Hot Chocolate 15k/5k Recap, Part II


See the first two posts on this race here and here.

The last 5k and post-race:

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Solder Field

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This is how close we were to the lakefront. Awesome.

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Shedd Aquarium (can you spot the animal trainer?)

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Field Museum

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We’re almost there! I think everyone cheered as we passed under this bridge.

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Almost done. Just .3 miles to go!

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As soon as official race photos are up I’ll make sure to post them – hopefully there will be a good finish line one!

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Fondue and dippers. I only had a couple pieces – my stomach was feeling a little funky.

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It didn’t go to waste Smile

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Yeah, they’re definitely twins.

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Hot Chocolate – I drank this heading back to the El.  So, so good. Just what my tummy wanted (after half a bottle of Gatorade).

Overall it was a fantastic race. It was fairly crowded though, especially where the trail narrowed to two lanes.  With 15,000 runners and no wave start there wasn’t ever time to relieve congestion on the course. 

      I managed to run the entire way, except for about 10 seconds at the last aid station to chug a Gatorade.  I was so amazed at myself for doing that – I honestly didn’t think I had that kind of strength in me. When the race started my plan was so run the 10k, then take walk breaks as I needed them.  I was feeling really good the whole race.  Everyone running was in such great spirits, people were cheering at every mile marker and griping together about the tightly packed course. I was simply enjoying the views and found myself totally zoned out after the 5k – I was just running free, not pushing or struggling.  I don’t know when running became so easy for me.

      Going into the 10k I was still feeling strong and kept pushing ahead.  When I got to the 7 mile mark walking went through my head but I thought, “it’s only 2.3 more miles, why walk now?” I think miles 7 and 8 were the toughest for me.  The course was at its narrowest point in the lakefront trail and I got stuck in some slower packs, but I think it was a nice break for me.  As we came around the Shedd and Field Museum heading towards the 9 mile marker I started getting amped up for the finish. I was on track to finish under 1:45, my personal goal time.  I wasn’t sure how my ankle would do under race conditions and thought I’d need to walk more.  I didn’t notice what the clock time was when I passed the start line so I didn’t know how far behind the clock I actually was, but my Nike+ was pretty much right on.

      There were a few times I stepped off the path to run on the gravel/grass and it was a nice break for my feet and knees (which are pretty sore right now. I see lots of ice in my future).

I also took a lot of pictures.  This was the first time I raced with a camera and it was so easy. I’m really glad to have all the memories and great shots of the Chicago skyline.

Here are my approximate split times:

1  – 10:30?

2 – 10:36

3 & 4 20:53

5 – 10:32

6 – 11:11

7 – 10:56

8 – 10:55

9 – 10:52

finish – 1:39:52

Average pace: 10:43

When I saw the 3 mile marker near the finish (from the 5k) I sprinted as fast as I could over the line – totally helped me get in under 1:40. I still can’t believe I kept up such a great pace through 9 miles.


  • great course
  • lots of chocolate after the race with few lines
  • ease getting to/from race start
  • convenient location for packet pickup (it’s usually at their store)
  • delicious chocolate – it was all Ghirardelli. Yum.
  • price – I think it was $45 for the 15k?
  • between weekly e-mails, Twitter, and Facebook they kept racers up-to-date on the event


  • 5k finishing so much earlier than 15k
  • lame expo and goodie bag
  • lack of wave start
  • confusing layout of post race and gear check tents – there were no signs!

I don’t know if I’d do this race again.  Yes, it was fun. But to come from out of town to run a fairly unorganized race is not really worth it.  It was fun running with my siblings though, and to spend some time with my family.

So what’s next? I’m not quite sure. I had been looking at a half marathon the Saturday after Thanksgiving but it is sold out, so that’ll be a no-go.  I’m thinking about running a Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning (same one I did last year), as long as Matt knows for sure we’ll already be in town for it. Don’t worry – I’ll keep you posted!

4 thoughts on “Hot Chocolate 15k/5k Recap, Part II

  1. Pingback: 2010 in less than 500 words | Running with Needles

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