Hot Chocolate 15K Race Recap, my take...

Saturday I had the chance to run the Hot Chocolate 15K with my wife, Pam! So I thought it would be fun to do this recap a little differently; sort of a he said/ she said kind of thing. We'll see how it goes. As I'm waiting for Pam to send me her part of the recap, I'll start.

This was Pam's first 15K; she was nervous and asked if I'd run with her. While she told me I could go faster if I wanted, like at the Shamrock Shuffle, I could sense her disappointment with that scenario. I told her I'd run with her and let Coach Jen know. I was going to have fun and be her cabana boy/ cheerleader, like Dave Wallach was for me for many races in 2010!

We hit the HC15K expo on Friday afternoon and had fun looking at all the cold weather gear. We picked up gloves and hats and a couple of HC15K shirts too. Hooray, shopping! We got the girls and headed to dinner with our friends Charlie and Myriah, who came up from Champaign to run the 5K and had a nice evening. After we got home and got the girls to bed, we got our gear laid out and went to bed as well.

Race day I woke up excited! I was up right away, helped get the girls up and ready and made breakfast! We dropped the girls off at my FIL's and headed downtown! After gear check, we wished Myriah and Charlie well and they headed for the start corrals.

Pam and I wandered to Buckingham Fountain and found Lauren and her husband who were also running the 15K. We hung out and chatted and finally headed to the corrals. I will admit, I was itching to race a bit but I promised I wouldn't. I did make sure I had the car keys in case I made Pam mad! Ha! I wore my Amphipod, double water bottle belt so I had ample fluids and shotbloks for both of us.

I was also sporting my new Garmin Forerunner 610, and yes I was giddy to try it out! I'll have an initial thoughts type review post up this week, too! Though, just know, it's effing awesome!

As we hit the tunnel on Columbus, Pam commented that this is where she lost sight of me at the Shamrock Shuffle, where I said I'd run with her. I looked at her and said I wasn't going anywhere and smiled.

We started out at an 11:05 pace for the first 2 miles. We slowed a bit and settled into an 11:30-11:45 pace after that. We chatted about this past Chicago Marathon, about the girls and our family goals as we ran. Pam pointed out some cool townhouses on Wabash, I think, as we were heading west.

Mile 5 Pam had to use the facilities. We tried one spot by the United Center and after a few minutes we decided to just keep running. Just past the UC we saw a line of 4 port-o-johns and stopped. Now, I had to go too...15 minutes later we were back running. This was our hiccup.

Once done when we started to run again, Pam's legs and stomach started to cramp up. She got upset because of that and because we had to wait so long. We were now near the very back of the pack.

There was a time or two I thought she would get pissed at me for pushing, but she didn't. She kept moving. I did my best to balance pushing and trying to keep the mood light.I got snippy at one point somewhere on mile 6 or so. Pam was quiet and moving slow. I had hit the point where i wanted to be done. I told her, "the slower we go, the longer we're out here. Let's move!"

She snapped that I could go ahead if I wanted. I told her I wasn't going anywhere without her and we'd finish together.

After making the turn to the finish on Columbus I welled up with pride. As we neared the finish Pam grabbed my hand, and I lifted hers in triumph. While Pam struggled, she hung tough and had just run her first 15K; at that moment I realized I had to. We ran it together and fittingly, the announcer called out, "Here comes Dan and Pam, congrats!" as we crossed the line...it was effing awesome!

I hugged Pam as we walked. She kept moving and wanted chocolate STAT! All in all if you take out the "pitstop" on mile 5, our time would have been solid! In theory the cramping issues wouldn't have happened, or maybe not as early.

A couple of random notes...

- I had a kick-ass time on Saturday. RAM Racing hammered the point that things would be better. The course was awesome. AND they had to reroute it due to an accident just before the race started. I worried there would be no chocolate once we finished. I'm glad I was wrong...the chocolate was flowing freely and the post race party was kicking!

- I also got to see/ analyze someone struggling from the outside. It was eye opening and I learned a lot. The weather was perfect and I felt great. Had I run this on my own, I'm pretty confident  I could have easily kept up a sub 11 pace. I was also wearing my new running glasses, and I love them!

- Saturday reinforced what I think about Pam. She's the strongest woman I know. Once she makes up her mind to do something, she does it. You can't stop her! I'm proud of Pam for sticking it out and finishing!

- I love running with my wife. If and when she decides to run a half marathon, I will be her cabana boy/ cheerleader if she'll have me!

Now go read Pam's recap! It's posted....here!

CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

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