Friday, March 22, 2019

To Compress, or Not To Compress

Disclaimer: I received a pair of CEP 3.0 Tall Socks 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! 

There's a question that I see at least once per week on Twitter or Facebook - Should I run with Compression Socks? It's a question that can spark lots of debate with runners. Scientific studies have shown to be inconclusive, but in general, purely on anecdotal evidence, many runners believe that compression during a run helps them with muscle fatigue and for recovering much more quickly. Most agree that post-run, they are for sure super effective.

Me (and my BBB crew) post RnR Savannah - Wore compression socks,
bought from the Expo, got new Half Marathon PR. Coincidence?
For me, I use compression socks for long runs (those over 10 miles) and for recovery both. I suffered from reoccurring shin splints when I first started running and compression seemed to really help me. For the past 2 or 3 years now, I have worn compression socks for pretty much all of my races, all Half Marathons (and my single Marathon) and occasionally for shorter distances too. Maybe it is just the mental aspect of them, feeling the snug comfort brings a bit more confidence more so than actual science based reason, but for whatever reason, they do well for me. 

Color cooridination FTW!

Based on recommendations, I've tried a few different brands of compression socks, but my favorite by far are CEP. My local Fleet Feet Sports recommended CEP for me initially and they are the brand that I've been the most comfortable in. They fall into the category of a bit on the pricey side, but worth every penny - I try very hard to purchase quality items that cost more but last much longer lives and thus, cheaper in the long run. CEP are an ideal mix of tight, but comfortable. And they come in really cute colors - I currently own 5 pairs, each a different shade (teal/pink, black/grey, orange/pink - 2.0 tall, yellow/black - Trail Merino and my newest pair, pink/grey - 3.0 tall. 


Yup, just recently, CEP introduced the next generation of their Tall Socks, the 3.0. They are amazing. They provide even more precise compression exactly where your legs need it the most. They have also improved the moisture wicking and breathabilty of the socks ensuring that you will not overheat and stay comfortable. Perhaps the neatest (and most noticeable) improvement is to the is that the toe box is now designed asymmetrical, kind of how like toes actually line up. 
Photo credit: Holabird Sports


Post-marathon ride home
I wore two pairs of CEP socks just this past weekend and could not have been happier with the results. I ran my first ever Marathon (I may have mentioned it a few times) and wore a pair of my tried and true 2.0s for the race and wore my 3.0s for recovery for after the race. And you know what? The next day, when everyone kept asking me how I felt and if I was sore, I was reminded again and again just how good my legs felt. Like seriously, I kept thinking I should feel way worse, but pain (other than a minor issue that I had before the marathon) was pretty much non-existent. Sure, I was a bit stiff, but overall, I have to say, recovery has been awesome. 


You can check out more information about the new CEP 3.0 Tall Socks on the CEP webpage here: https://www.cepcompression.com/ Also check out your local running store, I just go an email from my local Fleet Feet today that they are now in stock there. 


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

So Yeah, I'm a Marathoner Now

"Disclaimer: I received entry to the Tobacco Road Marathon 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!"

HOLY BUTTS! I RAN A MARATHON!!!
It wasn't pretty. I had a pretty rough last few miles, but I did it. Here's the breakdown -

This was my 2nd time running Tobacco Road, but my first time on the Marathon Course (I ran the Half last year). Man, what a great race. It is small enough to make you feel like you are getting individual attention with small touches like the RD shaking everyone's hand at the finish line, but large enough to be exciting.
On the Road to Tobacco Road
I drove in about 2.5 hours to Cary with the family and stayed at the host hotel for the Expo, which was super nice and had a few perks for runners like free reception the night before and free late check out for runners. The Expo was small, but well organized and a few cool things this year like a visit from Jeff Galloway who gave a talk and was gracious enough to chat with and take photos with anyone who wanted to. I'm always too self conscience for that, but two of my friends got their bibs signed and he greeted them like old friends. We got race specific tech shirts, which were an upgrade from the previous year. The Half shirts were lime green and the Marathon were a pretty teal. 

