I signed up for the Hot Chocolate Chicago 15K when I went to the Rock and Roll Chicago expo. I’ve heard mixed reviews about this race in the past, but when I saw that delicious looking chocolate bar medal, I was won over.
Saturday morning my mom and I took the train downtown. We were going to make this easy and stay in a hotel downtown. We checked into the Hard Rock Hotel, and hopped on the Metra at Millennium station and arrived at McCormick place. There was no line for picking up bibs. Showed them the code on my phone, they gave me by bib, and then I headed over to grab my swag bag. I liked how each top was in a sealed bag and they had a separate try on area to see if you chose the correct size for your zipped hoodie.
After my mom and I had our packets, we headed into the expo. Wow, there were a lot of people. I didn’t have anything specific I wanted, buy, just wanted to walk through to make sure I didn’t miss anything. In the end, I did end up buying an “I run for chocolate” pink top along with a “Chocolate made me do it” headband. The merchandise part the expo was really crowded. The checkout lines moved along fairly quickly. I also ended up finally trying on and purchasing my first SkirtSport running skirt. Larabar had a booth giving out samples, along with Food Should Taste Good. In the middle of the expo they were giving out chocolate covered marshmallows along with hot chocolate. Yum,yum,yum! I may have had a few of both of those things. 😉 I grabbed a slice of Connie’s pizza for lunch, and then headed back on the Metra.
Sunday morning I got up early for typical pre race prep. I was starting in corral B, which meant I needed to be in my corral by 6:45. I ate my typical English muffin with peanut butter and drank my cup of coffee while getting dressed and stretching. It was going to be a chilly morning. I went back and forth so many times on what I should wear. In the end I decided to wear my Underarmour cold gear leggings, Sparkleskirt, a tech shirt, and my Bank of America Marathon half zip finisher top. As soon as I walked outside, I knew I made the right dress choice.
We made it down to the starting area, and followed the crowds till we found the area to get into the corrals. I got into my corral around 6:35. The wait till the start thankfully didn’t take too long. Corral A was off at 7,and B wasn’t far behind and I was across at 7:04.
Going into this race I didn’t really have a goal. I had not run a 15K since last year when I did Gate River Run. Since Chicago Marathon, my running hasn’t been great due to getting sick. I knew I hadn’t lost everything since I PR’ed my 5K time last weekend, so I decided to do a 2 minute run 30 second walk after my first mile.
The first mile in, we ran through a tunnel area and my Garmin lost signal and it never caught up. This did end up keeping my brain occupied a bit after hitting every mile, trying to figure out what my splits were based on the overall time on my Garmin.
I was feeling really good during this run. After my body knew the weather it was running in, I got into a flow and kept at it. The wind picked up a few times and not to my advantage.
Along the course I passed a Tootsie Roll station and two marshmallow stations. There were also water and Gatorade stops. I chose to just use the water stops and not bring me own, which worked out just fine in this race.
Overall, I ended up finishing in 1:22:20! A huge new PR for me! Another sign my marathon training really paid off!
After crossing the finish line, there did seem to be quite a walk before receiving Gatorade and water, along with my medal. It was an even longer walk all the way into the finish line party in Grant Park before getting the chocolate fondue finisher’s mug. The mug had melted chocolate, a Rice Krispie Treat, small bag of pretzels, a mini banana, a marshmallow, sugar wafers, and a cup of steaming hot chocolate in the center. I drank the hot chocolate and dipped a few things in the delicious chocolate. I love chocolate, but my stomach can still only handle certain things after a run.
My overall thoughts on this race: I was thankfully in a seeded corral so really didn’t have to deal much with the crowding issues people always reference with this race. The swag for this race was great! A drawstring bag, full zip hoodie, and a chocolate bar medal. Aside from the start and finish, there really isn’t too much crowd support during this race. Volunteers that were out there, were great. I also like that they provide free race photos. So far I have only found one,but it’s the one that counts,the finish line!