Two weeks ago I had the great privilege of pacing the Hot Chocolate 15k course in San Francisco for the second year in a row! If you recall from 2017’s post, it was a rainy, windy day last year. Fortunately, this year turned out to be much better!
After making my way through some San Fran traffic, I finally arrived at the South San Francisco Conference Center for the Hot Chocolate expo at about 3:30pm Saturday afternoon. While at the expo, I met up with Vanessa from Vanessa Goes from Fat to Fit and we talked with a giant corn, I tried my first persimmon, we ate graham crackers with chocolate, drank hot chocolate, and took quite a few pictures. (Oh! And we picked up our bibs and jackets too.)
Once we had our fill at the expo, we made our way to our nearby hotel. When I’m staying in a hotel by myself, I tend to pick the cheapest one there is. When I’m staying with others, however, I tend to choose a little nicer hotel. 🙂 Since Hot Chocolate offers a shuttle service to Golden Gate Park for race morning, we decided to stay near Millbrae instead of trying to fight the traffic and busyness of Downtown San Fran. We walked to an awesome local Mexican food restaurant for dinner, took notice of a silly nearby sign, and called it a night.
Before turning out the lights, I laid out my clothes and snapped my traditional #flatrunner pic.
Our alarms were set for 4:30am the next morning. Not an absurdly earn wake up call since this is the time I wake up when I run before work, but still early nonetheless.
After getting ready and grabbing a complimentary breakfast “snack” from the hotel, we made our way to the Millbrae station to catch the shuttle. The shuttle service began at 5am, but we were told it wasn’t necessary to board the shuttle that early. We ended up hopping on the shuttle at about 6am which still gave us plenty of time to get to my pace group meet up at 7am.
(Doesn’t Vanessa make the cutest unicorn?!)
While waiting for the pace group to all arrive at the meetup tent, Vanessa and I took a pic in front of the giant marshmallow man (Is this who the character is?!)
The beast pacers took a group pic and then it was time to line up in our corrals. (Interested in becoming a Beast pacer? Go to http://beastpacing.com/)
The course itself was beautiful. (Here’s a map.) It took us through Golden Gate Park and along the Great Highway! I missed the part along the Great Highway last year since the course was cut short due to bad weather. The course has a few hills with an elevation gain of 279 ft. and a loss of 315ft. Overall, however, the hills weren’t too bad and I was able to maintain my 15 min. pace. 🙂
Yes, even pacers need to stop and use the restroom sometimes. According to our Beast pacing guide, we are to pass our sign off to a racer who is holding a consistent pace near us, use the restroom, and then catch back up to the group. I passed my sign off to Vanessa. Since there was a line to use the restroom and it took longer than expected, I had to sprint a little over a quarter of a mile to catch back up to the group!
Despite stopping to use the restroom, I am happy to report that I finished right on time! Woo hoo!
Once at the finish line, we were eager to pick up our drop bag and find the chocolate!
Overall, it was a fantastic weekend and another great Hot Chocolate race experience! I look forward to pacing the 15-minute group again next year! Will I see you there?
One more thing… don’t forget to subscribe to me on YouTube and check out my latest race recap video of the Hot Chocolate run!
Until next time,
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