I retract all the mean things I’ve said about RAM racing and the Hot Chocolate race. This year they finally seem to have worked out all the kinks. The expo was super-easy to navigate – I changed my corral (I was placed in the D coral and managed to move it not to the B like I’d hoped because it was already full, but into the C – no biggie because they weren’t really checking all that hard anyway), got my bib and goodie bag and was on my way to dinner all within 10 minutes.
I got up in the morning about 5:15 and had the usual cup of coffee and a piece of whole wheat toast with low-fat peanut butter, waited about 15 minutes and had the P.R.P. (pre-race poop – sorry if that’s TMI). My sister-in-law came over about 6:30 and we headed to the L to get to Grant Park. When we got down it was obvious that this was a huge race – I think I heard about 40,000 people which makes sense when you think about it. They had to get the (very) expensive permits to close downtown streets and for that you need many runners to recoup your costs. Gear check was a shit show – crowded with runners milling around. Check your gear and get the hell out I say! S-I-L and I got to the corral and waited, and waited. Turns out the 5K course had to be rerouted due to a truck stuck under a viaduct and that delayed their start by about 15 minutes and in turn the 15K start.
As usual, I can’t remember anything mile by mile. I know I was doing fine and seemed to be ticking off the miles pretty regularly. I remember passing the United Center and thinking the new statues of Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita looked pretty good and I remember passing a row of townhouses that were on the marathon route. Mostly I was just feeling relief that the course wasn’t jam packed elbow to elbow and there was plenty of room to maneuver and get ahead when I needed to. As usual the ‘hill’ over the Roosevelt bridge at the end of the race was painful – it’s hardly an incline but to us flatlanders it counts and coming at the end of the race is always hard.
I blew off the chocolate fondue at the end of the race and just grabbed three squares of chocolate and got my gear and met up with S-I-L at the Congress Hotel lobby. S-I-L had a great race – she placed 4th in her AG which is pretty amazing for such a big race. I think I was in the 120’s, but I beat my nemesis by about 15 seconds which felt pretty good!
Next up – Chicago’s Perfect 10 10-miler.