Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Minneapolis Hot Chocolate 5k Race Recap

Hey everyone! I hope you all had as wonderful a weekend as I did. Mom and I took a little road trip to Minneapolis to visit my brother, Joe, and race the Hot Chocolate 5k. Fun times, indeed!

I wasn't really sure what to expect at this race. I didn't know the course and had heard mixed things about the organization of other Hot Chocolate races around the country. Add in 20+ mph winds and I knew it would be quite an experience! However, the focus of the trip was to visit my brother, so I reminded myself that while of course I wanted to run well, the most important thing was to have fun.

My race plan from Coach Matt was to run the first two miles in the 7:00-7:05 pace range and then pick it up during the last mile. I had heard from friends that other Hot Chocolate races were super congested at the start so I decided to line up right at the front. I've never done this before so it was kind of exciting to be among the front of the pack at the beginning.

I was spot on the first two miles of the race and hit the mile 2 marker at 14:07. Perfect. There had been a few unexpected hills during those first two miles, but nothing major and I felt pretty strong thanks to the hillwork I've been doing lately. I did my best to get my legs going for the final mile when ... I hit a major hill. This one was comparable in size to the one at Luck of the Irish and, wow, did it ever hurt trying to get up and over it! The only thing that kept me going at a somewhat decent pace was passing a woman midway up the hill that I had been chasing the entire race. No way was I going to let myself get passed after that effort!

The rest of the race after the hill is kind of a blur, but I remember being super relieved when I saw the finish line. I even mustered up a little bit of a kick down the final stretch!

While I'm happy with how I placed, I wasn't too happy about finishing outside the 21:40-21:45 range. But, the conditions were rough and I do think this was good practice for the race that counts in less than two weeks!

 Warming up with hot chocolate post race. It was a chilly morning!

As for the rest of the weekend? It basically involved a food tour of Minneapolis. Joe is a food enthusiast so we had several delicious meals. My favorite? Masa - a Mexican place located downtown Minneapolis. We shared guacamole and mahi mahi ceviche appetizers and then I had tacos for dinner. As is usually the case, the dessert was the best part of all - Tres Leches cake!

My questions for you:
  • What is your strategy for getting up hills during races?
  • What is your favorite way to explore a city while traveling?

I love sightseeing on foot and trying as many local restaurants and coffee shops as possible!

- ST


  1. Great placement! You can't be too hard on yourself given those conditions, but I know it's inherent in runners to always be hard on ourselves. I think you did great!

    Fitting in as many restaurants and coffee shops as possible is a must when traveling! I would say my favorite way to explore a city while traveling is running, but I got lost on a run one time when I decided to get a little too adventurous so I'll stick with the site seeing on foot so I can't get that far ha :). For hills, I try to take really short and quick steps and try to really pump my arms to get my legs to follow. And I have to remind myself not to slow my pace down once I get to the top.

    1. Ha, getting lost on a run in a new city is a fear of mine! I ran the day after the race and stuck to the hotel treadmill. Boring, but efficient :)

  2. It sounds like you had a great weekend! You did awesome in the race! Honestly, you should be really proud of your effort. :-) I did the Hot Chocolate 15K in Chicago a few years ago. It was the biggest race I ever ran in and was so crowded. I was stuck in a corral pretty far back and due to the way they started the waves (with about a 2 minute break between corrals) I started an hour after gun time! It was also November and 30 degrees and windy so it was not fun waiting! I also focus on quick cadence when going up hills, even going so far as to count steps to get my mind off the hard effort. :-) I train on the hills in Waukesha so hills aren't usually a problem for me. Traveling - I agree that sightseeing on foot and exploring the food options are the best! :-)

    1. I was amazed at how many corrals there were at the race and how many runners - I wasn't expecting so many people!

      I think counting steps is a great way to get up a hill or even though a rough patch during a race. I often find myself counting to 100 over and over again :)

  3. A race with hot chocolate at the end sounds like my kind of race! You did great even if you were outside the time range you wanted!

    1. Thanks Brittany! The hot chocolate was especially great given how chilly it was outside. The perfect thing to warm up :)