Running for Chocolate (Racing Goals for the Non-Elite Runner)

By November 8, 2010 culture No Comments

Periodically here at The Patch I rant and rave about running and how God is using it to refine the Goldilocks mentality out of me. And you all humor me, encourage me, and laugh with (at) me. It’s worked so well in the past, I thought I’d give it another go, this time with a little story about a race for chocolate.

When it comes to racing, I must get creative with my personal goals. Winning is not really an option, so I shoot for other goals like getting my own personal best time or not walking or trying not to get too grossed out by the racers wearing those Vibram FiveFingers.

So I am the sort of runner who appreciates on-course entertainment or race-day goodies, because these make for a memorable experience.

The latest race to capture my fancy was this past weekend, the Hot Chocolate 15K in Chicago, sponsored by Ghirardelli Chocolate. (I know!) I ran it with my friend (I’ll call her Rosa), and it was the promised post-party treats that convinced us to enter. And it delivered.

All the racers got Ghirardelli fondue, Ghirardelli squares by the bunches, and the most fabulous Ghirardelli hot cocoa. You can see by the photos that we were giddy about the treats! It was delicious. And it’s exactly the sort of post-race refueling I prefer: sweets!

Now, the downside of the HC 15K is that the course was a bit too narrow to accommodate 15,000 runners. (I know!) We often felt like herded cattle, stuck in bunches and waiting for the bottlenecks to burst. By mile two, we adjusted our race goal from getting a great finish time to running a negative split for the second half of the race. (Which we did!) Rosa and I took advantage of the slow pace and enjoyed lots of chatter and sightseeing.

Although we didn’t get the finish time we hoped for, the HC site makes my disappointing time more enjoyable to look at because it has animated race results from ZumTri. It’s a hoot! It places every runner as gray dots on the course map, and you are a red dot. The race runs the course and shows how you are doing compared to the rest of the field’s results. In the Fun Facts section, ZumTri says that I also earned the following race honors:

44th Erin Award: I was the 44th Erin to finish of 79 Erins who entered the race
Female 65–69 or Male 1–19 Winner: my time would have won either of these categories if only I were in those age ranges! (or male)
Bloomington Award: I was the 8th of 27 entrants from Bloomington

Perhaps my racing aspirations could now include such obscure goals as these? Maybe next year I could break into the top-25 Erins or beat everyone else from Bloomington. A girl can dream!

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