Yes, I'll gladly run for chocolate!
...and if I can do it with a friend? All the better!
The city was Chicago, the date was this past Sunday (November 7th), and the race was the Hot Chocolate 15K, a national series that has venues in various cities across the United States. Oh, and did I mention there was hot chocolate at the finish line?
But first, let me set the scene...
This was a very last-minute decision (like "five days out" kind of last-minute, LOL). We had tickets for the Iowa vs. Northwestern football game, the day prior. The thing is, the official game time was not announced until seven days out. We'd been under the assumption it would (probably) be a day game, and we'd (probably) drive back to Iowa after the game would have ended. An evening game, though, warranted a Saturday night hotel stay...so why not book a room near the race site and bring along the running shoes?
I'd known, for several weeks, that Deborah was going to be in Chicago that same weekend, and that she'd registered for the race. As soon as we'd confirmed our travel plans and secured a hotel reservation (we: the hubby, myself, a friend and his son), Deborah and I started scheming a plan to meet up and run the race together. Game ON!
Fast forward to race day, Deborah met me at my hotel on race day morning. She'd graciously gotten my race packet for me, since I wasn't able to swing the expo (coming from central Iowa, there was almost five hours of travel time to get to nearby Evanston, as well as extra time needed to get to Ryan Field and find parking for the 6:00 game). We didn't even have time to check-in to our hotel until well after the game (late Saturday evening).
Anyways, we got to the race site shortly after 6:30, giving us enough time to check a bag, use the porta-potties, and weave our way through the masses of runners (according to the official results, there were 5,469 15K finishers, and 14,860 who finished the 5K!). I was assigned Corral A, and Deborah was Corral B...so we compromised and lined up at the very front of Corral B (the corrals were numbered up to "M"). Our plan was to run the race together, and have as much fun as possible.
Let me just say the weather was totally on-point! Although there was a little bit of wind, it really wasn't an issue (and actually felt good towards the end of the race).
|ready to run for chocolate (pic from Deborah)|
After a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, Corral A was released across the start line, and Corral B was allowed to go a few minutes later.
So, we were off and running!
As mentioned, our main objective was to run the race together, and chat and laugh as much as possible. Deborah was planning on doing run/walk intervals, and I was game to give that a try. Heck, I'm used to taking brief walk breaks, through the water stations, so I had ZERO issues with following her lead on this.
Ironically, it was during our first walk break when we came upon a race photographer. He may have busted us in a walk (not that there's anything wrong with that), so we made the best of it. Nothing wrong with having a sense of humor, right?
After the very crowded line-up (and race start), I was impressed how fast everyone seemed to spread out. The race started with the route going north on Columbus, out of Grant Park. Then, there was a lengthy stretch on Wacker, under a fairly dark underpass...probably my least favorite feature of the race. Eventually, we made it off of Wacker, and went south on Clark for the better part of the second mile.
I think it was around this time (in the third mile, on another walk break), when we met Megan, a recent Chicago Marathon finisher. Turns out, she'd been pacing off of us for awhile. She said our intervals had been perfect for her, so we invited her to hang with us as long as she wanted.
Eventually, the route had us going south on Michigan, for the next few miles. I barely glanced at my watch, but I could tell our pace was strong on the running segments. I'd been so preoccupied talking with Deborah, that I'd forgotten about the Honey Stinger gel in my pocket. I'd had a granola bar for breakfast, and had been grabbing a quick sip of water at each of the water stations, but I knew I'd probably need something else to sustain me for all of those 9.3 miles. Fortunately, it was just before the 5-mile mark when I remembered the gel. Crisis averted.
It was such a beautiful morning! We had nonstop sunshine, and with the minimal wind, I was starting to feel warm. Not uncomfortably warm, but I definitely was not feeling any semblance of coldness. For me, that's an okay situation...I'd rather be too warm than too cold.
Before we knew it, we'd passed the 5-mile mark. Not much longer, we reached the 6-mile mark and the route took us to the famous Lakeshore Drive (now headed north again). What an amazing view with the city on our left (and up ahead) and the lake on our right.
Miles seven and eight had us continuing north, for a long (but scenic) stretch. We passed Soldier Stadium and Field Museum, in the final mile, and just had a short, curving stretch back into the south area of Grant Park. Then we saw the finish line...
Wow, and just like that, we'd finished. It was hard to believe we'd gone 9.3 miles because the time had gone much too quickly (IMO). That's the thing about doing something you love, and having a friend along with you...it doesn't seem (much) like work.
|all smiles! (pic from Deborah)|
|Don't worry, the banana didn't get touched, but the hot chocolate was great!|
Congratulations to both of you! So nice to see you and Deborah together.ReplyDelete
That's an amazing time considering you were doing run/walk intervals! What was your rhythm for the intervals?
I would love to run for chocolate! It's the perfect post-run fuel, especially for cooler temperatures.
Thanks, Catrina!! I think we did 6:1 intervals (?)...I just followed Deborah's lead and ran when she ran and walked when she walked LOL Although we were feeling pretty hot by the race's end, the hot chocolate still was a nice treat ;-)Delete
Congratulations on a great result, good fun and what a lovely medal and jacket! I haven't run-walked a race on purpose, though I have trained using jeffing; I am not very good at jeffing somehow, but I have a friend who's way faster doing that than continuous running!ReplyDelete
I can definitely see how it can net you an (overall) faster pace. Those walk breaks are great little "recharge" opportunities!Delete
Congrats! This is always a fun race, although every time I've run it, the weather has not been good. Glad you got to run it with Deborah.ReplyDelete
Running with Deborah was so much fun! All that nonstop chatter really made the miles go quickly. Yeah, we really got lucky on the weather!Delete
So happy you guys got to run together! Perfect weather, no less.ReplyDelete
You know I do use run/walk most (but not all) of the time. I go back & forth on it.
