Travel Day: Friday, April 14
My family and I left on Friday morning for 5.5 hour drive to Minneapolis, Minnesota. The kids travelled well and, upon arriving to the city, we stopped by the Como Zoo for some fun.
Our biggest accomplishment by far was surviving the downtown traffic at 5 pm. We arrived at the Westin Hotel, found parking and were ready to call it a night (after eating at Five Guys' Burgers and swimming, of course).
The Westin was on the recommended list of hotels for the Hot Chocolate because of its close proximity to the race course - only a 1.5 mile walk. Upside: Close to the race. Downside: No continental breakfast.
Thankfully I took advantage of the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k packet mailing option for $15 to avoid battling the downtown traffic any further. This race did not allow packet pick up on race day, so I was really happy when mine arrived in the mail a week prior!
I laid out my gear the night before the race in preparation for a wet and rainy morning. With scattered thunderstorms in the forecast, the weather did not look promising.
My plan was to carry my phone and extra gear in my Camelbak to keep them dry at least and then just accept the fact that I was going to be soaked.
Race Day: Saturday, April 15
I threw on my race gear, ate a quick PB & J, and made a mad dash to the front desk in search of safety pins. I had everything organized... except for safety pins. Thankfully, the wonderful front desk worker had a few to spare. Total lifesaver!
After securing the safety pins, I found three 5k runners from our hotel who were walking to the race as well. They were an absolute answer to prayer because I was nervous about walking through downtown alone and my husband wasn't super excited about that either.
With the rain, it just wasn't worth dragging the kids to the race so early. They stayed back and drove Dad nuts in the hotel room instead.
|The Walking Route|
The tall downtown buildings threw our phone directions for a loop but we eventually made it to Boom Island Park, drenched, but in one piece. I will always trust old-school map reading over these smart phone directions. "Siri" gets crazy sometimes!
First things first. I had to take a picture of Marshall the marshmallow:
The gear check was very well organized and because we arrived so early, there were no waiting lines here or for the porta potties! I checked my somewhat dry extra bag and then found shelter from the rain.
The grass was saturated and there was no hope for keeping my feet dry. I lingered in the roofed buildings for a while and chatted with various other runners waiting for our race time to come. Oddly the 5k runners started at 8:10 and the 15k runners didn't start until 8:50.
I ran into fellow Bibrave Pro Casey while lining up in the race corrals and then ran into Catherine, also a Bibrave Pro, within the first mile of the race. Her and I ran together for the rest of the race and her company and conversation was wonderful!
We kept each other motivated throughout the damp run and kept an even pace in the 9's. I had planned on doing walk/run intervals but our pace was just perfect for this hilly course.
Mile 1 - 9:04
Mile 2 - 8:56
Mile 3 - 8:46
Mile 4 - 9:29
Mile 5 - 9:15
My only disappointment was the lack of chocolate at the aid stations! They did offer water and Nuun energy though I really could have used a handful of M&M's :)
|Free Race Photo Courtesy Hot Chocolate 5k/15k|
Mile 7 - 10:11
Mile 8 - 9:58
Mile 9 - 10:17
Mile .42 - 4:14
I crossed the finish line in 1:29:04 which counts as a 15k PR! It was so fun racing with a friend and putting a new distance under my belt.
At 11 weeks pregnant, chalk this up as our Baby #3's first and last race in utero. Maintaining mileage to train through morning sickness was a feat in itself!
|Free Race Photos Courtesy Hot Chocolate 5k/15k|
After receiving our medals, we headed to the post-race festivities. Casey, Catherine and I met up for a quick picture before we all went our own ways to seek out dry clothes and warmth.
BUT, before departure, we had to pick up our finisher's mugs! Each participant received a Hot Chocolate 15k/5k plastic "mug" full of delicious hot chocolate, apples, a banana, a Rice Krispie, marshmallows, pretzels and cookies all ready to dip in a rich chocolate sauce.
YUM. Let's just say by the time I got back to the hotel, I was a hot chocolatey mess. Of course I had to eat whatever I could before the kiddos saw the goodies I brought back. Don't worry, I saved them some apples ;) Talk about #pregnancycravings...
The Hot Chocolate 15k was a well-organized race with an energizing race atmosphere, despite the rainy day. I love that the Hot Chocolate 5k/15k provides free race photos for all participants. That is such an awesome perk!
Racing the 15k distance was a new experience for me and I really enjoyed it. Unlike the full marathon, I was ready to take on the rest of the day after running 9 miles in the morning. Though I will say my legs were super stiff the next day - I'm not used to running hilly routes.
And howabout that medal?! It's gorgeous!
After a warm shower, lunch and a quick nap for the kids, we were on to big city adventures on the light rail and at Mall of America (Lego Land!). This trip was an action-packed learning experience for our family and let's just say it felt good to return to small-town Minnesota.
There's no place like home!
Check out more Hot Chocolate 15k race details in my Bibrave.com review!
Hot Chocolate 15k Training Week 8:
MONDAY:(Treadmill) 3.1 mi, 00:31 @ 09:53 pace
TUESDAY:Lots of outside time with kiddos, walking, stretching.
WEDNESDAY:3.06 mi, 00:30 @ 09:48 pace with double stroller.
THURSDAYAlmost all day spent outside!
FRIDAY:Travel day and a visit to the Como Zoo.
SATURDAY:Race Day: 9.42 mi, 01:29 @ 09:28 pace. Followed by a quick shower, Caribou Coffee, kiddos' quick nap and a ride on the light rail to Mall of America (for Lego Land!!!).
SUNDAY:Breakfast at Perkins, Easter service at The Grove Church and the looooong drive home.
What has been your favorite post-race treat?
Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.