Perhaps my least favorite, and only real issue with Tobacco Road is the parking situation. There are really 2 parking options (3 if you count getting dropped off) 1 - purchase 1 of a limited number of parking passes and 2 - parking at a remote lot and taking the shuttle in. Pretty straight forward, but both require you to arrive by 5:30 am for a 7:00 am start, which I feel is a bit too early. I rode with a friend with a parking pass and arrived right at 5:30 where we sat in the warm car for 45 min before getting out to use the ample port-a-potties and looking for other friends. The BibRave team met up and took a quick picture. 3 of us were doing the Marathon (2 of us our first) and 3 the Half. We wished each other good luck and then split off. I lined up at the start about 15 min before the race and pacers were well positioned for both the Half and the Full distances. I found the 4:35 pacer and positioned myself well back, but ahead of the 4:50 pacer. Was hoping for an under 5 hour finish. 

Team BibRave  in the HOUSE (err... ROAD)

The first 2.5 miles of the course was on road and had a few hills. Nothing I hadn't trained for, but a bit hilly nonetheless. Both the Half and Full start at the same time and cover this distance together. I ended up catching up with a friend who was running the Half and ran with her until the split. When you arrived the trail, the Marathoners turned right, while the Halfers tuned left. The right trail was hard packed dirt for the first few miles, then half hard packed/half asphalt so you could choose which surface to run on. There were a few road crossings that we well managed by police and support stations heavily manned with cheering people and water, Gatorade, gels, and Stroop waffles. At mile 7 (and 11) there was a Mimosa station that had bacon too. You ran to about mile 9, then turned back to where you started, where you were at just around mile 14. Then you crossed the main road (well manned with police) and started on the Half course. This side was all hard packed. You ran to about mile 19, then turned back to where you came onto the trail. Just past the turn around point, there was a huge spread of all kinds of goodies - cookies, snacks a ton of stuff that I didn't stop to check out, but was super nice. There were several port-a-potty stations also along the course. Once you came off the trail, you made you way back to Thomas Brooks Park down the same 2.5 miles you came in on. I felt the hills a bit more the way back, but nothing terrible, just gently rolling.

Not my picture, nor the time of year of the race - photo credit: TrailLink.
But wanted to show the Marathon Course trail.
Not gonna lie, I am STRUGGLING here!
I am not going to lie, the course is a bit on the boring side. It is pretty much the same exact view for 22 of the 26 miles - bare trees on a straight path. I don't mind out and back courses with limited crowd support much, but if you do, this is not the race for you. The crowds that were there we at road crossings and were very friendly and super supportive. In fact, around mile 21.5, I was feeling rough. That wall is real people, and this really nice lady came over to me and gave me a hug and some encouraging words. It was super kind. By then I was had switched to intervals and was pretty sure that my goal of under 5 hours was not going to happen. I ran to the mile marker, walked a tenth, then started up running again. Those last few miles all I could think was get to the next mile marker. 

Lots of excitement at the finish that was a bit of a blur to me to be honest, but there was a beer garden, free pizza, water stations, chocolate milk and I'm sure lots of other things I missed. Tons of volunteers were on hand for anything you needed. And the huge medal was gorgeous! I plan on wearing it for quite awhile! At a very minimum, I am carrying it around in my purse and showing it to anyone who will stand still long enough. Seriously, look at this beauty! 

My husband and daughter were waiting for me at the finish (as was my run bestie - BarkingMadRun) all of who took pictures and video of me finishing. (Speaking of photos, I did remember seeing a photographer at least 3 times on course- once on the Marathon course, once on the Half course and at the finish). I tried to cross the finish line was as much cheer as I could, glad to be done, but still knowing I missed my goal by a few minutes. It was nice to get that shot of love at the finish and cannot say how happy I was to have them all there. I didn't really stick around to partake in all that the finisher party had to offer because I really really wanted to get in a shower back at the hotel before the drive home, and that meant leaving pretty much right away.

Overall, it was an amazing race for my first Marathon. Will I run another? ... NO. Not ever. People say never say never, but I am saying NEVER. Nothing to do with the race, Tobacco Road was amazing - I'd run the Half again and again - but I HATED training and running a marathon. It took up so much of my time, it felt like I was working a second, exhausting full time job in addition to all of my other commitments. It made running a horrible chore, and it probably didn't help that this was one of the wettest Winters on record. I spent so many hours cold, wet and miserable, that even though race day was perfect weather (thank goodness), I was just so over the whole process. 


One of the reasons that we challenge ourselves with great tasks is to learn about ourselves and I learned that I really do not enjoy running these longer distances. And you know what, that's okay. Different strokes for different folks, right? When my daughter was little, we used to tell her that if everyone liked the same thing, the world would be very boring. I'm glad I did it. I'm glad I set the goal, put in the work and proved that I could. Even though I missed my timing goal, (let's be honest, the REAL goal was to just finish, which I did) even though the last 4 miles were a DISASTER, I'm proud. 

