- They are in it for the "chocolate" part of the race,
- They are in it for the goody bag sweatshirt (you see them all over the city during the months after the race)
- It takes place in early November at a time when not much else is going on
Luckily, my experience with the 2012 Hot Chocolate 15k was better than most. In a stroke of luck, I sold my Hot Chocolate goody bag sweatshirt on eBay, so I recouped most of my $77 entry fee. In another stroke of luck my neighbor was able to go to packet pickup so I was spared the three-hour-line pain. I also got a ride from the same neighbor. We drove from my house to Grant Park Garage and we parked directly under the start line. After the race I met Kelly for the first time then went out for Bloody Marys at a bar across the street from the race. So, in short a quite enjoyable experience!
Since my experience with the 2012 edition of the race was a 7/10 instead of the 3/10 that a lot of people experienced, I was willing to give the Hot Chocolate a second go. Besides being a sucker for massive downtown races, I was convinced once I saw the 2013 race map which shows that the course will be much more interesting, including running three miles of the Chicago Marathon stretch of Michigan Ave. (in reverse). They have also eliminated the dangerous stretch on LSD. On top of that, the packet pickup will be inside McCormick place with an additional pickup day on Thursday. So, the race was obviously listening to the complaints and made appropriate fixes.
To see how big the race is check out this video I shot (about 15 minutes after I had finished the 15k in 1 hour 2 minutes!) of the masses of people still running the first portion of the race:
So after signing up for the race, I ran a test run eight miler by the lakefront yesterday:
I took the pace a little too quickly to start (what else is new?), but reeled myself in by mile four. In any case, it was a gorgeous day for a run.
Ideally at the Hot Chocolate on Sunday, I'd like to break my 15k PR I set last year, but am not sure I can hold the 6:45 pace for that long. My only shot at a PR will be if I run negative splits, so I will focus on that and let the chips fall where they may. At the very least I'll be in it for the chocolate... :)