Last year, while I was waiting for people to show up for a brunch reservation, I kept seeing all these people in cool Hot Chocolate sweatshirts and ever since then I kept thinking how this would be an awesome race to run. Now, the only problem was that I don’t (didn’t) run so I sort of forgot about it…that was until one of my coworkers who’s a runner saw an add for it at a race expo. The main reason I don’t run is that usually I was out of breath after one mile and woke up with lower back pain the next morning, but I figured some proper training might help with both problems 🙂 Anyways, one day I went to the gym and ran/walked the 5K in under 45 minutes (the official time limit) and decided to make a commitment to running and sign up for the race…good thing I decided early since the race filled up really fast!
I used the “couch to 5K” training program, but started with week 4 since I wasn’t quite a couch potato to begin with 🙂 It hasn’t been easy to make time for running training/the occasional cross-training/outdoor runs, but it was all worth it in the end. I finished a 5K race with a smile!!! 🙂
This was my first 5K and while I exceeded my expectations in terms of how not so difficult it was to run it (I didn’t get bored, the 2 mi gatorade stop was enough hydration, no injuries, etc), the race itself fell a little short. Since I wasn’t sure how fast I will be able to run and if I’ll be able to run without walking, I decided to sign up for a 12 min/mi pace so not to be in the way of any runners. However, there were two things I didn’t know that may have made me change my decision: 1) they had a 3:30 min spacing between corrals, which meant that the O corral started 1 hr after the A corral and 1hr and 20 min after I removed my extra warm layers and 2) there were a lot of walkers who ignored the “no walkers” sign and instead of signing up for the charity walk, they decided to leisurely stroll along the 5K (hundreds of people finished in more than 1 hr, quite a few in 2hrs!!!). Here is a pre-race photo:
I only wore a long sleeve compression shirt under the blue t-shirt since I didn’t want to get too warm, but I feel like I am still having trouble warming up after the shivering at the race. My toes were numb when we started running! I think we should have been told about the wait and we should have been asked to stage in our corrals a lot later than when we actually did. The worse thing was that even after we crossed the start line, it was very difficult to run fast and warm-up with all the walkers blocking both sides. The timing didn’t matter too much to me, but still after training for so long, I wanted be able to run it at a decent pace. For part of the race I was able to jump onto the sidewalk and pass some people, which according to the mapmyrun resulted in running an extra 0.4 mi 🙂 It felt good to read some of the reviews of other runners and realize that the wait/crowding is not common for other races so I will probably not give up on running quite yet. Maybe just try to avoid the RAM racing company 😉
Anyways, while I don’t recommend the Hot Chocolate Chicago race, I do highly encourage everyone who’s ever thought about running to do a 5K. If I did it, almost everyone should be able to as well 🙂 Reducing the running pace, following a training plan and the right shoes/clothes/food can get you very close to your goal!