I'm a Marathoner. I am one of the 1%. I am MIGHTY!


And here's another look at that beautiful medal! 





Thursday, March 14, 2019

Marathon Bound: A Quick Look Back

"Disclaimer: I received entry to the Tobacco Road Marathon and access to the AfterShokz #262squad Marathon Training Experience on Motigo 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!"


It's almost time. Just 3 more days and I will be running my first marathon. Let's take a quick look back at the journey so far.

We started with Theoden memes, might as well end with them too

Over the summer of 2018, I somehow got the brilliant idea that I wanted to run a marathon. I figured, people keep asking me if I have and I am getting older, so if I were to actually do it, it had better be sooner rather than later. So, I decided to let the fates decide. If BibRave partnered with Tobacco Road Marathon again in 2019, I would choose it for my first marathon. I had enjoyed running the Half (read about it here) and even posted a Half Marathon PR at it. It was a great, flat, well organized race, so yeah, why not. 

Me at Tobacco Road after the Half in 2018. Technically,
I ran the 2nd part of the Marathon, which is the hardest
part, so should be a piece of cake, right?
Well, as you have figured, BibRave did partner with Tobacco Road and I registered. I was even given another awesome opportunity through BibRave on a super supportive, Beginner's Marathon Training Program through BibRave and Aftershokz through the #262Squad training on Motigo (check out more info about that here). Seems like all of the stars were aligning for my Marathon Dreams. All that was left was to put in the training.

Oh boy, what a training it was!! Practically every single weekend (and most weekdays in fact) it rained. This Winter was the wettest on record. I'm not even exaggerating. There were studies done and articles written like this one:
Oh look, a picture of me running in the rain. How novel.
At least it was warm in this one... 
https://www.wfae.org/post/2018-now-wettest-year-record-washington-and-other-cities#stream/0

And do you know what an outdoor runner with no access to a treadmill does when it rains? They get wet. Really wet. Add in to that the fact that it was Winter, they get cold and wet. But still I logged the miles. Almost 500 of them in fact, no matter the weather. Using the #262Squad plan, I put in long run after long wrong, steadily increasing my miles over 18 long weeks. Though those weeks, I honed in my nutrition plan and hydration plan. I switched from a fuel belt (which never sat right on me) to a backpack. I practiced different outfits and ran over all the scenarios again and again. I never missed a single training run.
Along the way, I had a few local friends also sign up for Tobacco Road, which was such a help. 2 ladies from my Fleet Feet Running Club signed up for the Half and a guy for the Marathon. We'd put in our first few miles (whatever was on their plan) with the girls and then Harman and I would finish out our miles. This will be Harman's first Marathon as well. I could not have put in the long runs without them. 

Post-20 miler in the cold, wet rain. We're smiling, but we don't mean it.
Week 15 was a particularly challenging one. It was cold, and it was wet. Really wet. I rained and rained and rained. We split the mileage into 3 parts. 7 miles with the main Fleet Feet Club. 6 more with the Tobacco Road crew. Then the final 7 just Harman and I. I would have given up for sure that day without a squad. After the first 13, I removed 3 shirt (all totally soaked through) and put on 3 more (all of which got soaked through as well). It wasn't pretty, but Harman and I figured if we could push through that day, we were unstoppable. I hope we were right, because it's almost time to prove it. 

All there is left now to do is to enjoy it (so people keep telling me). The family is coming with me again to Cary for the race. We are going to try and make it a fun weekend where I just so happen to have to stop in the middle and run for hours and hours on end. I'm excited to see some of my BibRave friends there and again, it really is a great race. The medal is adorable and I plan to wear it for a week striaght. Plus, automatic PR when I finish, right? 

At leas the weather is looking clear, so I am choosing to think as I had in the beginning, this Marathon was meant to be run. Wish me luck. And if you'd like to join me, online registration is now closed, but you can still register for the Marathon at the Expo starting tomorrow (the Half Marathon is sold out, however). 


Thursday, March 7, 2019

The Benefits of Racing Virtually

You ever feel like there are just way too many cool races out there, too many awesome charities you'd like to support and too many way cool medals out there to collect and not enough time or funds to travel all the places you'd need to go? 

Never fear - through Virtual Racing you can find the freedom to set your racing schedule to fit your needs. Here are 5 reasons why you should consider joining the ever-increasing ranks of Virtual Races, a community that is growing larger each year. 

