As I got adjusted yesterday morning, I was telling my chiropractor about my run on Sunday and he was like “dang, you’ve done a lot of runs!” Well of course I have, I’m trying to run a race a month in 2013 and I’m so excited that Sunday’s Hot Chocolate 5k crossed another month off that list.
But let’s back up to Saturday afternoon…
Amanda pulled into my driveway around 3:30 or so and within minutes we were loading into my car and making our way into the city for packet pickup. This was definitely one of those times when same-day pickup would have been great for us but with over 45,000 (!!!) people running the race, I do understand why that can’t be an option.
We got to the city, parked and followed the crowds to packet pick-up. We got our bibs, hoodies, took some pictures as good bloggers always do, grabbed a sample of hot chocolate and not long after were making our way out and onto find dinner (more on that Wednesday).
Fast forward to Sunday morning when our alarms went off bright and early at 4am. This was the perfect weekend for daylight savings because it made that early wake-up call a little easier. I ran downstairs, turned on the coffee pot and finished getting ready before eating breakfast and running out the door. We hit some major construction traffic that left me worried we would be way too late for the race. I kept telling Amanda this was not good for my anxiety but she seemed relatively calm so I did my best to follow suit and let her tweet the race to wait for the two girls stuck on 90. 😉
Thankfully, once we got past the construction it was smooth sailing, we found parking, grabbed only the things we needed, jogged to the porta potties warm-up and snuck in the back of our corral just in the nick of time…to wait…and wait…and wait.
The race started at 7am. Amanda and I crossed the starting line after 7:45am and we were still within the first 1/2 of the crowd crossing. I understand the need for corrals with a group that large and the race was very well organized but dang it was cold so that kind of sucked. When we were finally able to start running, there were people everywhere! The moments you felt like you had space were few and far between and we kept bumping into each other, though we didn’t mind because I’d rather bump into Amanda then some crazy person who may get mad if my elbow accidentally meets their shoulder.
While there was an option to run a 15k, Amanda and I both chose the 5k and the course left much to be desired. After many races in Chicago, I’ve had some gorgeous views of the city and running along Lake Michigan and we spent the majority of our time in tunnels or running under the L. Becky ran the 15k and that sounds like it was a better course. The spectators also left much to be desired and it felt like an awkward people watching versus a group of people excited to watch us run. Yes it was cold, but I assume this is how it feels for the animals at the zoo as we silently watch them go about their days.
When we crossed the finish line, we were sent down the long walk-way lined with tables upon tables upon tables of Gatorade. Some may find this to be a good thing but in the moment all we wanted was water and thankfully, finally, we walked past the water tables. We took some pictures and continued our walk to find the hot chocolate we had been promised.
We walked right up to the tent, got a big plastic finishers mug with a cup of cocoa, chocolate fondue, a banana and other random snacks for dipping. We found a place to sit and had a quick snack. After we had our fill, we dumped the rest and started walking to meet Becky for brunch (again, you’ll have to wait until Wednesday for that).
While we walked, we talked about our thoughts on the race. There’s a lot of hype over the Hot Chocolate 5k and while I enjoyed myself, that had more to do with the company of running with a friend than anything else. We weren’t running for time but rather for the fun of it and the chocolate prize at the end. Amanda asked me if I would do it again? Honestly, I’m still not sure. I’ve run a lot of races over the last year and there’s some I would definitely do again but I’m not sure this qualifies as one of those races. Maybe I’d do the 15k or maybe I’d consider the 5k if they picked a better route but I felt like for all the hype, I was left wanting more.
Regardless, we can now officially say we ran for chocolate.
Have you run the Hot Chocolate 5k? What were your thoughts?
Ever run a race that left you slightly disappointed or wanting more?