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Maintaining a disciplined running schedule in the winter can be hard for even the most dedicated of runners. It’s dark when you wake up, it’s dark when you get out of work and it’s hard to be motivated when the weatherman tells you “it’s gonna be cold one today.” What’s the solution? Enter a race where they have chocolate waiting for you at the finish line! This weekend, New York City Runs sponsored the M-M-Manhattan Hot Chocolate 10k and 5k in Riverside Park. A good friend of mine had signed up with some of her girlfriends and invited me to come along. With the promise of chocolate, brunch and the chance to meet some new friends, I was in!

NYC Runs is a newer running group in New York (as opposed to the NY Road Runners, who puts on the ING NYC Marathon) that suffers from disorganization and apparent vendor/supply issues. However, they offer less expensive races that emphasize fun over esteem. For hard-core runners, this is probably irksome. For me, though, I can put up with some minor annoyances while they smooth out the kinks as long as they keep the entry fees low. And $20 for hot chocolate, a cute mug and a great run is definitely worth it to me!

See You in the City!

The race start was near 108th Street in Riverside Park. All of us expected a flat run, however, the organizers surprised us by mapping out a rather hilly race. 3.1 miles never felt so long.

Kristen and me before the start of the race! Kristen is one of the first good friends I made when I moved to the city and we clicked effortlessly. (We met through the Urban Girl Squad.) She kept me motivated during the race, since I was trailing her the entire time.

Come get your hot chocolate!

Brunch time! One of the benefits of burning so many calories. I had never been to Community Food and Juice before and it is delicious! I am so happy to have found such a great brunch place in my neighborhood.

A lot of places in New York don’t take reservations and this is one of them. Luckily we beat the rush and got a table rather quickly.

Congratulations on a great run! Yes, that’s my coconut vodka martini on the right.