1. Race on Your Schedule
The by far number 1 reason for running a Virtual Race is that you can race whenever and wherever is most convenient to you. The majority of Virtual Races will give you time frame in which to complete your race - typically either a certain week or even a certain month. This way, if you have a non-traditional schedule, say, you work Saturday mornings when most races take place, you still get to race and earn fun bling. Or, maybe you live in an area that doesn't have many local races, making it harder to compete due to travel costs. Virtual races let anyone race anywhere! 
Earn the same medals as those running the race in Texas,
from anywhere in the world! 

2. Earn Fun Bling
Virtual Races are a great way to to boost your medal collection. There are so many cute ones out there! Often times, you can even earn the same medals as those running the official race event. For example, the Zooma Race Series has virtual options for all of their events, so Virtual participants can earn the same bling as those who can travel to the event. Sound like something want to try out? You can register for any Zooma Virtual at a 15% off with discount code: ZOOMABR here: http://zoomarun.com/race/

3. Less Pressure to Compete
Some people love to use others to push themselves, but there are others that can feel intimidated at organized races. With a virtual race, you can kind of build your own experience. Want competition? Invite your crew to run with you. Running with others cause you stress? Feel free to run solo. You can really customize your own race experience to whatever is most comfortable for you. 

4. Support Some Awesome Charities
Most Virtual Races typically will be in support of a charity, which gives you a great way to support an important cause while getting in your miles. Because the Virtual Races do not have to  pay for things like municipal fees for closing streets and aid stations and so on, they often can donate more of your entry fee to charities. And you can pick and choose Virtual Races that support causes that are important to you. Go ahead, do a web search for a charity that you love and I bet you can find a Virtual Race to support it. 

5. Be a Part of a Huge, Supportive Community
Most Virtual Races have extensive online communities that participants can become a part of both before and after race events. Maybe you are more shy in person than you are from behind a keyboard. If so, getting to know others on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or on event websites may be just what you are looking for. These communities offer awesome support systems and encouragement that you may not have access to in the real world due to distance, time, or social obligations. 

So, ready to get started on Virtual Racing? There are tons of options out there. In fact, I am participating in a Virtual Race tomorrow for International Women's Day. The Zooma Women's Day 5K officially takes place tomorrow (though you can run your miles anytime during the month of March) and still has a few spots open. You can join by registering here: http://zoomarun.com/race/womens-day-5k/ and I even have an awesome discount code for you: register with "RUNTHEWORLDBR" to save 10% on sign-up. Here's what you get with your registration! 

Let me know in the comments if you plan to join me out there on the Virtual Race Course! There are literally 100s of options out there to choose from! 

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Zooma Womens Day 5K 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! 

Monday, February 25, 2019

Super Yummy, Super Convenient, Super Food Bites

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Food Groove Mission Super Food Bites 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! 




So you may have heard me mention a time or two (or 500) that I am currently training for my first marathon. I find myself in these final weeks of running 30-40 miles per week feeling 3 things near constantly - tired, a bit sore somewhere (and not always the same place even) and HUNGRY! That one is in all caps because seriously, I am ALWAYS HUNGRY these days. But, as you can imagine, I have to be a bit more careful about what I eat in order to keep my energy up. Therefore, I am always on the lookout for yummy, healthy snacks.


Lucky for me, I was recently given the opportunity to test out Food Groove Mission Super Food Bites. These super yummy, super healthy, super convenient little snacks pack a big punch. They are made with all natural, raw ingredients that provide long lasting natural energy plus essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Just a few of the incredible ingredients in these powerful little balls of energy include: Organic Peanut Butter, Organic Dark Chocolate, Organic Dates, Manuka Honey, Organic Berries, Organic Acai Powder, Organic Nuts, Organic Chia Seeds and so much more. 


The come in 3 yummy varieties, Mother Earth: a unique blend of berries, seeds and nuts, The Nutty Adventurer: a burst of peanut buttery goodness and Holy Truffle Punch: a pure spark of dark chocolate. I had a hard time picking my favorite, they were all so good, but I think I have to say I liked the Mother Earth the best. 



My favorite thing about these Food Groove Super Food Bites (other than the taste) is that they come in a convenient resealable bag. That way, I can just eat a few at a time if I am only looking for a small snack, and then seal the package back up keeping them fresh and  yummy for later.

