Latest reviews by Karen Poole
I ran the Seattle Hot Chocolate Virtual 5k race around my home town. This was honestly so nice to do since I haven’t had a huge amount of training with a 4 month old at home! It was nice to be able to do the run on my schedule and with my stroller. I also loved choosing my own course. As with any race, there were pros and cons to this being run virtual.
No need to travel to race - so important with a 4 month old!
Can run any time of day - works with baby’s nap schedule and my husband’s schedule
Get to just come home and rest up after since it’s so close
Mini cheering squad at home!
Fun trivia questions and energy on Facebook - opportunity to win a free entry into a future race.
No race day motivation from other runners
Didn’t feel the normal race ENERGY!
My medal and swag didn’t arrive until 4-days after the race
I do miss traveling to races - even though it was nice to not have to.
All in all, I enjoyed this race. In the future I will try to recruit local running friends to run with me to give it a more race day feel. Having the motivation to race did get me out the door when I really just wanted to stay in bed. For me, that is why I need to sign up for races, either in-person or virtual. I need motivation to train.
As usual, the Hot Chocolate Race swag was great! I got a tech hat, hooded fleece zip-up, chocolate, hot chocolate packets and a very sweet medal! It has a little compartment to store your chocolate in, so fun! I definitely think this race has amazing perks when it comes to swag. Who doesn’t like chocolate?
Will I Run Again?
YES! This is my second time running a Hot Chocolate race, and I can’t wait to run another one in the coming years. They are always fun and motivating. It’s a blast to be able to have chocolate to look forward to at the finish line - whether in person or virtual.
This was a very fun race! The swag came fast and before race day so I could finish the race with my medal! I loved the tech fleece half zip, medal and race bib.
Being a virtual race I chose to race on Halloween and dress up with my son in our Batman costumes! We had so much fun making this into an experience we would remember. We chose our own local course and had fun taking pictures and running at our own pace.
As for organization, the race directors were very communicative. There was also the ability to add effects to your photos after the race and submit your times making it feel more official.
2020 has been a crazy year for racing, but this virtual race was a bright spot on my race calendar! I would definitely do this race again!
If you have the chance, sign up for this race!
Food Truck 5k Race - Virtual
I ran this race in my local neighborhood. I had plans to drive somewhere, but the air quality was steadily getting worse due to local fires so I got out the door and ran asap to beat the smoke. This run became more of a run/walk since my son kept jumping out of the stroller to pick berries, follow squirrels, look at a snail and pick up sticks. Ha! That’s racing with a toddler for you! I had fun no matter what; and let’s be honest, running while 32 weeks pregnant is not going to win me any speed records anyway! I was just proud to have completed the race! It was great that I could do this race anywhere, because it made it easy to get out and run with a stroller. I wish I could have run on their live course, but it was a little far for me to drive in person.
Silicon Valley 10k Race - Virtual
I ran the 10k on a weekend and chose a course that would really entertain my toddler riding in the stroller, the Golden Gate Bridge. I had some great views and was right by the water for that extra SF Bay breeze! I actually felt better running the 10k than I did on the 5k. Running the race in a new location made it seem more like a race and wearing my race bib got me some cheers from others on the bridge. I even ran into a few other runners out doing virtual races! One offered to take my picture. I would definitely recommend wearing your race bib, even on virtual races, to get some support from other runners or walkers around and help keep your mindset in the right place. It is still a race, after all. Challenge yourself and make it seem like you are still meeting up for the live event.
Run 2.0 Challenge
Medals and swag from the running the Run 2.0 Challenge was amazing! I snagged a shirt for the 5k, a shirt for the 10k, medals for both races, and a bonus medal for completing the challenge! These medals were BIG and high quality.
Was It Worth It?
