Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hot Chocolate 15K Race Recap

 I will definitely run for chocolate!
While in Chicago over the weekend visiting my daughter Cate, we ran the Hot Chocolate 15K together.  The race started in Grant Park and took us on a big loop through the city ending up back at the park.

For a Florida girl like me, the start of the day was a CHILLY 39 degrees!  We had to get up and leave her apartment early since we were relying on the train to get there.  Our timing was perfect but we ended up with a little extra time due to a delay in the start time.  A section of the route had to be changed at the last minute because a large truck got stuck under one of the underpasses.

Cate and I decided to run the race together and lined up in the open time corral.  It was great back there,  very relaxed and plenty of room, in fact it was not crowded for us at any time during the race.
I was so cold at the start of the race, my toes felt numb.  I did not wear the right gear.  I don't know what I was thinking.  I had capri pants, long sleeve t, gloves, winter headband and the awesome running jacket we got in our goody bag. I did warm up as we got going, but never warm enough to take anything off.

We ran at an easy pace just taking it all in. As we got to mile three the road became littered with gear people had discarded as they warmed up.  I spotted some items I could use and scooped a few things up along the way. I knew they did not donate all the discarded stuff and it would just end up in the trash.
Having only eaten half an apricot Clif Bar before the race, I stopped at all four water stops for gatorade.  Kudos to the gatorade makers of this race, you know how sometimes it is too strong or too weak, this time it was perfect!

The course was mostly flat with a few spectators along the way.  It was neat to see the city from this vantage point.  The last part of the race was down Michigan Avenue.  After crossing the finish line with a time of 1:54:33, we were rewarded with a bottle of water and a piece of Ghiradelli chocolate. I ate mine right away.  It was a new flavor I had never had before and it was delicious!
Intense Dark Sea Salt Soiree
But that was only the beginning of the chocolate treats.  They don't call this race the Hot Chocolate for no reason.  We headed to the after race party and the tent that was serving the chocolate fondue first!

Each tray had a banana, pretzel rod, marshmallow, rice crispy treat and apple slices to dip in the warm fondue.  We got right to eating and enjoyed every bite.  The banana and marshmallow may have been my favorite.  It was so cold out, that the chocolate had already hardened like a candy bar before we were finished.
Because I did not run this race hard, I actually felt like eating afterwards.  Usually, my stomach is less agreeable to food when I run faster.  Running with Cate was a win-win decision.  We got to experience it all together, I could enjoy all the food at the end, plus the lines had diminished by the time we got to the after party.
Of course that wasn't the end of the goodies, we made our way to the hot chocolate tent and indulged in a creamy glass of  liquid chocolate.  We could top it off with either marshmallows or whipped cream.  I loaded on the whipped cream! SO GOOD!

I enjoyed everything about this race.  I thought it was well managed with a good course and good perks.  In addition to the food at the end we got a running jacket that I wore for the race.  We also got personalized bibs.(I love that)
 Now I can add Illinois to the list of states I have run a race in.
What a yummy race!

Does the swag influence you to run in races?
What's the best thing you ever got at a race?

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