Last Sunday I ran in the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K in Chicago. I think Jenn had found out about this race last year after it was already over, but we knew we wanted to do it this year. Who wouldn't want to run in a race that has hot chocolate, chocolate fondue and candy bars after the race. You'd be crazy not to!
Turns out, A LOT of people thought the same thing. Last year I heard they had a bout 2500 people. This year it was about 12,000. Maybe more. I don't know if they expected it top be this big, but I had some concerns after the sixth e-mail letting us know about a change in the parking, packet pick-up, more parking issues, etc. I was concerned this had grown too big, too fast and was going to be a logistical nightmare.
I went with their plan of parking at Navy Pier and taking a shuttle they set up over to Montrose Harbor. I don't know that area well, not that I know much of the downtown area well, but I guess there is not a whole lot of parking in that area. After the 5th e-mail warning me that this parking lot would fill up quick, Jenn told me I should leave around 5:30am to get there and get a spot. Good thing we changed the clocks back that night! Let me tell you one thing, I had thought about not going. I really thought this was going to be a complete disaster. I had visions of standing around and not being able to get to the race, of chocolate running out, and lack of porta-potties. I'm not sure what I was more worried about. Probably the chocolate. But, I went anyway and it was mostly due to the fact that I was meeting my second cousin there.
I should back up here. See, I've never met my second cousin, Kristina. I know, you are wondering why that could be, especially since we lived close by, heck we went to the same high school for one year after mine closed down. I know! I know! Let me explain, okay? So, she is my dad's cousin's daughter. Got that? But, since my mom and dad divorced when I was very (I mean very) young, I never lived with him so I didn't get to see a whole lot of his family. Except the closest relatives of course. I didn't know where she lived. I didn't know she was in my school. I just didn't know.
Anyway, back to the present day. See, there is this thing called Facebook. You may have heard of it. Jenn and I have a friend on there who Kristina is also a friend of, she saw something Jenn wrote on our friends wall, let's call her Jenny, since that is her name, and she reached out to Jenn. Then, after many messages back and forth we set up to meet at this race.
It wasn't easy. She was coming in from Wisconsin(!) and meeting a friend and then taking the "L" in. Of course, there was a problem so she was delayed and didn't get there until after the race already started. So, after I finished she texted me and let me know when she was done, but I was in the longest line ever to pick up my gear, then we finally met there and met up with her friends. (It was actually a little more difficult, but I decided to spare you some of the details.) The extra funny part was that I went to school with two of her friends that she brought. Weird, but cool!
We all talked for a little bit, her friends asked how the heck we never met, then we had to part ways to go back home. I'm sure she wanted to go to sleep since she was up at 2 am to get there. much crazier than me getting up at 5. We are planning on getting together for another race in December. This time Jenn is going to come, and hopefully we can get some lunch, or something.
So, back to the race. The line at Navy Pier was long, but once they started getting some extra busses running, it was okay. There definitely was plenty of room at the race site for all the people. I don't know how the chocolate supply was since I only ran the 5K and people were still running when I left. Oh, and there were plenty of porta-potties, too. I know you were on the edge of your seats for that news. Overall, it was fun. I'm glad I went, though I didn't need any more chocolate in my life one day after Halloween.