Nope, never done a Hot Chocolate race, although I have considered it.
I always take brief walk breaks through the water stations, so these intervals weren't much of an issue or an adjustment. In fact, I think they really helped us run faster during the run segments.Delete
Loved the one Hot chocolate that I id but they only had it one year in NYC.ReplyDelete
I only use run/walk with my friends but never in a race. Not disciplined enough.
So cool to run with Deborah and even better that she got a PR>
I'd love to do another Hot Chocolate race, in a different city! I was very impressed with how well it was organized, and how BIG of an event it was.Delete
What a fun race and especially to get to do it with Deborah. I'd like to do a Hot Chocolate race in person some time. Everyone really loves this race and I'm getting FOMO.ReplyDelete
It really was a lot of fun, with Deborah, and just the entire race itself. Very well organized, and I got in on all the pre-race correspondence immediately after registering (with only a few days to go before the race day).Delete
Congrats to both of you. Too nice to see you and Deborah running together.ReplyDelete
Perfect weather, beautiful swag, good company, nice photos and hot chocolate at the end. What else?
In Chicago I did a workout more than 20 years ago when I visited the city but I don't remember where.
Deborah and I have met a few times prior, for other races, but this was the first time we actually ran together. I highly recommend running with a friend ;-)Delete
This was so much fun to do together! Yes, the miles did fly by didn't they. I was surprised to see we negative split it which is always my goal. Lots of laughs and lots of chatter. Looking forward to our next one. Thanks again for helping me get that PRReplyDelete
It was such a fun time ;-) I'm so glad you got your PR...what a great memory! Thanks for introducing me to the run/walk gig...it really was nice to do something different than what I'm used to.Delete
What a fun race! I'm so glad you got to meet up and run together. I've never done run/walk intervals in a race, but I've used them when returning to running. I've coached runners who do run/walk and it can be such a great strategy for some runners!ReplyDelete
This was my first time ever doing scheduled walk intervals; they went so fast that it really didn't seem like they slowed us down at all.Delete
Congrats to you both! Sounds like such a fun race, especially running with Deborah :)ReplyDelete
It was a lot of fun, and the time running went far too fast. I'd love to do another Hot Chocolate event, possibly in a different city ;-)Delete
This is awesome! So glad you got a rare beuatiful, sunny November day in Chicago! The city really is beautiful on those days.ReplyDelete
I've never done run/walk intervals in a race (ahem, on purpose that is) but it sounds like it worked great. At this point my mile pace would probably be similar to your average even if I were running the whole way, so... sounds like you and Deborah had a blast- Congratulations!
Yes, I've heard from many peeps that our race day weather was oddly warm and sunny, LOL. No complaints on my end! This was my first time doing scheduled run/walk intervals...really not a big change from my usual water-station-walk-throughs, so I can totally see how one could use those walk breaks to their full advantage.Delete
Yes and yes, to your first two questions. I ran the Hot Chocolate 15K when it came to DC for one year. It was such a cluster that they weren't invited back. Too bad because I loved the idea, the post-race refreshments, and the jacket (I still wear mine all these years later although the logo washed off ages ago). I felt badly for everyone involved because anything that could go wrong, did that morning. Check out my recap for a laugh!ReplyDelete
I ran the Chicago Spring Half Marathon when our son and d-i-l lived in Chicago. Much of it was along the Lake Front and I loved it!
We did run/walk intervals in the JFK 50-Miler. I mean, how else could I run that distance without crying? LOL
I actually re-read your HC recap recently when you'd mentioned what a disaster it had been. Yikes! I'm glad none of that kind of drama went down in Chicago!! I have a nice jacket from last year's virtual, but this one is really off-the-charts AmAzInG ;-)Delete
P.S. I forgot to add that you like to run races after late football games when you're running on fumes! HaHa! Good job, it sounds like you and Deborah had a blast!ReplyDelete
Yes, we did have a great time!!! These "morning after" races seem to work well for me...if it ain't broke... ;-)Delete
I can't express how much I love that photo of you and Deborah crossing the finish line!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Kim ;-) It's definitely a favorite of mine ;-)Delete
I'm going to echo what Kim said in her comment and what I said on FB/IG - that Finish Line photo of you and Deborah is EPIC! You ladies did amazing - loved your outfits, loved the bright blue skies and the sun! Loved how happy you both were!ReplyDelete
Thank you!!! We had so much fun!Delete
What a fun event! Great pictures too. That jacket looks really nice. I've never tried run / walk intervals either, but it looks like it worked out well and gave you plenty of time to enjoy the race.ReplyDelete
The run/walk intervals were easy-peasy...I was amazed at how easy they were to follow (well, I followed Deborah's lead, LOL), and how fast we were able to run the running segments while still talking non-stop.Delete
Congrats on the race, how fun that you got to run with Deborah! You got an amazing finish line photo!ReplyDelete
Thanks! that finish line photo is such a great highlight of the fun morning we had ;-)Delete
This sounds like such an amazing race and blogger meetup!ReplyDelete
I was just saying how much I would love to run in Chicago, and I would very much love to run a Hot Chocolate race.