Saturday – Hot Chocolate 5k Expo
On Saturday, Danny, the kids, and I drove to Chicago to pick-up our packets for the Hot Chocolate 5k.
Jaden loved the inflatable marshmallows.
The expo had some chocolate samples, hot chocolate samples, and marshmallows. The hot chocolate was delicious! We picked up our bibs first and then got our Hot Chocolate jackets.
The jackets come wrapped in plastic and they tell you absolutely not to open the plastic or you will not be able to exchange it if you need a different size. Instead they have a try-on section with tables set up with different size jackets. So people take turns trying on whatever size they need to make sure it fits. If it doesn’t fit, you can exchange your unopened jacket for a different size. Exchanges were at the expo only.
I made my way to the try-on section and found a women’s size medium jacket to try on. It fit perfectly so I was happy. I was also excited because I registered for the race early enough to get an embroidered jacket that said Chicago 2015 Finisher.
We finished up at the expo and went home. When we got home, I opened my jacket and took it out of the plastic to put on. I put my hands in the pockets and one of my hands kept going right through the pocket – it wasn’t sewed close!! Basically there was a giant hole in the pocket which made it unable to put anything in including your hands.
I was really bummed because this is a more expensive race and I was really looking forward to wearing my embroidered jacket. I did contact the Hot Chocolate race on Facebook about it and they said to contact them on Monday about exchanging it. I’m glad they’re fixing the problem but that probably means that I’ll have to mail the jacket back and wait for a new one in return. So, I’m super bummed about that.
Sunday – Hot Chocolate 5k
My in-laws watched the kids for us since we were in the first wave for the race and had to be up early. The Hot Chocolate race is a 5k and 15k – they both start at the same time and in the same corrals but there are two waves. I thought this was a good way to organize it since they said 45,000 people signed up to run.
We were in wave 1 and corral D so we had to be in our corrals by 6:45am. We woke up right before 5am and left soon after to get to Chicago a little after 6am. We pre-paid for parking online so parking was easy. The parking lot wasn’t too far from the start so we walked over.
I used the porta-potties twice before we headed to our corral.
I was a little nervous about the 5k and 15k runners starting together in the same corral but honestly it wasn’t too bad. I saw on Facebook that 65% of the runners ran the 5k and the other 35% ran the 15k so it really wasn’t too overcrowded. The 5k and 15k runners ran together until we split apart at mile 2.8.
Prior to the race, Danny KT taped my knee and both my ankles. My ankles have been bothering me when I run lately so I made sure to tape both of them. I wore my new Mizuno Wave Inspire 12s which I absolutely love. I received these shoes from Mizuno as a FitFluential ambassador and I love them because they are a supportive shoe and I need all the support I can get.
Danny and I did not run together since he is quite faster than me but we did start in the same corral together. I was nervous about the weather because it was only supposed to be around 30 degrees and I hate the cold weather. I get so cold it’s ridiculous. But it ended up being closer to 40 degrees. I was cold while we were waiting but I warmed up fairly quickly while we were running. I bought throw away gloves from the Target $1 spot but I ended up wearing them the whole time.
This was Danny’s first run since the marathon. Well, he ran a mile on the treadmill once or twice but this was his first distance over a mile and first race since the marathon.
Our corral had 10 minute mile pacers for the 15kers and I thought it would be a good idea for me to stick with that group for the 5k. I tend to start out 5ks way too fast and really lose energy quickly. I was hoping that by sticking with the 10 minute pacer, I wouldn’t start out too fast.
I stuck with the 10 pace group for a little over a mile. At that point, I felt really good (better than I expected with my knee and ankles) so I decided to speed up. I decided that it would be my goal to either stay in front of or with the 10 minute pacers and not let them pass me up.
The first mile was pretty much unground in a tunnel. By the time we exited the tunnel, the cool air felt wonderful. The first two miles went by so fast which was nice. At mile 2, I started to slow down a bit. Surprisingly, my knee felt perfectly fine but my right ankle was killing me. About a quarter of a mile before the finish, there’s a giant hill. It’s terrible.
It’s not even that it’s super steep, it’s more that it’s so long. It just slowly slowly climbs up and at the top there’s a race photographer. Nice. I bet those are some great pictures. That hill really killed me. It was hard and I could feel myself slowing down and just wanting to stop.
Running has always been a challenge for me and has never been easy. I felt fairly good this race and really wanted to finish strong. When I initially saw the finish line, I was like this sucks. That’s way too far. I hate running. My ankle hurts. I don’t care about anything. Whatever.
But I also really wanted just be be done so I pushed a little harder and crossed that damn finish line. I didn’t wear my Garmin so I had no idea how I finished. I felt like I did decent but slowed down a lot that last mile so I wasn’t sure.
My official time ended up being 30:46 and I was incredibly happy. That’s a good time for me and my last few 5ks haven’t been the best so I was proud of myself (which I think every runner should be whether your fast, medium, or slower. Crossing that finish line is always an accomplishment.)
My second reaction was if I only ran 47 seconds faster I could have had a 29 minute 5k. And then Danny was all like don’t do that to yourself. You ran great and you’re happy with your time so be happy. So, I am. I am very happy with my 30:46. My ankles hurt. I had hip surgery a year and a half ago. I have compartment syndrome in my calves. I overcome obstacles that other people might not deal with and I am proud of myself.
In case you’re wondering how Danny did – he ran the 5k in 23:02. He’s good.
After the 5k, I met up with Danny and we headed to the post party which was actually quite aways away but we were able to walk right up and get our hot chocolate treat.
We got a finisher’s mug with a cup of the world’s best hot chocolate, chocolate fondue with a marshmallow, a mini rice krispy treat, a bag of pretzels, hazelnut cookies, and a banana.
Please ignore my super crazy hair in this picture. It’s ridiculous.
It was freakin’ delicious. I don’t eat anything before I run a 5k so I was hungry! I ate the marshmallow, pretzels, and rice krispy treat with the chocolate fondue. Delicious. I saved the hazelnut cookies for Jacob and brought that banana home. Danny and I don’t like bananas so we saved them for the kids.
On the way back to our car, we saw that the second wave had started so we watched for a little bit and we’re able to see my sister-in-law and her cousin running. My grandma and cousin also ran the race but we weren’t able to see them.
Overall, I really liked the Hot Chocolate 5k. It is definitely one of my favorite races to date. The expo was well organized and there was no line for the bib or jacket pick up. They also offer an option of mailing your packet to you which I might do if I ever ran the race again. It’s cheaper to get it mailed than it is to pay for parking at the expo. I did enjoy the expo but having to pay for parking two days in a row is expensive.
Race day was also well organized. At first, we were unsure how to get into our corral since the roads were blocked off but they had a lot of people telling us where to go. The corrals were big and had lots of people but our corral didn’t feel overcrowded. There were tons of porta-potties and I only had to wait about two minutes in line.
After the race, the volunteers were handing our gatorade and water. I was able to find Danny right away after the race. We did have to walk for a little bit to get to the chocolate finisher’s mugs but it was worth it. There was no line to pick-up our chocolate. We did start in the first wave in an early corral, so I don’t know how the lines and wait was for people later.
I would definitely run this race again in the future and even the 15k if I trained for it!
- What did you do this weekend?
- Favorite chocolate?