The resealable package works especially well for me when I am wanting to eat something not too heavy before my gym workouts. I will open the pack, eat about half, do my Burn Boot Camp workout, and then eat the other half afterward. Previously, I had done this with protein bars, opened it, ate half and then left the 2nd half in my car for after my workout. Except once or twice I forgot about the 2nd half and... well, let's just say when I discovered the 2nd half after sitting in my car in the hot sun all day, it wasn't so terribly appealing and made quite a mess to clean up. Needless to say, I do not have this issue with Food Groove Super Food Bites.

They are also great for a mid-morning coffee break to give you a burst of energy to push you through until your lunch break at work. 


Want try these out for yourself? You can shop online here: and use discount code BIBRAVE15 for 15% off of your entire order (one use per customer). They also have a cool Bite Club option where you can set up custom reoccurring orders of 10 pouches or more to be automatically shipped to you for a discounted price plus free shipping in the USA. You can check out more about the Bite Club here: https://foodgroovemission.com/pages/bite-club

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Yes, I'm Still Alive...

Hi out there in blog-land. I know I have been MIA for a bit. Been going through a rough spot or two and haven't had the time that I really wanted to devote to the blog as of late. Between a family tragedy (we recently lost our 17 year old kitty a bit unexpectedly) plus the sheer amount of time and energy that has gone into marathon training, well, the blog has kind of taken a backseat. 

Anyway, thank you sticking along for the ride. I will begin posting regularly again this week with a training update. 

Be back soon. In the meantime...



Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Race Day Recap: Hot Chocolate 15K Charlotte - Even Sweeter for 2019

received entry into the AllState Hot Chocolate Charlotte15K as a part of being a BibRave Pro. Check out BibRave.com to read and write race reviews. 


This past weekend I rant the Hot Chocolate 15K Charlotte and let me tell you, this is an awesome race that got even more awesome for 2019. This is the 2nd year that the Hot Chocolate race series has held a Charlotte event, and you can tell that they worked hard to improve an already great event. (To read about the 2018 Hot Chocolate 15K Charlotte 2018, check out my previous blog post here: https://runnerdgirl.blogspot.com/2018/02/hot-chocolate-15k-charlotte-second.html). The event Expo and Start/Finish were moved into Uptown Charlotte, both of which were massive improvements over the 2018 race. 

The Expo was on Friday and held at the Charlotte Convention Center, which was super easy to get in and out of. There is a light rail station right outside of the Convention Center, so I just parked at a station with free parking down the line and picked up a round trip ticket and was on my way. There were lots of parking options for those who wanted to drive in and didn't mind the price of a parking deck. I met my running besty (check out her blog here: ) and we took a few pics, picked up our bibs - a super easy process - grabbed our amazing jackets which we were able to try on and switch out if necessary - I did, the sizing was big last year, so I sized up, but this year it was spot on, so I traded for my regular size - and explored a bit. I picked up some Nuun and grabbed some Jelly Belly jelly beans before having a Hot Chocolate and chocolate goodies samples. I also ran into several of my local running buddies including several from my Burn Boot Camp group that I had strongly encouraged to do the race and even provided them custom training plans. Overall, I really enjoyed this year's Expo and thought the new location was MUCH better than last year's. 
Scenes from the Expo

Also, I want to take a quick minute to talk about the Hot Chocolate 15K Jackets. This year, they really outdid themselves. They are always nice, but this year, the jackets are not only super attractive, they are SO SOFT, it's like sliding on butter. The lady at the Try-On area actually laughed at us when we tried on our jackets because of the face of utter joy that we made when we slid them on. I am not one to wear race gear before the race, but I will admit I wore that jacket the rest of that day. In fact, I am wearing it right now while writing this review. I love this jacket. I am actually tempted to run the Atlanta race just to get a 2nd one in black. 


The morning of the race, I met up pre-race with my Burn Boot Camp ladies so we could carpool into the city. We could have taken the train, but decided if we loaded up cars, by the time we split the cost of parking, it would actually be cheaper, plus we'd have a place to stash stuff. There is a lot of available parking around First Ward Park, where the race started and finished, another big and positive change from the previous year where I almost panicked over not being able to find a spot. So far, the changes for 2019 were on point. 

We made our way to the park and took pictures of our group, hit the ample port-a-potties and did some last minute pep-talking. There were several ladies in the group that this was their first race and were super nervous. Out of the group, 3 of us were doing the 15K and the rest the 5K. Since I had a bit more time for my start (the 15K started at 7:45 and the 5K at 7:30) 


Burn Boot Camp Rock Hill Squad in the house! So proud of these ladies!! 

