Last week I ran the Hot Chocolate 15K in Chicago, IL and it was fun, delicious, and a bit chilly. In this blog post, I share my race recap and everything about the weekend including the expo.
The hot chocolate run has been on my bucket list for years (since I started running in 2015) and finally this year I ran it! I did the 15K and this is the first year both the 5K runners and 15K runners get medals. Everyone who crossed the finish line, got a medal (walking is allowed). The previous years, only the 15K runners/walkers received medals.
Expo was on Friday and Saturday and it was at McCormic Place in Chicago. The race was on Sunday. This was my second time going to McCormic place. The first time was for the Chicago Marathon expo in 2017.
My mom, daughter, and I took a Metra train to the city and then we took a taxi to the expo. We went on Saturday at 4pm and it closed at 6pm. The weather on Saturday was really cold! Probably in the 30s or 40s.
There was a section for registration, bib pick up, sweater pick up, and another section for size exchange. Everything was easy to follow and there was no wait.
This is probably the best time to go if you don’t care much on getting to buy what is “left over.” It was still super busy but prices were marked down in some booths and samples were very generous.
Chicago marathon 2019 merchandise was really marked down!! I bought $26-$30 shirts for $5!! I also bought my first pairs of Pro Compression socks. There weren’t many colors to choose from, so I’m sure it was just what was left over from the 2 days at the expo. The compression socks were 2 for $50 or 3 for $60. That’s usually what they cost online with a coupon.
At the expo, they were giving out these treats:
We left to the city at 5:30am and arrived right before 6:30am. The Hot Chocolate website said roads were going to closed at 6am, but Michigan Ave was open when we got there and the road was closed to drive underground by Millennium Park, but we had no problem getting through to get to the underground parking garage. By the way, parking was $39.
When we came out from Millennium Park’s parking garage, we were directed to walk to Michigan Ave and then around to the start line even though we were right at the start line when we came out.
I had to use the restroom, but since we had to take the long way to the start I had no time. I arrived to the corrals 4 minutes before 7am (start time). I literally held it for the entire 15K because I didn’t want it to affect my time haha. I was assigned corral H and I started with corral I because I couldn’t make it in time. There were too many people. Some people were climbing the fence to make it into corral H.
I felt really good at the start. I had a bagel with peanut butter for breakfast and drank water.
I jogged for the first 13 minutes of the race. Something I never do. I feel like I can never jog or run for more than 4-5 minutes straight. I usually run 2 minutes and walk 1-2 minutes.
The weather was in the 40s, so it was not terrible and not windy either.
My husband also called me during my first mile and he texted me at two other points in the race. I had to step aside and walk slowly to text him back at those times. So I think my time could have been a few minutes faster, but I am still really happy with it.
There were many water and nuun hydration stops along the way. It was more than I expected and some stations had Hershey kisses (I think- I didn’t stop for them), M&Ms, Honey Steiner tummies, and marshmallows with chocolate sticks! The last treat stop was around mile 7 and I remember that because it was right after that I started feeling on a cramp feeling on my left side of my abdomen. Or maybe it was the fact that I was holding it in because I didn’t have time to use the restroom prior to the start.
I carry my own water when I run too, so I skipped a couple water stops. I also carried with me a GU gel and Honey Steiner waffle. I ended up not using either. I ate what there was along the coarse.
I finished my first 15K race! I don’t see 15K races too often. Actually, this is the only 15K race I know of. I’m sure there’s others. Since it was my first, it was an automatic PR! 2: 03: 33
My Fitbit lost connection when I ran underground.
After the race, I got my medal and a bottled water and finally went to the famous porta potties. Then after, I walked to the after party (it was probably a 5-10 minute walk from the finish.
There were about 24 lines to get the “finisher mug.” I went to line 16 and I could see that the people who walked to line 1 had no wait. My line and the ones around us had a wait time of about 15 minutes. When a volunteer waved a flag, it meant they were out of hot chocolate. people got upset when it happened. It was really chilly while waiting in line and I didn’t like taking off my gloves when I had to use my phone because of the cold.
I met with husband and daughter at the parking garage and when I told Elena I wanted to take a picture with her outside, she said no because she didn’t want to go out in the cold again. Poor thing! Once outside, she didn’t want to leave. Being 3 is hard.
Please send me a message with nay questions about the Hot Chocolate race or leave me a comment below. Have you run it before? They have it in several cities!
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