This was definitely a virtual race I would do again, though I hope it is in person next year! I felt like the race organizers were on it every step of the way. Having live courses you could run was an awesome perk, just one I wasn’t really able to use due to distance from my house, being pregnant and bringing a toddler along! Their communication was on point through email and social media. I also loved that the swag arrived at my house before race week so I could earn it immediately after my run, just like at a live race.
I definitely hope to do this race in the future and hope you will join me!
I love Hood to Coast! The race is incredibly well organized and offers gorgeous scenery and an amazing support system. Fans are great, your team is great and the swag is awesome. Plus - you start at the top of Mount Hood and end on the Oregon Coast Beach!! The after party is always a blast and the city of Seaside is so welcoming. I have run this race twice and can't wait to run it again! You run three different relay legs over 24-36 hours and while it's exhausting and has lots of varying elevation, it's a challenge I love. And bragging rights for life! Do it!
Disclaimer: I received a free entry into the Hot Chocolate run San Francisco 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’ve run a lot of races and this one had a lot of firsts for me. Let me preface by saying that San Francisco generally has perfect race weather. Cool temperatures, a mild climate and a perfect place for running. This was not a typical San Francisco race.
Northern California has pretty much been in a drought for years and I can’t really be disappointed by rain. However, we happened to received the worst rain and wind storm we have had in years the very weekend of the Hot Chocolate race. Driving down on Saturday before the race there was an eerie calm and I thought for a moment that the weather network may have been wrong.
After packet pick-up, the group of friends that I was staying with went to dinner at the Cliff House restaurant and when we exited the wind and waves were starting to pick up. That night the storm continued to grow and even with the ear plugs my roomie generously shared with me, I could still hear the wind and rain pounding outside our hotel. It didn’t get any better by morning. It was one of the worst storms I have seen.
But runners are built of resilient stock.
Runners in general are built tough. What we do isn’t something the majority of people do. Runners seem to like pain and suffering and the best runners thrive off of it. So even in bad weather, when ordinary people wouldn’t show up, runners do. They make it happen. In fact, just about 10,000 of us showed up for the big race, undeterred by wind, rain and fallen port-o-potties.
The 5k race took off as scheduled. I was running the 15k. Due to such high winds and waves along part of the 15k course, for our safety the race directors shortened the 15k to a 5.9 mile race. I don’t think anyone was too concerned about this. There were cheers at the start when the shortened course was announced.
I have only ran through one other similar storm. The worst part of running in a storm isn’t the run itself, it’s the waiting before and after the race that chills you to the bone. For this race, I was dropped off at the start with my friend running the 5k. She started 45 minutes before my race began, so I was standing in the cold for an hour and a half before I actually took off (since we arrived about 45 minutes before her start).
There was hardly any shelter at the start. After huddling in a tent set up as a store with a mass of other people, my friend and I decided that we would be better off braving the wind and rain. We weren’t huge fans of being sandwiched in the middle of 100’s of other people with no room to move. When it came time for my friend’s race to start I walked her over and cheered her on. Then I went to wait under some sheltering trees where I met a few girls to chat with about the race. 45 minutes later I was off and running!
I actually enjoy running in the rain. It was a blast and everyone was so upbeat. Soaking wet or not, racing is just fun! Racing through Golden Gate Park is also beautiful and with so much rain the waterfall was gushing. Plus, I felt so accomplished and fierce after finishing. Not everyone would be able to finish a race like this and my friend and I both prevailed.
After being soaked and running with soggy shoes and raindrops dripping down my face, that hot chocolate at the finish tasted amazing! And my medal will always be dear to my heart because of the memories of persevering it holds.
The race management team was great. They were faced with amazing environmental challenges and overcame them while still putting on a fun, safe event. I felt respected and taken care of and my hat is off to the Hot Chocolate Race SF staff! I hope to do another one of their races in the future.
Of course I can’t forget to mention the swag! I love the hoodie that everyone receives at the race and the hot chocolate, fondue, banana, and treats at the finish were well worth the cost of registration. I can’t wait to do another Hot Chocolate race in the future, maybe in a new city!