Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K in Nashville 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!
I believe I lucked out in choosing Nashville as my city of choice for running in one of the Hot Chocolate series of races. I had never been there before and I definitely plan to return because of the hospitality and the overall fun atmosphere of the city. And that all started with the flight into Nashville. The flight attendants were having fun with a group of people who were celebrating someone’s birthday party and had the whole plane sing “Happy Birthday” to her. It was a fun way to wake up since the flight was at 5:25am and that is not my strong time of day. I only mention this in a race review because it really set the tone for my overall experience of the race and the city in what could have been a really crappy brief trip. And that would have been because of the weather. I flew in on a Friday and left on Satuday evening. Both days, low 40s with intermittent pouring rain. Not pleasant at all. The day before I arrvied: 75 and sunny. The day after I left: 55 and sunny. So, bad luck with weather but I didn’t let that damper my race trip and my feelings about the city. Now onto the review portion of this blog.
After settling in at my hotel, I took the hotel shuttle over to the entertainment district of Nashville, where a short walk of five blocks led me to the Musician’s Hall of Fame and the race expo. The expo are was relatively spread out well with the bib pickup off to the right past several vendors and your pullover on the other side of the room to the left from where you entered. Everything was labeled easily to locate your stuff. The largest vendor table belonged to Nuun Hydration, who were the race hydration sponsor. In the middle of the space was several rounders of Hot Chocolate merchandise from shirts to vests to headbands to water bottles. Some of it was on sale, some of it were newer items. In the back of the space was a spot for you to make a donation to Make-a-Wish and take a picture in front of their background. After picking up my bag and having an early hot chocolate treat, I took a necessary selfie in front of one of the many giant poster board options they had there.
(Sorry I look so awkward…)
After that I checked out some of Nashville (while ducking raindrops) and made my way back to the hotel to prepare for dinner and then a restful night of sleep before the race. I had everything laid out and ready to rock for the next day.
The next day (race day) started poorly because it was pouring. Cats and dogs pouring. One thing I despise is running in the rain. Freezing temps? Fine. Humid weather? Not ideal but fine. Rain is a killer. You just get cold and damp and slowly start to freeze. I had hoped the weather was taper off and it did for part of the race but not all of it. I took a ride service to the start line since the hotel shuttle wasn’t operating that early yet. I quickly found the bag check but made sure to snap a selfie with the big guy before checking my BibRave hooded sweatshirt.
Soon it was time to mosey over to the corrals and do some stretching. Just before they did the national anthem, they brought on a young Make-a-Wish child to ramp up the crowd. It definitely stirred me up and I was pumped to run.
The horn went off and so did we. I had set a goal in my head that I wouldn’t push myself because of an injury I have been trying to heal buuuuut I didn’t listen. I started out at a nice steady pace but then my competitive spirit kicked into gear and I started racing. The course was nice, but I will say it would probably been nicer had it not been intermittently raining/pouring. That’s also why I was probably going faster than I had planned myself to go. There were several minor inclines and declines but a lot of flat ground for the course. I must give a massive shout out to all the volunteers on the course, and two in particular. One, not really a volunteer I guess, but he was a police officer working the race. Coming down a straight stretch, there he was standing in the middle of the road, yelling like he had a bullhorn, cheering on runners and dishing out high fives to everyone. It was awesome and gave me some serious momentum! Second, with about two plus miles remaining in the race, one girl manning a water station by herself in a poncho while it poured was screaming and cheering all runners on to keep going and that the finish was near! Seriously uplifting! Way to go Nashville volunteers for the enthusiasm and tolerance of the weather!
A tempered finish line was to be expected since it was raining and many people were crossing and looking for cover right after or getting their coats from gear check. I was happy to finish the race so I could get to some warmth. They had water and Nuun at the end, as well as some chocolates that were being handed out. I received my finisher’s medal and got my hot chocolate bowl. Man, was that delicious and good!
I have to say, without the nasty weather, this would easily top my favorite race list by far. And even with the weather, I want to go back and plan to go back. For running and for more fun. If you are a runner, I would highly recommend this race in this city and make a long weekend out of it. So worth it with so much to do around your race.
And finally, about a week or so after the race I was able to claim my results for my race on the Athlinks website. Have you checked it out? Because if not, you should invest your time in doing so. Here’s a peek at what it does below.
Pretty cool! Check it out!
If you have any questions about the Hot Chocolate 15K in Nashville, please send them my way. I would love to share more if you like!