Hot Chocolate 5k - November 2011

Sorry for the delay all! I was waiting on the final results from the race, which we were posted last night after a late minute change in course race morning, but I will get into that later. Saturday (November 5) marked my third-straight weekend with a 5k race. I did not intentionally do that I just kept signing up for races. :P Yes, I am plenty aware that I am back being addicted to running ... and I am A-okay with that!

The Hot Chocolate 5k was actually the first race I ever did in Chicago (November 6, 2010). It also marked the first race I had done since the marathon I completed in September 2006. After that marathon, I labored through injuries and just an apathy to working out/running in general. Last year, I completed the 5k in 29:25, which was a PR at the time so I was really hoping to dominate this year's and improve my time by at least 4 minutes.

I woke up race morning and it was cold. The Hot Chocolate race consists of a 5k, 15k and a walk so the 5k is the first race to kick off and it starts at 7:40, which meant a nice 5:30 wake-up. I was really looking forward to this race not only because of the chocolate fondue at the finish, but because they updated the course from last year.

We actually got a late start, but still managed to get to the race grounds with about 40 minutes to spare. We located the gear check, which was on the opposite side from the start (closer to the finish line). We dropped off our stuff and headed to the corrals. I was pretty proud that this year I had jumped from the open corral to the C corral (Corrals go A, B, C, D and open)

I was in the zone, listening to music and ready to get to work. Then there was the announcement: the start would be delayed 15 minutes. Ugh! It was getting wicked cold just standing around so I was looking forward to starting on time. But, apparently, a semi truck got stuck under one of the bridges along the course and the organizers/police had to quickly re-route the course.

I give RAM Racing and the police a lot of credit for being able to lock down streets, etc in 15 minutes.

We finally kicked off just before 8. My start was horrible. I felt anxious being near the faster runners - completely out of place. Then I had some wardrobe and technology malfunctions. I was wearing my new Lululemon long pants for just the second time and had to get the strings all set, while running. Then my arm band with my iPhone kept sliding down. Either way the first half mile felt like a disaster.

I came up to the 1 mile marker at what it said was 9 minutes. Man, I felt like I was really hauling butt and 9 minutes seemed off.

I knew my Runkeeper would be off since we were running downtown and GPS + Large buildings = totally skewed numbers. So I basically gave up on trying to figure out my pace as I went along.

As I mentioned, we were running in the streets and there were people trying to cross the street, bikers trying to get across, which just gets frustrating. I was almost taken out by a biker. If I had tripped, I was going to let him have it. :)

I got to Mile Two and the clock said 17 minutes. Okay well that put me at  8:30 min/miles, which seemed okay. But, I wanted to go for a PR.

So I just let my body go. I was booking it until I hit the final bridge/hill. Where that came from, I have no idea. Who puts it so close to the finish is beyond me. :P Same thing happened during the Half Marathon. Damn old city!

Anyway, I booked it. I pushed my body and crossed the finish line at 26:05. Noooo!! I wanted to finish under 26 minutes. So no PR. I was really bummed. But, I got my water, my free pieces of chocolate and waited for the wife. Okay, while waiting I hopped in line for a solo post-race pic then got back to waiting.

She finally came through and she was saying how she felt the course was longer than 3.1 miles. We took a final picture together then headed to gear check so we could get to the real prize: the chocolate fondue!!!

Mmmm... it is the main reason I do this race and it is soooo worth it. But, I was a good Weight Watchers girl and figured out all the points. The entire tray came to about 6 Points Plus then I had 2 free chocolate squares for an additional 5 Points Plus. Thank you weekly points!!!

Overall, RAM Racing did a great job. It was a smoother course, no bottlenecking at any spots and quicker lines to the fondue than last year. Of course, it stunk that the course was longer than 3.1 when it came to official times, etc - but that was out of RAM Racing's control. A fellow Hot Chocolate runner made a good suggestion - maybe a chocolate medal next year? I would definitely take that over the Hot Chocolate. ;)

The final numbers were announced last night. I finished 3.25 miles in 26:05 and RAM Racing estimated my 5k time was 24:52 (24 seconds faster than my previous 5k PR). This broke down to a 8:02 min/mile pace - a PR by 0:12 min/mile. I finished 862 out of 18,361 overall, 66 out of 3,111 in my age group and 263 out of 13,721 females!


Now I look towards my fourth-straight weekend with a race: I am kicking off my one-year wedding anniversary on Saturday with the Chicago's Perfect 10 10k! :)