Race Report: Cocoa Classic 5k

Enjoying the delicious hot cocoa served at the finish line, complete with whipped cream and marshmallows.

Race Information

  • What?  Cocoa Classic 5k
  • IMG_1766
    Waiting patiently at the starting line. Trying to stay warm!

    When? December 8, 2018

  • Where? Deer Park, IL
  • How Far? 5k (3.1 mi.)
  • Finish Time: 24:01
  • Average Pace: 7:44 min/mi
  • Website: Deer Park Cocoa Classic
  • Charity Supported: Mane in Heaven


  • Roll out of cozy bed – Yes
  • Layer up for the cold – Yes
  • Finish the race – Yes


  • Mile 1: 6:56
  • Mile 2: 8:00
  • Mile 3: 8:02
  • Mile 0.1: 1:03


The morning was BEAUTIFUL! I woke up feeling energized and ready to run.  Before leaving the house, I ate my usual pre-race and daily breakfast of an over-easy egg on a piece of sprouted grain toast.  I layered up in my warmest running clothes, packed my running bag, tucked my husband and cat back into bed and headed out the door.

The drive to Deer Park was about 40 minutes.  I listened to a Podcast and Christmas music on the way while focusing on hydrating.  The drive was enjoyable as the sky was clear and the sun was shining bright for the first time all week.  Despite being cold, about 16-18 degrees depending on which source & time reference, the sun made it much more tolerable.

Hot cocoa heating up for the finishers.

The race festival area was located in a shopping center parking lot.  This meant easy access to close, free parking.  I got there in plenty of time to get parked and then to pick up my race bib and event sweatshirt.  After stopping by registration, I returned to my car.  There was no way I was standing outside for 20 minutes until the race started!  I got my bib attached to the event sweatshirt and added it as my top layer to run in.

Usually, I prefer to carry nothing on me except for my watch on my wrist.  Because I didn’t have any spectators with me to hold onto my phone and wallet and there wasn’t a gear check, I had to carry them with me on the run.  My phone got shoved into one of the belts that go around your waist and my keys have a carabiner that hooks onto my sports bra.  Definitely not ideal, but what can ya do!

At this point, I’m ready to head back over to the festival area.  I utilized the walk to do some warm-up exercises.  I got in some high knees, butt kicks and skip jumps.  I jogged though the parking lot a couple of times, too.  At this point, I think I’m about as warm as I could be for the start of this race!

I headed over to the starting line and met up with a couple of runners I know from other

2018 Cocoa Classic (101 of 1443)
The race is on!!  I am on the far right and the two friends I met up with are in purple and blue next to me.  The event got great photos!

races we’ve done together.  Before we know we hear the air horn and the race is on!

Mile one was FAST.  It was all downhill at this point.  Once mile one was over, the real challenge began.  The slow uphill back to the finish line kept the body working hard.  As you can see, my pace vastly slowed after mile one!  I got into a comfortable pace for the remainder of there race, not worrying about the other runners.

If I’m being honest, sometimes I am a little too competitive and don’t allow myself to enjoy the actual running.  This race was huge progress in the direction of not always worrying about ‘racing’.  I got in my groove and didn’t let it bother me that my pace slowed or people were passing me.  I was enjoying the morning.  I was happy with myself for getting up and out in the cold.  I was in the moment with running.

2018 Cocoa Classic (326 of 1443)
Crossing the finish line.

When I crossed the finish line, it was a sense of relief to not care so much about my time and just be happy to be out there on the run!  I grabbed some hot cocoa, reflected on the race with my friends, snapped some photos, and headed to the car to get warm before heading over to a fiend’s house to see her new puppy.

What’s Next?

I think this is the last race of 2018 for me.  Right now, I’m not signed up for another race in the near future, but I am on the look out for January races.  I’ve heard of a couple of races on New Year’s Day – what a great way to start off 2019!

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