I wandered around the park a bit saying hi to lots of local runners I knew. I met up with the BibRave crew for a quick picture and the Official Hot Chocolate 15K Photographer even snapped a few pics of us. Heck yeah to free Race Photos! 


BibRave Pros Representing! 

Right before 7:30 I made my way over to the start area to send off the 5K runners. There were 3 very well organized Corrals and the first started right on time. The 2nd and 3rd Waves were sent off in about 2 min intervals after. Then it was time for the 15K runners to get into position. I was let into my Corral and quickly found the 9:30 pacer, which was to be my goal for the race. There were multiple pacers, and even redundant pacers in different Corrals, which was pretty neat I though. The 9:30 pacer in my Corral (D) was super kind and we chatted while waiting to start. Right at 7:45, we were off! 


Since the Start and Finish were in a different place this year, obviously the course was a bit different as well. First Ward Park is kind of on the edge of Uptown and we quickly made our way out of the Center City area, over the 277 overpass and into NoDa area and towards Villa Heights. From there, we circled around Country Club Heights and then wove around a bit through Plaza Midwood before heading back into Uptown and finishing on 7th Street. I've run a few races in this area, including a 10K that finishes on 7th Street so I was fully aware of the amount of Hills that I would be encountering, which is to say... Several. Charlotte is not a flat city, if you are going to race there, you are gonna race on Hills, that's just a fact that I've learned to embrace over the years. Compared to last year's course, though, even though it was a slight bit hillier, I enjoyed the scenery much more this year. Unfortunately, it sprinkled off and on during the race so I was pretty wet throughout, but it wasn't really what I would consider raining. Let's put it this way, had this been a warmer race, the sprinkles would have been welcome. Not hard enough to drag you down or soak your shoes, just, you know, enough to keep you kinda wet throughout. An unfortunate thing about the wet weather was that the race photographers I saw on course had their gear bagged up to keep it dry, so no on-course photography, which was a bit of a bummer, but understandable. 

As far as the actual running of the race, it went really well for me. Knowing I would stop at the 4 aid stations on the course, I tried to keep a bit ahead of the 9:30 pacer to account for when I'd slow/stop for water or Nuun, both of which were about every 2 miles. Also, at the aid station were some treats. I didn't partake (goals, yo) but saw gummy bears, marshmallows and chocolate on course. I managed to keep pretty close to the pacer who was cheerful throughout and would give helpful heads up like upcoming turns and Hills. The course also had lots of police and volunteers around the route and mile markers with timing at each mile interval, plus at the 5K and 10K marks. 



I crossed the finish light at 1:28 (EXACTLY a 9:30 pace which gave me a NEW PR) and was met by cheers of my friends that ran the 5K. There were multiple finish line photographers snapping pics as volunteers handed out medals and gave out bottles of water and Nuun, but in cups and samples for later in the finisher chute. The medals were really cute and as usual, specific to the City. The bottom of the medal had a Charlotte Skyline and a Cardinal, which is the NC State Bird. 

I made my way back to my friends on the side line to wait for the other two 15K runners that were with us to finish. When they crossed, we made the short walk (about 2 blocks) to First Ward Park for the Finisher Party Area. Finishing in Uptown was SUCH an improvement over last year. The post-race party being in First Ward Park was amazing and there was lots of room for the runners to mill around and check out the several tents that were up, including, of course THE POST RACE GOODIE TENT where you picked up your Hot Chocolate and Finisher Bowl of yummy goodness! 


The Finisher Bowl contained of course, a big steaming cup of Hot Chocolate, chocolate fondue, banana, cookies, Rice Krispie Treat, marshmallow, pretzels and new this year, a Honey Stinger Waffle. I grabbed my goodies, drank my Hot Chocolate, and ran into a bunch of my friends who had run the race, all smiling, laughing and eating their goodies. In addition to the race goodies, there was also a tent giving out Jelly Belly jelly beans and even a Taco Truck giving out free tacos! I then made my way back to the finish line to cheer on the runners who were finishing, including Kim who, as always, I snapped a few finish line pictures of. She had PRed on this course too so the new course must have been good luck! 

After everyone I knew had come off the course, I met back up with my ride at the parking deck and we made our way out of Uptown. Overall, it was a pretty awesome race. I really really enjoyed the changes that they made from the 2018 race. I can't wait for next year, which will be Hot Chocolate Charlotte 15K number 3 which means LEGACY status and extra bling! Here's hoping one of these years it will be a dry one!