Chocolate and running. Two things that don't necessarily go together. Except they do, thanks to RAM Racing and the Hot Chocolate 15K. I ran it this past weekend in Chicago. I had fun back in 2012 when I ran it for the first time, and with the addition of some serious bling, I just had to run it again this year (because I'm a sucker for good race bling) (and chocolate).
Good race bling:
At least we didn't have to stand around too long before we started running. That's always the worst. Especially when it's cold outside, which it was (hence the awful hat).
If you run a Hot Chocolate race, beware that it brings out the crowd. There were a ton of people involved, which is both great and annoying at the same time. Great because the vibe is always decent, which can be very motivating and entertaining. Annoying because it makes it hard to navigate the route (and the post-race activities). Would I recommend this race despite that? Yes, definitely. I mean...chocolate.
Anyway, I didn't really take too many pictures along the way. But here are some highlights:
1) Garmin fail. It turned on in my bag, and stayed on overnight which mean that I had little to no battery power. I think it lasted all of three miles, if that.
2) This was the first time I've ever stopped at the potties in the middle of a race. I didn't have time to go before we jumped (literally) into the corral. I'm pretty sure it added some time to my finish, maybe even ten minutes? I don't know. But I had to go.
3) I wish I would have snagged the chocolate bar at the first aid station. So I definitely ate a chocolate marshmallow when they popped up at an aid station later on. I skipped the Tootsie Rolls, though. I might be the only one in the world that doesn't like Tootsie Rolls.
4) I carried Cocogo with me in my water bottle. And a packet of applesauce for mid-race fuel. I didn't eat the sauce but downed the Cocogo throughout. I much prefer it to Gatorade. My sister asked for a drink at one point. I think she was pleasantly surprised by the deliciousness of it.
5) My IT band flared up again. It did so good when I ran my half marathon, but then...I don't know. It was cold outside again. So maybe that's why. I really hope it's not my shoes. It's been fine ever since, so that's promising. I won't be able to run again until Saturday morning, so we'll see.
The best highlight of all?
Crossing another finish line with these two:
Final time? 1:36:37
Better than last time, but I'm a stronger runner now and probably could have done better if my IT band would have behaved. And if I hadn't stopped to pee. But it's all good. I still had a great time.
What's next? Not sure. For now, I'm in maintenance mode as I contemplate my next move. There's a local running group that does long runs every Saturday morning. I've been trying to get more involved with them, so hopefully I can kick that off this Saturday. We'll see. But right now, it's late and I'm scheduled to teach my second-ever Barre Fit class in the morning.
Better get to bed.
Question: What's the best piece of race swag you've ever received? Medals don't count. Go...