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Hot Chocolate 15K - Chicago - Run15k

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Chicago, Illinois
United States
RAM Racing
40F / 4C
Total Time = 1h 28m 45s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Pre-race is where this whole thing kinda fell apart.
Last year the packet pickup was at Union Station, and I seem to remember that there were only 15,000 runners. This year, it had moved to a parking lot next to Soldier Field, and the number of runners had increased to 40,000. Packet pickup was a joke. I heard it was a lot worse on Friday, but I was there early on Saturday, about 9.30am, and still had to wait in line for about an hour to get my stuff. Frustrating, and it seemed a little poorly organized.
By the time I got my packet, I wanted to get out of there, so didn't even look at any of the vendors merchandise.
Event warmup:

Got up at 5.15am, drank some water and had a 5hr energy (didn't have any coffee at home). Took care of "business" in the bathroom before meeting some friends and driving downtown.

It was pretty cold, and i was starting to stiffen up in the corral waiting for the race to begin. Also, I couldn't find my gloves at home (didn't want to turn the bedroom light on and wake up the wife) so my fingers were freezing.
I just did some light stretches, jumped around a little to keep the blood flowing.
This isn't really a race for me, it's more of an opportunity to do a decent length run with some of my non-runner/tri friends in a "big race" atmosphere. Didn't really intend to do much besides keep a 9.30-10 minute pace, and enjoy some conversation along the way.
  • 1h 28m 45s
  • 9.32 miles
  • 09m 31s  min/mile

In spite of the packet pickup fiasco, I really enjoyed the race.
I was in Corral F, so I crossed the start line 19 minutes after the race began. Not too bad, coulda been much worse. Also, the 5k and 15k runners were mixed, which I thought was weird.

My friend and I just jogged at a very easy pace to loosed up and being standing around getting cold. Took about 2 miles to really feel comfortable.

The most fascinating thing for me was observing the other runners. Some of them seem to be massively overdressed. I'm talking sweat pants, hoodies, fleece jackets, and winter coats. They must have been dying toward the end.

Anyways, the race went very well, kept a good pace, never felt like i was pushing too much. Skipped the first few water stations, since I don't normally need to drink until mile 4-5 usually.

After turning onto LSD, heading south, the race atmosphere got kind of dull. We were running along a truck parking lot, then under McCormick Place. No visual stimulation, pretty boring. Turning north on the bike path was nice. It felt more congested, and more like what I'm used to in a race.

After running under McCormick Place for the 2nd time, through what appeared to be a black hole (thankfully there were no potholes because I couldn't see sh*t), i checked to see how my mate was holding up, and we lifted the pace a little. Passing the 9 mile marker at Soldier Field, we put the hammer down and gave it a push to the finish line.

There was an annoying bottleneck right where the 5k and 15k merged near Columbus/Roosevelt, which slowed me to a near walking pace.

Cross the line in 1:28:45, felt awesome. Grabbed a bottle of water and went home for breakfast.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Happy with how everything went. Just a fun run.
Post race
Warm down:

Briefly considered trying to get the "Finishers Mug" but when i saw the sea of humanity heading that way, i decided to bail and head for the el.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Nothing. Kept the pace conversational the whole time, just as intended.

Event comments:

The packet pickup situation was a huge letdown.
I still like this race, and if they move it back to Union Station i might do it next year. If they don't, depending on how the Perfect 10 goes for me next weekend, that might become my new go-to November race.

Last updated: 2012-09-07 12:00 AM
01:28:45 | 9.32 miles | 09m 31s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
1st 5k split: 30.35 2nd 5k split: 29.58 3rd 5k split: 28:12
Course: Starts at the same place the Chicago Marathon and Shamrock Shuffle starts. Ran north, around Lower Wacker Drive, then south on Columbus, Michigan Ave, Lake Shore Drive, down to about 35th Street. At mile 6 you turn north along the lakefront trail past McCormick and Soldier Field before finishing on Columbus (again, the same finish as the Marathon and Shuffle)
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge Just right
Organized? No
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 3

2012-11-05 8:22 AM

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Chicago, IL
Subject: Hot Chocolate 15K - Chicago

2012-11-05 8:43 PM
in reply to: #4483783

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Straight outta Compton
Subject: RE: Hot Chocolate 15K - Chicago
Good race report!  Thanks for the info about the # of runners, too. I had no idea they were up to 40K.  Also kind of odd they'd mix the 15k and 5k crowds??
2012-11-05 9:53 PM
in reply to: #4483783

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University Park, MD
Subject: RE: Hot Chocolate 15K - Chicago
Sounds like the organization of these races is still a disaster. They have one gimmick, but no real commitment to putting on a decent event. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed your run, but I'm dismayed to hear that the organization is still so poor.
2012-11-07 10:17 AM
in reply to: #4485262

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Chicago, IL
Subject: RE: Hot Chocolate 15K - Chicago

mcgilmartin - 2012-11-05 8:43 PM Good race report!  Thanks for the info about the # of runners, too. I had no idea they were up to 40K.  Also kind of odd they'd mix the 15k and 5k crowds??

They announced the number of runners while we were in the corrals, waiting to start. I think the 40,000 runners is what hampered the organization, and something which desperately needs to be addressed. I'm almost certain the number of runners last year was in the 15,000 range.

For the mixed corrals they did have "no walkers allowed" signs, but I ran past people walking in the first 2 miles.

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