and that free hoodie looks fab, that’s exactly the kind of one I’ve been looking for 🙂
    Martina @ snapshotsandwhatnots recently posted…#scienceismydayjob – an awesome week in work!My Profile

  • Reply
    Sheena @ Paws and Pavement
    February 18, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Hot Chocolate races are so much fun! I did the Chicago one a couple of years ago and they do give some great swag. I had a blast the entire time, mainly because I love running with such a large group of people. It really pumps up the fun.

  • Reply
    Sarah @ Sarah Sincerely
    February 18, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Oh my! That sounds FREEZING! Way to go to both of you for running and finishing strong! I’m guessing the promise of hot chocolate at the end may have helped. 😉

  • Reply
    February 18, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Hot chocolate, I’m sure I would have had a double shot, you look so cold. I’m so glad our winters don’t get as cold as yours.
    I still think you did it in a great time, remember you did do a marathon recently.
    Matilda recently posted…Runs: Gone BadMy Profile

  • Reply
    Heather @ Run Like a G!
    February 19, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Hello! I just wanted to say “hi” and thanks for checking out my blog!
    One of my blogging besties did this race in Cali a couple weeks ago and I really really want to do one! Except there is not one our area 🙁 I think the closest is PA. But I think I am going to add it to my bucket list of races. I have never officially run a 15k, so this would be fun! 🙂
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  • Reply
    Tia @ Arkansas Runner Mom
    February 20, 2014 at 8:18 am

    I am way behind on blog comments but first off- great job on the hot chocolate 15k! I don’t know much about ambassadors but you did awesome!!! I LOVE those race hoodies! Seriously cute!

    And I have to say your new hair cut is beautiful. Even more beautiful is that you were able to donate it. My oldest has done that twice. (Locks of Love) She never colors or dyes her hair so I may look into that other option you mentioned next time.

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