Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Race That Almost Wasn't

The odds seemed to be stacked against us {kt, kmac and me} as we attempted to complete our longest run to date in Chicago's Hot Chocolate 15k Run. We had successfully finished a 5k and a 10k and even the Mud Run, but for one reason or another pulling together the Hot Chocolate Run was no small feat.

Originally, we were all about it, at least as all about it you can be when it comes to running for an hour and a half straight.  We were in shape, it would be a new challenge and we would get to enjoy chocolate fondue after the race, and we won't lie, we only run in races that have great after parties.

Then on one of our dark night walks the cookies started to crumble.  We all had an ounce of doubt about the race and we were talking ourselves out of it.

It didn't make sense to travel all the way to Chicago for a race.  We really hadn't been training for it specifically.  Katie was going to be on vacation the week before.  And, was running 9.3 miles something we really wanted to do?

So, we himmed and hawed about it, dragging our feet because we didn't want to be the one to say, No, let's not do it . or the one to say, Yeah, lets do it! ... Road Block #1

After much deliberation, several facebook messages and one sleepless night we all decided to pull the trigger. Take that self-doubt and common sense.

While Kt booked our room, {thank your for your generosity kt's mom and dad!} I signed up online.  Kt quickly followed and Kmac wrapped up the registration with the last click of the mouse.  As each of our registrations popped up on facebook, my excitement began to grow, we were really doing it!

I was over the moon until I saw it .... my sheer haste and mindlessness, staring me directly in the face ... 

No, it couldn't be! But, yes, yes indeed it was.  Instead of signing up for the November 5th, Chicago race, I was now signed up for the December 3rd, D.C race. ...Road Block #2

After a bit of panic and some possible tears, {who would cry about such things?} I successfully contacted someone at the Hot Chocolate Headquarters and was told that they would switch my registration for me.  A near catastrophe was averted and it was clear sailing from here on out.

And, smooth sailing it was.  At approximately 2:14 on Friday afternoon we were loaded up and enjoying a sunny ride on our way to Chicago.  We were chatting, laughing, sharing stories and just passing by Saugatuk, when suddenly it hit me like a ton of bricks. 

I forgot my iPod! 

This, in my opinion, was even more disastrous than running in Washington D.C. all by myself.  Every non-runner/runner knows that music is key in motivating/distracting you in even the shortest of races, let alone a 15k....  Road Block #3. 

As I sat trying not to cry, again, super sleuth, problem-solving Kt kicked it into high gear and saved the day.  With her quick thinking, super speedy facebook messaging and an almost immediate return phone call she had arranged an iPod drop off with another girl who would be heading to Chicago in a couple of hours.  {I am forever indebted to you e.b. and mr. e.b.} Road Block #4 solved for the moment.

With that crisis calmed, it had to be smooth sailing for the rest of the way, and it was, until packet pick-up.  After several blocks of walking and searching we found a jammed packed central station with a line around the corner to pick up our packets and really cool jackets.  The lined moved quickly and in a matter of seconds Kt and Kmac had their packets.  I, on the other hand did not have a packet.  I, on the other hand was still registered to race in one month in the fine capital of our nation....  Road Block #4.

After a trip to line #1, a referral to the customer service line, a trip back to the packet pick-up boxes, a journey over a strip revealing no name, one more question to the nice volunteer and several reminders that it would be okay from my very patient friends, Road Block #4 was taken care of before we knew it, and we found ourselves posing the the Hot Chocolate mascot.

With all of that under our belts, all we had left to do was eat dinner, hit the sack and run a 15k in the morning, which now seemed like it would be the easiest part of the trip. 

And, with a curbside, drive-by, delivery during dinner, Road Block #3 took a final tumble. Nothing was stopping us now. 

After a restless night sleep for all and a morning full of butterflies, race day had finally arrived.

We were in the windy city, and we were ready to run.

With our ear buds in and our adrenaline flowing, we set off on the streets of Chicago.  We ran through tunnels, over bridges, through brownstone neighborhoods and back into the city.  We sucked down goo at miles three and six and drank Gatorade and water every chance we got.  We crunched cups and pounded the pavement with the best of them, and in the end finished a 15k with the sun shining upon us and a pride we had never felt.  

With the time of 1:26:17 {9:16 min/mile pace}, I crossed the finish line and #29 off the list.

In the end, the Hot Chocolate Run was so much more than a race or the road blocks that stood in the way.

The Hot Chocolate Run was about three friends who said yes.

It was about three friends who took a chance.

It was about three friends who decided they were worth it.

It was about three friends, who in a year's time, have realized that they are much stronger than they ever thought they were.


  1. So far I like being your friend that says Yes but I'm a little afraid of what you're going to ask me to do next!

  2. Awesome Theresa! You could so run a half marathon.

  3. sara- maybe we could come visit you in florida and run the Epcot 1/2 with you next year:)

  4. You girls are the best! I'm so thrilled that you did it... and did it well!


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